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A world-class intercultural educational organization; a global movement to develop and activate global citizens AFS Intercultural Programs India is an international, voluntary, non-governmental, non-profit organization that provides intercultural learning opportunities to help people develop the knowledge, skills and understanding needed to create a more just and peaceful world.

Newsletter AFS Intercultural Programs India



Issue - VIII

Your source to stay up to date with AFS Intercultural Programs India’s activities, events & opportunities |

study abroad

host an AFSer Hosting an international student in your home is a great way to learn about a new culture and share your own culture and values. Experience your world through the eyes of a young person from another country.

Inside this Issue


From Director’s Desk Feed Your Mind


AFS Perspectives How to integrate intercultural learning into your classroom?

Discover new things about yourself and find your place in the world. Learn how to turn challenging situations into valuable opportunities to grow and become more mature.





Intercultural Learning Interaction with our Partners

Orientations National YES Gateway Orientation


Summer Institute for Intercultural Communication (SIIC) Training Design for Intercultural Learning Workshop


Impact of YES Programs The Story Behind, “Yeah It was Good” and Now that I’m back

​ AFS Intercultural Programs India Anand Bhawan, 12, Hailey Road, New Delhi - 110001 ​Phone Number -+ 91-11-42512498/41501672/41540827



A world-class intercultural education organization. AFS helps the world learn to live together.

Join a Global community of changemakers and people like you. Serve as a change agent in your community. Change the world by changing minds.


Welcome Party For hosted Students in Various Chapters of India

Impact of NSLI-Y Programs Chai, Unplanned Adventures & Unforgettable Memories; Forever Grateful; & AFS Impact on Me

events September Mid-Stay Orientation (Regional Level) Annual Volunteer Meet



Annual Volunteer Meet

Principals' Meet in Chandigarh


English Language Summer Program With Japan & Italy

Banner Image: National YES Gateway Orientation Participants in New Delhi

Edited & Designed by Aadil F.

For any Suggestions or sharing stories & experiences, reach us at:

AFS Intercultural Programs India | August 2017 | Page No - 1 |



FEED YOUR MIND Divya Arora | National Director

While growing up my parents kept us busy – we were never “free”. We were either in school or studying at home or playing in evening or on weekends going to temple or visiting relatives. When it came to religious beliefs, we were taken to different worship places: mandir, gurudwara, church, masjid and even Arya Samaj. My father was staunch believer in Arya Samaj. We grew up around people of different beliefs and we were taught to learn by experiencing. This experience led to another concept of learning where I was never bored or I was limited to not doing something. We were encouraged to do things and when we made mistakes we were asked to find solutions to our challenges. My father taught me “the buck stops here” the famous saying by President Henry Truman. The phrase means taking responsibility and taking charge, and not putting it on anyone else.



- Helping the world learn to live together -

With this kind of upbringing, I became a very positive person. For me to feel low for long is not possible. I have “Switch on” button in my head. The moment I am being pulled down due to stress or circumstances my mind automatically takes over and starts to speaks to itself saying that there must be some solution. It says “Do not worry…be happy”. My phone ring tone, my Skype message and my display picture on phone has the same message and the quote, so it is difficult to be “down” for long. To build self-confidence and to be positive, we must feed our brain with positive things in one form or another. When we feed our brain the proper thought, our selfconfidence grows and we become more positive. We need to feed our body the proper food to keep it strong and healthy; we must feed our head with positivity to keep it focused on our goals in the same way. A question that one should ask oneself and then answer as honestly as possible is; “What would you be doing with your life if you knew you couldn't fail?” Once we have the answer to this question, we may be on our way toward our life`s mission! How can we "feed your mind" and build a positive attitude day-by-day month-by-month and, ultimately, for as long as we choose? Well, the easiest and most effective method (from my experience) would begin with: • Read as many books and magazines that are positive, inspirational and motivational • Listen to audiotapes that can be change your thought process positively in the car, home office, while

working out, working or simply relaxing • Study the lives of the people who have a positive message to share with all of us, and especially in the field you've chosen to be great at. • Think…there must be better way. There is always solution to any problem that we have. Only needed is clam mind. We've all heard the saying, 'You are what you eat'. Well the same applies to the mind… "You are what you continually think about"… (Think about that for a moment or two). Everything we allow into our mind, positively or negatively, will affect our actions. We are "what you think" we are! People can have the strongest effect on our lives. I believe that we become the people we hang out with. The people we associate with and share ideas with have a major influence on how we choose to act upon, or not act upon, our dreams. Excerpts from the book by Mr. Promod Batra

To build self-confidence and to be positive, we must feed our brain with positive things in one form or another. When we feed our brain the proper thought, our self-confidence grows and we become more positive.

How to integrate intercultural learning into your classroom?

Over the past decade, we educators have grappled with defining and assessing the most critical education goals for the 21st century: • Science, technology, engineering, math? Check. • Critical thinking, problem solving, and decision making? Of course. • Intercultural awareness, foreign languages, competence in working across borders, and respect for other cultures? Really? Tell me more… There is broad agreement that the first two sets of goals above will be crucial for the decades ahead. But many still aren’t convinced about the importance of intercultural competence for 21st century learners. “In order to participate, as citizens or producers, all people need to be able to understand globalization, be curious about the world and global affairs, know where to deepen their knowledge when necessary, and be capable of communicating and working productively and respectfully with people from other countries and cultural backgrounds,” explains Reimers. Bottom line according to Reimers and colleagues? “The development of global competence is a necessity for all students in the 21st century.” Fortunately there is growing evidence, especially from employers, that students aren’t truly prepared for the future unless, alongside STEM and other “hard skills,” they are also able to embrace the reality of rapidly evolving, increasingly diverse communities and operate effectively in a more and more interconnected world — no matter what field or profession they follow. And, beginning in 2018, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) will assess the skills needed for students to be considered globally

competent in its standard-setting Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA).

become more flexible, and become able to respect different perspectives.

So what are teachers to do if this thinking is not yet guiding curriculum development in their schools — or indeed in most schools around the world?

Recognize and encourage healthy conflict or sharing of different, even dissenting views. Often there is a concern that dealing with differences can become very personal, and perhaps uncomfortable, even for the world’s newest learners, “Generation Z” students, arguably some of the most comfortable people on the planet with diversity. Guide your students to actively listen and suspend judgment in uncomfortable conversations to maximize their learning potential.

If your school has not yet fully embraced the necessity of global competence but you are anxious to help ensure your students don’t fall behind, here are some simple yet effective steps you can take. In this article, I start with a recommended process framework for introducing intercultural learning, along with some elementary resources to help you put them into practice. Start small and build safe spaces. To do this, use warm-up exercises that help everyone, including the teacher, relax and get to know each other on a personal level, before advancing to a cultural level. For example, invite your students to bring one (small) object to class that is significant to them, and discuss how it represents them, their hobbies, or family.

Recognize and redirect conflict that is not productive. Sometimes conversations need to be slowed down or even redirected. Overheated situations don’t make a productive learning environment, so you can defuse them by using historical or literary references to take a step back and provide a more comfortable way to tackle bias or stereotypes.

Distinguish between personal, situational, and cultural differences. As you observe and discuss intercultural issues, bear in mind that not all conflicts or disagreements are based on cultural differences. Note the specific elements of the situation or personalities involved, and help your students learn to consider all angles of an issue before making a decision.

Help learners process through a three-step debriefing. For intercultural learning activities to be most impactful, follow-up discussions or “debriefing” with students is crucial. Do this by first helping students reflect on and discuss what they learned; next, encourage them to imagine how they can apply these lessons to their daily lives; and finally, come to a shared understanding with the learners about why the activities were conducted: global competence is necessary in our communities, and our world shouldn’t be kept a secret!

Build up activities and discussions to deepen learning. Tackle cultural issues that exist within your local communities, then make connections between these and the larger world to help learners realize they are shaped by their surroundings while simultaneously connected to much more than what is immediately around them. As a result, your students will broaden their worldviews,

Embarking on an intercultural journey in the classroom takes preparation and practice, but you should know that resources (such as books, teacher training, and opportunities to exchange experiences) are available to support your efforts. Creating curious and openminded global citizens through intercultural learning is an ongoing, necessary, and very gratifying task.

Published originally on October 11, 2016 on Education Week blog. Excerpts Copied from Intercultural Insights for Global Citizens — curated by AFS Intercultural Programs. Written by Melissa Liles, Chief Education Officer, AFS Intercultural Programs AFS Intercultural Programs India | August 2017 | Page No - 2 |


- Interaction with our Partners -

Conversations with Simone Caporali, Executive Director of Intercultura (Italy) Interviewed by Divya Arora, National Director, AFS India

Simone says, “I have been working for Intercultura national office since October 1991, before as Chief Financial Officer for 15 years and since 2011 as the Executive Director. I was a member of international committees on IT, Finances and Programs. I also was an EFIL Board member for two years (2012 and 2013) and in the last three years I am PDR representative in the Board of Trustee. I had the honor to be also a part time consultant for AFS IP on financial matters, from 2006 to 2011 – mainly supporting AFS partners in NPPR and providing training for international events. One of the most important project that I followed for AFS International on 2006, it was to help the creation of the new AFS India. I hope to have the possibility to come back to India soon, I love your country!”

have to learn new ways to make themselves accepted by the host society. It is an exercise in humbleness and flexibility. What initiatives has AFS Italy undertaken to shape the international education worldwide?

Our former director Roberto Ruffino was involved for decades in international working groups at UNESCO, at the Council of Europe and at the European Union, dealing with pupil and student mobility and with international education. Much of that work translated into programs such as ERASMUS in Europe or in other mobility projects. Currently, through our “Intercultura Foundation” we promote international think tanks on this topic (such as the annual Forum on Intercultural Learning and Exchange) How do you feel that AFS as an organization can and large conferences on topics related to intercultural contribute to fostering intercultural competence around learning: most recently a conference on “The Unspoken the world especially during these times of uncertainty? Sacred” – why is it so difficult to talk openly about religious differences and their impact on cultures? This is of course no short term project; but we can have an influence on the educational systems of our countries. Any suggestions as to how the intercultural learning By sending pupils abroad and by hosting foreign pupils can be given due importance/ awareness in lesser into our class-rooms, schools are forced to compare explored areas so as to reach out for more openness and their approach to education with other approaches awareness in obtaining intercultural learning. abroad and to question their own way of educating future citizens of their country. As the world has opened We strongly believe that schools are the main avenue in terms of economy, politics, trade, etc., schools have to generate interest about this topic on a larger scale, tended to remain very national (sometimes nationalistic) beyond the participants in an exchange. in their teaching. AFS is a strong opportunity towards internationalization. Schools are important partners in growth of AFS programs. How has AFS involved schools in country to Education has always been the key to expanding the make them strong partners? What are some kinds of vision of people. How do you feel intercultural learning activities that AFS has been doing to improve school incorporated within the educational framework to relationships, and can be an example for others in the help in broadening the overall learning process for field of Global Education? individuals? A German philosopher of the 18th century said that people become educated by welcoming the world within themselves. AFS translates this aspiration into a concrete educational project. Pupils – at a certain stage of their development (and 16-17 is a good age for that purpose) – benefit from being taken out of their environment and from looking at their reality/country/history from the outside, through the eyes of people who have grown up in a different system. They also benefit from being placed in a “minority situation” in a new country, where they

Since 1979, we have organized hundreds of seminars and workshops (today also web seminars) for teachers and Principals on intercultural education and pupil mobility. It has been one of the largest investments of Intercultura in its future. We started with teachers and Principals of schools where we had exchanges and then we moved on to all the other schools. For years we have also produced booklets and material to be used in the class-rooms. A strong supporter of our activities has been the National Association of School Principals and4– more recently – the Ministry of Education.

(Photo Above: Simon with his wife and Argentina daughter) Volunteers are the pillars when it comes to the functioning of AFS. What more initiatives be brought forth to garner motivation amongst the volunteers? Volunteers must be challenged and given responsibility after adequate training. Over 1400 volunteers participate every year in Italy in week end trainings in fall and spring on program basics. Many other are invited to higher level conferences and workshops and in study groups. They remain loyal and dedicated if they feel that they keep on learning things that are useful also for their own personal development. Today we have 155 active local Chapters all over the country and most of the work to publicize the programs, selects the participants, prepare them for the experience, find host families, find scholarships, link with their local schools – all this is done by them. How has the AFS experienced/helped you? I started to work for Intercultura when I was 20, just out of secondary school, as an accountant. I had grown up in a small town of 55,000 people where local traditions are very strong and inhabitants are not very open towards outsiders and other ways of thinking. Working for AFS has opened many windows for me and has made me a different person: much more curious and pleased to travel and to meet other kinds of people. This change has been appreciated within Intercultura and I have climbed up to different roles, till I have become the Chief Operating Officer of our organization. Also privately I have made intercultural choices and I have married a Russian girl!

Working for AFS has opened many windows for me and has made me a different person: much more curious and pleased to travel and to meet other kinds of people. AFS Intercultural Programs India | August 2017 | Page No - 3 |


National YES Gateway Orientation 2017 The National YES Gateway Orientation of 2017-18 was conducted from 5th – 7th August 2017. The 36 selected participants arrived on 5th, which marked the beginning of the orientation. The sessions began with the overview of the PreDeparture Orientation, followed by a team-building exercise. Thereafter, the revision of Ice-berg model, and topics such as Budgeting and Optical Illusions were covered in the next 2 days.

(Photo Above: Group Photo)

along with staff members Divya Arora, Sonam Luthra, Suraj Sharma and Ujwal Singh were the facilitators of the Apart from these, the participants were also briefed about orientation. the Immigration rules, Risk Management & Protecting from Sexual Abuse and things they should remember 27 students along with Ujwal Singh, the Chaperone of when they are in USA, representing their country as an the batch departed on 7th for Washington DC. We look Ambassador. Participants were given useful insights on forward to sending other students in next departure how they can adapt in Host family, Host school, Host dates. Best wishes to all the students for starting a new community in the initial days and things they should take journey in their life. care of along with the do’s and don’t's.


Our Alumni, Dhruv Thakkar and Yashodhan Shende

(Photo Right: During Activity)

New strategies of training were the highlight of the course. A very interesting case study to emphasize the

environment. With the greater insight in the ICL, I will be able to conduct ICL trainings more effectively and would like to contribute in designing intercultural learning activities for school students in future. At personal level I gained greater understanding of ICL to strengthen my social network with friends abroad.

need to understand the interesting factors of intercultural communication was given.

(Photo Above: Sarita Badhwar with AFSers from around the world)

Another one was RSVP a way to elicit problems or solutions in a group with common concerns.

I also had opportunity to meet AFSers from different parts of the world and spent time with my trainer Michael Leidecker who organized for us a lovely barbeque dinner in amazingly beautiful surrounding."

• Selection of training content • Designing the training process • Assessing the learner’s resistance

SUMMER INSTITUTE FOR INTERCULTURAL 1 COMMUNICATION (SIIC) By Sarita Badhwar, Volunteer from Indore Chapter Training Design for Intercultural Learning Workshop "I was fortunate to attend five day concurrent workshop at the Summer Institute for Intercultural Communication (SIIC) in Portland, Oregon, USA this year from July 14 – July 21, 2017. The workshop was on Training Design for Intercultural Learning facilitated by Dr. Janet Bennett and Dr. Michael Paige. SIIC is an opportunity characterize by the intensity of learning experience, relevance to one’s professional development with an emphasis on knowledge & skill. The atmosphere is supportive and respectful in which collaborative learning takes place. It is a global inclusive village where cultural differences are appreciated. It was a proud privilege to be trained by two renowned personalities Dr. Janet Bennett and Dr. Michael Paige in the field of intercultural learning. The workshop focused on designing teaching across cultures as well as teaching about cultures. It was comprehensive overview of intercultural training design with an emphasis on using developmental approaches to reduce learner’s resistance and enhance learning. The agenda of the workshop was • To know yourself as trainer • Analyze your audience AFS Intercultural Programs India | August 2017 | Page No - 4 |

It gave me an opportunity to work with a community of intercultural scholars and practitioners. It was wonderful learning experience and net working in a stimulating

• Learned that not all the faces of life will be same.

Impact of

Like in just a year I faced so many ups as well as downs. There are many more of these which adds up to this list. But this one year was like a glimpse of my future. My future will not be the same as my present just like my exchange.


this country, its people and culture. While doing so, I found out I was learning more of myself than any other thing. I found out that I wasn’t afraid of dark anymore, I slept alone at night with lights out! (I feel proud of myself). I even learned how to use chopsticks and how to hula-hoop. I know it’s childish, rather stupid for a 17-yearold girl learning these things but yeah, it’s never too late to learn. After all, it’s the little things that matters in life.


The story behind, “Yeah it was good.” By Varsha Bhat, YES India 2016-17, hosted with Aspect in Wisconsin ““Hi! How are you? How was US? How was your experience?” When someone asks me this question, so many things pop up in my mind. Like my AHH! Moments, the cold weather, our family time, my school activities, our church activities and so many other things. But I don’t know how to express all these feelings in a short answer, therefore I end up saying “Yeah it was a good experience.” This happens all the time. Anyways, you know what happened once? My friend came up to me during lunch time and, we started talking. And she suddenly said that her dad went to Dubai! To that statement I said, "wow, that’s cool!” But she said,” Aren’t you happy listening that my dad went to India?” I started laughing so hard. Then it clicked me that, she thought Dubai was in India! I said her between my laughs that Dubai is not in India. She felt embarrassed and apologized. This happened so many times that, people misunderstood that Dubai is in India. Answering such questions made me happy every time. I didn’t know why. But later I realized that, sharing about my country, my culture gave me happiness from inside! I would be grinning all the time whenever I was sharing about India. But there were sometimes too, when people didn’t want to listen about what I was saying about India. Being there all by myself, taught me how to read peoples face and their emotions. Now I can understand what people are feeling when we are having a conversation. I can kind of read faces now. That, I feel is an awesome thing that I got from this exchange.

(Photo Above: With friends) One of the best things that I did there was volunteering. We had an elderly home called as Homme Home. Me and my host sister, named Elsa, used to go there every Monday and Thursday for volunteering. Sometimes we used to help the main volunteers in the games that they play with the elderly people but, we usually painted nails of these ladies there. It’s always fun to paint their nails according to the seasons and to listen to their stories. I learned so many things from them, like their childhood stories, the value of money at that time, their fashion style, their love stories and most importantly their service towards the country and society. Most of the ladies whom I met there were social workers who, used to do a lot of volunteering. Going there every two days in a week, sharing my experience, listening to their stories and, doing their nails was something I used to look forward. One more thing that I want to add here is my Forensics experience. I joined Forensics which is a huge field of elocution, acting, report giving, and many more. I was in the professional speech category. My topic was Bollywood 1990s. It had many levels. I won the first place in the state level. At the beginning I was nervous because, I am speaking about Indian movies and actors. I was nervous about the thing that; will the audience get bored? But they showed immense interest in my speech and asked questions after the round was done. It showed me that the people there have a lot of tolerance and are very acceptable. It gave me a lot of courage to speak next time in front of them. I really appreciate their acceptance which make them very friendly. That’s one of the things that I love about them. I feel like I have really grown up in this past year. My host parents always told me about the political system and we had huge discussions about the same. Even I initiated some discussions which helped me learn so much. I feel like I have become more open minded and more tolerant. I have known myself so much during this past year. I feel there is no other programs like exchanges. They are the best way to know yourself more and to know others around the globe. I am really blessed that I am part of YES Program. Keep Calm and Travel On. That would be my quote for myself.” Now that I’m back

(Photo Above: With family) I know, I was not all by myself. My host family was always with me in every moment that I spent there. Here in India my mom always did our laundry. The situation was different there. I learned to do my own laundry. That was another big accomplishment for me. Talking about my accomplishments, it’s not necessary that all the accomplishments are supposed to be huge, right? Here are some of my accomplishments: • I learned how to be independent. • I learned how to keep my room clean so, when my mom would enter she would use me as an example for my siblings. • I learned when is the correct time to speak when you are in an argument. • Learned punctuality. • Learned that not all families are the same. • Learned that how human thinking or human nature is same all the way around the globe.

By Sweta Sadhu, YES India 2016-17, hosted with AIFS in Kansas “It’s been a month (exactly a month) since I left my second home to return to my first home. It was really difficult to leave that place, the place where I lived for ten months. It is really crazy how the people who I met in these ten months really now mean so much to me! The people whom I didn’t even know for sixteen years of my life, are now an integral part of my life. Packing all these ten months into suitcase, was even more difficult. I had a 65 lbs. shipment sent, plus 50 lbs. of suitcase, plus 20 lbs. of carry-on bag and a jam-packed bag pack. Yeah, that was a piece of work but hey, I saved one meter of bubble wrap while packing and I enjoyed popping the bubbles at an ultimately satisfactory level. It all started when I took off for this awesome journey on August 8th, 2016. After a long 12-hour flight I breathed the American oxygen. Knowing that I’ll be spending my next ten months here, I was excited to know more about

(Photo Above: With friends) Now that I’m back, I’m readjusting to the Indian culture and climate. It is hot; hence I avoid going outside unless I have no option. I have to fix my accent (I never realized when it got changed. Not drastically but some of it). I’ve changed my weather app from Fahrenheit to Celsius, I expect a roundabout at every Kilometer and no more miles, going on the left side in the car for passenger’s seat, and wearing a seatbelt while my sister who’s driving the car doesn’t wear one. Now, there’s not really anything like “privacy” and “personal space” in my family traditions so, even after I expected, I really felt invaded and it was a challenge I had to work on primarily. It wasn’t a piece of cake but my mom and my sister helped me get through it. And my friends! They’re just amazing, they helped me a lot. I’m very proud of my friends and yes, you can be jealous of me for having those friends.

(Photo Above: With family) Now that I’m back, I am also currently dealing with my academics. I’m having trouble getting admission in college for my undergrad degree. I don’t even know for sure if I am going to college or repeating my senior year in high school. Oh well, it’s complicated. But as of now, I’m living my life, organising a Quiz for the event in my high school which is called ‘Quest’. Hence, right now I’m having fun making questions and dealing with freshmen and sophomores every day, but again, friends make it really easy. But, I’m excited and I look forward to going to my school’s that stage to host the quiz, one last time, where I delivered a couple of speeches, leaded the prayer and shared some quotes. Now that I’m back, I’m not an exchange student. I was. I am now alumni for the future exchange students, to guide them, to help them for making their exchange year successful. Now that I’m back, indeed I miss Rossville and the people dearly. I really miss getting rides from Ariel and buying her coffee from Grounded. I miss going to Church every Sunday and going to my grandma’s house. I miss watching the main street fall asleep every night, from my window. I miss the sound of the train that passed by the house every now and then. I miss babysitting the three musketeers, Alexis, Zola and Maya. But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep.”

AFS Intercultural Programs India | August 2017 | Page No - 5 |


for our hosted Students in various chapters of India

Welcome Party in Delhi

Welcome Party in Nashik

“Delhi Chapter hosted the welcome party for the students hosted in the chapter for the 17-18 cycle on 12th August ‘17, Saturday, 2:30 pm onwards, at Goverdhan Towers, Kaushambi, Vaishali. This is the residence of one of our active volunteers, Ms Sweta, who had kindly volunteered the space. We had included the celebrations of the Independence Day and Janmashtami too.

“On 30th July, Sunday at 8.30 am in morning we started our journey to Bhandardara Dam with full of excitement. We booked 55 seater bus. We all the volunteers of Nashik chapter and our families, all the returnees and their families, host students Lisa and Chiara and host families, Omkar Musale the student selected for YES scholarship for this year and his family. Totally we were 17 Volunteers, 2 host students, 5 kids, 1 YES participant and 25 others are enjoyed the starting journey.

Welcome Party in Jamshedpur

(Photo Above: Enjoying Indian Food)

(Photo Above: Group photo) (Photo Above: Enjoying the food) The dress code was traditional Indian in tri-colors, which was followed by most of the volunteers and the hosted students. There was a competition for the exchange students, too. They had to dress up like one of the famous Indian personalities, and speak something (preferably in Hindi). This activity was great fun. Students spoke, some in English, some read out (Hindi text written in English), but we had Yukata, who spoke purely in Hindi and was given a special prize by the judges. Colin (for Jawaharlal Nehru) and Anna McKane (for Sarojini Naidu), received the first and second prize respectively. The Prizes were sponsored by Ms Sweta.

(Photo Above: Cutting the Welcome Cake) The host parents too, had a good time exchanging their experience with each other. There were a lot of starters before the Lunch. Everyone enjoyed the sumptuous food. We ended the day with the Exchange students cutting the ‘Welcome Cake’, and receiving the special mugs prepared for them. Everyone enjoyed a lot. Special thanks to Ms. Sweta for arranging everything so well.”

AFS Intercultural Programs India | August 2017 | Page No - 6 |

“Both the host students Lucas and Filipo were very excited when they were informed about the welcome party with their families, coordinators and counselors and volunteers. Rangoli was made and welcome note was written for both. They were informally introduced to all the volunteers present. The Host students wanted to have just “Indian food”. They tried the different dishes that were there and thoroughly enjoyed themselves. We had singing and game sessions. Everybody enjoyed a lot.” Welcome Party in Vadodara

(Photo Above: Presenting Gifts) Near about 11 am we reached at a beautiful point called Randha fall. All instructions were given and asked to take care of our own family as well as others. We all got out of the bus and enjoyed that attractive and amazing waterfall which made all of us more fresh and happy. After some group photo session we moved further. At 12.30 pm in afternoon we enjoyed delicious lunch together. Near about 2 pm we gathered for welcome program. First Mr. Shivaji Shinde took an introduction round of us. It was so interesting fun game that even kids took part and gave amazing introduction of themselves.

(Photo Above: Group photo) “On the rainy morning of 16th July 2017, the Chapter Level Orientation was conducted where; the Host Participants and Host Families of NH17 cycle were welcomed and introduced. It was a brief run through of the chapter realities for the host participants. Conversations with our returnees were fruitful when

After lunch we had our chapter meeting. Mr. Shinde told about the AFS and its intercultural exchange program. He also told about hosting students, shared his experience being a host family to create awareness among other families. Then we all welcomed our host students, Lisa and Chiara, by giving them some gifts one by one. We also wished Omar Musale a happy journey and best luck for coming year. All volunteers gave him a contribution gift. Then we enjoyed some funny games. At last we all moved to next destination and it was the ultimate moment of fun of getting wet, enjoying the rain and umbrella waterfall and garden. We all enjoyed there a lot. Near about 6.15 pm in evening we started our journey back home. It was also full of memories. We all would like to thank AFS and we feel proud to be associated with the organization"

(Photo Above: Volunteers with hosted students) the importance of taking initiatives and getting involved emphasized. The chapter also took the initiative for a tour of the city, the Vadodara Darshan for their Host participants.” Written by respective chapter volunteers.

not my own. Here’s to the last week of authentic chai, unplanned adventures, and unforgettable memories!” Forever Grateful By Olivia Hoynes from Greenville, North Carolina, Hosted in: Indore, Madhya Pradesh (Shishukunj)

Impact of



Chai, Unplanned Adventures & Unforgettable Memories By Rachel Marie Dinh from Tempe, Arizona, Hosted in Indore, Madhya Pradesh (Shishukunj)

“DeeDee DeeDee DeeDee”. This is the sweet sound I heard as I was quickly surrounded by small Indian children the first day of school. I spent the first bus ride beaming, sticking out like a sore thumb with big blue eyes and fair freckled skin. The streets were flooded with cows, camels, stray dogs, street vendors, bikes, and cars, and the immensity of colors and sounds was mesmerizing. Everything was new, different, and exciting, and I couldn’t wipe the big-toothed smile off my face. As my exchange continued, the bus ride to school became routine, and the school children stopped tugging me to their classrooms each break. No matter, Bharat never failed to surprise me and woo me. One morning, a kind pandit at a Hindu temple summoned me into the worship room full of offerings. He

“As I’m sitting on my host family’s terrace on a breezy Sunday morning hearing peacock shrills in the background, I’m wondering a few things. First of all, did I forget to take my malaria pill again? And second of all, how am I going to leave India, the country that I’ve called home for the last six weeks?

Saying this experience was amazing is not enough. Of course in a new country, you adjust to a different way of life. Here, I saw how Indians skillfully navigate through the chaos that is called traffic. I tried the vegetarian lifestyle and came to enjoy daal, subzi, and roti. I looked forward to watching Bollywood movies with my family every day. I even got used to using "Bedays", which is definitely a cultural experience. More than seeing different things though, you can become a different person in another country. I’m normally a shy person, but here it’s kind of impossible. Every day at school, I interacted with Indian kids who were curious about American culture and my reason for coming to India. At home, I would be telling my mom about my day in broken Hindi sentences. I used to be hesitant in speaking Hindi because kids would always giggle and give pointed looks to each other. You quickly learn not to be sensitive to forward-sounding remarks because it’s only by realizing your flaws and that you can improve. It’s especially worth it when people’s faces light up because I spoke their native language. Something I admire about India is how there are countless religions and Gods, but somehow, these different beliefs coexist in a nonjudgmental environment. For example, at Shishukunj, the morning prayers are from different religions every day. Riding the bus to school gives a glimpse of rural life in India. There are kids who are old enough to go to school but stay home to help their parents. In taking a field trip to a small village school, I met dedicated students who told me they loved to learn. I’ve dreaded getting out of bed to go to school on many mornings, while some just hope for that chance. If you’re asking about a cultural impact, yes, I definitely had one. It’s easier for me to get out of my comfort zone and to understand others’ beliefs, even if they’re

Going into this exchange, I expected a homogenous India, where people only ate curry and naan and spoke in pure Hindi. Instead, I learned that India is a land of unity and diversity, where Muslims, Hindus, Jains, Punjabis, Zoroastrians, and other people of faith learn and pray together in school - speaking Marathi, Gujarati, Hindi, English, Bengali, or the other official languages of India. When I had to solo the opening lines to “Chaiyya Chaiyya” in front of ten Indian teachers, I learned to laugh at myself, and when I forgot the word for fan on multiple occasions, I learned that it is okay to make mistakes. This exchange has changed the way I see India, the rest of the world, and myself, and for that, I am forever grateful.” AFS Impact on Me By Alia Adler, from Atlanta, Georgia, Hosted in Indore, Madhya Pradesh (Shishukunj)

(Photo Above: Learning Indian Musical Instrument)

(Photo Above: Rakshabandhan)

meaning of globalization and the importance of learning about other people through their languages, religions, and culture. I will never forget riding on the back of my sister’s scooter with three people and a birthday cake hoisted above our heads in the rain, nor will I forget the green chili eating contest I lost to an Indian friend within seconds. Similarly, I will never forget the emaciated dogs and school age children dressed in rags who tapped on our windows at stoplights.

marked me head with a fragrant red paste and showered me with flowers, sweets, coconuts, and blessings. I stopped to say namaste as an elderly man on the street corner raised his hands above his head to give me blessings - smiling ear to ear. When my host sister and I climbed into a rickshaw, our driver passionately spoke to her in Hindi something that translates to, “I’m proud of you for showing her Indore. Make our country proud.” My family’s Marathi driver, who I call “CaaCaa” (meaning uncle), spoke to me in Hindi everyday and laughed as I sang songs and poems in Hindi. CaaCaa was overjoyed as I gifted him a single U.S. dollar that he vowed to show to all of his friends. At Nacraali Daali, a traditional dancer dressed in a beautiful blue saree conversed with me in Hindi and lit up when she found that I was in India to learn her native tongue. In the small village of Maheshwar, I stopped to watch as people dressed in orange passionately danced to a god, casting me warm smiles and continuing to beautifully twirl their hands above their heads. The school security guard laughed as he taught me the Hindi word for squirrel and other things I pointed at - proclaiming “yeh kya hai?”. As I looked out my window at a procession of men on a voyage to a temple, the men stopped what they were doing to wave, dance, and sing to me, offering me sweet smiles. This is the place where I was blessed by an elephant in the streets and invited over to the houses of school girls my age. No matter where I went in Indore, people stared, pointed, and often yelled “foreigner” or “amriqui”. For the first time as a white American in the South, I was different. Everywhere I went, there were instances of people welcoming me, blessing me, and loving me. People were so proud of their country and excited to welcome people from other places. Their faces lit up when I spoke in broken Hindi. Many times, I was interacting with people who did not speak English, looked different from me, were of different religions, and lived on an opposite side of the globe, but I learned that we shared a common humanity communicated with a smile, “namaste”, dance, or song. "Bharat hummari maata hai". India has taught me the

“When I got accepted into the NSLI-Y program, I was beyond thrilled. It was my second year applying, and I could not believe I had gotten accepted. I couldn’t wait to live in a foreign country, go to a different school, and experience a culture that was relatively unknown to me. However, once the date approached, I started really thinking about why I wanted to go to India in the first place. I was learning how to speak Hindi, something I had always wanted to do, but I realized there was more to it than that. My mother’s family is from Calcutta, and going and living in her country of origin would help me understand a little more about her. She herself immigrated to the USA when she was 4, so she grew up immersed in American culture. Nonetheless, she still had a direct tie to her roots: her parents. I had no such thing. Of course, I would see my grandparents fairly often, but I was by no means steeped in the culture like she was. I realized I knew very little about where I was from, and hoped that this experience could be a good first step.

(Photo Above: With her host family) When I actually got to India, I was overwhelmed at first. Everything was new, and different, and just navigating life was an adventure. I didn’t get time to sit down and think about what it all meant to me. However, I found myself saying more often than not “My grandmother does this”, or “My family does something similar”. I never noticed until I was talking to my American parents about my experience. I was telling them about the hospitality here. I had noticed that everyone here wanted me to be as comfortable as possible, going to intense lengths, despite my insistence. In this case, my family had spent a good amount of time making sure the lighting was just right for this FaceTime call, despite the fact that it wasn’t that bad to begin with. I thought it was sweet, and it really did remind me of my grandmother, who wanted to make sure that we were happy and comfortable no matter what. As I was telling them this story and the many others, I realized that so much of the quirks I found in my grandmother’s personality were actually common ways of life here in India that didn’t necessarily translate in America. Knowing this, and realizing this has helped my connect to my past, and been the greatest impact that AFS and NSLI-Y have had on me."

AFS Intercultural Programs India | August 2017 | Page No - 7 |

Principals’ Meet in Chandigarh

On 19th August 2017, a Principals' Meet was organized at Strawberry Field High School, Chandigarh. 21 School Heads from 15 schools were part of the Meet. It was the first school event, AFS India conducted in Chandigarh and it was received well by the school representatives who attended it. The meet focused on introduction of AFS and the Programs that AFS offers, the benefits and opportunities that AFS provides to its Partner schools. AFS India Board Member, Dr. Sumer Singh, who was one of the facilitator of the Meet, shared his experience when he was a School Head and was hosting an International AFS participants and how a student is benefitted when they go on AFS. AFS Think Tank and AFS India School Membership was also introduced to the schools and the procedure of signing up for AFS School Membership was explained to them. The session ended with High Tea and snacks sponsored by Strawberry Field school. We’re thankful to Dr. Sumer Singh for being the facilitator for the meet.

ENGLISH LANGUAGE SUMMER PROGRAM The key objective of the program ventured into giving the participants a platform wherein they can improve their English language skills. The program this year was a mixed bag of participants from Italy (08) and Japan (1) with the key objective learning English language skills. It comprised of devising class room methods by our partner school DLF Public School-Ghaziabad, who organized a rigorous curriculum ensuring that all the components of English language: Reading, Writing, Speaking and Vocabulary were sufficiently covered so as to procure a noteworthy escalation in their English language learning. The participants were hosted by Indian host families in Delhi NCR.

(Photo Above: With family) With a view to ensure proper guidance for the participants, AFS India, in coordination DLF Public School, Ghaziabad, our partner school for the program, had organized the following: • Orientations: A variety of orientations right from the inducting the host families about the inclusions of hosting, arrival orientation to give the participants AFS Intercultural Programs India | August 2017 | Page No - 8 |

a warm welcome and helping them understand the expectations from the program, host family and host school, mid stay orientation to determine the growth of the participants while on program and lastly end of stay orientation to assess the take away points of the participants from the program. The host family experience of the students helped the participants to gauge the colorful Indian culture with its varied customs, the joint family way of living, the Indian parentage and many such myriad forays into the Indian culture. • Cultural Visits: With a view to ensure that the participants also had an insight into the Indian culture, we also organized visits namely: »» Delhi Darshan: A visit around the famous and noteworthy monuments/heritage places around

Delhi which mirrors the history of Delhi. The participants really enjoyed the visit and were very happy to have a deeper understanding of the Indian culture, history and way of living. »» Agra Visit: A visit to the Taj Mahal, Agra counted as one of the seven wonders of world as well a Heritage sight was organized for the participants. A special guide to instruct on the history and construction of Taj was appointed for the participants and it was really good to see the participants making the most of their trip to Taj.

(Photo Above: Dr. Singh interacting with Principals & Educators)

»» English Lessons: The partner school took special precaution in ensuring that the students were well instructed on their English lessons. The students were assessed on arrival for their English language skills and based on that special curriculum was designed so as to gain maximum learning in the language skills. Overall, the program turned out to be good and AFS India had a wonderful time hosting the participants. We are happy to note that all the participants had a very learning oriented experience where-in they gained not only English language skills but also got a chance to delve into the Indian culture (Photo Below: In front of Taj Mahal)

AFS Intercultural Programs India Newsletter | August 2017  

Your source to stay up to date with AFS Intercultural Programs India's activities, events & opportunities. AFS provides intercultural learni...

AFS Intercultural Programs India Newsletter | August 2017  

Your source to stay up to date with AFS Intercultural Programs India's activities, events & opportunities. AFS provides intercultural learni...