AFS IND Newsletter - September 2022

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In this issue of September 2022, you will find:

1. In Impact Stories from AFS Staff read the story of Nikhil Bhatnagar, Hosting Coordinator, AFS India.

2. Check out the Volunteers are Changemakers and know more about the activities carried out by the Indore Chapter in India and Debrecen Chapter in Hungary.

3. In Member School Stories, read an account of the experiences of Preksha Saraf belonging to the Suchitra Academy International School, Hyderabad, in in Hungary

4. The Hosting Stories brings about the National Arrival Orientation & Language Camp of the YES Abroad Program 2022

5. Explore the stories of Abhinav Agarwal and Sweta Sadhu in Alumni Stories

6. Explore the one of a kind events organised in several member schools by AFS India in School Stories and School Calenda Activities.

7. In Sending Stories, read about the intercultural experiences of Sikha Shravya Naidu in Spain.

8. In Special Programs for You, learn about the Year Programs for 2023 24 offered by AFS.

Credit: Sikha Shravya Naidu, AFS Alumna (Spain Year Program 2021 22) from Global City International School, Bangalore




It’s an Amazing and Unbelievable Journey with AFS Intercultural Programs India since 2015. I have enjoyed every moment being in AFS. Be it working for Sending Department, then as Organization Coordinator and now my new Innings as Hosting Coordinator. It’s always a new Feather in my Wings, a New Learning in every Process of AFS and New Energy while Communicating & Coordinating with our amazing Volunteers.

It is my privilege to work with some of the finest Mentors/ Leaders of their Time and get trained under them. They have Taught and Carved my Skills and brought Me, to New Heights. Each one of them has helped me learn something New. I am sharing few excerpts which are very close to my Heart. One of my Mentors used to say that “Always Celebrate your Success, Be it Small or Big”. Never let it go like that. Be Proud of your Achievements and always find time to celebrate your tiniest success with Family and Friends.

Be Passionate and remain Enthusiastic to learn new things. Keep Motivating Yourself, even if you are not delivering your peak performance. “Every one of us cannot do great things, but we can all do small things Greatly”. Each one of us wants to be great, each one of us wants to be first and that this is just not possible. Result could be Frustration, Failure & Stress. And the Solution is in this wonderful saying "Sometimes the questions are complicated, but the Answers are simple”.

Life is not complicated. We make it complicated by Over Thinking, Over Stressing about what people think about us. We start making mountains out of mole hill. We want bigger things and forget to pay attention to the details.

Remember, it is important to pay attention to the things we are “Good” in and try to make them “Best”. We have many attributes, and we can do wonders.

Always Work on your A’s and keep trying to convert them to A+.

Page 01 | September 2022 | Newsletter | AFS India


On 23 September, 2022, the AFS Indore chapter had a memorable virtual exchange with the AFS Hungary chapter

The virtual exchange commenced with Akos from Hungary taking the attendees on a tour of Hungary through a comprehensive PPT, which included Hungarian geography, art, cuisine and more. Akos also introduced everyone to some of the senior AFS Hungary Officials and some students and teachers who visited India for exchanges.

From AFS Indore, Ms. Nidhi Sahni and Ms. Shweta Verma started the presentation with a Sarvadharma Prarthana (all inclusive religious prayer) in true secular Indian spirit, after which Ms. Roma Shah, President AFS Indore, welcomed the Hungary team. The volunteers then welcomed the Hungarians in traditional attires of the North, South, East and West of India, and Ms. Anindita Ghoshal sang a mellifluous Bengali Rabindra Sangeet.

The Exchange brought Hungary into our rooms. I felt totally nostalgic as I remembered my exchange with Hunderup Skolen in Odense, Denmark.

Priti Sable Volunteer, Indore Chapter

The enthusiasm of Hungarian volunteers was remarkable when they learnt the ‘Garba’ dance steps. Such intercultural events inspire us to learn from each other and understand that there are cross cultural differences, but we endorse the same values that are: respect for each other and acceptance.

Ekta Gautam

Volunteer, Indore Chapter

Ms. Nidhi Sahni then spoke about the old ties AFS Indore has with AFS Hungary, with their students visiting Hungary pre-pandemic Ms Sahni also welcomed the AFS National Office members Ms. Manjit Sandhu and Mr. Chunjanglung Kamei and Ms. Sarita Badhwar

Thereafter, AFS Coordinator, Daly College, Indore, Shweta Verma, presented a special PPT on India & Indore. The PPT included various achievements of India@75 The information on the city included Indore’s cleanliness drive, its unique and thriving food culture, premier educational institutions and awe inspiring architecture Following this, Ms Vinita Palharya of St. Paul’s School organized an energetic Kahoot quiz for everyone based on the content of the PPT

The fruitful and enriching exchange ended with Ms. Preeti Bansal tutoring the audience for a short Garba choreography, which turned out to be a stupendously successful endeavour Ms Sarita Badhwar warmly thanked the Hungary chapter members, and both chapters pledged to meet in person very soon

Page 02 | September 2022 | Newsletter | AFS India


An account of my experiences in Hungary

Going on an exchange program for a month to Hungary and learning about the different cultural beliefs and practices was an eye opener for me.

I learnt the importance of my culture and my personal values were of utmost importance to me. I tried to maintain Indian dignity in front of my fellow classmates in school and my host family. As a teenager, I learnt the basic ideology of a lot of practices in India that I never understood before or did not try to understand. I now want to dive further into my exploration of my own culture and learn new as well as interesting facts about it. I plan to implement my learning into my day to day routine by adhering to the facts that I learnt I plan on visiting the orphanage more often now considering that my host family explained to me the importance of family and the grief a child feels when they are alone I would love to help my society in every way possible and always give a helping hand forward.

I, as a new AFS returnee, would also like to join the broad network of AFS alumni and help AFS conduct and engage more exchange students in future programs. I would love to help them organize events not just for students but also for the benefit and growth of society and our country

Finally, I have learnt to respect everyone and have seen the practical example of the famous quote” Learning doesn’t have an age’. I am glad to be a part of such an exclusive and innovative program. I would encourage many more students to take part in the same and explore the world for themselves as I have done for myself.

As parents, we feel that it was the best decision to send Preksha to Hungary as a part of the exchange program. We have seen a remarkable change in our daughter with respect to enhanced self confidence and a positive attitude towards life. She has also developed an understanding towards respecting other cultures. I have seen an improvement in her collaboration skills, and she has emerged as a leader working towards achieving her future goals and accomplishing them to the best of her efforts with her hard work. We have also noticed that she has now become more of an extrovert due to her participation in various group programs.

As her teacher, I have witnessed considerable positive changes in her. When you live away from your home in another country at such a young age, you will soon build up your confidence and develop cultural sensitivity. I have noticed that Preksha has grown in these skills. After the exchange program, she has come out to be more independent, confident, and capable of taking on life’s challenges with a smile.

Preksha’s Teacher at Suchitra Academy International School, Hyderabad

Page 03 | September 2022 | Newsletter | AFS India


National Arrival Orientation & Language Camp

AFS India welcomed 4 YES Abroad students to India on 9th September and conducted the arrival orientation at Radisson Hotel, Gurugram which was facilitated by Ms Sweta Parmar from Delhi chapter and Janak Gajjar from Gandhinagar chapter

The Students had the Hindi Language Learning Camp from 11 to 14 September 2022 which was facilitated by Zabaan Language of School Facilitator and students completed their 20 Hours of Hindi Language Learning Session successfully.

After the Language Camp, the students departed to their respective chapters of Delhi, Kolkata and Ahmedabad.

Page 04 | September 2022 | Newsletter | AFS India


On April 4, 2019, at 3 AM, I received an email from AFS stating that I have been selected as a scholarship recipient for BP Global STEM Academy in Egypt. Little did I know that this was going to be one of the most fruitful summers of my life. The first three days went into knowing more about the program, participants, volunteers, and our host families through engaging in team building activities, orientation, and family time. The next few days were full of immense opportunities to learn. Throughout the program, we learned a lot about Egypt’s rich history and culture through visiting the Pyramids, National Museum, CULTNAT, etc. Not to forget, we spent two days with BP Egypt and gained insights into their work environment, multifarious projects, and various career opportunities available in the industry. While on one hand Robotics and 3-D printing workshops allowed us to understand the ins and outs of robot making, SDG Workshops gave us the opportunity to apply our knowledge in the present situation.

The best and most important part for me was to interact with future leaders of the world Every discussion we had there made me realize one thing “Everyone can have different views on the same topic, and we should respect those views because no perspective is particularly right or wrong. Only when we create space for different perspectives, we can experience how much more there’s to everything than what meets our own eyes.” It was not just a four week program for me, instead, it is a never ending process of personal development & beyond. I am not sure where these opportunities will lead me, but one thing is for sure that the values

I gained at BP Global STEM Academy will be with me in whatever I do, and I am proud to be a part of this community of young scholars brimming with energy and zeal to bring a positive change in society.

Page 05 | September 2022 | Newsletter | AFS India


KL-YES 2016-17, AFS Gandhinagar

The 27th Session of the Youth Assembly was organised by AFS Intercultural Programs and held from 12 14 August in New York City. The conference sessions revolved around the theme “Dare to Reshape the World” which saw participation of more than two hundred youths from 60+ countries.

I was privileged to attend such a global conclave, representing India and our culture on an international platform. The event kicked off with a celebration of International Youth Day at the UN Headquarters in NYC on Aug 12. The sessions throughout the rest of the days were so diverse, engaging and insightful. The people I met at the Youth Assembly were so filled with enthusiasm, talent and will to create an impact by being the change in their communities

There were so many diverse sessions to choose from to attend. The session ranged from Education to Climate Change, from Female Entrepreneurship to Artificial Intelligence and Technology, to name a few. The conference also had a Youth Assembly Alumni Panel Discussion and an Opportunities Fair which were a really great source of information for networking, collaboration and planning ahead one’s future

The biggest takeaway for me was to learn that small, but starting is everything” and that Sustainable Development Education is the need of the Making it mandatory in the high school curriculum would make the young generation aware issues and more prepared for tackling them.

I am extremely grateful to AFS Programs for me the opportunity to become a part magnificent Youth Assembly. I’d also like to family and friends from AFS Gandhinagar immense support they provided me with

Page 06 | September 2022 | Newsletter | AFS India


We, a team of 8 girls accompanied by Mr. Sunil Patel & Ms. Anjum Panna from Pragnya Bodhini

High school embarked on our journey to DPS, Srinagar in the last week of August.

For a Mumbaikar who is surrounded by concrete jungles, a school spread across 22 acres surrounded by enormous mountains was a sight to behold!

The itinerary was meticulously planned by our host school, which offered a perfect blend for us to witness the culture of Kashmir along with understanding the academic functioning of the school Apart from soaking in the beauties of the lush green gardens, the shikara ride, the Pahalgam (mini Switzerland of India), the shrines and temples, and the houseboat, we also spent a day taking a tour of the massive DPS school. The library with a collection of over 15 thousand books and an e library with a record of over 2 lakh books was heaven for the bibliophiles amongst us. The technology museum, the learning resource center, the indoor pool, the playground and every other corner of the school enchanted us. We were continuously thinking about what is it that we can take back and implement as successfully in our school too A meet and greet with the Principal of DPS Srinagar the gracious Madam Shafqa was a delightful one. A storytelling session scheduled by the host school was conducted by Ms Anjum Panna for the 7th graders.

At the valedictory function arranged by DPS, Srinagar on the culminating day, we took the opportunity to give a glimpse of Mumbai with interesting presentations and a gripping Koli Folk dance. It was a humbling gesture by the host school to present each one of us with certificates and mementoes. This is where with a heavy heart we said our goodbyes, but it all ended on a high note with us getting a chance to visit the in house Radio studio at DPS Radio and be a part of the Radio session

This exchange changed our view about Kashmir and Kashmiris, it broke the stereotypes that the media had created for us. It made us pledge not to rely on hearsay but verify the picture we are presented with It made us realize that the only way to understand each other is by having a dialogue. We are eagerly looking forward to hosting the students and teachers of DPS and giving them a tour of our city so that they see our Mumbai as well

Page 07 | September 2022 | Newsletter | AFS India


Daly College, Indore, in partnership with Valley of Words and AFS India, hosted the first ever Young Adults Literature Vertical of the Literary Fest G-literati, from 13th to 14th September 2022 The motive behind this unique initiative was to bring the students closer to literature and its universal appeal. The participants got to meet, interact and hear directly from authors about how they conceptualized and materialized their books. This event offered opportunities to promote and inculcate the culture of reading as well as writing among youngsters.

The 2-day event comprised moderated interactions and interviews with the authors, book promos and events like Hats Off to Reading, Words in Motion and Book Shark.

The Opening Ceremony on 13th September was graced by the distinguished Chief Guest, Dr. Sanjeev Chopra, an IAS officer of the 1985 batch, the Director of the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration and founder of the national organisation Valley of Words. The guest of honour was his wife, Mrs. Rashmi Chopra. The featured authors were also present, along with the Principal of Daly College, Dr. Gunmeet Bindra, staff members and students

In his address, Dr. Chopra spoke about how, for millennia, authors are poignantly imprinting human minds with the greatest of human inventions, binding people together, citizens of distant epochs. The evening was a vivacious one, with a Literary Open Mic, DJ and dinner organised by DC.

The final day saw innovative Book Shark and Hats Off to Reading presentations, along with a wildcard impromptu story & poetry writing event. Dr. Chopra addressed the gathering once again, lauding the event and encouraging the audience.

Participating Schools:

● Mayo College Girls School, Ajmer

● Delhi Public School, Bhopal

● Delhi Public School Rau, Indore

● Golden International School, Indore

● Indore Public School, Indore

● Choithram International IB World School, Indore

● Medi Caps International School, Indore

● St. Raphael's Hr. Sr. Secondary School, Indore

● The Emerald Heights International School, Indore

● Vidyasagar School, Indore

● Colonel's Academy School, Mhow

● Daly College, Indore

The books featured in the sessions across the two days of the event were

● Wild and Wilful by Neha Sinha

● Savi and the Memory Keeper by Bijal Vachharajani

● They Made What? They Found What? by Shweta Taneja

● Voices from the Lost Horizon by Anvita Abbi

● Loki Takes Guard by Menaka Raman

● The Daivya Sutras by Mona Verma

Page 08 | September 2022 | Newsletter | AFS India


An AFS National Activity SBM Sustainable Business Model, hosted by Pragnya Bodhini High School is an ongoing activity divided into three phases, the 1st phase of which invited the interested participants to be a part of a dialogue session with an expert from the industry on the 28th September. This session was facilitated by Ms. Savita Rajiv the cofounder of Startup Green and founder of “Ideas ki Pathshala”. 30 schools and 300+ participants attended the session and was graced by the presence of the AFS National Director Mr. Joseph Kouk, Senior AFS Volunteer & Facilitator Ms Sarita Badhwar and The AFS West Region head Ms Seema Shaikh.

Taking a concrete example of the jewelry sector, the students worked collaboratively in breakout rooms where students researched every stage involved in the industry and how it's turning out to be a nature abuser They then assumed the role of being the company's sustainable consultants and offered green solutions for the problems created because of human greed. With the crisp framework and resources, the participants felt more confident about putting their journals together that they will be submitting in phase 2 of the activity. With some inspiring examples of brands that are creating jewelry from bullet casings from refugees and orphans to people making ornaments from unusable seeds the participants were convinced that beyond Profits, there are people, peace and the planet that have to be focused on.

Page 09 | September 2022 | Newsletter | AFS India


The Mann School in association with AFS organized “Swar Sadhna”, an inter school music competition in multiple categories of Indian Classical & Western Music. It was a 3 day virtual musical fete with an overwhelming participation from 35 schools all over India. 137 video entries across various categories Solo singing (Junior & Senior), Instrumental Trio, Indian Folk Music, Patriotic Group Song, Foreign Language, Battle of Bands and many more were received by the host school. The top 5 video entries from each category were shortlisted rigorously from which three winners were chosen by the judging panel. The panel included many celebrated names from the music industry from many parts of the world such as Russia, Mongolia, the UK, Italy and India. “Swar Sadhna” aimed at spreading cultural harmony across the country. The budding artists were provided with a unique platform to showcase their talent and enhance their skills The competition brought together many music lovers on one platform and inspired them to become the leading names in the music industry of the future The Principal Mr S Sriram addressed the gathering during the closing ceremony and congratulated all the participating schools for their efforts.

The Chief Guest, Ms Namkha Lhamo, a famous musician from Bhutan conveyed her blessings to the students and commended the efforts of the host school for conducting the event successfully. Mr Joseph Kuok, National Director of AFS India also presented his views, applauded the prize holders & gave his warm regards to the organizing committee of The Mann School.

Page 10 | September 2022 | Newsletter | AFS India


Hola!! Mi nombre es Shravya!

Winning the first prize at a national level and being given a scholarship to study in any country of my choice was in itself a life altering experience, even before I had begun my journey to Spain. And this was all made possible for me by AFS. But no one saw a global pandemic coming that restricted my travel plans. After almost a year and a half of waiting and almost giving up on my travel plan, I was given an opportunity to choose Spain as my host country. The host family selected for me was just perfect.

The moment I landed in Madrid, I was happy to see that they were exactly what I had expected. The boys and I gelled immediately; It was like I had known them all my life. My host mom is a superwoman, a lawyer/professor who applied her morals not just to her work but to all aspects of life. She will be an inspiration to me my whole life. My host dad is French, humorous and cracked jokes along with me. He enjoyed baking and cooking. It was a family of rugby lovers. All three of my host brothers were rugby players and I was amazed at the discipline, passion and dedication they had for the sport

I experienced snow for the first time just two days after being in Spain; one of the many firsts of my experiences in Spain. I travelled to France for Christmas and met my host Dad’s entire family. I also travelled to Barcelona for the new year’s celebration. I travelled most of Andalusia visiting Malaga, Granada, and Cordoba.

The school IES SAN ISIDRO DE SEVILLA was completely Spanish, and I had fun revising English lessons to my classmates right before the English test The art classes on campus connected me to my closest friends. I joined an art class outside the school where I met some amazing people who shared my love of art and are now my closest friends.

Some experiences are to be lived and cannot be captured in words and my experience in Spain was truly that. In the beginning, I had fallen in love with the connections I had made as people, but in the end, I had fallen in love with them as family AFS made this dream come true for me and I am grateful for the opportunity, support and encouragement from every team member of AFS India.

Page 11 | September 2022 | Newsletter | AFS India


Everyone dreams of going abroad at least once in their life; for work, for travel, or for college. But did you know that you can go abroad when you are in high school?

From more than 40+ countries to choose, turn your dream into reality and go on an intercultural exchange program for one academic year with AFS! There’s so much in this world to explore and learn.

The AFS Study Abroad Programs 2022 23 is the Flagship Program of AFS which has the essence of ‘Stay and Study’ in a different country and culture. The participants will live with a host family and will join the local high school for one academic year. The students will be departing in Aug/Sep 2023 and return back in Jun/Jul 2024. The students between the age of 15 17 years can apply.

Why should you go on an exchange program for a year?

• Learning a new Language and Culture

Increase Intercultural Competence

Make friends around the globe

Break the stereotypes

Earn an Extremely Valuable AFS

Fee includes:

Housing & Host Family

Host School Placement


Domestic Logistics

Host Country

AFS Medical Insurance of USD 500,000


Risk Management Logistics

Continuous Support & 24*7


24*7 Local Counsellor as Individual Contact Person for Guidance in host country

Intensive Foreign Language Classes

Student Learning Journey a Virtual Program on Global Citizenship Education (GCED)

collaboration with University of Pennsylvania

Assistance with Application Process

Training and Development Management

in India and in host country)

International Airfare

Visa application

Worldwide Presence


Page 12 | September 2022 | Newsletter | AFS India
Certificate Program
Placement •
support assistance (Visa fee has to be borne by the student) •
& Connect • Access to
Network for lifetime For information and contact details, scan the QR Code. Application Deadline is 6 January 2023. | Email at
Credit: Aditi
Sahu from Choithram International
School, Indore on AFS Year Program in France 2022 2023

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.

Global competence is the "power skill" young people require to make their impact on an increasingly diverse world. Active global citizens must be prepared to communicated, collaborate and lead across differences to tackle the world’s greatest challenges

Connect with us at:


AFS Intercultural Programs India 163, Ground Floor, Jasola Vihar, Pocket 2 New Delhi, 110025, India |

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