Ever heard of the saying, “With language, you are at home anywhere!”? Meet Pallavi Singh who helps those who wish to feel at home in India by teaching them Hindi.  

Pallavi, who has studied an interesting combination of engineering, psychology, counselling, French teaches Hindi as a foreign language to visiting / working expats and foreigners in India. She has been teaching since 2011 and has seen her share of struggles and achievements but calls it a very fulfilling experience.

Her method is pretty simple, she starts with the basics of the language and builds up the pace based on the comfort and requirement of the student. She elaborates, “For example I have a few students engaged / married to Indians, hence their need to learn to speak a native-level Hindi is higher. Then I have students who are here for say a year and would just like to know “ready-reckoners”  to get by. I also have some serious Indo-philes and students who love learning languages (generally) who really put in the efforts irrespective of the duration of their stay. It’s a diverse mixed set to be honest.
I start with basic vocabulary like days of the week, colors, timings etc and then introduce verbs, conjunctions and so on. “

Ask her the toughest part of her job, and no it isn’t the teaching itself but rather her having to constantly battle the colonial mindsets and psychological remnants that puts a set of non-Indians on a pedestal. Pallavi goes on to elaborate, “Because we (Indians) have been conditioned for so long to treat Westerners with a certain subservient attitude, for me to draw boundaries and take charge in certain scenarios becomes challenging. Some of my students are so used to “Yes, ma’am” and “yes Sir” from my fellow citizens, so for me to come in and establish professional and pedagogy roles can turn out to be a mammoth task at times”

As to why she chose this line, Pallavi honestly admits, “It’s pretty simple, it enables me financially, I love teaching and that’s a rare combination to walk away from!”

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