Dr. Lyons Spends Sabbatical Leave in India
December 30, 2009
Dr. Ivory Lyons, professor of religion spent his sabbatical leave at Christ University in Bangalore, India researching the religions of India. While he was there, he immersed himself in Indian culture and learned a lot during his seven-week stay.
“When many people think of India, their view is very stereotypical,” said Lyons. “Yes, there are poor and depressed areas in India, but when I arrived in Bangalore it wasn’t the first impression that I had.”
Lyons explained that although most people speak three languages in India, it is common for people to speak more than five.
“There was some language barrier, but not much,” he said. Hindi and English are the two most frequently spoken languages in India. “It was more about peoples’ accents. I really had to focus on what they were saying.” Lyons noted that younger people in India had an easier time understanding him when he was talking because they listen to American music.
“In the United States, we think of being a vegetarian as a choice,” he said. “In India, it’s a big deal to eat meat.” He also explained that the portions in India are much smaller than in the United States.
While Lyons was in India, navigating his way around the different cities was difficult. “They drive on the left side of the road,” he said. “It was difficult sometimes because anything is allowed on the road – motorized vehicles, people powered bikes, motorcycles, camels, people walking – anything.”
In addition to researching the religions of India, Lyons taught six lectures on American culture at Christ University. He primarily focused his lectures on social dominance theory and explained what it is like to teach in the United States and what the students are like here.
He also visited the Taj Mahal and made a visit to a small village that is primarily run by women. “These women were collaborating on action projects like education, sewage and water,” said Lyons. “When I was meeting with them, it occurred to me that this is what makes countries grow. They were coming together to work on mutual projects.”
Lyons plans to teach courses in Hinduism and Buddhism in contemporary society at Christ University during the summer of 2010.
“I didn’t study abroad as an undergraduate and I regret it,” he said. “So, I’m trying to make up for lost time. I encourage students and faculty to study abroad and expose themselves to different cultures.”