Dominic James Fusco - Author InterviewLearn more the author
Dominic James Fusco is an undergraduate student of UCLA studying Psychology and Political Science. He has ventured to the streets of New Delhi and adopted to the Indian culture and lifestyle while studying abroad there. Learn more his adventures such as eating Indian cuisines, bartering with the market locals, and blending in with the crowd, by reading his intriguing articles.
You will see things that shock you and awe you and twist your heart in horrific and beautiful ways. The most important thing is that you are open to experience and take each day as its own lesson.
What made you decide to study in New Delhi? Who or what influenced you the most when making this decision?
I think India has always had a sort of mystical quality it that has attracted foreign travellers for a long time. You get there and you realize that underlying this there is a highly flourishing culture which we could stand to learn a lot from as well. But I think that it’s really that mystical quality which initially grabs a lot of people. I was at a point in my life where I just wanted do something radically different – ultimately it was a dear friend who had travelled the country before that inspired me to take the leap.
Chaos is a word you and other travelers use to describe urban India. How do westerners find order in a place like Delhi, or do they just acculturate?
You have to acculturate. In Delhi “order” the way we think of it – road rules, law enforcement, structured economy – is usurped by very different system of interaction which appears to many Westerners like chaos because it is so hectic. But there is an underlying pattern of interaction that drives the city nonetheless, it’s kind of tit for tat. Just take the time to feel it out and enjoy the experience. Rather than seek out order, try to redefine it. Don’t stress the little things, embrace the excitement and go with the flow.
Other than traveling, what is your passion in life?
I love to read. The way I see it the best way to learn our world is to experience as much as possible and gather as many different perspectives as possible. I spent many long train rides through the Indian countryside alternating between gazing out the window and burying my nose in whatever novel I had along with me at the time. I view it as a sort of way to converse with writers who are much older and wiser than myself. A bit one sided, albeit, but sometimes its more important to listen anyway.
You’ve wrote mostly survival tips or how to adapt to the lifestyle in India. What is the most important thing someone needs to know life in India?
Simply put, it’s different. Being there you realize that most of our western laws, customs and comforts are really just societal constructions. Here is a place where everyday life takes an alien form. There are over a billion people in the country. You will see things that shock you and awe you and twist your heart in horrific and beautiful ways. The most important thing is that you are open to experience and take each day as its own lesson.
Indian cuisine is distinctive and has earned worldwide popularity. What's the most interesting dish you have tried?
Its hard to say because a lot of the time I honestly had no idea what I was eating. I can tell you the best meal I had (maybe ever) was at a small village in Chamba and I forget its name but it was a vegetarian dish like nothing I’ve ever eaten. I ate shark in Goa, too, which is pretty exotic for me.
After graduation, you wish to continue traveling and exploring the world. Which destinations are on your list?
I’ve been talking with my brother taking the Trans-Siberian railway from Moscow to Beijing and potentially travelling around those areas. I think that would be a trip for sure, but there’s a whole lot of logistics to work out. I’d really love to backpack South America, too.
You currently study Psychology and Political Science at UCLA. Why do so many Psych majors study abroad?
Its odd because it seems like such an introverted study. But a lot of psychology is studying human behavior, who we are and how we act. I think that immersing yourself in different cultures and seeing how other people live and interact with each other greatly benefits that educational experience wherever you study. You begin to see just how much our own behaviors and perceptions are really just products of our environment .
Los Angeles is a melting pot of Asian cultures, where do you go to get your Indian food fix?
To be honest I haven’t eaten much Indian food since I returned. I got food poisoning on my last night in Delhi which has created kind of an aversion for the time being. Hopefully I’ll get back out there soon, though.