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I am a web developer from the UK, London...

Edwards Hailstone (United Kingdom), MCTS: .NET Framework 2.0 Web, Win & Distributed Applications 02 Dec to 15 Dec 2007

I am a web developer from the UK, London. I decided to take the MCTS in .NET Framework 2.0 and spent many days looking at training providers in the UK, US and India. I eventually chose Koenig as I'd always wanted to visit India and their website was very up-front about pricing, and approximately half the cost of studying in the UK. They responded promptly to all my emails and within a week I was jetting off to Panjim, Goa.

I arrived 5 days early intending to visit the famous beaches and work on my tan. Having left a wet and windy London in December it was a shock to be in 37 degree heat. I whipped off my woolly jumper, put on some shorts and sandals and suddenly I was in holiday mode.

As I waited for my luggage to arrive I watched other travelers take their bags and wander off, leaving me with a growing sense of terror that all my belongings were stuck in the UK. I asked the baggage-handler if there were any more luggages to come, and he shook his head apologetically. As I turned away in despair he laughed and told me he was only joking, and then pointed to my bag on another carousel Hilarious.

The taxi ride to Panjim was unforgettable. Everything I'd heard about Indian driving was true, but you quickly adapt to the four-abreast overtaking maneuvers and general mayhem. It's best not to look. Drivers avoid each other in much the same way as pedestrians on the pavement – they have a much more defensive style of driving than in the West. Crossing the road however can be nerve-wracking. My tip is to use a brightly coloured Indian lady as a human shield.

After finding a hotel I went straight to the training centre to introduce myself. I was met by person who was friendly and reassuring and gave me all the information I needed. The biggest problem I had was marching out of my hotel to 'explore Panjim' only to get lost within minutes – it's important to make use of landmarks if you're traveling alone! Panjim itself is fairly crowded by Western standards, there are plenty of good places to eat but if you're looking for historic buildings etc. you're better off taking the short journey to Old Goa. Fortunately I was not ill during my stay – my biggest fear. Use your intuition when picking a restaurant and if in doubt, eat a dal.

I spent the next three days at Anjuna beach. The sea was warm and clear and the sunsets were amazing. Watch out for the ear-cleaners, I'd only been on the beach a few minutes before I had someone poking around in my ear with a twig, despite my protestations. There are a lot of Indian girls who try to drag you into their shops, day after day. This can be a bit tiring, but it's important to always smile and politely decline – if you show signs of frustration this only encourages them! Foolishly I slept bare-naked one night in a mosquito and ant-infested chalet – I had hundreds of bites and spent the rest of the holiday scratching like a dog. It was a good ice-breaker though. Inspect your room properly before you agree to stay, and wear a long-sleeved shirt and trousers!

After the beach I traveled back to Panjim to start my course. I was introduced to my instructor who was polite, sincere and spoke excellent English. We discussed my experience and he was happy to tailor the course accordingly. We began at quite a pace, but I soon got used to this and only needed a couple of hours each night to go over the day's material and prepare for my exams. I stayed at the Menino Regency which was clean, comfortable and full of friendly staff. I met some fellow students at the hotel and we ate together each evening. By the last day I had time to spare, and my instructor kindly went through some of the projects I'd been working on back home, answering all my questions with ease. During the lessons he was very professional, but he was also easy to talk to as a friend. We spent time together discussing everything from marriage to mini-skirts! He taught me more than just .NET and by the end I was genuinely sad to say goodbye to him and all the staff at Koenig.