AFS India Newsletter April Edition 2018

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April 2018 | Issue IV

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

AFS Intercultural Programs India


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


Discover new things about yourself and find your place in the world by going abroad.


Join a Global community of changemakers & serve a change agent in your community.

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 | Intercultural Learning 04 | Hosting Stories 06 | Cultural Excursion 07 | End of Stay Orientation 08 | Domestic Exchange Program: Discovering Through Experience | An initiative to celebrate 15th Anniversary of YES Program 12 | Impact of YES Program 13 | International Class Exchange Program 14 | Alumni Activities

Upcoming Events May - Next Generation Leadership | Thriving 30 (Alumni Workshop) - Partners in Excellence | AFS India Process Training

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.

June - AFS Leadership Development Program - YES Re-entry Orientation - YES & AFS Pre-Departure Orientation

Editorial by Aadil F. YOUR Responsibility to Create a Change! NOW! We all are busy in getting good grades in school or university or working hard for better promotions and better appreciations in our career and other aspects of our lives. We are engaged in our own world which we’ve worked so hard to make and develop. Each one of us are occupied to achieve our own goals irrespective of age and background. If I have to think of Indian youth in this scenario, we need to start reflecting on their priorities and goals. According to the recent UN report, India has the world’s largest youth population. In 2017: State of Youth Volunteering in India, it’s been shared that 60 percent of Indian population are under 35 years of age and 41 percent below the age of 20. While we’ve so much of youth population in India, it is time to give much significance to the increasing need of preparing them to be the future leaders with improved life-skills that can help them create a developed India. With the implementation of new strategies in the empower Indian youth by government and other stakeholders, we also have to start thinking of the ways the youth can influence and use their time and energy by involving themselves in the field of volunteerism along with their work. With volunteering, they not only will bring change in their community, but will bring change in their personal and interpersonal levels giving them skills of 21st Century. According to the SDG Index and Dashboards Report 2017, India ranks 116 out of 157 Nations. Each country were evaluated on the basis of where they are in terms of showing progress mentioned in 17 Sustainable Development Goals. As per Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum, “The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will be an indispensable platform for building a better world. The various concepts that lie behind this ambitious agenda will together provide the engine for progress – the need for a defined vision, the importance of multistakeholder partnerships, the emphasis on accountability and measurement, and the acknowledgement that environmental, social and economic goals are interconnected.” If we want to create a developed India with positivity, we need to start addressing the underlying issues and challenges that exists and help reach India move up in the SDG Index. We must implement new approaches of engaging our youth in giving back to the community. Our youth need to focus their energy towards not only their goals, but also towards participating in activities that can help them create a stronger socio-economic and cultural background. Having seen many volunteers working for different cause while working with AFS for over a decade, I realized that the time you start to give back to the community or start working towards a cause, you’d have plethora of experiences and these experiences change you for good. It gives you energy to move forward with the power to see the world with different perspective. It also makes you empathetic which in turn helps you discover the world seen by others in their own unique way. The impact stories and experiences mould you and help you gain the values you couldn’t have while studying in the classroom, cramming 2

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

the black and white text books or being busy chasing your career. It’s a completely different experience – an experience that makes you reflect more on humanity. We at AFS India, provide plenty of opportunity to our volunteers and other stakeholders to give back to the society and to make a difference. Throughout the year, we’ve several projects and activities that our volunteers and other stakeholders plan, develop and implement in their own chapter (city) which in turn shows the change at grassroots level. Our volunteers take another step to become a Change-Maker and a Global Citizen. Not only they are working towards creating a just and peaceful world, but they are also setting an example of how to give back even though you’re swamped with own priorities and commitment. I believe each one of us, irrespective of the age, should reflect on the importance of giving back. If we can make it as one of the life-goals, we all can have a rewarding experience. Find a cause you’re interested in, and start working for it. Don’t wait for anyone as I believe we all have the potential of becoming change-makers, and we all have the equal responsibility to bring change in the world for a better tomorrow.

Volunteer to create change VOLUNTEER

Join a movement of active citizens helping people and communities learn to live together.


Volunteers during training in Ahmedabad

Level W Training in Ahmedabad | What Every AFSer Should Know about Intercultural Learning Trainers: Sarita Badhwar (Staff) & Ajay Mehta (Volunteer) The introduction course to the Learning Program, What Every AFSer Should Know about Intercultural Learning™ 2.0 (known as “Level W”), is mandatory for all volunteers and staff around the AFS Network. In Level W, participants learn the fundamentals of the AFS Educational Approach, models of culture, cultural values and dimensions, communication styles, cultural adaptation and the AFS Educational Methodology. What is Intercultural Link Learning Program?

The Learning Program also introduces useful tools and models to help volunteers and staffs suspend judgment in intercultural settings and to identify ways to help others become more intercultural sensitive.

The Intercultural Link Learning Program (Learning Program) is intended for volunteers and staff to become more interculturally sensitive and to develop the abilities needed to facilitate intercultural learning in others (students, schools, host families, and people external to AFS). As something used around the AFS world, it also gives a shared vocabulary to volunteers and staff whether they are in China or Ghana, Canada or Germany. In short, using a variety of interactive and reflective methods, the Learning Program helps volunteers and staff develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed when interacting with people from other cultural backgrounds, inside and outside of AFS.

Level W training in Ahmedabad took place on 15th April 2018 with 35 volunteers participating. Ms. Sarita Badhwar from National Office and Mr. Ajay Mehta, from Rajkot were the trainers and Ms. Vibhooti Maldhari who attended Winter Academy Training in Breman for ICL also came to share her experiences & learnings. The participants were very supportive and kept sessions very lively.



With her host family

India Has Deeply Changed Me By Graziana Antonacci from Italy, Hosted in Anand in 2017-18 “Less than two weeks for my exchange year to be over. Can somebody explain me how we got from 300 days to 17? But actually, this journey began even earlier. It begins in the moment when you reflect on your life and understand that you need a change. It begins in the moment when you realise that your own country, no matter its size, it’s just a dot in our globe and there is so much to learn about it. My journey started when my parents asked me if I was willing to have the same experience as my sister did in the USA as an AFSer during 2011-2012. I was surprised when I heard that. They had been telling me that one year is too much; not because they didn’t believe in me but I guess because they were too scared to let their daughter go so far away for such a long time. Therefore, I had given up on that chance. When they came to me that afternoon in September 2016 they left me speechless. My biggest thanks goes to them for being so strong and faithful to let me be part of AFS experience. India has deeply changed me. I have basically chosen the country that is exactly the opposite of my personality.


The Graziana who landed 10 months ago used to love the peace and quiet atmosphere of her small town in the hills, always wore black, hated the heat, refused categorically to wear jewelery and skirts. The Graziana who landed was always too afraid to dance, too shy to talk in public but, above all, too afraid to open up completely with others. What happened? India happened! India in 10 months has taught me more than 15 years of education. I have rediscovered values buried under the dust of cynicity accumulated during the years of my life. When you are a kid everything is so smooth and easy; you simply love unconditionally. The real challenge is to maintain that throughout your life, when you get in contact with the corrupt and toxic side of the world. Before India, I was failing in that. India with all its spirituality, with all its ancient wisdom, with both its chaos and peace has a way to take your soul and wipe it clean. The change is slow, discrete, constant and mysterious once you realise it’s happening. There are no words to describe India... Probably only horns!”

During Farewell at RKKGPS, Jodhpur & have participated in 2017-18’s academic & extracurricular programmes. School projects made them strong and confident. They have developed massive critical and creative thinking, positive and original thinking, out of the box.

It’s Not The Goodbyes That Hurt But The Flashbacks That Follow By RKKGPS, Jodhpur “AFS Intercultural Programs India empowers students of all ages & all backgrounds with the intercultural knowledge, skills & understanding and RKK provides a globally minded curriculum to its students to succeed in the 21st Century with multiple opportunities to participate in experiential learning.

Exchange is not a year in one’s life but a life in a year” & for Elena & Achiraya returning to their respective home countries – Italy & Thailand is a beginning of a new chapter of their life. On 23rd April 2018, a thumping farewell was bid to Achiraya and Elena De Novellis who were here in RKK for a yearlong intercultural exchange program associated with AFS, India. Their farewell consisted of song, speeches, movie, dance performances, dance by Elena, singing by Achiraya and felicitation of the host families, Gulab Kanwar Ma’am, Reena Mishra Ma’am & Neetu Kheechee Ma’am.

It has been a rewarding experience for RKK family to host foreign students for an entire session from last 3 sessions, a great way to experience cultural exchange. It has been a way of developing lifelong connections. Elena De Novellis from Italy and Achiraya Chongcharoenpornchai from Thailand traveled halfway around the globe to join us. These overseas students came to India crossing the geographical and language barriers. They were welcomed into the safe & secured environment of RKK in July 2017 and were granted admission in Grade XI.

This was not a good bye; it was a thank you, for the love, laughs, for the tears, the smiles, the hugs and the memories. It was a big thank you for holding the strings of love together. The strong bond which was shared will always be missed. RKK family wishes both the students all the very best & good luck. May they both have a bright future ahead. Amiable Achiraya & Enthusiastic Elena have made this journey a successful & memorable one.”

Their stay in Jodhpur has been a combination of memorable days. As they say bonding does not happen overnight it forms with every second and every minute. Every effort was made by RKK to match the family & host students. Thank you from the deepest core to Mrs & Mr Sumeet Goyal – Achiraya’s Host Family, Mrs & Mr Saajan Garg – Elena’s Host Family who provided the host students, a family full of love, warmth and hospitality. They shared their routine, daily lives and offered the host students a real life experience. Rightly said, ‘Time is like a river you cannot touch the same water twice because the flow that has passed will never pass again. So enjoy every moment of life’. These host students have become a valuable part of RKKian family. They have collected many cherishables memories, experiences & have established new bonds of friendship. They have explored the vast diversity of Indian Culture 5

In Pushkar, Rajasthan

Annual Hosting Trip to Rajasthan for Hosting Batch 2017-18 AFS India conducted Annual Hosting Trip to Rajasthan as an optional activity for 37 Host participants along with 04 Staff. Rajasthan State is considered as a prominent tourist destination for its different exotic desert safaris & colorful sightseeing destinations. The main objective of the trip was to help hosted students have a culturally immersive experience during their visit to Rajasthan. Scholarships were provided to three winners who shared their excellence in creating 30 sec video on International Women’s Day. AFS India facilitated this Annual Hosting Trip as an optional activity to its participants. Briefing about the touch-based toured destinations; we started from Udaipur, where prominent destinations were visited such as Fateh Sagar Lake, Bada Bazaar, City Palace, Sahelion-ki-bari & Folk-Art Museum. Next Stopping was at Mt Abu, Jain Temple, Brahmakumari & Sunset view were the highlights. Later on, to the travel to Chittorgarh & Pushkar, the Chittorgarh fort was toured throughout its vast architecture & heritage. Early morning Camel ride to the Desert Safari at Pushkar was viewed as a highlight.

Elephant Safari where they learned about the diversity, enjoyed local traditional food, explored the local customs and saw the new world beyond their own hosted city. They loved the history and heritage beauty of Udaipur, Chittorgarh, Ajmer, Pushkar, Mt. Abu and Jaipur. The trip ended in Delhi at India Gate.

On the last days, the travel was planned for sightseeing at Ajmer Shariff and Jaipur. Hawa Mahal and an elephant ride to the gates of Ajmer Fort were the intriguing visits undertaken throughout the day’s journey. Also, Chow ki Dhani at the evening along with DJ night was a mixed composite in bringing closure to the Rajasthan Trip.


It was a delight to share that the host participants thoroughly enjoyed the optional Hosting Trip to Rajasthan. They loved being part of the cultural immersive experience



Participants of 2017-18 Batch


End of Stay Orientation for Hosting Batch 2017-18

communities & at school. They also talked about the importance of being a Global Citizen while keeping in mind the AFS Educational Goals.

The End of Stay Orientation was successfully conducted from 7th to 9th April 2018 in New Delhi. The focus of the Orientation was mainly towards preparing the participants for their return to their respective countries. For students, this becomes a common vantage point to join the dots of their exchange from the beginning and end of the journey.

Overall, the orientation was a learning experience for all the hosted students as they reflected on their experience, learned the tips of adjusting back and finding ways to appreciate the learning and taking it forward back in their natural countries.

Overall, 49 Host participants attended the orientation, along with 04 facilitators and the Hosting Team of AFS India. The facilitators equipped the participants with various talks and sessions, which were focused to prepare them for re-adjustment and re-entry to the natural countries. The students were given individual counseling moments, recognizing the dive of their exchange journey. The orientation served as moments of introspection for the participants with the real and unreal expectations. This also becomes a reason to retrospect on their actions and look forward to their goals, the shortcomings to pick themselves up and recognize the positivity in their learning for the future. Throughout the orientation, hosted students reflected on their yearlong experiences in India. They shared what India meant to them now after the impactful year while sharing learning they have had while living in host families, 7

Role-plays during Session

While keeping in mind the objectives of the program, several goal-based curriculum sessions on topics such as Peace Education, Global Citizenship, Conflict Transformation and Interfaith Harmony were facilitated by AFS INDIA YES Alumni. During the program, we also had an external speaker, Maria Khan, a member of Centre for Peace and Spirituality, to give a talk on the theme of Interfaith Harmony.

Domestic Exchange Program: Discovering Through Experience | An initiative to celebrate 15th Anniversary of YES Program The Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange Program (YES) was founded with the understanding that there is a pressing need to empower the youth to become ambassadors of goodwill through establishing non-violent methods for peace, to counter prejudice and discrimination through intercultural understanding, and to become leaders that advances volunteerism and citizen responsibility.

DLF School provided a wonderful platform to all the participating students to learn and be one with the new culture. They welcomed them wholeheartedly. From day one, the hosted students were given same love and care as the DLF students. With the aim of giving back to the community and to be an active Global Citizen, all the participating students took part in the Community Service Project during their time in DLF School. The school also provided lessons on Yoga, Meditation & Sculpture Making.

With focus on celebrating the 15th anniversary of YES Program, AFS Intercultural Programs India in partnership with DLF Public School, Sahibabad and Delhi Public School, Srinagar conducted a Domestic Exchange Program, ‘Discovering Through Experience’ from 3rd to 11th April 2018. The need to confront intolerance, preconceptions, ignorance and fear of differences is much needed in today’s society. The aim of the program was to provide the opportunity for dialogue and facilitating further inclusivity through intercultural immersions, structured experiential learning, goals-based curriculum and methods, involving high school students from DPS Srinagar and DLF, Sahibabad.

Domestic Exchange also gave an opportunity to the participating students to see the rich heritage of the hosting city through several cultural visits to places such as Jama Masjid and Delhi Haat. At Delhi Haat, they had the chance to explore and discover the diversified beauty and culture of India by experiencing the food and artifacts from various parts of the country. T

Throughout the week, 12 students from DPS Srinagar were hosted by the DLF School. With 17 students from DLF School, the hosted students had a tremendous cultural immersive experience. Being with a host family gave them an opportunity to create a strong bond and a lifelong intercultural relationship.

he whole one-week long Domestic Exchange Program structured experiential learning to increase the intercultural competencies and leadership skills of participating students as well as educators during the Program. The hosted students also shared their own cultures and traditions bridging the gap between the diversified India. At the end of the program, a farewell was organized by DLF School for DPS Srinagar Students during farewell at DLF School

YES Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State


all the hosted students and hosting families where they were given token of appreciation from AFS IND for opening their hearts and homes to the DPS Srinagar students. Host families, educators, participating students and YES Alumni appreciated the Domestic Exchange Program and the thought of having the same.


AFS India would like to extend their sincere gratitude to DLF School for being the Hosting school for the program. Special shout-out to Dr. Mirgnaini, Executive Director & Mrs. Seema Jerath, Principal for their continuous support. We’re thankful to all the educators who worked extensively to make this program a success. Much appreciation to Ms. Syed Sumaira (DPS Srinagar) and Ms. Swagata Ganguly for their time and contribution to this program. We’re also happy and proud to have YES Alumni as facilitators for the Domestic Exchange Program.

“ “ “

I loved the way they [host family] treated me. I am very happy that I got such a great host family. I can’t explain my experience in words. Thank you everyone for supporting me and hosting me throughout the journey. Thank you DPS Srinagar,DLF School and AFS!

I learned to be independent, to do things on my own. I learned to adapt in other surroundings. I came to know about my host family’s religion. Throughout the week, I learned about new skills which are going to help me in the future. Facilitators taught us how to live with unity and shun violence with focus on peaceful world. - Participant

- Participant

Being a participant of this exchange program helped me develop a sense of oneness with the people of the entire world. I learned that there are no borders, we have created them. I learned the importance of tolerance and to be more acceptable towards other cultures, religions, lifestyle & their views and perspectives. Knowing more about interfaith harmony, about other religions and beliefs made me more aware. I also explored how to adjust and inculcate peace education in our lifestyle. With new skills, I also have cherishable memories that I’m going to take with me.


- Participant

There are so many faiths out there. I came to know about the ways to interlink different faiths and also to create harmony between different religions and people from various faiths.

In the past week, I have been studying the cultural and global values which enshrined my desire to learn more and more. The exchange program has increased my motivation and self-confidence. I know about the process of creative thinking and to look above the superficial appearance. I also came to know about the importance of adaptation in different stages of life. Here at DLF School, I saw diversity of different cultures and flexibility to handle issues independently. I also developed intercultural effectiveness and learned about being a Global Citizen. - Participant

1. During Farewell 2. Community Service organized by DLF School

- Participant 9

DPS Srinagar Student with host family during thank you ceremony


1 I thank AFS for giving me this opportunity to have a new family and new friends. I have learned to stay independent and have gained much knowledge from here by sessions and activities. I have also met so many personalities over here who have motivated us and told us how to manage things and how to live a happy life. I have made new memories and now I’ve a second family. I also attended workshop on interfaith harmony and peace education which was a learning experience. Knowing about Goonj and its management process was something new. Thank you for the wonderful experience.



- Participant

1. At Jama Masjid 2. During Community Service

For every person you meet, with every interaction we have with people, there are take-aways. Sometimes we can get too comfortable in our own world. AFS brought this new experience to us. An experience that brought me out of my own world and experience something new, something new to learn in a different and positive way. It made me interact with people of diverse backgrounds, ability to practice my verbal communication skills. I came alive with new creative ideas to pump my life. The best part of this program was making new friends. I was expecting them to be a bit shy and quiet but once we got to know each other well, we spoke together and got into fights with each other the way friends do. Few of them became friends, few became best friends and few part of family. All of them came in as strangers and are leaving as part of a family that will always stick together and will always be there for each other. - Participant


Host Family Experience | Domestic Exchange Program | YES 15th Anniversary By Aindril De and Family, Host Family of Haram, DPS Srinagar Student “As most of us experience society through the lens of our early family experiences, we grow up believing ‘our’ family is the same as everyone else’s. We get so used to each other so much that it really becomes very difficult for us to go beyond the daily habits that we form around each other. Our daily routines, daily habits etc. become fixed and revolve around each other. Hosting a new member of a family even it was for a few days was therefore a tad difficult decision for us to take. It was something very new and we were literally not sure of how we would go about it. Though DLF has a rich background of around 7 years of association with AFS and has hosted students from different countries and cultures; however, we have never availed that opportunity to be a part of the process because of various reasons, majorly personal. Mostly, it was because we are both working professionals. So, when this opportunity to host a child from our own country came our way, we deliberated within the family and finally gave the consent to host a child. We talked to other families, who had already participated in earlier exchange programs and had hosted children from other states and countries. They assured us that students participating in these exchange programs demonstrate enormous potential in and out of school! They are brave to come to a whole new place and environment. They are smart and most importantly, they are excited to be a part of the amazing experience that awaits them! We got to know from the school that the child we would need to host would be from Kashmir, and we were very excited about it, given our lovely experiences that we have had over the years in visiting the heaven on earth, Kashmir, staying and interacting with the lovely people there. My daughter, Anushka being a single child, had never had an experience of sharing her room and space with another child. So, the first step we took was to prepare her mentally to accept the fact that she would have a sister for that period and would need to share everything as two sisters do. However, we were still not sure about how we would pull this off. However, I am happy that she responded positively to it. So much so that she did the unthinkable. Something that can be easily be termed as one of the rarest acts of her life. She took out all her stuff from her wardrobe and organized her wardrobe all by herself to try and make space for Haram to keep her belongings. Though she was not able to achieve what she intended to. But this incident gave us 11

the confidence that we would be able to do it. We had our moments of scare, when we received the long list of Do’s and Dont’s from the school. So much so that for a moment, we felt that, we are hosting someone who is very different from us. I even discussed the same with the Kashmiri girls working in our office and were told by them, not to be so overtly conscious and take it easy. Reassured, we decided to follow our gut and dig into the experiences that we had with the people of Kashmir. Even we also had to make our arrangements to ensure that Haram feels comfortable with us, especially when Barnali was nursing her old mother, who had fractured her foot. Finally, the day came when we were supposed to receive our guests, our new family members who would be with us for a few days. We finally met Haram, a cute, shy girl with dreamy eyes. The next couple of days was spent to understand her food habits, likes and dislikes getting to know each other etc. The two girls also came closer and became good friends. Being from a family of teachers and engineers, she wants to be a space scientist and wants to go to NASA. She is a voracious reader and apart from playing the time-pass ninja games she loves to play riddles on her mobile. Eating food is the last thing she likes to do in life. Over a period of last few days, we didn’t realize how she has become a part of our family and our day to day routine. And today as I speak, and I reflect on these few days spent with her, I recall many fond memories that we had spent with her. And today with a heavy heart, from Anushka, Barnali and me. We will Miss you. Keep in touch and May GOD help you realize all your dreams.” At End of Stay Orientation

YES Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State



I’ve enjoyed doing community service very much. The best part of volunteering is that you help people and get happiness in return. And as it is said ‘ You live for yourself when you live for others’. The best service activity for me was helping the people at Bloomingdale’s (a neighborhood in DC) block party and promoting YES and AFS USA (my placement organization). During the very beginning of my exchange year, I had a Civic-Minded experience of meeting a Congresswoman serving for North Carolina at the Capitol Hill because of my participation in Youth cultural ambassador program by the American Turkish Association of Washington DC. It too became one of the best experiences of my year as it provided an opportunity to observe how political leaders develop their leadership skills and how it influences their career.

A Year of Experiences By Vatsal Mehta, Hosted in USA “My dream, of having a new family halfway across the world and going to high school abroad, took the shape of reality when I got selected for this wonderful Youth Exchange and Study program sponsored by US Department of State. Today, I believe and feel myself as an important part of my host family and community. My experience with my host family is one of the many best parts of my exchange year so far. I would like to thank YES program and my placement organization AFS-USA and hard work of AFS India for giving me a second mom, dad and a brother. The key role my family has played in my exchange year is by giving my host brother from Senegal and me their time and attention for all the special moments that we’ve had together such as cooking together, playing board games, going for a blissful walk, going places together, having fun time and so many more! My family also helps me become a better and a responsible person by teaching some important leadership skills and life lessons. I am so glad to have such an awesome family! The next significant part of my exchange has been giving back to my community through volunteering.

I absolutely believe that exchange program like YES provide students with massive self development and because of that today I’ve been able to accomplish this achievement of so many memorable and wonderful experience. For instance, ice skating, bowling and exploring America with friends. Today, because of my exposure to such experiences and leadership skills I’m sure it would lead me to several other opportunities to develop myself into my best self for future. This would not have been possible without the support of all of you at US Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, AFS India, AFS USA and whoever is reading this. I would like to thank you all for your excellent support to the sponsored programs and I also hope that US Department of State would continue to provide such great experiences to the future students as well. Thank you very much!”

With host family during Thanksgiving



diversity was highly appreciated by the students. In the evenings, the students were looked after by the host parents and families and another exposure to Indian culture was provided. The program was a great success thoroughly lived and enjoyed by both the Indian and Russian schools.�

EXCHANGE PROGRAM International Class Exchange between Fenestra, Private Art School, St. Petersburg, Russia and The Emerald Heights International School, Indore, India By Nisha Ahmad, Emerald Heights International School, Indore “A group of 18 students and 3 teachers from Fenestra, Private Art School, St. Petersburg visited Emerald Heights International School under AFS India International Class Exchange Program. During the program, the students and the teachers were taken to historical places around Indore such as Mandu and Maheshwar. The group also visited Bhopal the capital of Madhya Pradesh and visited Sanchi Stupas. The school had also arranged a trip for them to Agra to see the Taj, which was a dream come true for them.


To give the students the cultural experience, the host school organized Hindi classes, music class as well as art and craft class. The school also organized a food fest for the Russian students where they were introduced to the vast Indian cuisine. To give them a wholesome experience of various Indian cuisine, the school arranged their lunch every day on different Indian state cuisine. The

2 1. During Art Classes 2. Welcome at Emerald Heights International School, Indore

Group at Emerald Heights International School, Indore


John with other participants during Workshop

YES Alumni Social Entrepreneur Changemakers Workshop John Mota (YES’13) from Bangalore attended YES Alumni Social Entrepreneur Changemakers Workshop conducted in Alexandria, VA from 19-22 March 2018. The main goal of this workshop was to create a change making project/ venture and to craft a plan to achieve the desired outcomes. The workshop was split up into various focused learnings spread through four days – where you are taught and inculcated words of knowledge and wisdom, in creating and executing projects impacting the society at large. Various frameworks of assessment, solution and execution were discussed and taught. Towards the end of the workshop, one can get a comprehensive understanding of social entrepreneurship and various approaches for effective ideation, solution, and execution. The session on Storytelling was quite interesting as according to the alumna it taught him how to narrate the story in an interesting way. He also learned about SMART Goals and Objectives which helped him to set goals and objectives which are specific, measurable, attainable, and realistic and are time bound. The alumna also presented their change making project/ venture to the panel. The alumna was also a part of the ECA Conference held from 21- 25 March 2018. He actively participated in The International Bazaar which was an opportunity for the countries to show and present their culture. The alumna along with AFS India staff applied Henna and Bindis to all the female volunteers and staff who were visiting India stall; also served Indian snacks and spicy items. The workshop 14

also included visit to Capitol Hill where the respective partner staff & partner alumni were allotted State groups with their representatives who are a mix of volunteers and host family members. The alumna also actively participated in the session on Country Presentation of India where he along with the staff did role play to show difference between Indian and US culture. Photo Below: John at International Bazaar



Aadil during TEDxNUV at Navarachna University

AFS Alumni Invited As A Speaker at TEDxNUV Talk Aadil Fahim, AFS-YES Alumni from 2007-08 batch; Manager Communications, Branding & Volunteer Development, AFS India was invited as a speaker at TEDxNUV, an independently organised TED event on 25 March 2018 in Navrachana University. The topic of the talk was “Are we educating Peace?” where the focus was on experiential learning and how learning beyond classroom can help in creating a just and peaceful world. The TED talk also centered around the significance of 21st Century life-skills and how gaining the same can help a person become interculturally competent. The talk was a reflection of his experiences and journey from being an exchange student to being involved in the educational organization, AFS India, for more than one decade. The talk also emphasized on UNESCO’S Work on Education for Peace and Non-Violence where he talked about two fundamental concepts of Peace Education. He urged people to pledge to become a Global Citizen, a Change-Maker and to become a traveller -- to discover, explore and learn. The talk ended with a promise to be made by all that they are going to be by being the person who’d activate a world where creating a better world is equally important as creating other life-goals.

TEDxNUV shares the same passion as TED. It was a half-day event being curated by the students of the Navrachana university, with an audience of about 100 participants in Vadodara. The goal of the event was to bring together bright minds to give talks that are idea-focused, and on a wide range of subjects, to foster learning, inspiration and wonder – and provoke conversations that matter. TEDxNUV was oriented at developing a community of like minded highly informed and engaged innovators, designers, thinkers, technologists and environmentally and socially concerned individuals in one of India’s most developing city - Vadodara



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 |

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