AFS India Newsletter March Edition 2018

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March 2018 | Issue III

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

AFS Intercultural Programs India


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.

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

What’s Inside?


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.

02 | Editorial by Aadil F. 03 | AFS Perspectives 04 | Hosting Stories 10 | In Pictures #AFSeffect 11 | Impact of YES Program 12 | Chapter Activities 13 | Alumni Achievements 15 | Regional Class Exchange Programs

Upcoming Events April - Domestic Exchange Program: Discovering Through Experience | An initiative to celebrate 15th Anniversary of YES Program - Global Youth Service Day 2018


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.

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

Editorial by Aadil F. You want to be different? You need to learn soft skills. Recently, I was invited to TEDxNUV, an independently organized TED event at the Navrachana University in Vadodara. I had the pleasure of interacting with young students who are working day in and day out to pursue professional courses. They all are focused towards learning one thing or another. Undeniably, they are loaded and overloaded working towards coping with the work pressure and generating results that earn them better scores, promotions, and appreciations. They are learning so much and each of these learning has its own value. Each one of them is learning what’s taught in the classroom with the education that is confined to black and white textbooks. They are very focused on the hard-skills which give them assurance of getting good jobs and money. When asked about the soft skills and its importance, they didn’t have much to say. They weren’t aware of skills such as critical thinking, empathy, communication, emotional intelligence etc. During my interaction with students, I realized that we’re so inclined towards learning to memorize the concepts, definition, and theories, we forget that the world beyond us has so much more to offer. The learning which we can have if we focus on soft skills can change the way we see the world and the people around us. Like every other Indian student, I wasn’t much into “soft skills” or even realized or gave importance to them, but over time working with AFS, an international educational organization, I learned the value of soft skills. I learned that to excel in life or work, we all need to put our energy towards honing soft skills as much as other technical skills. They must be given equal significance. If we are able to communicate effectively keeping in mind various styles & tones of communication; if we are self-aware and responsible towards our own action; if we’re empathetic with deeper concern and sensitivity to others; or our decisiveness and flexibility helps us resolve conflict and problems or be open-minded with more tolerance, we have an upper hand towards being more efficient and productive. If we start to practice soft skills in daily life, the results would vary – you’d see the change in the way you tackle challenges and scenarios around you. Your outlook towards each of your way of strategizing work or your life will take a drastic change. Imagine a person who started to work in an environment where he has to deal with people from diverse backgrounds. He might have gained a lot of technical skills over time in school or universities or experiences he gained working, but if he doesn’t have the soft skills of communication, the sensitivity of others, emotional intelligence or approachability, he won’t be able to do his job effectively. His technical skills won’t be enough to bring desired results. If he wants to excel in his career and connect with people, he must hone the soft skills which would make him different from others and will give him advantage. Anyone can land a great job with technical skills, but it is soft skills that can get you better promotions, great appreciation, and success in any section of life.


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

In 2013, Google decided to do a research titled Project Oxygen on the skills that matter most to its employee success where they used data of hiring, firing, and promotion since 1998 and the result was shocking. It concludes that seven top characteristics of success at Google are all soft skills such as communication, listening, empathy, critical thinking, problem-solving etc. where STEM expertise came last in the list. Another research by Google named Project Aristotle also brings the same result which supports the need of soft-skills in high-tech environments. As per the research, the best team at Google have soft skills such as equality, empathy, emotional intelligence etc. and many more. There is an exhaustive list of soft skills that one can excel by learning. Perhaps, one needs to get out of their comfort zone or learn by experiencing, but if you are able to do the same, you’ll have a better success rate and you will be a better human being. Personally, I learned the value of soft skills when I started to travel – within India and abroad. Being in a different cultural setting, interacting with people, understanding their values and acknowledging the differences made me value the importance of soft skills. So today, I urge all of you to look at your learning. Evaluate it. Think whether having technical skills is enough or not. Do you need more of soft skills to create a better version of yourself or to move forward and be better than others? If your answer is yes, then find ways to teach yourself these soft skills because future belongs to those who have soft skills.



- Helping the world learn to live together -

Benefits of an Intercultural Classroom

able to adapt using appropriate behaviors. Students will understand differences, and they will work towards creating a more creative and healthy learning environment, being able to work with classmates who are different from them. Intercultural approaches prepare our students to learn about themselves and their culture in a better way, which is the first and key step to understanding and learning from others, comprehending cultural complexity. Students will be prepared to interact in a global, diverse and challenging world, an added value that should not be overlooked.

This article was written by Julia Taleisnik, Volunteer Development Director for AFS Argentina & Uruguay and an International Qualified Trainer for the AFS Intercultural Link Learning Program. The article originally appeared in the Newsletter for Educators (in Spanish), part of AFS Argentina & Uruguay’s educator and school relations strategy to keep an open dialogue with educators, offering intercultural learning and development opportunities.



“Education gives us the chance to understand that we are all tied together as citizens of the global community, and that our challenges are interconnected”.

In order to facilitate and teach in intercultural classrooms, teachers should start by preparing themselves for the challenge. This means that first, teachers should develop their own global competencies, understand their culture and themselves as a product of it. Teachers will be able to work in more inclusive classrooms, where all students would understand the curriculum. They will have an understanding of diversity that allows them to work with both students and teachers from different contexts, ages, cultural backgrounds and even different countries. They will be able to lead interesting projects and generate a deeper impact in the community.

Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General Every day, international, national and even local news confront us with a world where intolerance, preconceptions, ignorance and fear of differences are the common denominator. This is not only seen through violent attacks in Europe and Asia, or the recent British vote to leave the European Union, but also in our schools where we encounter families who dress, eat, think or pray in a way we aren’t used to. Children and teenagers, with their innate curiosity, ask who they are, why they act like that, and why these differences exist. In many cases they might laugh at those who are different, and in the worst scenario, they isolate or discriminate those seen as different. Teachers and parents face such situations more and more frequently, and they need to provide answers and take actions.


Working with teachers and students will contribute to developing an institution with a spirit of cooperation and teamwork. Harmony will improve and the working environment in the institution will become more creative as a result of bringing in different information and criteria. Members of the school will also incorporate what they consider enriching from the different cultures that are part of it, looking simultaneously to the world and locally. Students will see the world outside the school, collaborating in their neighbourhoods, creating a global classroom with concerns that go beyond the reality of its members.

In this context, educational institutions have a key role in developing intercultural and global competences of our students, which according to Darla Deardoff, an expert in intercultural education, is “the ability to develop targeted knowledge, skills and attitudes that lead to visible behaviour and communication that are both effective and appropriate in intercultural interactions”. In other words, educational institutions need to generate concrete actions that help students develop skills, knowledge and attitudes to deal with diversity. Among multiple, these are just a few for students, teachers and schools:

There are many benefits, bit with short and long term impact, in the educational community and its area of ​​influence and the world. AFS is always working on new materials, content and programs, in order to develop intercultural learning opportunities for schools in Argentina and Uruguay, and beyond.

Students The development of multiculturalism in the classroom will allow students to acquire the necessary skills and understanding to seize the opportunities that diversity offers. These skills include empathy and flexibility. Empathy helps us understand others and see the world from their perspective, as well as to be sensitive to their needs. Flexibility is a key skill for knowing how to behave in changing environments, dealing with a wide range of social situations and being

We invite you to create more inclusive and intercultural classrooms and make a change in the world.



Participation in Swagat Rally

Shobhyatra Celebrations By Manisha Bhole, AFS India Nashik Volunteer “In Nashik on 18th January a Swagat rally was held which is called “Shobhyatra’ in which Lisa and Chiara both took active participation with AFS volunteer Anita Bhamare. They played Marathi Games and did Marathi dance in the rally. This festival is one of the important festivals and actual starting of Marathi New Year in Maharashtra. Lisa and Chiara both enjoyed the day and looked cute in typical Maharashtrian attire.”

Holi Celebrations “Since the time Graziana arrived in India, she was eager and excited to celebrate Holi. As the day of celebration came closer, she planned so many things to celebrate in Delhi with other exchange students from Ahmedabad but unfortunately it didn’t work out. She was a little upset, but as her host family we took it as our duty to make her Holi celebration fun and exciting. We planned everything accordingly. We brought all the materials needed for celebration. Graziana and Ved (host brother) filled all balloons with colored water on the previous day. On Holi, we all started to play Holi by applying colour on each other. Graziana and Ved went out in the street to play with friends in the neighborhood. They played with water gun, color powder of different shades and by throwing balloons at each other. Graziana danced with Rajasthani group on Dhol and sung holi songs. She went to all neighbouring areas with group of people and enjoyed her time. After long day, we enjoyed lunch. The moment she was about to sleep, her classmates phoned her, and she went out to play Holi again with her friends. I was so happy to hear her say that it was one of her best days in India”

By Shalin Dave, AFS India Anand Volunteer

Fun times celebrating Holi


Timeline of My Stories in India By Itsuka Toda Shah, School Program participant from Japan; Hosted at Rajkot “I think, it’s better to express our home country’s culture to foreigners because when we are on an intercultural exchange, the native country’s people ask us a lot of questions. I learned that it’s important to share with people. In India there are so many relatives compared to other countries because India has so many people. I found a lot of relationships which I made with new friends and family here because there are plenty of interaction and relations to be understood with people. I feel that Indian people are very thankful to their family members and friends. They don’t share only goods, but they share their amusement, activities and so on with everyone. They taught me about the importance of sharing. I learnt how to say ‘’Thank you’’. Before I came to India, I couldn’t say ‘thanks’ to people. Many people here taught me how to be appreciative and be thankful. Being a part of the Indian culture, I learned the value of saying thank you as well as the concept of sharing as sharing is caring. When I go back to Japan, I would like to tell my friends and family the value of sharing and being appreciative. During Diwali vacation, I went to a small village school which is connected to my host school. I tried to talk to the school’s students, but I didn’t know much Gujarati and they couldn’t speak English, so, I tried to speak in little Gujarati I knew. They opened their heart not because I am a foreigner, but because they accepted me. This happened not only once, but over and over again. When I went there again, they remembered me. They greeted me with my name and with a nice smile. I was moved by their love. I wanted to help the village people, and I started with being open-hearted and a smile. I feel that I have become a positive person after coming on exchange. I have tried so many things and faced many challenges. I have made mistakes many times, but my family and friends helped and supported me. I didn’t feel alone. They made me a positive person; more positive than before. I‌n the world, there are so many different people who have different ideas and opinions. It’s difficult to communicate and express feelings but if we want, we can still share these things. We can extend our respect and help each other who are in need. Before coming on exchange, I was worried that how I will understand Indian people, but with my experience here, I learned that people in India are always ready to support each other with whatever they have. It does not matter where you come from and what culture you have, you will always get the support and love from everyone here. The exchange program changed me because of the experimental learning which I believe is very important for us. I learned that we could enjoy the exchange program because of the cultural differences.” 5

Outing in Mumbai took a ferry to cross the lake to Pagoda, one of my favourite place. It was a very peaceful and secure destination. We visited another street market, a little different from the first market because there were more restaurants.

My Experiences in Mumbai By Achiraya Chongcharoenpornchai, Hosted in Jodhpur, From Thailand

Now, it was my last day. I travelled by the local train, the most popular mode of transportation in Mumbai. This megacity has heavy traffic so, the local train is the only way by which you can reach your destination faster than your private transport or other public transports. I liked the compartment for women the most. That makes everyone see the high value of women. We can feel more comfortable and also it is more safe for all of us. Just in about 15 minutes I reached the ISKCON Temple, International Society for Krishna Consciousness. This temple is in various parts of the world. It is a very amazing temple because it’s not just for the worship but has also many activities that we can learn and enjoy, such as a morning Yoga.

“Mumbai is the only city in India that I have known before I came here. I always said to myself that I have to go to this place. So, this time I got a chance to go. I felt very excited to visit this place. I asked many of my friends who have been there about the “must visit” places and the famous dishes over-there. Everyone told me in the same way that you must go and enjoy it. Now, I have travelled for more than 19 hours from Jodhpur and I have had little rest for a while. The first place that I visited was the Gateway of India. It is really famous and beautiful piece of architecture. If you come to Mumbai and don’t visit this place, it’s like you have never been here, because this place is an immense and prime landmark of Mumbai. From this point, we went to the next place by ferry and I enjoyed feeding the birds with smell of the sea. Visit to the Elephanta Caves, a UNESCO World Heritage site and a collection of Cave Temples predominantly dedicated to Hindu Gods and Buddhist mythology was another enriching experience for me. Coming out of the parallel world of myth and history, we came to the busy street market. This market was a colorful mosaic of clothes and jewelry. Later, we just roamed around the southern part of Mumbai and enjoyed the famous, delicious and delectable “Pav Bhaji”. We visited the Vipasana Pagoda, the Budhist temple which was really amazing. We

The last place I went to, was famous for street food. You name any food and you will find here. First I had white sauce Pasta with Garlic Bread, a very tasty dish and then the Pizza Dosa and the Cheese Dosa. This made me really surprised how the Pizza and Cheese can be combined with Dosa in the best way? All these were the reason to make me love Mumbai. India is the place where there is so much beauty in everything that I would love to come again and again to this place.”


Cultural Immersive experience in Varanasi

drum, some calloused hands, and the company of his everloving, sarod-playing guru, friend, and father. Of course, our greatest realizations were inspired by a Blue Lassi treat. The fellow foreigners we met in the shop got us thinking of the spiritual richness of the oldest living city. Sure, we may have had to dodge some fairly sketchy surprises on the narrow streets, but where else would we have had the opportunity to see the world come alive on the ghats of the Ganga. Alin Boat-Wale (our rowboat conductor) gave us insight into the pollution of Ganga Mata and taught us how to row row row his boat, while neighboring boaters encouraged us to feed the Siberian birds who, like us, had stopped for a quick trip in Banaras on their migratory path back home.

My Hosting Experiences By NSLI-Y Students

Alice McGuinness, Megan Levan, Stephanie Mejia, Peyton ‘Riah’ Newfont and Lucia Hruby visited Varanasi for their annual NSLI-Y project from the 18th to 25th February 2018. NSLI-Y students from USA are on an intensive Hindi language learning program hosted in Indore.

We were lucky enough to watch the famous Sham-eBanaras from the water itself, sitting in one of the small rowboats dotting the river. Spread out before us, the aarti was fascinating, a fiery choreographed pooja to lure the Gods to sleep in style. Behind us stretched the body of the Ganga, in Hindu teachings the most sacred river in the world, and one that serves as a life force for millions of people. But even better was being a part of the vibrant crowd, gazing as one at the epic display of devotion. On either side of us, an innumerable fleet of boats stretched from our vision, packed with a lively mix of devout locals, fascinated foreigners, and expertly-maneuvering boat guides earning their living. Whether standing, boating, or walking, the crowd was so massive, it felt as if every country in the world must have been represented, gathered in the night to experience the magic of the Varanasi ghat.

“Many people travel to Varanasi to attain moksha, but our purpose was a tad different—we hoped to use our Hindi language skills to explore in depth the lives and culture of Varanasi people. Arriving in Varanasi, we immediately were hit with some serious culture shock; not only are the rickshaws of different color, but the golgappa also can’t be compare to our hometown pani poori. At least here we blend in with the soul-searching tourists in their overpriced kurtas and faded tikkas. It’s refreshing to experience the culture of this new city without being hounded for a selfie or gawked at on the streets. Sitting on the steps of Assi Ghat, tourists and locals alike tap their feet to the sounds of the santoor. We enjoyed sitting alongside Varanasi citizens, relishing together the artistry of their beloved musicians. One of our greatest memories from Varanasi will forever be the look of pure passion on Prabhash Maharaj’s face as he created whirring rhythms on his tabla that melded perfectly with the refined sounds of the sarod across from him. Upon his first touch of the drum his face lit up with energy and boundless joy, similar to how one might look after their first taste of Blue Lassi on a warm Varanasi afternoon. Except, for this incredible musician, no lassi was required—just a

All in all, our trip to Varanasi was a wonderful experience that enriched our entire language and cultural exchange. It’s wonderful to have a support network of AFS volunteers all over India that make these trips possible. A special thanks to our teachers Mrs. Sadhna Bhaya, Professor Mishra and Mr. Parvez Khan. Thank you!”


Olivia Vita, YES Abroad student from USA hosted in Delhi Olivia Vita a Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study Abroad Program (YES Abroad) participant from Jericho, Vermont is currently studying in New Delhi, India. Recently, Olivia was felicitated with Student of the Quarter by AFS India for her exceptional learning as an exchange student. “I sometimes wonder if anyone back in the States will even recognize me when I return, or if they may just walk past me in the airport because they’re still looking for the person I was before I left. I’ll tell them all that I’ve learned about a different culture and the world, and they will see for themselves all that I’ve learned about myself and how much I have grown as a person. It’s largely the challenges of being an exchange student that have allowed me to grow so much. I have become both an emotionally strong and adaptable person, because I’ve encountered the inevitably frustrating moments that are caused by living in an unfamiliar culture and learned to figure out why things are the way they are so I can solve them in a culturally appropriate way or simply be flexible and learn how to live with it. I’ve learned not to take myself too seriously all of the time; taking a risk implies a chance of failure, so I have made plenty of mistakes and had some embarrassing moments. These things became okay once I learned to laugh at myself, this way I have been able to learn from these mistakes. I have become a much more social and outgoing person, I wouldn’t be able to learn much about this culture if I wasn’t able to connect with its people. The examples of my personal growth are countless as I truly feel like a different person here, but most importantly I have gained a new perspective about the world and what’s really important to me, as I have bonded with people who live and perceive things differently from the way I have been raised and learned to live like them. The risk I took and the opportunity I was granted to study abroad have changed me for the better and I don’t think I’ll ever be the same again.

Fun Times in India during Holi Celebrations of myself. I have moments where I doubt my success on exchange and the impact that it has had. Being named student of the quarter has helped to clear these doubts, so I am grateful for the recognition and even more so for the opportunity that AFS and YES Abroad has given me to take the risk and study abroad, as it has changed my life completely.” Through the course of her exchange, Olivia has formed cordial bonds with people in her hosting community, dedicated herself towards community service, imparting cultural knowledge to her Indian peers; in short serving as a brilliant cultural ambassador of the YES Abroad program. Congratulations, Olivia!

Being chosen as AFS India’s student of the quarter is very meaningful to me as it solidifies the fact that all of the challenges I have faced are not without gain. From these I have gained a deep understanding of Indian culture, as well as that With friends 8

By the time he started getting used to his school, our family, Bangalore and India, we had a big fat wedding in the family. My nephew got married in Bangalore and the whole big Indian family, with uncles, aunts, cousins, grandma, extended family and all descended down. It was wonderful to see how well Banu gelled with one and all. He totally joined in all the family fun and even danced to Bollywood numbers and impressed everyone. In school, he won the hearts of his English teachers with his supremacy over the language and his powerful poems. He was soon winning debates, judging literary competitions and holding poetry – writing workshops. All his achievements made me so proud of him! He made good friends in school and was on a roll, being invited for birthday parties, lunches, movies and stay-over at his friends.

Banu with host family

To give him a glimpse of the Indian culture, I took him to Dusshera celebrations, Golu display, Navaratri Garba and Durga Pooja. We had a family Diwali celebration, enjoyed the colourful Holi, went to Chennai, the Flower show in Lal baugh, a couple of Namma Bengaluru Habbas, many Handicrafts exhibitions etc.

My Experiences Of Hosting By: Vasudha Tavag, Host Mom and Bangalore Chapter President | Hosting- Banu Newell, BP Scholar from USA hosted in Bangalore “My first association with Banu was when I got an email from him, as we were his “Welcome Family” . The letter was so beautifully written, (little did I know at that time that he was a fantastic writer and won prizes in slam poetry, a term I had not heard before) it totally impressed me, and I instantly liked the young boy. The day arrived when we had to go pick him up from the airport. The flight landed late at night. We reached the airport and the exchange students arrived, and there he was, looking a little lost, like all the other exchange students. We went home and after a light dinner he slept off. Then followed a flurry of activities, visiting schools, meeting Principals, getting admitted in school, books, uniform, shoes, school transport and the rigmarole of FRRO. Slowly, he started settling down in school and at home, and we got into a regular routine. One evening, when we were having Chai. He saw some kids playing football in the neighbourhood, and said he too would like to play. So I took him down and introduced him to the boys and soon he was their star player, as he was a great soccer player back home. His football skills got him into his school football team, where he went on to play inter school tournaments. But we were just his “Welcome Family” we had to get him a permanent family. However, my daughter and I really liked him, and after getting to know more about him, we decided it would be better for us to be his Permanent Host family. And so he became part of our family. 9

What is so endearing about Banu is, he is always ready and enthusiastic to see, learn and do new things. And how could I forget the Thanksgiving Party we had? I didn’t know what it involved, although had heard about it. Banu took over and cooked food for all family and friends/ volunteers we invited, organised the party with games etc. and everyone had the most wonderful time! We have been to Marathons (which too he won the very first time he took part in one), family outings, movies, also taken-in a Kannada movie, have excitedly watched Netflix thrilling serials, laughed watching crazy comedy serials, have been amazed at the beauty of nature, caught our breath watching astounding game shows. The days , months have just flown and I can’t believe it will soon be time for Banu to leave. The house will no longer reverberate with music from his bedroom, nor will there be my screaming “Banu, clean your room” nor “No going out with your friends unless you make your bed and tidy up your room” nor “Have you put off the light/fan, geyser switch in your room?“, nor will there be noisy dinner-time discussions with Anishaa, nor chitchat over the aroma of ginger-cinnamon chai, which Banu has mastered to make. The house will soon fall silent and I will really, really miss my dear Banu. It will be an end to yet another sweet and heart -warming hosting experience, with its trials and tribulations. But then that’s what life is, isn’t it?”

Martina Brigliadori, School program participant from Italy, Hosted at Vadodara

Chayanee Keereewong, Boarding program participant from Thailand, Hosted at Kadi

Martina Brigliadori, School Program participant from Italy, Hosted at Vadodara

Maddalena Bienati, Boarding Program participant from Italy, Hosted at Patiala


Martina Sanna (Italy) Boarding Program Participant Hosted at Kadi





Opportunities & Learning By Fiza Vahora, From Anand, Hosted in Copperton, UT “I had a wonderful opportunity to attend DigiGirlz. DigiGirlz is an event hosted by Microsoft to give opportunities to middle school and high school girls to learn more about computer technology and it’s aspects. It provides opportunities to learn more about careers in technology and to encourage girls that career in technology is for all. I was selected by my computer programming teacher to attend this event along with two other girls from my school. The event had various sessions that taught different things like coding through iterative designs, web front development, aspects of mechanical engineering and how to think outside the box and how to create 3-D models of buildings and everyday objects with virtual design. The panel discussion informed more about how it is being a woman in the field of technology and how to set goals and achieve them. The event was really helpful and taught me about different aspects and opportunities in the field of technology. It was one of the best thing that happened to me in this exchange year so far. I am so thankful to everybody who is part of my exchange year. The exchange year has given me number of opportunities to be better and help in creating better environment for others”

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 countries with significant Muslim populations 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.

At event hosted by Microsoft

Best time of my life By Nihar Mehta, From Vadodara, Hosted in Portland, OR “My exchange so far has taught me a lot and given me a lot of different kind of experiences. One of them was the trip to Orlando. I won a talent hunt and won a trip to Orlando for the PAX national conference. It was an honour to share my Indian culture with the people present for the conference. The conference was lot of fun, PAX had arranged a 70’s themed party. It was a dance and costume party they also had a best costume contest which I won. After the conferences were over PAX arranged a visit for us to the Disney’s Magic Kingdom. I had a great time at the conference. Also this month I went to my first American football game. And above all I got to fulfill my dream, I went to the Harry Potter world. I am huge potterhead and a chance to go there was just so overwhelming. And I got to do so much more in Orlando, I went to Madame Tussaud and fun boat rides. Overall this month has been the best one so far.”

From the trip to Orlando




Photo Above: Delhi Chapter volunteers enjoying food during Food Walk

Food Walk | AFS India Delhi Chapter By Deepankar Ratan, Volunteer, Delhi Chapter “On 3rd March 2018, AFS India Delhi chapter organized its food walk. The walk truly illuminated the chapter by massive participation of members and took this walk to the next level. The walk started after the chapter meeting at Chandni Chowk metro station. Natraj dahi bhalla corner was the first stop, followed by chaat corner, and Kanji Bada. The famous Paranthewali gali was another stop where everyone ate finger licking delicious *Paranthas* of old Delhi. After the delicious paranthas the sweet lassi and kachori shop were the next stop. Followed by paobhaji and old famous jalebi of Chandni Chowk. After that the members visited Jama Masjid and witnessed the wonderful heritage of the city.

Volunteers at Exhibition .

Exhibition to Promote AFS Programs | AFS India Ahmedabad Chapter

The walk was about to end, the Chawri Bazar metro station was the last stop of this memorable food walk, as it was not just a food walk. Members got to know many of the new volunteer and interacted with each other which was important for the strengthening of bond between the members.

AFS Ahmedabad chapter was invited to participate with Table space to promote AFS Programs. 3 volunteers (Swetal Gajjar, Parul Patel , Hitesh Chandrani) & Ashish Kalal (India Staff) were at school for this activity (Utpal Pathak joined later). The show was for school students and their parents. They were informed individually about AFS activities.

This unforgettable FOOD WALK organised by AFS India Delhi chapter was an outcome of hardwork of volunteers. The walk created a cheerful environment in the chapter and marked a new beginning in itself.� 12



Alumni with Daryl Davis

Conversations with Daryl Davis at American Corner, Ahmedabad Khushbu Trivedi and Vishakha Koshti (YES’15) attended an event organized by American Corner Ahmedabad on 23 March 2018. The alumni were invited to talk with Mr. Daryl Davis, an African origin, expert on Race Relations (works with Klu Klux Klan organisation), who is also a Blues musician, band leader, played with Chuck Berry and Jerry Leel Lewis, actor and author of “Clan Destine Relationship: A Black Man’s Odessey through the Klu Klux Klan” and for Documentary Screening. It was almost of two and half hour film. There were approximately more than 20 people who have joined in this event. After welcome, the students started interaction with Daryl Davis. They discussed all about his documentary Accidental Courtesy followed by his life stories and incidents. Over all the session was very inspiring and worth hearing.

Photo Above: Receiving certificate for first rank

Festival of Innovation in Nagpur Wasudev Mishra (YES’14) participated in Raman Festival of Innovation on 8th March 2018 in Nagpur organized by Raman Science Centre and Planetarium, Nagpur under the Ministry of Culture, Government of India. This was a science exhibition in which 100 Scientific Innovative Models were placed. The alumna presented a model was about Plastic Degrading Fungus (Biodegradation of Plastics in Shorter time span) and received first rank.


Banner for Paint for Change

Paint For Change | Funkyard Made From Junkyard By Shubham Kumar, AFS Alumni “Birla Institute of Technology, Patna: The small changes that happen around us can create a world of difference to the whole surrounding. It gets even better when creativity adheres to the passion of people who want to make changes. This is what the students of BIT Patna did, they renovated a small tea and Maggie shop to a proper hangout place using scrap materials. Shubham, Architecture department 3rd year took the mantle to lead the change in their surrounding area. In Shubham’s own words, quoted by Barack Obama “We are the ones that we have been waiting for, we are the change that we seek.” He had the vision to contribute something back to the society and this is a beginning for many more changes to come. He thought of a creative idea to renovate the place outside his college campus but didn’t exactly knew which place. That’s when he had a talk with Prakash (owner of the shop) to seek his permission to renovate the place.

half days they formed a truly beautiful and elegant place where students can hang around and even the shop got a new charm to its place. It was a tough task but with support of each and every member of Paint for Change group (that’s the name of this creative family), the wonderful task was achieved and they will do this every month and renovate a new place. Ideas like these become inspiration with a group of dedicated young people come together and make the change the world needs.”

Shubham had this idea for quite some time and on discussing with Ashish, he found an equally interested partner. The uphill task was up next, gathering likeminded people and 20+ odd people from all the branches gathered and started this rigorous and creative work. They picked up stuff from scrap like cold drink bottles, caps and over the course of next two and

Shubham and his friends in action 14

REGIONAL CLASS EXCHANGE PROGRAMS 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.

Between Amity International School, Mayur Vihar (Sending) and Chettinad Public School, Karaikudi, Tamil Nadu (Hosting) “Amity International School, Mayur Vihar and Chettinad Public School, Karaikudi, Tamil Nadu participated in Regional Class Exchange from January 21 to January 27, 2018. A team of 9 students and 2 teachers were part of the same. The theme of the exchange was “Connecting and Collaborating the Culture and Heritage of Chettinad and Delhi‟ covering the culture, history, art and architecture and cuisine of the


Chettinad region. During the 7 days exchange, the students from Amity participated in a lot of activities, conducted Morning Assembly on one of the days on “Organic Living‟ to spread awareness about adopting the organic way of life. They presented an inspiring quote by “Sadhguru‟, a motivational talk and soothing shlokas to spread the Amity ethos at CPS. The host school recreated the gaiety of Pongal Celebrations for the Amity students giving them a slice of the flavors of Tamil Nadu. They were given a traditional welcome at the Chettinad farmhouse and enjoyed bullock cart rides, biting into sugarcane, along with helping in the preparation of “Shakar pongal‟, the traditional Pongal dish. They learnt about the customs and traditions associated with the festival and enjoyed the folk dances of Tamil Nadu performed by the Chettinad students. Apart from the cultural visits, during the course of the program, the students from Amity visited many places such as Ramanathaswamy Temple, Rameshwaram, Brihadeswara Temple, Thanjavur, Visit To Abdul Kalam Memorial and Rameshwaram. Photo Below: Students outing

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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