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November 2018 | Issue XI

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

AFS Intercultural Programs India


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AFS Intercultural Programs India is an international, voluntary, nongovernmental, 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.

What’s Inside? 02 | Editorial by Aadil F. 03 | 5 Ways You Can Use Intercultural Learning In Your Classroom 04 | Stories From The World 05 | AFS Program 06 | Hosting Stories 08 | Impact of YES Program 09 | Alumni Achievements 10 | Educators’ Program 14 | Volunteer Stories

Upcoming Events December - International Volunteers Day

HOSTHOST AN AFSer Experience your world through the eyes of a young person from another country.


Implement AFS Intercultural Learning Programs at your school for your students & educators. Banner Photo: Host Student in India

Editorial by Aadil F. Engaging 21st Century Volunteers A recent AFS alumni approached me and said “People don’t want to volunteer”. He added, “Seems like everyone wants something in return”. The concept of volunteering in India isn’t something new. It has been in existence since more than 1000 years where the sole purpose was to humanize the citizens. Since the beginning, religions played an important role to advance the concept of volunteerism, in the form of charity or a kind of selfless act. Whether it’s the concept of Zakat among Muslims, Dan among Hindus, Seva among Sikhs etc., all religions have established the significance of charity. Each religion outlines the importance of doing selfless act and how those selfless acts build a strong tradition of volunteerism in India for myriads of years. Today, when we look around the society we live in, we see a paradigm shift. We see a transformation that has changed perspectives on how we see volunteerism in the 21st century. Volunteerism’s definition isn’t the same as it was before. It has become harder to justify why volunteering is important and how one’s selfless act can create a better tomorrow. I realized that the people nowadays are very absorbed in their own world. Their commitment to the certain cause has changed over time. They are very indifferent towards what’s happening in their community or at the global level. The work that they are involved in don’t foster the values of volunteering and its significance. Their thoughts on instant gratification has changed their outlook towards volunteering. And the advent of technology has it’s both pros and cons. We face the problem where we have a dearth of volunteers to support causes and mission that can help India grow and prosper -- to move up in the Sustainable Development Goal ladder. My engagement with volunteers in the past decade led to the many discoveries in volunteer engagement. These new developments and changes require a lot of work for an organization such as AFS that appeals to people around the world to volunteer. One has to keep up with the changing trends and the new waves of volunteerism to ascertain that people still continue to volunteers and their time, energy and contribution are valued. The new class of volunteers are different: they look for flexibility; the youth population want their ideas to be respected by older age groups; they want to work for a cause or a mission they believe in, not volunteer their time to any random organization; they are into the use of technology; they believe in change and they are go-getters; they represent the change they want to see which makes them different from the old generation of volunteers. AFS India currently has more than 1200+ registered volunteers whose commitment and motivation underscores the growth the organization has in the last decade. They believe in AFS’s mission has empowered them to create actual change. A change that is an inspiration to a plethora of people either by being a host family or becoming an intercultural trainer or becoming an advocate of AFS’s mission. The changing dynamics of volunteerism can be seen in India in the last decade. We’ve grown both in quality and quantity. 2

Aadil F. Manager - Communications, Branding & Volunteer Development AFS Intercultural Programs India

To keep up with the changing trends, we’ve adapted and re-enforced our volunteer engagement approach. A volunteer strategy that outlines the significance of training and defines the structured journey of a volunteer. With the development of Network Strategy 2018-22, AFS endeavors to implement volunteer experience management tool designed to remove hindrances for individuals who want to engage with AFS as a volunteer while focusing on developing new strategies, tools, and resources that would make a volunteer empowered, recognized and appreciated. Volunteering with AFS comes with support, training, recognition and a future. AFS India builds strategies on the constant feedback given by stakeholders to ascertain that a seamless experience is provided to the volunteers. New modes of learning and sharing are designed such as WhatsApp for connectivity with the larger audience, learning & development modules on leadership are being added to provide a unique volunteering experience. One can evolve to become an active global citizen if they are committed towards the cause. On this International Volunteers Day (5th of December), think of the world that exists beyond your work, school, universities etc. – think of the community, your city, your country, and the world. Think about your role as a volunteer in the 21st century and how your involvement can create a promising tomorrow. If you haven’t volunteered before or want to explore what it means to be a volunteer, reach out to us or any other organization you would like to align yourself with. If you have volunteered before and stopped for some reason, start again. Pledge to contribute at least 1 hour in a week or a few hours in a month as a volunteer. Your contribution as a volunteer can bring change – a change that is much needed today.

Design engaging activities to transform the classroom. Experiential learning works best if the learner finds it emotionally engaging. Activities that tackle intercultural and global citizenship education best should engage learners on the cognitive, emotional and behavioral levels. We in AFS agree with UNESCO’s position that all students should understand key concepts, but they should also explore situations that focus on values and create a feeling of shared humanity, which will have a positive effect on their behavior. Coming up with such situations in which students can reflect and experiment is a challenging task for the teacher, but it is certainly rewarding as well.

5 ways you can use intercultural learning in your classroom This article was written by Julia Taleisnik (@julitaleisnik), Volunteer Development Director for AFS Argentina & Uruguay and an International Qualified Trainer for the AFS Intercultural Link Learning Program.

Many educators are passionate about intercultural learning, and some become AFS as volunteers to learn more about this topic. Intercultural learning and global citizenship are interconnected, and they are both important for entire education systems because they can impact the curriculum of various subjects in many different ways. Read more about the benefits of an intercultural classroom here. By using the existing resources and with a bit of creativity, teachers can incorporate elements of intercultural learning in their lessons. We bring you 5 ideas to integrate intercultural learning in your classroom: Explore what intercultural learning is all about. Teachers can be the real change agents in schools that are open to integrating intercultural learning into their classrooms. This is not a cliché, on the contrary: a teacher who is really committed to the topic can make a strong impact on their students, one step at a time. There are hundreds of websites with resources about intercultural learning, so where should you start? Begin at education.afs. org exploring different resources and materials highlighted. Then, move on to UNESCO’s website – one of their core objectives is to support teachers. Finally, check out the resources offered by UNICEF, who also provides lots of support to teachers.

Invite AFS to facilitate an intercultural learning workshop for the students. AFS has developed high quality workshops for students to learn about culture, diversity, stereotypes and much more from an experiential perspective. These workshops are facilitated by trained volunteers, they have clear educational goals, and can be adapted for different durations and local contexts. Use the existing diversity in the classroom to learn about different cultures. Diversity can be found in every classroom in the world. It can be a useful resource for teachers to teach culture and diversity and for students to get to know and relate to each other better, exploring what they have in common and ways in which they are different. By reflecting on the diversity within the classroom, students will become more conscious that they don’t have to cross national borders to experience diversity. There are plenty of ideas and resources to support you in tackling intercultural learning in the classroom. Being creative and using the available resources is key, because there are plenty of ways to address this topic and make your classroom more intercultural. Have you already decided which of these ideas you’ll use first to explore intercultural topics?

Use the news for reflection and debate in the classroom. Global citizenship and intercultural competences are pracitced every day – so you can start by facilitating discussions about the news to explore these topics. Look through social media, or explore international and local news in other media outlets. Pick a news story, get thoroughly informed about the topic and create a list of questions relevant for your students to reflect about, respond to and propose change actions. For example, you can ask: What is this story about? What happened and why? Which values are being challenged? What do you think can be done to resolve this problem? With the right questions, even a subject that initially might seem distant can be seen as a common problem and inspire empathy in your students.


Become an AFS India Member School To implement AFS Intercultural Learning Programs EDUCATION at your school for your students & educators, become AFS India Member Schools.




During activity in Brazil

My Experience in Brazil By Shubhangi Sawant, From Bangalore, Hosted in Brazil “Own only what you can carry with you: know language, know people, and know countries. Let your memory be your travel bag.” -Alexander Solzhenitsyn

class. This is how you see the world. This is how you grow. Being on an exchange program taught me one major lesson: “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”

I will never be completely home again, because a part of my heart will always be elsewhere. That is the price I have to pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place. It’s not a trip or just an exchange program, it is a second life. Being on an exchange program is something I will never regret.

When you start stepping out of your comfort the zone that is the time when you really experience the world around you. Comfort zones are like boundaries which restricts you from trying something new. Of all the books in the world, the best stories are found between the pages of a passport. We age not by years, but by our stories. These stories are like stone carvings which cannot be erased. The only advice that I got before leaving is to empty the stories in my mind so that I have enough place to add new ones and trust me an exchange program will have hundreds of them to be remembered.

It is funny how someone who was just a stranger last month, can mean so much to me now. There would be many things that I did not like about the other country, there were many when I would be felt annoyed but; All the little things that annoyed me so much are the things that I miss the most when I came back home.

Home is a person or a place where you would like to go over and over again and I think Brazil is my second home.

Become friends with people who aren’t your age. Hang out with people whose first language isn’t the same as yours. Get to know someone who doesn’t belong to your social 4



Participants during Program in the USA

AFS Global Prep Rhode Island Short-Term Exchange Program to the USA AFS India sent 3 students on inaugral batch on Global Prep Rhode Island Program to the USA. All the students were equally excited for this unique journey of amazement.

Students lived like locals, attended schools on daily basis and enjoyed the New York trip as part of excursion activity. The content of the program was appreciated by the parents.

During cultural excursion


Participants during the activity



Art & Craft Workshops By Hema Mehta, Volunteer of Rajkot Chapter The two days’ Art & Craft workshop was organized for the hosted students of Rajkot chapter. The 3 host students on year program named as Blanca Bondia Lopez from Spain; Cassandra Friehauf from USA and Svenja Nendza from Germany were part of these workshops. Warli Painting Workshop was conducted where the students learned about Warli painting which is a style of tribal art mostly created by the tribal people from the North Sahyadri Range in India. The volunteers involved shared that it was their first experience of conducting art workshop and got very good response from the hosted students. They prepared one painting on the spot and the other was given to them as homework. Quilling Workshop was also conducted where these students learned basic about quilling technique. The students had a great learning along with fun. They were asked to practice at home whenever they would get time and the volunteers were ready to guide them further whenever any help required. Special thanks to the facilitators of the workshops Ms. Hema Mehta, Ms. Urvi Vasavada and Ms. Heer Kalola. During the activity


My October in India By David Pinczesi, From Hungary, Hosted in Vadodara On the 2nd of October we had a celebration in school on the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi. We were also told about the importance of cleanliness. As part of the service, we also cleaned the school ground and our classroom. On the first weekend of October, we had our mid-term orientation in Rajkot. It was so much fun to meet the other exchange students again from different chapters. I really enjoyed the workshops and the sessions. We were dancing a lot. This will be one of the best memories that I will never forget. On the last day we had our city tour which was very interesting. Unfortunately the weekend came to the end so we said goodbye. Finally on the middle of October, Navratri had came. I was waiting for it since I have arrived. On the 9th, my school organized a Ratri before Navratri on the biggest Garba ground called The United Way. It was really amazing to dance with my friends, family, exchange students and teachers. This was the first time I danced Garba and it was very interesting. Next day my host family started fast so I also joined them. We did Puja every morning and evening and we ate only during lunch. It was amazing to do the Puja and I was proud that I could complete my first fast in my life. During the nine days, I went to several Garba grounds with classmates and family too. It was amazing see a lot of people dancing their traditional dance and they were really happy. At the end of the festival, I can proudly say that I learned how to do Garba. At the end of the month, we did community service with Lion Club of Baroda. We went to Baroda High School where students from several schools were painting and drawing a picture on the topic ’’Kindness matter’’. Their pictures were 7

beautiful and inspiring. We gave snacks and water to them while they were drawing. On this program I met Anita, she is an AFS volunteer from Hungary. It was great to speak to someone in person after 4 months on my native language. She also had lunch at our home. On 26th I went on a school trip to Chanod. We tracked 1.5 kms up and down and we also visited a river which was dried. After we did several activities on rope, I felt like I was at an adventure park. I had so much fun and I made much more friendships from another classes too.

Won the College Debate Competition Katarina Dorovic on Year Program from Serbia and hosted in Pune Chapter conducted in Symbiosis College of Arts and Commerce. She shared her personal experience: “As part of Socratic Forum, an intercollege debate competition held in Pune, I was delighted and grateful to be Symbiosis’s first Debater and represent the college.”

Friends made during the program

Divided By Borders, United By YES By Alvira Nishat from Hyderabad, hosted in Kirkwood, MO, United State The borders separated us but YES brought us together. Our countries do not share borders but, we share a familial relationship. As a member of the AFS YES family, we’ll be sharing a lifelong friendship full of intercultural values that have knitted all of us together and made each of us think about the similarities we have with the people of different countries and backgrounds such as Pakistan, Bangladesh or China. Our lands may be divided but we are very much united.


What is YES Program?

Apply for YES Program!

The Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) program was established by Congress in October 2002 in response to the events of September 11, 2001. The program is funded through the U.S. Department of State and sponsored by the Bureau of Educational & Cultural Affairs (ECA) to provide scholarships for high school students from 40 countries to spend up to one academic year in the United States. Students live with host families, attend high schools, engage in activities to learn about American society and values, acquire leadership skills, and help educate Americans about their countries and cultures.






In Germany

It is our immense pleasure to introduce Hardi Mankodi, alumni of the year 2015-16 for the YES program to WA, USA. She is currently doing her Bachelor’s in Intercultural Management and Communication at the Karlshochschule International University. It is a matter of utmost pride that she has recently been offered to work with the International Office and the Marketing department of the University and officially joined the Karlshochschule team in July 2018. Expressing her excitement about the same she says, “One of the highlights of being here at Karlshochschule is that I get to be a part of AFS while studying for my degree program and having such an Intercultural atmosphere. There are students from all over the world at this University and it makes one truly feel like a Global Citizen and quite at home at the same time. I also just finished the foundation year at the University, part of which was intensive German lessons, I will also start learning Spanish this coming semester and I am very excited to have a multicultural and multilingual experience ahead of me.” We are proud to see her achieve such great heights and wish her all the best in all her future endeavors.


Chintan Mehta (YES’12) from Rajkot got admitted to the University of Grenoble Alpes, France to pursue his International Master program in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology. He would be starting his course in the month of September. The University and the city are well known for its research in nanotechnology, biotechnology and fundamental sciences. The alumna also hopes to pursue his research in Quantum Mechanical Effects in functional materials like Graphene.

Hosted Students & Volunteers posing in front of the donated newspapers

In Italy with group of educators


Participating educators:


1. Amrita Burman, Sunbeam School Varanasi 2. Alpana Khound Phukan, Maria’s Public School, Guwahati 3. Meena Kak, Lakshmipat Singhania Academy, Kolkata 4. Dr. Mrignaini Khullar, DLF Public School, Sahibabad 5. Smita Rathore from Queens College, Indore 6. Ridhi Mulchandani from Queens College, Indore 7. Kiran Harika, British Co-Ed High School, Patiala, Punjab

Inaugural Principals’ Exchange to Italy Congratulations for successful completion of Principals’ Exchange to Italy. The inaugural Exchange Program for Principals and School Heads with Italy from 17th24th October 2018 witnessed several school visits and presentations. Principals shared best practices in themes including curriculum design and pedagogy. AFS India, in association with its Members Schools will be hosting the Italian Principals in April 2019.



We visited six Scientific and Art high schools and studied the education system prevalent in the country and made a comparative study of the same with the Indian system, besides interacting with the faculty and students and showcasing India’s rich culture, ethos and the best practices pertaining to Indian schools. As a team member from the northeast of India, I would wish to thank AFS from the core of my heart, for the privilege of being a part of the group, the wonderful learning experience and the immense warmth and hospitality bestowed upon us by the AFS volunteers. They were very helpful and looked after our needs with immense care and concern. The young ones too showed tremendous responsibility and maturity in handling the program. I hope more such program is held in the future for the development and growth of school leaders and faculty members. By Alpana Khound Phukan, Principal, Maria’s Public School Guwahati, Assam Najmu with his team

Cultural Outing

I wholeheartedly thank AFS for providing our school with a wonderful platform to know more about the culture, education system, tradition and people of Italy through this Leadership Exchange Program. We got the chance to visit 6 selected schools of different streams- linguistic, science, art and Fashion in Milan and Torino. It was a delightful experience to learn their classroom pedagogy and the curriculum they follow in High School. We were welcomed wholeheartedly with love, care and warmth. Visiting different schools made a long-lasting impact on us as the hospitality and passion of the host schools was outstanding. To our surprise, the Italian students and teachers took equal interest in Indian Education system, values and culture. There are no words to express our gratitude towards AFS Italy volunteers and special mention to Ms. Teresa and Mr. Alexandria, who went out of their way to make our trip comfortable, enjoyable and full of learning. I am grateful to AFS for making this visit memorable one. By Dr. Mrignaini Khullar, Executive Director, DLF Public School, Sahibabad


Meeting with educators

I have been very fortunate to be a part of first AFS Principals’ exchange program. To begin with I realised how much detailing the AFS chapters in India and Italy have gone into, to make this program successful and comfortable. My heartfelt gratitude at the outset. Visiting schools and understanding the education pattern was an immensely fruitful learning experience. If compared to Indian system, Class IX onwards in Italy is a 5year High School system where by on completion of 5 years students are awarded with a Diploma. These High Schools are separate and not a part of regular school. I was amazed to see the level of depth that students get in their subjects while being in High school. They get lot of opportunities to think, experiment and express. While visiting the Art School Istituto Boccioni in Milan, I was immensely impressed by the way students took us to an Art Museum and described 20 selected paintings by famous Artists. As such Italy is the seat of world-famous Artists. Similarly the design work, sculpture, model drawing, sketching and fashion work which we saw was of a very high level. The concept building in scientific school was completely based on experiential methods using tools and experimenting in labs. While observing classes, the atmosphere was somewhat informal but at the same time the respect of the teacher and the class decorum was taken care of. As students do not have any prescribed uniform, I feel the experiencing of freedom is more by them. (Also possibly teachers do not have to spend time and energy on enforcing the compliance for the same. They would be using this time more fruitfully I suppose)I experienced Italians to be very warm hearted and hospitable – like us. It was a pleasure meeting some very enthusiastic and spirited volunteers. My belief and trust in AFS has grown all the more after this tour to Italy. Once again, my heartfelt gratitude and thanks for this opportunity. By Smita Rathore, Principal, Queens College, Indore. 12

We educate global citizens and the world leaders of tomorrow, and help them to: 1. Broaden perspectives 2. Learn and respect differences 3. Communication & Collaborate across cultures 4. Appreciate other cultures 5. Build skills to use in STEM and other key areas 6. Become part of the AFS global community

At the outset, a big thank you to AFS for making this great learning experience possible. It was a well-organized program and the learning experience got better with each school visit. We visited a variety of their high schools and had a good insight into their schooling system. The volunteers at Milan and Turin were very good. “ It was great to see the children very responsible as volunteers and it was very heart-warming to meet the Heads of the different schools who were very welcoming and down to earth. Their education system was a little different from ours but it was an eye-opener to realize that our students have a lot of in-depth information compared to their students in the field of science. It was very nice to see their children in fashion and art schools doing a lot of practical work. Their children make choices of careers very early in life i.e. in class 8 to pursue from classes 9 to 13. Their school is a year extra compared to ours. Their classroom delivery patterns were good but ours seemed to be at par with theirs. It was nice to note that most of their students went to public schools as their Public School system was good and it was rare that children went to private schools. By Mrs. Amrita Burman, Deputy Director, Sunbeam School, Varanasi

Cultural Outing


During the orientation program

“AFS and You” – Orientation Program For The New Volunteers By Madhusudan Rao, Vice President, Bangalore Chapter

The orientation program was started with an ice-breaker that involved the introduction of all the attendees, after which, the participants were taken through the agenda of the program. History of AFS, its mission and vision were clearly and effectively explained by Mrs. Angela Roye. Before starting the department wise sessions, a good amount of time was spent on understanding the expectations of the attendees, from the orientation program. This gave us an idea about what exactly were they looking for. After this, the first session began which was on the sending process. Mrs. Angela explained in detail about what exactly we do in the Sending Department, how does sending team function at the chapter level and in the national office and how volunteers can help in the sending process. A debrief of YES program involving how the YES team functions and how the volunteers can help in YES process was done by Madhusudan. This was followed by a session on Hosting process where Mrs. Angela explained about what exactly is hosting, how the department functions and how the volunteers can be part of it. Mrs. Vasudha debriefed about each stage involved in hosting process and also shared her experience of hosting. Later, a session on counseling and support system was conducted. Here the importance of counseling an exchange

student was explained. The participants were given an activity where they were asked to think and answer the “what, where who and why” of counseling. How they can be counselors and help host students was also discussed. After feasting on the delicious Rajasthani meals, a session on volunteer development was conducted. It was started with an activity where each volunteer was asked to write the answer to the question “Why am I in AFS?”. All the attendees came up with their answers. The idea behind this activity was to find out, what has actually made them be part of our organization. This was followed by an explanation by Mrs. Angela on how AFS encourages its volunteers through various opportunities and how volunteering in AFS helps in developing several life skills. Later, they were also explained about how they can be part of the volunteer development team at the chapter level. All the attendees expressed their interest in volunteering under their preferred departments and it has been noted down by the chapter. In the end, an evaluation of the program was done. We came to know that not all the expectations of the attendees were met, but a good number of them were. The introductory video of AFS India was shown and the program was ended by singing AFS song.



At the event

Grandparents Day | Grandparents of 1000 Pre-Primary Students By Mini Abraham, Volunteer Development Coordinator, Mumbai Chapter Sept. 8th is celebrated all over as Mother Mary’s feast. During that day, it was decided to appreciate and acknowledge the presence of grandparents in the life of our little ones. Since the people of Maharashtra preserve the age-old tradition of preparing dishes from vegetables which are grown especially during the monsoon, we decided to combine the efforts and asked each student to accompany their grandparent along with the vegetable prepared in the traditional method and also give a small explanation about the dish presented by them. It was impressed upon the participants to talk about the effort the student puts in along with his or her grandparent to put up the dish. Through this,


we encouraged bonding between both the generations. The best dish with the best presentation by the student and the grandparent was appreciated with board games which again encourages a bond between the two generation. It was gratifying to hear the octogenarians express their gratitude for organizing such a unique festival and also for appreciating them. They also were happy to dole out some old Hindi songs and Marathi poems. All in all, it was a time well spent. I am encouraged to bring up more activities to rekindle bonds and joys in doing simple things in our otherwise busy life.

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AFS Mission 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. AFS Values AFS enables people to act as responsible global citizens working for peace and understanding in a diverse world. It acknowledges that peace is a dynamic concept threatened by injustice, inequity, and intolerance. AFS seeks to affirm faith in the dignity and worth of every human being and of all nations and cultures. It encourages respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms without distinction as to race, sex, language, religion or social status. AFS activities are based on our core values of dignity, respect for differences, harmony, sensitivity and tolerance.

Edited & Designed by Aadil F. For any suggestions, or sharing stories or experiences, please write at Learn more about AFS at Be inspired by our history at Connect with us at:

AFS Intercultural Programs India Anand Bhawan, 12, Hailey Road, New Delhi - 110001 Office:+91-11-42512498/41501672/41540827 |

AFS India Newsletter | November 2018  

Your source to stay up to date with AFS Intercultural Programs India’s activities, events & opportunities Be part of the #AFSeffect. Vis...

AFS India Newsletter | November 2018  

Your source to stay up to date with AFS Intercultural Programs India’s activities, events & opportunities Be part of the #AFSeffect. Vis...