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A world-class intercultural educational organization; a global movement to develop and activate global citizens AFS Intercultural Programs 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


2017 Issue - II

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

host an AFSer

study abroad



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.

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.

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

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

Inside this Issue





Connecing Lives, Sharing Cultures International Volunteer Exchange Program with Mexico

Hosting Stories & Experiences Community Service in Indore


From Director’s Desk Learning - Feed Your Mind


AFS Perspectives Multiple Benefits of Intercultural Learning Tools


Intercultural Learning Interaction with our Partners


Hosting Stories & Experiences


Volunteer Engagement Regional Volunteer Exchange Program


Alumni Engagement

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

Interstate Regional Exchange Program

YES Stories & Experiences


My AFS Experience


Sentio Stories & Experiences


Sentio Programs Academic Year in USA

Banner Image: Facing Forward Together: Presidents’ Meet 2017


events April Global Youth Service Day Education Forum AAI Volunteer Meet 2017 Sentio Meeting

May End of Stay Orientation Sending Meet & Finance Meeting Hosting Meet AFS India would like to apologise for the inclusion of wrong image used for the representation of India. It was used in good faith to highlight the geographical position of India on the world map. The image was supposed to be a general representation of India and not be taken as the actual map. However upon learning the issue, we took immediate steps to rectify the mistake done and have it replaced with more appropriate images on all our materials.

Edited & Designed by Aadil F.

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

Co-edited by Ridhima Chabbra AFS Intercultural Programs India | February 2017 | Page No - 1 |



How can you “feed your mind” and build a positive attitude day – by-day, month-by-month, and ultimately, for as long as you choose? Well, the easiest and most effective method would begin with: 1.

LEARNING – FEED YOUR MIND Divya Arora | National Director Learn from listening, introspection, books and people. In order to build self-confidence, you must feed your brain. When you feed your brain the proper food, your self-confidence will grow. In the same way you need to feed your body the proper foods to keep it strong and healthy; you must feed your head to keep it focussed on your goals. A question that you should ask yourself and answer as honestly as possible is: “what would you be doing with your life if you knew you couldn’t fail?” Once you answer this question, you may be on your own toward your life’s mission.



- Helping the world learn to live together -

Research has shown that intercultural learning provides multiple benefits, which are structured in the educational goals that guide the AFS programs for high-school students: intercultural learning helps young people develop competences on a personal, interpersonal, cultural and global levels. How far reaching are these benefits of intercultural learning?

2. 3.


Read as many books and magazines that are positive, inspirational and motivational as you possibly can. Listen to audio CD’s in 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 have chosen to be great all. Always surround yourself with positive “can do” people. If you can’t find anyone like this, then simply immerse yourself in positive books, magazines and eventually you will attract positive people automatically.

At first, it may be difficult – all good things are. Remember that everyone has problems at some level or another: it’s how you choose to react that makes the difference in the quality of your life. We must discipline ourselves to remove the negative people in our lives. Often, we fail to realise how influenced we are by the people we work with, socialise with and spend time with. The solution

When we analyze personal accounts from people who participated in intercultural learning experiences, it is possible to trace how both integrative complexity and divergent thinking are present. For example, an AFS student from Costa Rica on exchange in the Netherlands describes

I know that this is difficult – but try. Do not give up. The company can be changed – this is in our power. Mind is very powerful and if I “teach” my mind that I have to be positive it will start listening to me. In our lives we meet many people and we have to work with them. However, whom we make friends is something we can decide. Learn to identify such people who can educate you, motivate you and encourage you. They are your “sounding board”. They can guide you when you are going wrong but at the same time giving you space to make your own decisions. The day that you stop learning is the day that you start decreasing your rewards, and start suffering from frustration and lower levels of satisfaction. The secret of success is learning how to use pain and pleasure; instead of having pain and pleasure use you. If you do that, you’re in control of your life. If you don’t control life, life will control you. Anyone who stops learning gets old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young – Henry Ford. Learning is not compulsory…. neither is survival.


her experience in the following way: “The year away taught me that I can be independent and take care of myself. I also learned to make the right decisions and open up my worldview; I learned to accept cultural differences and understand that maybe what seems strange to me is just normal to others.”

Those of us who have participated in an exchange program with AFS and have seen others participate, know that many, if not all, AFSers enjoy the interpersonal benefits, like communication skills and leadership, as well as cognitive benefits, such as integrative complexity and divergent thinking. What do these two complex terms mean? People with high levels of integrative complexity can take in many perspectives on a situation, collect information from all those perspectives, and come up with efficient solutions to life problems. Divergent thinking can be equated to creativity, as it refers to the capacity to think outside the box, and problem solve in a creative way. People who possess these two skills are believed to be better at teamwork, less susceptible to prejudice, more tolerant of ambiguity, intrinsically motivated and flexible. They usually also have a clearer sense of self and orientation toward the future, higher self-efficacy, resiliency and perspective taking.

to this is quite simple: surround yourself with the kind of people you want to be like!

from other cultures challenged his way of thinking, and taught him the skill of integration. Knowing about these benefits from my personal experience as an intercultural learner, and combining that with my training in psychology, led me to consider if intercultural learning can be used as a therapeutic tool for struggling young adults. I have been working on this technique since 2012 at my practice called The Bridge. Cultural immersion can be daunting in many ways: it puts you out of your comfort zone, makes you question your beliefs, and demands lots of flexibility. It can appear counterintuitive to invite someone who is already feeling uncomfortable and doubtful to go through an experience that could accentuate those feelings. At the same time, wouldn’t it be great if these same people could reap the benefits of increased self-efficacy, future orientation, resiliency and perspective-taking that are so much lacking in struggling populations?

This participant is not only portraying an increased sense of self-confidence and selfefficacy, but is also explaining in her own words that she has learned to integrate different perspectives, which probably plays a big part in her perceived ability to make better decisions and expand her worldview. Another AFS student who went on a program from Costa Rica to Germany said: “Learning to relate to people in complex contexts, surpassing cultural barriers to reach consensus was and still is the most important skill I have learned.” He is alerting us to how interacting with people

Supportive immersion could be the answer to these questions. This is an approach to experiential learning where the participants are actively engaged, and ultimately responsible for their learning experience, while there is ample support from guides who know how to provide just the right amount of it. By stepping out from their worldview, and stepping into the cultural world of the other, people diversify and expand their perspectives, resources and skills, and with the right kind of support, they can use these intercultural experiences to heal from the darkness of their struggles.

This article was written by Danny Recio, an AFS Costa Rica alumnus who studied abroad in Cape Town, South Africa in 1998, and was a host brother to students from Australia, the Netherlands and United States. He is a psychologist and ecologist, and the founder and director of The Bridge. This article is copied from AFS Perspectives:

AFS Intercultural Programs India | February 2017 | Page No - 2 |

obtaining intercultural learning. Intercultural learning through collaboration and social impact will give awareness and create community impact. AFS 18+ or SENTIO programs should aim to reach more audiences and create more impact.



- Interaction with our Partners -

Been intercultural competent makes an individual more wanted employee, no doubts that enterprises and organizations value the experience of living abroad, speak a different language and be able to interact with others, and understand their needs.

Conversations with Rosario Gutierrez Becquet, Partner Director of AFS Colombia Interviewed by Divya Arora, National Director

How do you feel that AFS as an organization can contribute to fostering intercultural competence around the world especially during these times of uncertainty? AFS plays a vital role in providing intercultural competence at every level from Personal to Global. We develop Intercultural competencies in all our constituencies. Being a participant helps one develop an open mind-set where different views of the world are accepted and living abroad helps you understand common challenges and human needs. It develops the ability to think critically and to work with others no matter the set of values, cultural dimensions, skin color, religion you belong to. It represents everyone and brings diversity and inclusiveness amongst all. No matter if conflicts are developed because of politics, religion, power or any other particular or individual interest, AFS will always bring a different set of tools to reflect and to help others to develop their own tools and mechanisms to improve dialog and understanding.

Intercultural learning facilitates the knowledge of working and collaborating in diverse work cultures. Please share your views on this.

systems to implement the understanding and reflections towards intercultural learning is much needed in everyone’s life. Subjects offered by schools to students should include the possibility to develop this competency, not only in one class because in all as this is a lifelong learning that never stops. Education should embrace and prepare students for the new challenges, recognizing the value of International experiences, and by bringing outsiders to share and change the school learning towards different cultures into the classrooms. AFS has a Global platform to support advocacy and implementation of the Millennium goals regarding Global Citizenship at local and National levels. What groundbreaking initiatives can be undertaken to shape the international education worldwide? Initiatives must come from individuals to impact their communities, and therefore to influence policy makers.

Education has always been the key to expanding the vision of people. How do you feel intercultural learning incorporated within the educational framework to help in broadening the overall learning process for individuals?

We have seen how economic and political realities are increasing distances between communities and countries, inequity as well as the lack of opportunities made this goal very challenging. It is on us to break this vicious circle where only a few have a way to participate and learn about Intercultural Learning and Global citizenship.

Intercultural learning happens at all levels, from Individuals to Communities, from Schools to Universities to Employability to Nationality, and much more. But the responsibility of educational

Any suggestions as to how the intercultural learning can be given due importance/ awareness in lesser explored areas so as to reach out for more openness and awareness in

Being able to interact with others who embraces collaboration and understanding, developing empathy is a clue and keyword for today’s lack of understanding. Cultural awareness and sensibility must be a goal for diversity and inclusiveness. Volunteers are the pillars when it comes to the functioning of AFS. What can more initiatives be brought forth to garner motivation amongst the volunteers? Social impact seems to be the core of what volunteers are looking for. Volunteers need to be focus on finding results on a short-term basis. We at AFS should find ways to develop and broaden the impact throughout voluntarism at the local, national and Global level. How has the AFS experienced/helped you It has helped me in many ways; being a participant is a life-changing opportunity on the personal level. It has helped me to create deep ties to my host family and host friends. I belong to a host family where contact and appreciation is the key. AFS Experience developed curiosity, self-awareness, empathy and helped me to settle professionally. It has helped me to have a deeper interest in others views and to respect and accept diversity in different ways, individually and culturally speaking. A great and profound inspiration for my daily and future work is to see how the AFS mission reaches all kinds of people and brings us all together.





Mexico and India


A group of 12 Mexican Volunteers visited India to explore and discover the cultures & traditions of the country. They were in India from 1st of February and stayed till 15th of February on Volunteer Exchange Program. Congratulations to Vadodara, Gandhinagar & Ahmedabad chapter for being a wonderful host. Interestingly, a wonderful Mexican couple Lupita & Oscar who completed their 50 years of married life. Since they were in India, they expressed their willingness to re-marry by Hindu Marriage tradition. Oscar, at the age of 81 and Lupita, at the age of 67, were so delighted to pass through all ceremonies, and Ahmedabad volunteers were astonished to see their energy, commitment & love. AFS India and its volunteers are happy to host them. We look forward to having more Volunteer Exchange Programs during the year.




1. Mexican Volunteers getting re-married in India 2. Trip to Taj Mahal accompanied by AFS India Staffers 3. Posing with an auto-rickshaw in their host city 4. With newly made friends in India 5. Cultural Outing in host city AFS Intercultural Programs India | February 2017 | Page No - 3 |

most delicious food and always had cold drinks ready for us when we returned from volunteering at the school. We were filled to the brim with amazing food. That house was full of dancing, smiles, and laughter. Even though we were only there for a week, we truly felt at home.




Bonding with the kids at the Government School By Adrianne Pink, YES Abroad, Hosted in Delhi At the beginning of January, I had the privilege of going to Indore for a week and participating in volunteer work. My fellow exchange students and I tiled, carried gravel, painted classrooms, and interacted with the kids. The last part was my favorite. While I was beyond grateful for the hospitality provided by our host families, being able to explore Indore, and the satisfaction of manual labor, I really bonded with the students at the school.

city. For me, the most impactful moments of trips were when we were given a break from work and got to interact with the students at school.

The kids were unbelievably welcoming to us and so much fun to spend time with. Despite some language barriers we could easily make friends with the kids. I was so happy to be able to play games with the little kids and I really enjoyed learning cultural customs from them. We played

(Photo Above: Painting)

(Photo Above: With school kids) Our first day at the site was spent carrying heavy plates to different rooms. The girls at the school could see us struggling so a bunch came over and helped fill in our little assembly line. That was when the work became more than just volunteering, but actually interacting with the students. We asked for each others names and ages, using the little Hindi I knew to try and start little conversations. As the days went on, we all got closer to one another and language was only a small barrier and any mistakes made were ones that we could easily laugh off. At one point, I took out my video camera and asked a group of girls about their favorite food. The girls thought that I had said “phool” (Hindi for flower) so they named different flowers. When it came to my turn, I said pav bhaji. At the time I got some weird looks and didn’t understand, but now I chuckle whenever I think about it. I became really close with those girls and genuinely enjoyed their company. By the end of the trip I was hanging out with the girls more than working, but it was worth it, and I can honestly say that I miss them. I am so lucky to have been a part of this project and to have met so many amazing people. All parts of the trip were perfect, but meeting the students at the school will hold an extra special place in my memory.

Phenomenal Experience in Indore By Cyrus Johnson (YES Abroad 2016-17) Indore was a phenomenal experience. While there the YES team and I were involved in building classrooms for a government school outside of AFS Intercultural Programs India | February 2017 | Page No - 4 |

many games together, including Kabbadi. While playing these games we were also given a chance to improve our language skills. In one week I had learned more Hindi there than I had for the past month in Delhi, I think because I simply had to use my Hindi more. In addition to the good friends we all made at the school, the work was very rewarding. Being able to help the students we had come to know felt like we were actually making a difference in the world. Beyond that, the cultural activities we got to be involved in were also very fun. Outside of the work we got to visit an orphanage, dance, see Dangal, do karaoke and many other fun activities. In short the experience I had in Indore was the perfect blend of hard work and fun activities.

Staying with this host family gave us a wonderful opportunity to practice our Hindi. The grandparents and servants only spoke Hindi which created quite a few adventures with the driver. Indore compared to Delhi uses Hindi more as a base language. The signs are mostly in Hindi, and even though we were obviously foreign, street vendors or store keepers would initiate the conversation in Hindi. Communicating with the kids and construction workers at the school was the most challenging and rewarding experience of language building. Both parties were so desperate to initiate a conversation and make a connection. We tried to speak as much Hindi as we knew and they would speak broken English in return. We would also play hand games in hindi, sing elementary english songs (“Doe a Dear”, “You are my Sunshine”, etc.) and simply dance. I felt a powerful moment of exchange when I was shuffling sand with a woman construction worker. I had been working with her the majority of the days and her kids were particularly interested in my flaming red hair. We would converse to the best of our ability and take bathroom breaks together. I will never forget her laughing uncontrollably when a ton of sand was shuffled into my hair by Jairwat, a fellow exchange student from Thailand. A more comfortable conversation with Akash, an Indian Daly College student, revealed that she was very thankful for us being there because we weren’t like the other foreigners that had previously worked on this project. She said we could at least understand the directions given in Hindi and we were willing to work. She could tell that we wanted to make a difference. This warmed my heart. This woman lives in the school that was being built and works from dawn until dusk. She is doing everything she can to make sure her kids have the best life possible which starts off with an education. These are the people that are a real inspiration to me. This is the importance and power behind exchange. Exchange gives the opportunity to actually integrate into the culture and make real connections with individuals such as this construction worker. I don’t even know her name, but I will never forget the priceless moments we shared. We aren’t like the other foreigner that came, because we aren’t foreigners anymore. We may look different, speak funny, and are a little over excited to do simple activities such as paint a school but we feel comfortable with our

Guests are God By Maeve Cameron, YES Abroad, Hosted in Delhi Each of our host families went above and beyond with excellent hospitality to make us feel at home. Every night, we had some activity that exposed us to the beautiful city of Indore. Whether that was a trip to the colorful markets flowing with delicious scents of street food or a visit to an all boys orphanage, our host families were right by our sides showing us the ropes. The Round Table organization brought us into their community with loving arms. They held true to the the Indian custom of “Guests are God” and took care of each and every need we may have had. Adrianne and I stayed with the Dev family. Dheeraj Dev, our host father, was the coordinator of this project and picked us up from the airport with a jolly smile on his face. We were welcomed into the house by Dadi and Dada. Immediately bending down and touching their feet for blessings was reciprocated with a title of “Beta”. This interaction is no longer foreign, uncomfortable, or strange for Adrianne or I. We bonded with our host siblings with several intense games of Charades and soccer. Our host mother tied our first proper saree. The host servants, our Didis, were so sweet and made the

(Photo Above: Construction) surrounding and have a sense of familiarity. Thank you to each and every individual that made this a full, exciting, and educational week. Thank you Sarita Ma’am for guiding us throughout this year and inviting us to the beautiful school, Daly College. To the young councelor Deepak and AFS India Staff, Vyom for keeping us on track no matter how rowdy we may get. To the three Indian students that quickly connected to us and kept us laughing. A special thank you to our wonderful host families and Round Table. It is not an easy task to open your home to complete stranger. We will never forget the amazing hospitality and love. As always, thank you YES Abroad for yet another extraordinary experience.

Community Service in Indore

more and more time.

By Alba Rorato, From Italy, Hosted in Rajkot

But the best part of the day was the evening: the volunteers have organised very effeciently our activities for the free time, making us discover and enjoy as much as possible the city and its beauty.

The week I have spent in Indore has been one of the most amazing experiences so far. The hard work of the mornings in the school made me feel more happy than tired since I was doing something useful for other people.

our students to develop keen interest in different countries but has alsosensitized them towards

I loved being together with the other exchange students, who I had met in Delhi in July and haven’t seen since then; meeting them again has felt like seeing old friends after lots of time. We got on well with each other creating a perfect group, because we’re sharing the same experience and feelings: we feel interconnected to each other.”

(Photo Above: With other exchange students) In part of that, the interactions with the students of the school have been very positive: they were very happy to talk to us and exchange knowledge, but also help us in our work without even being asked to. I felt that they were very interested, grateful and excited to see us, talk to us and for the fact that we were doing something for them. My time with my host family has been awesome. They have been for me, even if knew each other only since a couple of days, like a real family and they have given me the real feeling of being wanted and loved. Every moment I have spent with them has been exciting and unforgettable; they have taken care of me when I was sick as if I was their real daughter and sister and have been very lovely. I wished I could stay with them for



By Trisha Ghatge, AFS Alumni & Volunteer I would like to start writing this report with a little personal touch. I was reading a book in the train on my way to Chennai on 20th Feb, 2017, when I noticed a little girl looking at me and I realized how I was at her place at one time and I would dream of growing up and traveling independently. Thank you to AFS for giving me an opportunity towards becoming what I had dreamed of. Now about the volunteer exchange program, after reaching my host family,I had Idipam for dinner for the first time. It is made of coconut and was yummie! On the next day, Mukesh Ravichandran picked me up at 5 in the morning and we went to see the sunrise at Marina beach. After that we had Dosa for breakfast (it was so big). We went to wild tribe ranch after that where we did Zipline on which we could see a beautiful beach, and then a gyrpscope or 360 degree turning ride which I was super adventurous. After that we had lunch, followed by horseback riding on Marina beach, and seeing the sunset there was well. It was followed by Dosa for dinner with my host family. We talked about different topics after that before sleeping. On 23rd Feb,

Linking Together

(Photo Above: Welcoming of Julia & Silvia)

RKK is in association with AFS India, a reputed & renowned organization, working together to provide Intercultural learning opportunities to the children. It has been a golden opportunity for the student body to go abroad for short or long term programs. Sending one student to Italy for a yearlong program in 2017 is our next step in preparing our students to be global citizens.

certain issues, taught them to live independently & self–reliantly and developed a sense of understanding towards different cultures. AFS has somewhere played a great role in teaching our students as to how to leave a

Hosting students under the aegis of AFS has become an integral part of RKK’s culture. For the session 2015-16, we warmly welcomed two students, Silvia Cunsolo from Italy & Julia Diane Marden from USA who were captivated by RKK’s magnificence, functioning, ethics and philosophy. In a year’s time they were completely blended into our culture & life style. (Photo Above: Welcoming of Isabella & Arianna) This session, 2016-17, we have Isabella Camargo and Arianna Viola from Italy as students of Class XI. Arianna Viola is enjoying her stay to the fullest as far as her learning, Intercultural relationships, stay with Host Family, stay in schooland visits are concerned. Exchange Programs like these not only help students of RKK to connect to the world outside but also make some undying bonds that could be cherished. AFS has not only helped Mukesh picked me up again and we met Dipti aunty and Sam at the snake park. We saw a lot of big and little snakes and also reptiles. There were HUGE crocodiles, it was fun! After that we took a bus to a beautiful place called Dakshin Chitra. It was one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to. There were replicas of houses from different states from old times. They were wooden vintage houses with old weapons, furniture, lifestyle equipment’s! It was so peaceful in there. A trip to Chennai is so incomplete without going to Dakshin Chitra. It was followed by a bus ride to Mahabalipuram. The whole temple is carved from one single stone and it took generations to completely make the temple. It is on a beach so we also visited the beach. After that we went to see the butterball rock. It stands still on an incline surprisingly. They have tried everything to move it but nothing works. After spending a nice evening there, we went back home for dinner.

positive mark behind wherever they go which in totality has added to RKK’s successive progress. Giving equal importance to both academics & co-curricular, our school teaches its students the importance of AFS and its activities where everyone is provided with opportunities to learn &face the obstacles in life, stay happy and positive throughout. sambhar with it. Also, they had curd and a sweet which was like curd. I was so full!! Then we took a bus to St. Mount Church. We had to climb a lot of stairs with that full stomach, but the sight up there was just worth everything. It was a beautiful church plus we would also see the planes taking off and landing as the airport was right next to it. We spend a nice time there before going to the lighthouse on Marina beach from where we could see a beautiful sight of Chennai. After that I again did horseback riding and we played on the beach.

(Photo Above: At the beach)

(Photo Above: With the loving volunteers & hosted student in Chennai) On 24th Feb, my host mother and Sam accompanied us to a very beautiful Shiva temple. I didn’t understand the shlokas written in Tamil but it was more peaceful than everything else! After that we walked to a famous Sai baba temple which was also very colourful! It was followed by lunch in a local place. It was one of the best lunch. They served a lot of rice in a banana leaf and

After that we had dinner at Mukesh’s place and finally ended the long day. Next day again we met at 6 in the morning and left for Pondicherry. It was a 4 hours’ drive by bus and we went to Aurobindo Aashrma, a garden, beach, temple, lunch, and a little local shopping place. After that we headed back for the meeting with AFS volunteers. We had introduction, discussion and then a little snack before we departed back home. And the next day I had a train back home, leaving me with some of the best memories for life! I don’t have words to thank AFS for giving me this opportunity! I will always be thankful and obliged for this. Also, thank you Mukesh and Sam for accompanying us everywhere and teaching me basic Tamil, and my most loving host family to share their home with me! AFS Intercultural Programs India | February 2017 | Page No - 5 |

Unified Sports of Special Olympics



The NSS unit of ITNU as well as YOU-NEED, organized Unified Sports of Special Olympics on 18 February 2017 with the help of the organization The Special Olympics Bharat-Gujarat wherein 80 special kids with intellectual disabilities along with 10 officials were invited to Nirma University. Umang Jasani (YES’11), student of Nirma University, coordinated this entire event.

awarded under various categories. The association between AFS India and YES FOUNDATION started because of our AFS Alumni (AFS’09), Nishita Mehta. YES FOUNDATION has given great opportunity to our outstanding alumni so that they get a chance to engage in social causes while being a socially conscious youth leader.

Lecture-cum-Demonstration of Calligraphy, Japanese Tea Ceremony and Kimono Exhibition of Cherry Blossoms and Tale of Genji On successful launch of “2017 The Year of JapanIndia Friendly Exchanges”, The Japan Information Centre, Embassy of Japan at India International Centre (IIC), New Delhi organized Lecture-cumDemonstration of Calligraphy, Japanese Tea Ceremony and Kimono and Exhibition of “Cherry Blossoms and Tale of Genji” on 08th February 2017 in New Delhi.

(Photo Above: AFS Alumni, Nishita Mehta)

(Photo Above: Activities with special kids)

(Photo Above: Learning Calligraphy) As one of the important events to mark this year of exchange, a group of calligraphy and tea masters from Japan, led by Dr. Kyoko HORIE was invited for this event. There was gathering of about 50 people including young professionals as well as folks from the Japanese Embassy which included AFS alumni Manvi Aggarwal (AFS’09) and Vyom Raisurana (YES’10) as well. According to the alumni, attending this event was a very good experience. The participants were shown the piece of calligraphy and the art of making Japanese tea was also demonstrated. After the session everyone tasted tea. In the end, everyone could get their names or whatever they want written in Japanese characters by the Calligraphy masters. Also, origami which is the art of paper folding (started in Japan) was showcased.



AFS India started Interstate Regional Exchange Program to give regional cultural learning to the students of schools within India. The program facilitates exchanges between different schools, giving them an opportunity to learn about different cultures, languages, lifestyles that exist in the country by engaging the students into various extracurricular activities and other learning process such as art, craft, music, dance, calligraphy etc.

Sports activities of Bocche and Floorball were organized and the kids took part in it with the volunteers to promote the spirit of sportsmanship within them. Each volunteer was assigned one kid to take care of. The kids also danced their hearts out to the music played. Facilities such as food, transport were also provided. The event went smoothly and was a huge success. The team of 100 volunteers ensured that the kids enjoy each and every moment and gave them some memories that they will never forget. After all, their smiles are far more important than their disabilities

YES! I am the CHANGE Award YES FOUNDATION celebrated the incredible passion of youth Changemakers at the YES! I am the CHANGE Awards 2016 at Nehru Centre Auditorium, Worli, Mumbai on 09th February 2017. This Awards Ceremony was organized to felicitate the national winners selected from 1.3 million youth, across 2,500 cities and towns pan-India. Chief Guests, Shaina NC, National Spokesperson, BJP, Piyush Pandey, Executive Chairman and Creative Director, Ogilvy & Mather India and G.M. Rao, Founder Chairman, GMR Group felicitated top films across 4 categories – Student, NGO, Corporate and Open. Our alumni has been

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

Interfaith Harmony Online Workshop It was organized by Amideast in February 2017 as a continuation to the Interfaith Harmony Workshop (IHW) held in Morocco in March 2016. The alumna Aajra Shaikh (YES’07) was one of the facilitator along with other 3 from Tunisia, USA, Bosnia & Herzegovina. The facilitation training itself started in the month of January which was by the staff of iEarn and AmidEast. The facilitators got to learn many skills that a facilitator should possess. There were 3 sessions in IHOW spread over the month of February, and more than 40 participants from all over the world came together to join the online sessions. Aajra says, “Overall, it was a great experience to serve as a facilitator to the participants through online workshop. It was definitely a unique experience and I am very much thankful to the organizers for arranging the event and trusting me as a facilitator. It has added a great influence in my life and I have great memories that I’ll cherish forever.” As a next step, she along with IHOW organizers will be selecting 10 participants from these 40 participants who would be attending next activity coming up in DC in May 2017.

Kishangarh. A group of 21 students and 2 teachers were hosted by BIS in October, 2016. 14 students of Birla International School, Kishangarh along with the teacher participated in reciprocal interstate exchange programme at Choithram School North Campus, Indore, MP from January 18 to January 26, 2017. Chettinad Public School, Karaikudi and Amity International School, Sector – 46, Gurgaon collaborated where six students accompanied by a teacher visited the Amity International School, Gurgaon, Sector – 46 during November 12-19, 2016.




13 students from Anand Niketan Satellite Campus, Ahmedabad went for a regional class exchange program to Yadavindra Public school, Patiala from 7th to 12th November’16. Choithram School North Campus, Indore participated in an interstate cultural exchange programme with Birla International School,

YES FOUNDATION is the social development arm of YES BANK, India’s fifth largest private sector bank. Under the visionary guidance of its Chief Mentor, Mr. Rana Kapoor, MD & CEO, YES BANK, the Foundation follows a differentiated approach focusing on stimulating entrepreneurship and innovative use of media initiatives, to bridge gaps and act as a force multiplier towards empowered and equitable India.


“It was overall an enriching experience with additional Punjabi vocabulary and knowledge of their culture and traditions.” 1. Student of Anand Niketan School in Yadavindra Public School 2. Student of Chettinad Public School at Amity International School, Sector - 46 3. Fun Group posing for a photo 4. Aerobics & Yoga Session at Birla International School

and interacting with the representative of each religion, learning to appreciate different religious perspectives and beliefs, understanding the conflict going on between different countries with the global perspective and sharing the feeling of being a children of the same mother earth was an eye opening experience. Now I can’t even imagine my life without BUBW.


STORIES & EXPERIENCES Funded by the U.S. Department of State

The thing I learned in this conference can be best quoted in the words of John Hume, the Co-recipient of 1988 Nobel Peace prize winner, “Difference is the essence of humanity. Difference

By Margi Shah, YES Student in USA

The place, where the war ends and peace begins is called BUBW Conference. My journey to BUBW Conference started on February 1,2017 with the hope of finding new me, the global citizen. Attending the conference, sharing the room with people from other countries, exchanging thoughts with people from 10 different countries, going to three different religious places on the same day

Apart from learning the lessons of life, we were also given the chance to visit the Disney world. Few of our sessions were conducted in Disney world but most of the time we were allowed to explore ourselves. This world famous- Disney world (heaven on the earth) itself tells you the story behind its unbelievable success - “Perfection” and as Mohammed Bashar Arafat( the organizer of BUBW Conference) says, “Perfection is a key to success.” Everything was so perfectly executed, so well displayed and so beautifully narrated by its surroundings and props, such that I felt as if I were in a magical place. It was just incredible ! I came to the conference without nothing except the will to learn something new. But when I left the conference, I had an International perspective, I became a Global citizen in real sense, I had friends from 10 different countries and gaps between different religions were truly bridged in my mind and soul.

An Eye-Opening Experience - BUBW Conference

Hello! Namaskar! Salaam Wa ailekum! Hai! Pryvit! Guten Morgan!

them different. Unique.

(Photo: Getting certificate from Mohammed Bashar Arafat) is an accident of birth and it should therefore never be the source of hatred or conflict. Therein lies the most fundamental principle for peace: respect for diversity.” There are 195 countries in this world. Each has their own culture, way of doing things, way of living, thinking, expressing themselves, etc. These differences don’t make one country better or worse than other. It just makes

Before attending the conference, according to me, this world was a complex mess. But now, this world is a puzzle for me. It is difficult to solve but it is not impossible and I the youth, the future of this world will surely solve this puzzle. I would now like to conclude by saying, the conference is over ‘only’ in Orlando, but its mission of better understanding for better world has just began. Can’t wait for BUBW in India. “East or West, BUBW is the best.”

understand each other, we laugh together, we cry together, we depend on each other, and we find hope in each other.

My AFS Experience

Every single day is different from another and that’s an AFS experience. I look forward to all kind of experience as AFS taught us ‘Nothing is good or bad, it is just different.’ And I’m very glad to feel the differences.

By Zalak Kapadia, AFS Student in Italy I would like to share my experience with you. I completed almost six months in Italy and everything is amazing. Every minute of my life is new and it’s different. Sometimes I feel I’m not on planet Earth; I’m out of this world, and it’s a great feeling!

(Photo Above: With friends)

It’s most important year of my entire life as I have met so many new people, learned so much and discovered myself. I also learned new language, explored more of culture and did some cooking.

It feels like I’m far from my country but not far from my family. I thought people will be different here and they won’t be able to understand each other, but I was wrong; they are different, but we

together! Yup, we tried cooking something Italian and it was better than what I expected it to be. Since Christmas and holidays were approaching, there was a lot to do! We planned a dinner with our junior girls. We decorated the room with lights and prepared the food. That was a beautiful evening and too much fun!

I’m discovering new unexpected things everyday, and it’s a learning experience. At times it is hard to express in words, but I enjoy going through the experience and feel the differences or similiarities between cultures overall. I just want to THANK YOU everyone for giving me this opportunity.

me feel like I was a foreigner, instead made me feel at home.



Fun Christmas By Anushree Modi, In Germany on AFS Sentio Program The month of December was unbelievably exciting! Why?!? Because Christmas, new year and holidays were on the way and I was super super excited to see what this month got to serve me! December had a great start! My mentor, Lena, came to visit me at my place for counseling and we made a little more fun by cooking lunch

(Photo Above: With friends in classroom) (Photo Above: Making new memories) Since I don’t live with a host family, I got to be with a host family just for Christmas! I had to go to the city called Mönchen-Gladbach. I cannot explain how happy I was to have them as my host family! They were so welcoming and warm. My host mother was so loving. She was so happy to have me that she didn’t really want me to leave, but we promised to meet again. They didn’t make

After a great Christmas Eve, next morning we had visited my host dad, who LOVES cooking and there we were for the breakfast. And the table was so beautifully decorated with delicious food. I definitely ate so much that day. Once again, I got the advantage of being an AFSer as I was hosted by Rayan, who did his exchange year in Ahmedabad. His parents were also very welcoming and they were very happy to have me. AFS Intercultural Programs India | February 2017 | Page No - 7 |



This program is for those who want to start their academic life in America.

Program Description

Maryland, between Washington, DC and Baltimore, MD • Growing campus with many new buildings, great sports facilities, arts and music opportunities, and much more • Read more about Howard County Community College by downloading this PDF copy of an article that appeared in The Washington Post. Northern Virginia Community College, Annandale, Virginia • More than 75,000 students (2nd largest community college in the USA) • 180 countries represented by the international student population • 20% of enrollment is International students • Guaranteed admission to numerous universities and colleges

These days, community colleges offer a wide range of program choices, from Business Management to Education, from Engineering to Mathematics, and all of the Social Sciences. So there are plenty of options to suit your academic interests!

Portland Community College, Portland, Oregon • 3 campuses • Enrollment of 95,000 credit students • Public transportation easily available to get around Portland • Urban setting

This is a great opportunity for students to try what it’s like to study abroad. Since US community colleges have agreements with most US universities, it’s easy to transfer credits. In other words, while these are two-year institutions, the course credits are generally recognized by and, in most cases, transfer quite easily to fouryear colleges and universities. If, after a semester or year in a community college, you decide to study elsewhere, the credit for courses you have completed will benefit you wherever you choose to study.

Roane State College, Oak Ridge, Tennessee • Located in eastern Tennessee - close to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Dollywood, Gaitlinburg, and more • In Oak Ridge - a city of scientific development and location of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory Seattle Central Community College, Seattle, Washington • Located in the northwest USA - 2 hrs to Canada

Last Date of Application Year Program-May 12, 2017 Semester Program-April, 17,2017

Program Fees Year Program - 1,24,9475 INR Semester Program - 8,96,425 INR

Inclusions 1. Airport pick up and drop 2. Accommodation (Host Families) and all meals

apply today! Exclusions Airfare from and to country of origin, Visa, Insurance, Local Conveyance and Textbooks

Visa Information AFS-USA Community College Program students come into the USA on an F-1 visa facilitated and managed by the community college. After the college receives our AFS Letter of Support, they provide you with an I-20 form and instructions for how to apply for the F-1 visa. (If attending Portland Community College, the process is slightly different and you are issued a J-1 visa.) In some cases, the college will require a bank statement showing that you have at least US$2500 in personal spending money.

Orientation or Support

Requirements Age: 18-20 (At the time of the program. Age less than 18 and more 20 can be considered on case to case basis) You are required to pass a TOEFL test (or the equivalent) in order to qualify for credit classes. International students that qualify for this track may still find themselves required to take English as a Second Language (ESL) class with non-native speakers. However, you will also be eligible for academic classes with US American students. College admissions requirements will vary, however, these sample English scores are generally acceptable: • Paper Based TOEFL (PBT): 500+ • Computer Based TOEFL (CBT): 170+ • Internet Based TOEFL (iBT): 60+ If your TOEFL score isn’t high enough, do not worry - you will first be enrolled in an Intensive English (IEP) program and if ready, can transfer midyear to Option B.

• Campus is located In the downtown area of Seattle • Many international students, great support for students • Major companies such as, Expedia, Microsoft, and T-Mobile are located in the Seattle area • Lots of sports, arts, shopping, and urban activities are available in this world class city State Fair Community College, Sedalia, Missouri • Dynamic Campus life, an hour from Kansas City, and 2 hours from St. Louis • Few international students • Near major cities: Kansas City and St. Louis, with many cultural activities as well as outdoor and nature pursuits Fulton-Montgomery Community College, Johnstown, NY • Located in a beautiful natural setting • International students live in a dorm with US American students • 3.5 hours from New York City, close to Albany, NY, the State Capital

List of Participating Colleges and a few highlights

Program Dates

Howard County Community College, Columbia, Maryland

Year Program-August 9, 2017-June 1, 2018 Semester Program-August 9, 2017-December, 15, 2017

• A growing suburban campus in Columbia,

AFS Intercultural Programs India | February 2017 | Page No - 8 |

Service Tax of 15% is included in the fees (Subject to change as per government regulation)

All participants will be provided GCC (Global Competence Certificate). It is an educational program that explores intercultural theories and models through active experimentation in a new cultural environment and deep reflection with a facilitator. It equips you with the knowledge, skills, and understanding needed to interact effectively in a global and cross cultural environment.

Advantages • Tuition is more affordable than a traditional four-year college, these programs can be good choices for students who are budget conscious or have financial concerns about the cost of college. Two years at a community college plus two years at a university is a great combination to save money. • Courses in community colleges tend to be fundamental. This makes it a great opportunity for students who do not have a solid academic foundation, or who need more academic attention to catch up with others • Many students find it relatively easy to get a high GPA in community colleges. • With that advantage, students may have a higher chance to transfer to a great four-year university.

GET IN TOUCH WITH US! Studying abroad helps you discover who you are and what you want to become. For more information, contact: Zia Rahman at or Arjun Kaushik at

AFS Intercultural Programs India Newsletter | February 2017  

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

AFS Intercultural Programs India Newsletter | February 2017  

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