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A world-class intercultural educational organization; a global movement to develop and activate global citizens AFS Intercultural Programs India is an international, voluntary, non-governmental, non-profit organization that provides intercultural learning opportunities to help people develop the knowledge, skills and understanding needed to create a more just and peaceful world.

Newsletter AFS Intercultural Programs India



Issue - XI

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

study abroad

host an AFSer Hosting an international student in your home is a great way to learn about a new culture and share your own culture and values. Experience your world through the eyes of a young person from another country.

Inside this Issue


Discover new things about yourself and find your place in the world. Learn how to turn challenging situations into valuable opportunities to grow and become more mature.


Impact of AFS Programs ‘Exchange isn’t a year in a life, It’s a life in a year.'; Discovering the World; Best Experiences; & Cultural Differences & Identity


From Director’s Desk Learn to Love What You Do

AFS India Day Celebrations 2017 Community Service on Theme -Feed the Hungry



AFS Perspectives AFS Annual Inter-School Educational Fest 2017

Hosting Stories My Impact Story; My Experience Till Now: Student of the Quarter; Round Square Service Project at RKC; & AIMUN 2017

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



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

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



Impact of YES Programs Diwali in America & Opportunities


events December

Impact of Short-Term Programs International Family & Fun & Wonderful Experience

International Volunteers Day Celebrations Indore Community Service Trip



Alumni Meet 2018

Volunteer Opportunities ADAM Exchange Program to Adana, Turkey

Banner Image: Volunteers serving food to the needy during the AFS India Day Celebrations 2017

Edited & Designed by Aadil F.

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

AFS Intercultural Programs India | November 2017 | Page No - 1 |

I also understand that when I love what I am doing I can spend more time doing it. I do not feel tired. Sleeping for 4 hours a day also does not exhaust me as I know that I am going to do something exciting after this short sleep. It keeps me on toes and I am always trying to accomplish more and more. And the best part is that I give me 100 percent to the work I’m doing because I know that in the end the sense of achievement will make me feel good and I would feel productive. Don't you want to feel that you have done something great at the end of the day? Feel the pride in accomplishing something in your own field?



LEARN TO LOVE WHAT YOU DO Divya Arora | National Director In my career of 20 years of so, I have learned a very important lesson: Learn to love what you do. This statement simply doesn’t mean what you think it does, but it has much more meaning than that. I understood way back the significance of the word “learn” is to gain the knowledge of the subject. Therefore, over the period I learned to extract knowledge and I feel satisfied that what I am contributing something good for the society we all live in.



- Helping the world learn to live together -

Another learning is -- when I work I am having fun. Wherever you work, you will have some kind of stress, either it’s about completing the job or finishing it on deadline. With me working with AFS also bring stress at times, I face challenges, but I enjoy facing challenges and it has helped me to grow as a person. The whole perspective changes when we start to love what we are doing. My father loved to write. When he started his career with Escorts he developed his writing skills and in short time became a well-known author while still working full time. He still found time to write books and later took loan to self-publish his books. He had so much faith that he will do well that nothing deterred him. And what was the result? -- He became quite famous as

Motivational Speaker. People wanted to know his positive thoughts and his life experiences. Once when our family was finding groom for my sister, we got a reference call. The person on the other side asked my father – “Are you the same Batra that tears Rs. 100 note during his seminar?” to which my father replied, “Yes”. He has left behind a legacy where people know him, refer to his books and his speeches to motivate themselves. His company has increased the business due to the concepts that were created by him. This is something that all of us want – to be remembered even after we are no longer here. That’s why I request to all of you to create your own Mantra of loving what you do in your own way and make the work fun.

The whole perspective changes when you start to love what you are doing. You start to give 100 percent and you don't get tired of working. It just comes easy to you.


AFS Bangalore in collaboration with its partner school Global City International School organised its 2nd Annual Inter-school Educational Fest on 3rd November 2017. This event was the brainchild of AFS India Board Chairperson, Angela Roye. It was attended by around seventy participants from thirteen schools from various parts of Bangalore. The program consisted of literary, visual and performing arts competitions. AFS volunteers and GCIS Teachers were amazed to see so many bright young minds gathered in one place and the competition was really a tough one.

communication and remove stereotypes. • Promote Internationalism through literary, visual and performing art activities among young children. • Raise awareness about AFS India and its programs. AFS Exchange students from different parts of India also participated in the fest and conducted workshops on their home countries and cultures. While interacting with the participants, they shared some adjustment tips and talked about the value of AFS exchange programs to promote intercultural learning.

(Photo Above: Group) It was great! Vibrant! The AFS Bangalore chapter and GCIS created a globalised environment for all the participants of the fest. The victory lies in building international bridges, inspiring love for other cultures,

(Photo Above: Lightning Ceremony)

(Photo Above: During Activity)

We are very pleased to share that all the following four objectives were achieved during the fest this year.

AFS Bangalore Chapter President, Mrs. Vasudha K Tavag along with AFS India Board Chairperson, Mrs. Angela Roye had a meeting with all the teacher representatives from the schools which participated in the fest and briefed them about AFS, its various programs, activities and their importance in today’s interconnected world.

• Create an intercultural awareness among young students, which will enable them to be future global citizens. • Bringing cultures together to reduce the barriers of

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

The fest was ended by singing the AFS Song after the prize distribution ceremony.

(Photo Above: Hosted Students) languages and open minds! All the participants enjoyed the fest as much as the AFS Bangalore chapter volunteers and the GCIS team who organised it.

going to be a camp for four days, I had no idea what we were going to do. I thought the days would crawl by but the camp literally lasted for 0.5 seconds. We were divided in groups and each group had two volunteers, we played games and talked about everything and anything, about

Impact of


Cultural Differences and Identity


By Samiksha Subrahmanya, Hosted in Denmark

‘Exchange isn’t a year in a life, It’s a life in a year.’ By Mitva Jaiswal, Hosted in Germany "My name is Mitva Jaiswal & 16 years old. I choose Germany as a exchange year because I want to know about German traditions, food, geography, people, festivals, history and about education. I live in southern part of Germany (Ulm). I don’t have so many experiences because it’s only 1 month in Germany; but I have some little experience with my family and friends.

(Photo Above: Learning to cook) It has been a great experience till now I learnt a lot of new things and new adventurous trips with my host family in Germany. I climbed the tallest church building in the world at 530 feet with my host family. Also I learnt how to make Ayurveda food and how it’s important in our day to day life with some chefs. I learnt piano with my host dad. Also we climbed the Alps Mountain and learnt geography of the Alps. Also I get to know Latvian folk dance with the Latvian people who live in Germany and one of them is my host mom. And about the German school it’s so interesting and so practical in the studies also I made some new friends. My German course is going well I improved my German. Recently I visited the Parliament of the European Union in Berlin and learnt about how does the European Union work and the history about Germany." Discovering the World

(Photo Above: With new friends) our lives in Italy and back in our home countries. The camp made us realize that we weren't alone and that each one of us was going through the same and no matter where across the globe you belong to, in the end we are all same inside. And the most fun was the Talent show night. Everyone presented their countries; my Thai friends and I did a dance performance on Thai and Indian dance because that's what an exchange is all about, exchanging cultures! This didn't just end here, after all the stunning talents were shown, out of nowhere, we all started dancing. We danced on the tunes from different countries. Next day was supposed to be our last one and we didn't want to leave but all good things come to an end. This experience till now has made me more confident and helped me bring out the best in me. I'm so glad that I chose to come on an exchange like this. If you want an overall experience in your life, there's nothing better than "AFS”, it’s an all in one package. But this breathtaking experience isn't just limited to a piece of paper. There's yet to DISCOVER. So, ARRIVIDERCI!" Best Experiences

"One of the biggest differences between me and most of the other AFS students is that while I am here as an exchange student, I represent two countries: India, which is my nationality and home country, and Thailand, where I was born and have grown up my entire life. Duly so, making the decision to travel, study, and live in Denmark and adding another country to my identity was truly one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I think my favorite thing about identifying with more than one country is being able to compare my life in Denmark to what I know from back home. I grew up with the familiarities taught to me by my Indian family while also absorbing the culture and habits of Thailand from my friends and surroundings. Additionally, one of the most amusing things I noticed was that I’ve actually become more in tune with my Indian/Thai identity while I’ve been here in Denmark, because back home it’s something you grow up with and don’t always need to pay attention to, but when you’re in a completely new setting, it’s everything that defines you. It’s been extremely fun to be constantly discovering new things about Danish culture, especially by my host siblings and friends at school. Sometimes it’s the small but somehow significant details, like how Danes prefer less saturated colors like gray and black and white in their wardrobes, especially when I realized my closet was full of reds and pinks and blues.

By Nidhi Rathod, Hosted in USA "I am feeling very happy to share my experience with AFS India. I am really having a great time here. It’s the best time ever in my life. I celebrated Diwali with my family here. We put Diyas in our yard and made Rangoli. I made special Indian food for my family. I celebrated Diwali in USA that means a lot to me. This could happen all because of AFS. End of October here they have a big scary festival, Halloween. In school we celebrated Halloween week. A whole week I saw scary faces. Halloween is something we don't have in India. I had an awesome experience! I also dressed up for the Halloween. In Halloween they carved pumpkins too. I carved the pumpkins 3 times, with my friends, with my

By Nancy Beniwal, Hosted in Italy "Two months back, I couldn't believe that I would be in Italy in some days. It seemed like a beautiful dream. But today here I am, writing my experience. I really don't know how to put this into words. I can describe my experience best as amazing and confusing at the same time. Sometimes it's like I'm lost in the middle of nowhere and the other days I feel like this is where I belong. It all started on a beautiful morning of September 9th 2017. Though I was very tired after a long journey but the mesmerizing view of Rome made it disappear, my excitement level was so high that I totally forgot about it. I must say that I'm love with this city. I stay 3 hours away from there but I never miss a chance to visit Roma! After a day, I finally met my host family. There was an instant connection between us; my host mother is the definition of kindness. I think she's the nicest person I've ever met and my sisters are everything I wanted, we do all sorts of crazy stuff together. People in Italy are warm and welcoming and they tend to help you in each step. The one thing I missed most about India was my school. I personally think that it was the hardest part of my experience as I always felt lost and confused in my Italian school which I think is quite normal when you come to a totally different environment and with all of the differences. The best part of my experience till now was the AFS camp. When I got to know that there's

Minnesota. There I heard really inspirational speeches from AFS USA persons and there they had big festival of culture. I took part in that and there I had one table for India and I put the things that represent the culture of India and explained to all. It was a beautiful experience to explain and give answer to their questions. This was my life’s awesome and good time. I am having the best time with my family here. I just want to say thank you to AFS from bottom of my heart for selecting me and giving me such a wonderful and unforgettable opportunity to experience new culture and learning."

(Photo Above: Outing with new friends) family and in the library where I am doing community service. Also 2nd November is the day of the death. I celebrated the day of the death in my Spanish class. We made food that is special for day of the death. It was my first time celebrating day of the death. A totally new experience!! In October I had my first concert choir. That was also new and amazing experience for me. I am having adventures and wonderful time with my family. I played volleyball for fall season and I got certificate for best new player. The best experience that I had recently was that I went to great AFS get together in Minneapolis, 4

(Photo Above: My host father and I, along with the family dog, Sif) One major difference, on the other hand, is party culture. Danish school parties are an entire world away from anything I could have experienced back home. I’ll never get over how much fun it is to dance for hours underneath the shimmery disco ball, surrounded by your friends and two hundred other tipsy teenagers, and then even your feet get sore in your heels, you still don’t ever want to stop. There are dozens of other huge differences I’ve also noticed, but those would take forever to list. I’ve also been enjoying the cultural exchange between my host family and me. They teach me how to perfect my Danish pronunciation, and I teach them a few phrases in my language for fun. They introduce to me traditional Danish food, and I introduce to them traditional Thai and Indian food. They help me adjust to living here, and I tell them interesting things about my life back home. Throughout the three months I’ve been here, I’ve been tremendously happy, and I don’t think I could ever regret making the decision to travel with AFS to Denmark. I’m super thankful for the loving family and friends I have here, and though I miss my home and family back in Thailand, I’m very eager to spend the next few months here in Denmark, continuing to learn and grow."

AFS Intercultural Programs India | November 2017 | Page No - 3 |

Comments by our volunteers


AFS India Day Celebrations 2017 Community Service Theme - Feed the Hungry

“Somewhere we became more conscious for the importance of the food and the meaning of hunger”

“What’s more to see the smile on the less privileged children who had dined on the fare gave a sense of fulfillment.”

"To the National office: Unless they inspire… we could not get the feeling of how beautiful a world becomes when you spread a smile."

“It gave them a good feeling of having done something for others. We solemnly realize through this celebration that community service is a way for a person to give back."



“The best way to find you is to lose yourself in the service of others.”– Mahatma Gandhi “Set your heart on doing good. Do it over and over again, and you will be filled with joy.”– Buddha We at AFS India do series of activities and events on different occasions throughout the year and the most special day is of course 8th Nov i.e. AFS India Day. We celebrate AFS India day at twofold level i.e. by marking the week through doing community service followed by get together & reconnecting of the volunteers for joyous moments. Every year we choose a theme for the community service which can be followed by our entire chapters pan-India. This helps us to have uniformity all over AFS family in India.

(Photo Above: Volunteers serving food) (Photo Above: Volunteers cooking food)

Sometimes we think that the world's problems are so big that we can do little to help. But each act of goodness can be bigger than we imagine! This year we had theme of our community service during AFS India Day as "Feed the Hungry”. Chapters had a choice to organise event on one day or spread it over two to three days as per their convenience. Chapters had gone it in different ways i.e. going to people who live on the breadline, Leprosy patients, an orphanage, distribution to the slum kids, construction workers and the kids, open community, the deprived children in encompassing village, poor people & attendants of the patients at AIIMS in Delhi or inviting the tribal children to their own school canteen for food and other places. Few chapters collaborated with some organisations like Robinhood Army in Jodhpur who is a volunteer based organization that works also works on the concept of Feed the Hungry; school of disabled children; NGOs like Janseva Pratishthan, Igatpuri near Nashik; Manav Smruti Trust for mentally challenged people in Gandhi Nagar; AASMAAN is working for poor children in Ahmedabad; Yogashram, Uttarsanda-hostel for tribal girls in Anand; Shree Jalaram Satsang Mandal in Jamshedpur; Dnyanadeep Balkashram for children in Pune.

(Photo Above: Hosted Students with volunteer during the activity) Baroda (Photo Above: Host Student making Chapati) Anand

It didn't matter whether it was a formal and organised way of distribution or open community or slums our volunteers had put in all their efforts with joy and enthusiasm. Everyone shared in their feedback that the atmosphere was at once participative and filled with joy. Laughter and cheer was in the air, as the food-fest got underway. The involvement, eagerness and passion that our volunteers, host families and the hosted students have shown is phenomenal and worth appreciating. The Feed-the-Hungry program certainly seems like an activity that the AFS India should mark as an important annual event. It’s our pleasure indeed to share few glimpses from each chapter. (Photo Above: Volunteers cooking food for distribution) AFS Intercultural Programs India | November 2017 | Page No - 4 |

(Photo Above: Volunteers preparing food)




(Photo Above: Hosted Students & Volunteer serving food) Patiala

(Photo Above: Volunteers preparing & distributing food) Delhi

(Photo Above: Volunteers & Hosted Students distributing food) Jodhpur

(Photo Above: Hosted Students & Volunteer serving food) Pune

(Photo Above: Volunteers distributing food) Ooty

(Photo Above: Volunteers preparing & distributing food) Varanasi (Photo Above: Lunch with kids) (Photo Above: Volunteers & Hosted Students preparing & distributing food)



(Photo Above: Volunteers distributing food)

(Photo Above: Serving food to kids) AFS Intercultural Programs India | November 2017 | Page No - 5 |

initially to take the public transport by bus alone. Hence, I am definitely more independent here at my host chapter, Ahmedabad.

Round Square Service Project at RKC The project was to build toilets, a stage, and paint walls of a village school adopted by the Rajkumar College.

HOSTING HOST STORIES My Impact Story By Banu Newell from USA, Hosted in Bangalore "After 3 months of school and community building, Bangalore has harnessed my growth and my teaching as I continue to impact the spaces I occupy. I have already cocreated a school poetry club where me and other senior (Photo Above: Sara holding placard) Continuing my exchange, I have become more flexible, when something wrong or unexpected happens, I am quite able to manage it because now I try to be always aware of what is happening around me in each and every moment." Student of the Quarter Award Each year, we have young ambassadors, to take forward this mission to create a lifelong impact in the communities that they are placed. (Photo Above: With friends & volunteers) Poets teach younger poets the importance of poetry, and aspects of performance poetry. I have also left my mark on Vidyashilp’s (my school) athletic image after making the soccer team, and competing in further competitions. Impact isn’t just teaching and giving knowledge, but receiving knowledge as well, and I am grateful to be in a host family and host community willing to nurture my growth as a Global citizen.

The Hosting Department of AFS India piloted a project: Student of the Quarter for its 1st Quarter Edition (JulyAug-Sept) The project aims to felicitate and motivate students who have reflected utmost level of positive spirit by living up to the vision of AFS. Outstanding students every three months will be recognized for their efforts to make the exchange a success.

(Photo Above: Hosted Students participating in projects) Our AFS students did a good job in all three projects. Philip, one of the exchange student, was remarkable; he tried all work and worked very seriously. AIMUN 2017 AIMUN is organized every year to employ within the delegates the vital skills of critical thinking and effective communication, and have them delve into several issues which humanity faces today, and to come up with innovative solutions to these. With the aim of nurturing a healthy debating environment that could bring out of the box thinking, and generates some sound innovative ideas that would be beneficial to the society at large, the 8th edition of the Amity International Model United Nations, took place from 16th to 18th November 2017 at Amity University Noida.

Culturally I have experienced many traditions and foods native to south India, and specifically Karnataka. So I have used photography and mixed media to capture the essence of my experience, and further bridge the gap between technology and art. I am excited to continue my impact story in the months to come." My Experience Till Now By Sara Canali, School Program participant from Italy, Hosted in Ahmedabad "I have always known theoretically, that prejudices are dangerous or at least useless. In India, I had the reasons to avoid my choice to travel to India. For example, Since, I arrived in my new country, India, I saw many peacocks without their long tail and I thought that Indian people had cut them to use their colorful feathers. Later, I introspected to which, I found out that female peacocks have just a short tail usually. India taught me a new concept of respect, especially towards the elders. Now, I feel uncomfortable if a child doesn’t call me ‘Didi’ or if I forgot to say, ‘Sir or Ma'am’, while I am talking with one of my teachers. At my host family & community, I am learning not to consider my things as my private property. I shouldn’t feel bad if my host brother borrows my portable laptop for a while. On my initial month, I felt very impolite not to say, ‘thank you’ and ‘sorry’ to any member of my family. Now, I know that one should always help his relatives and it is a kind of a duty. It happens the same thing in a friendship also. After three months in India, I have taken on my own so many times the public transports such as Auto. In Italy, I have never taken even a taxi and I felt uncomfortable AFS Intercultural Programs India | November 2017 | Page No - 6 |

(Photo Above: Marta posing in Indian dress) A student from the school program was declared the winner for this project, for its 1st Quarter Edition (JulyAug-Sept)

(Photo Above: Hosted Students at AIMUN with teachers)

We are happy to announce the winners of the Student of the Quarter for School Program is MARTA IMENEO from Italy. Marta says, “Thank you so much! I can't say how happy I am!”

AIMUN 2017 was focused with constructive debates and discussions which help the delegates to develop their oratory skills, logical competence, diplomacy and social skills.

Congratulations on Accomplishing the Student of the Quarter in its 1st Quarter Edition (July-Aug-Sept). The Entries on the reflective essays received were evaluated & judged by the External Embassy Official.

All the participants did their best and shared learning with each other with focus on making the society a better place to live in by talking about issues & challenges humanity faces in today's world.

We Appreciate and Encourage the diligence towards participating in the Activities floated by the Hosting Team, at National Office.

From AFS India, total 12 participants participated in this Regional School event, to which 7 Exchange Participants were from 6 Chapters, along with 5 YES Abroad participants from the different branches of Amity Schools.

to take a tour of the World Bank Headquarters and got to see the virtual tour of Istanbul presentation by ATA DC at the World Bank along with meeting some amazing people there.

Impact of


PROGRAMS Funded by U.S. Department of State (Photo Above: Celebrating Diwali in America)

Diwali in America By Nihar Mehta, Hosted in USA "This month was a very special one as we had Diwali and also Halloween. I thought of doing something for Diwali to show them our Indian culture so I decorated my host family's house with candles, Toran, Rangoli and door hangings. Then we had Indian food and after that I told them the story about why we celebrate Diwali and how do we celebrate it. I taught them some Bollywood dance moves. We also watched a Bollywood movie. They had fun and so did I. After few days we had Halloween and my family had a Halloween party where we dressed up and they told me the story behind Halloween, I helped them out with the decorations and I made Bhajiya, an Indian appetizer for the potluck. It was really a great month where I learnt about American culture and my host family learnt about

Impact of

Indian culture. I was happy to have this opportunity to experience their culture." Opportunities By Vatsal Mehta, Hosted in Maryland "Recently, in the month of August, I participated in a youth cultural ambassador program by the American Turkish Association of Washington DC (ATA-DC) and got selected to be one of the fifteen youth cultural ambassadors in the DC metropolitan area. The high school students who got selected for this program were given an opportunity to participate in different events organised by ATA-DC like 'The World Bank Tour', 'US Congress Tour' and their major event 'The Turkish Festival' where the participants were given the opportunity to volunteer and a certificate for appreciation for being a part of the program. As a part of the program, on 7 Sep 2017, I got a chance enlightening. If I had to sum up the program as a whole then, I would say it was a five star experience and this one month would go down as one of the best one month i have ever had. I can now proudly say that i have an international family who I can always fall back upon.

(Photo Above: Visit to Capitol Hill) I also got to visit the US Capitol Hill on 13 Sep 2017 where I interacted with a Congresswoman and had a tour inside the Capitol Hill. I feel that being on an AFS cultural exchange program leaves you with plenty of opportunities to develop yourself into your best selves and for this I am thankful to all who are involved in my wonderful journey." a short time we started knowing everyone at the camp very well. Staying between so many people changed our way of thinking and we started looking at things from a different point of view. This experience changed my personality in a positive way.


International Family & Fun By Aban Padung, Went to Spain on Intercultural Summer Camp "My journey began on the 1st of July, 2017 when I met all the other Indians who were going along with me when we left for Malaga, Spain. I truly did not have any expectation or what this one month would do for us. But the impact that this trip has had on me was marvelous. It gave me a break from reality. It gave me some good free time away from my busy schedule. I could just be me for a while, with no filters on to impress anybody. It gave me a broader perspective about everything around but the one thing that I cherish the most out of all the things is the bonding, the relationship that we created with the people we stayed with during this one month. The food and culture of Spain is completely different from our country which was kind good since it gave you a different feeling in your taste buds which was pretty

(Photo Above: Outings with the group) AFS is doing a wonderful job trying to create an atmosphere for young people to interact with people from a completely different places, culture, values and background. Keep up with the good work and thank you for making me a part of this wonderful journey." Wonderful Experience

(Photo Above: With new friends)

By Aniruddha Naolekar, Went to Spain on Intercultural Summer Camp

We all successfully cleared the Spanish language test and got a diploma for the basic level.

"I am Aniruddha Naolekar, an AFS exchange student. We all had a wonderful experience and we enjoyed to the fullest. We learnt a lot at the camp. Staying with so many people from different cultures helped us gain a lot of knowledge. We all improved our social skills and in

I started knowing myself much better after returning and I feel more confident talking to new people. Thank you very much for all the coordination and arrangements."

Be part of #AFSeffect! Apply for AFS Short-Term Programs! Visit today:

AFS Intercultural Programs India | November 2017 | Page No - 7 |

I’m really grateful to AFS Intercultural Programs India for giving us such a magnificent and significant volunteer exchange opportunity. We would propose them to continue doing such exchange programs in future that will definitely keep our volunteers motivated and on the toes for contributing to the community."



ADAM Exchange Program to Adana, Turkey By Ameet Gohel from AFS Vadodara Chapter "It was indeed a great honour and pleasant surprise for me when I got selected for Volunteer exchange program with AFS Intercultural Programs between India & Turkey “ADAM” from September 28th to October 5th 2017. Participation in an exchange program is not a one-time event, but the beginning of an exchange of ideas that continues throughout your life. There’s a great big world out there and the time to discover it is now. Experiencing a new culture can help you better understand yourself and the world around you.

Thank you AFS India For Great Time! By Bankim Mehta from AFS Vadodara Chapter "Turkey Adam Exchange trip was just awesome and I had a very nice time. We reached on 28th September 2017 late evening and were welcomed by all our Turkish friends at Adana airport then from there we all went to respective friends (host) house where I met my host brother Mr. Gurkan Ozkok who is an Orthopaedic surgeon and his wife Deniz who is a teacher. On 29th September, after heavy breakfast, we went for sightseeing with Turkey Adams and visited a city museum which was very interesting because we saw some ancient sculptures, monuments and some precious jewelery which were used by different people very long back (before Christ). After that, we went to another place called ANVARAZA which is about 80 km from Adana and on our way ahead we had lunch on road site restaurant where we ate Sismik (kind of Parathas/frankie) filled with cheese and salad of olives, tomato and lemon after that we went to Alper's (host brother of Mr.Kaushal Pandya's) cousin's farm where we saw some racing horses and met their relatives and had delicious Turkish coffee. We went to see KIRKIYA castle which is very old time castle with some good history.

On 1st October, we went for a boat ride for whole day in Mediterranean Sea from morning to evening which was a mind blowing experience in itself because we had so much fun in the boat ride with Turkish lunch, dance and lot of fun with some other tourist on the deck and also had a chance to swim in the sea for two times. (I will never forget this in my life because it was awesome experience). On 2nd October, we four Adams were invited by Irem & other Eva ladies at Irem's (Eva sister) house for a brunch with a variety of many mouth licking items then we went to one public school (PRAL School) with Deniz and Funda for AFS presentation for sending where more than 100 students were gathered in a AV room and had a open session where in I also gave short speech about advantage of AFS program and welcomed students to come to India (also mentioned that we had a student Yasmeen Yurr from Turkey under exchange program) after that some of the students came to us and requested for photo with them for which I really feel great and THANKS AFS INDIA FOR MAKING THIS POSSIBLE AND PROVIDING SUCH A PLATFORM. Then in evening we went to see old Adana city where we did some shopping along with famous Adana sweets “Turkish Delight " and went to restaurant for dinner. On 3rd October, we went to Capadocia a town which is a geographical formation with a very different way of living from historic time then we went for a track in Gorene National Park which was very thrilling experience and we had a opportunity to see and eat many fruits like apple, berries, grapes, black grapes and many unknown fruits which our Turkish friends were plucking and offering us then in evening we checked in the hotel there after we went to a Turkish restaurant where we enjoyed Turkish folk dances and songs. On 4th October, after relaxing well in hotel we left. On the way to Adana, we visited some interesting places like Yukari, Nevsehir & Avanos then went to market where some of us purchased traditional souvenirs. In the morning of 5th October, we went to visit Central Mosque which is very big mosque and then to Adana Central garden where we did some shopping and then returned home as we were suppose to catch flight in the evening but unfortunately our flight got cancelled that day and got confirmation for next day morning flight.

(Photo Above: During the visit to Turkey) “No matter what the cultural differences between people are, the fundamental nature of all humans is the same. All humans understand the importance of tolerance and acceptance in a community, and we all understand the gestures of respect and compassion we make to each other even if we come from vastly different backgrounds. This has become very clear to me through the lasting and close friendships that I have formed with my friends, my family, and many other members of my community in ADANA, Turkey.” Well, 4 volunteers got selected from India, namely – Mr. Bankim Mehta, Mr. Kaushal Pandya, Mr. Yagnesh Vyas and I were hosted by Mr. Gurkan Ozkoc, Mr. Alper Unaldi, Mr. Kudret Yilmaz and Mr. Cem Hakan respectively for a week. All of us have had an amazing, nerve breaking, mind blowing and life time experience that can’t be described by meager words but has to be lived only. Once abroad we have faced an adjustment period referred to as "culture shock." Everything is unfamiliar; from weather, landscape and language to food, fashion, values, and customs. However, with the help of our great enthusiastic and amazing host brothers, we’ve been able to experience the best ever 7 km long trekking experience for about 3 hours, apart from visiting Cappadocia – a historical region in central Anatolia that defined a region of exceptional natural wonders, characterized by fairy chimneys & a unique historical and cultural heritage. Swimming experience in Mediterranean Sea too was breath taking and would surely be amongst the unforgettable experiences, we had delicious and mouth-watering typical Turkish brunch at EVA Sisters home – cheese (beyz, peynir, kasar etc.) butter, olives, eggs, tomatoes, cucumbers, jam, honey, and kaymak, sucuk, pastirma, borek, simit, pogaca etc. Our suggestions to the fellow volunteers who wish to undergo this beneficial and great volunteer exchange program is ‘Plunge into your host culture & wrestle with the differences, keep an open mind, get to know others at your host community or organization, never isolate yourself and learn as much as you can about your host culture.’ AFS Intercultural Programs India | November 2017 | Page No - 8 |

(Photo Above: Dinner with new friends) Evening was a Gala Dinner time at my Turkish brother’s home organised by Deniz; she also invited some (five) Romanian Eva ladies along with one family of Dominique Republic who's son is studying in Turkey along with some Eva sisters (who visited Vadodara in 2016) and some of her guest. Deniz had decorated her house with beautiful lights and had put flags of Turkey & India where we all took some pics and had a chance to eat some traditional Turkish dishes, salads with famous local sweets. I was so lucky to have Deniz and Gurkan as both of them were very kind, loving and caring and I knew Deniz before also when she came to Baroda under Eva program.

On 6th October, we reached Istanbul, got in to hotel and after breakfast went for sight seeing. On that day we visited some places, then took boat ride in Mediterranean sea as well as Black sea then went to local market in the evening for shopping and dinner. On 7th October from morning till late evening, we roamed in Tasleem square which is a very long shopping market with both side shops & malls, also took ride in tram way twice then returned to hotel and had some light snacks which we had taken from our home. On 8th October in the morning, after heavy breakfast in hotel roamed nearby hotel areas and 12 pm left for airport (Ataturk airport) and reached Baroda on 10th October via Kuwait. Our entire trip was excellent and especially all the host families in Adana were very cooperative and made such nice arrangement that we enjoyed each & every day in very special way and the treatment given by them was exceptionally good. Now it's our time to welcome our Turkish friends as they would be visiting us from 06th December to 12th December 2017

(Photo Above: Traditional Marriage) On 30th September we went again for sightseeing to Mersin (neighbour city of Adana) where on the road to Mersin we visited very olden time church & well (Cathedral of Saint Paul) then went to see one beautiful & natural water fall then we saw The Sehmeran legend (human head and a snake body) museum on way we also saw a couple wearing a traditional marriage dress (bride & groom) after that we went to see Cave of Asthma ( 7 sleepers cave) which is a natural cave turned out after volcano erupted then went to see a big cave name Heaven and Hell (Natural geographical formation) then went to Kudret's summer house in Mersin on Sea Shore to enjoy night out with all eight Adams.


Our entire trip was excellent and especially all the host families in Adana were very cooperative and made such nice arrangement.

AFS Intercultural Programs India Newsletter | November 2017  

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

AFS Intercultural Programs India Newsletter | November 2017  

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