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September 2018 | Issue IX

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

AFS Intercultural Programs India


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

What’s Inside? 02 | 03 | 04 | 05 | 08 | 10 | 12 | 13 |


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.

Editorial by Aadil F. Principals Meet Alumni Stories NSLI-Y Program Programs Engagement Hosting Stories Impact of YES Program Volunteer Stories

Upcoming Events November - AFS India Day Celebrations

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


Implement AFS Intercultural Learning Programs at your school for your students & educators. Banner Photo: At AFS Global Conference in Budapest, Hungary

Editorial by Aadil F. The Change Starts With You “My exchange year changed the way I looked at the world around me and gave me what I would call a Glocal perspective.”, says Akash, an alumnus turned volunteer while reflecting on his new initiative to raise awareness and induce action in school students towards attaining the UN SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals). Like Akash, many other alumni who choose to volunteer with AFS India have similar stories to share. The most impactful element of the AFS Program is the continued journey. Once an AFS educational exchange program is over, an AFSer shifts from being an exchange student learning to become a global citizen to a volunteer acting as a global citizen. The most recent survey done by AFS on Volunteer Satisfaction outlines that 89 percent of volunteers feel that their work makes an impact in their communities and 90 percent are satisfied by volunteering with AFS in India. “My exchange experience with AFS helped me understand the importance of community service and its sustainability.”, says Wasudev, an alumnus turned volunteer, who started his initiative Silaigram which sells handmade cloth bags made by underprivileged women in the rural area. A journey as an AFS volunteer is a rewarding one. Being part of the AFS community means being around exceptional changemakers and innovators. With their selfless desire to address the challenges of the grassroots and the laser-sharp focus on creating positive change in the community, AFS volunteers design and implement local impact projects with a global viewpoint. With a belief in the power of the UN SDGs, AFS has aligned itself to Goal #4 (Quality Education) and Goal #16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions) through the 3 impact pillars of its Network Strategy that underscore the need for Developing Active Global Citizens, Globalizing Schools & Institutions and Expanding Access to Intercultural Education. AFS Volunteers, Students, Educators & other stakeholders have been advocating for these goals in around 90 countries where AFS programs exist. In the recent United Nations SDGs Campaign that happened through the http://act4sdgs. org/ portal, AFS India was an Action Partner where our volunteers designed and implemented innovative social impact projects and SDG awareness campaigns. AFS volunteers don’t create impact by chance but through a carefully thought design. AFS has a learning curriculum in place to teach Active Global Citizenship and to build Intercultural Competency which has been built through our experience and research of running educational exchange programs for 70+ years. This learning is imparted to students, teachers, host families and volunteers through regular experiential training. Using this expertise, AFS has also created a Global Competence Readiness Index for schools to help schools identify the gaps in their curriculum to create Active Global Citizens with 21st Century Skills. To create a just, peaceful and sustainable world, AFS India volunteers have been working on areas of actions such as gender 2

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

inequality, interfaith harmony, beating plastic pollution, beach cleaning, taking quality education to the underserved communities, clean energy, community enhancement, peace education and much more. Today’s world requires volunteers who are civic-minded and ready to think of sustainable development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of the future generations, as mentioned in the Brundtland Commission Report. If you believe that you have got the potential to bring a positive change in the community and have the resilience to fight alongside the community of changemakers to develop a better tomorrow, reach out to us, become an AFS volunteer. If you’re an organization aiming to collaborate to advance a sustainable future, we’d be happy to partner. AFS India is privileged and proud to have a group of dedicated and committed volunteers in more than 25 cities who are actively engaged in meaningful social impact projects and inspiring others in their community. The old adage ‘the change starts with you’ is what drives AFS volunteers towards improving the 21stcentury imbalanced world to build a sustainable tomorrow.

Volunteer to create change VOLUNTEER

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

Group of Principals at the School

Principals’ Meet in Guwahati On 16th September 2018, a Principals’ Meet was organized at Maria’s Public School, Guwahati where School Heads from 10+ schools were part of the Meet. It was the first school event AFS India conducted in Guwahati and it was received well by the school representatives who attended it. The meet focused on introduction of AFS, the Programs that AFS offers and the benefits and opportunities that AFS provides to its Partner schools. Dr. Sumer Singh, AFS India Board Member, who was one of the key-speaker of the Meet, shared his thoughts on intercultural learning and motivated Schools to be part of AFS experience. We also had Divya Arora, AFS India’s National Director; Sarita Badhwar, Consultant, AFS India and Roma Shah, Volunteer, AFS India present for the meet.

Become an AFS India Member School

It was a platform where all the Schools got the opportunity to interact with each other and learned about the vision and mission of the organization. Principals came to know how AFS aims towards globalizing classrooms, advancing intercultural learning and creating active global citizens in india. They also were given knowledge of how AFS offers transformative learning journeys that are customized to students, families, volunteers, adults and communities.

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


We’re thankful to Maria’s Public School for being a great host. 3


With Host Family

Summer of Reunions host mom had booked her tickets to come to see me and her first student Lea from Belgium, in Paris. I had never met Lea before, but we planned to meet in Brussels where she lives and then drives down to Paris together from there. So I took a bus from Germany to Belgium and spent a day with Lea and her friends in Brussels, and the next day we drove together to Paris to pick up my host mom and sister, then we all explored Paris together and we went to Disneyland as well. Later we did a long road trip to the west of France and spent a couple of days in the countryside there. We hiked the beautiful shores of the North Sea together and spent the whole week reminiscing about our time together in the US. We had a beautiful time together and I got to know Lea, who I would have never known if it wasn’t for my host mom and my exchange. Despite being thousands of miles from home, this summer I felt right at home in different lands with different families, all of which are my families, and I can’t thank AFS enough for these experiences and reunions. The cliché saying, “Home isn’t a place, it’s a feeling” is indeed very true and that’s why home for me is spread across this globe.”

By Hardi Mankodi, Alumni of YES program “I recently moved to Germany for my bachelor’s degree and it has been a wonderful experience so far. This summer as I was working here. I decided not to fly back to India, but instead, spend the summer with my families on this side of the globe. In June, my Italian sister Federica, who was in India in the year 2015-16 visited me here in Germany for a weekend. We met after 3 years and even if it was for a very short time, we made the best of it. We cooked Indian food together, I got to show her my city and made her meet my friends here. Then in July, I visited Alessandro, my Italian brother who was in India from 2014-15, and he showed me around his hometown and we went to some of the most beautiful lakes in North Italy. I got to meet his family and they made me feel right at home. I even got to see his University in Turin and got to experience a very Italian summer barbecue in the countryside. This was my second time visiting him this year, but him living so close makes me feel closer to home. Later in August, I got to meet my American host family. My 4


Testimonials of National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) Summer Program Participants About NSLI-Y: The National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) program was launched in 2006 to promote critical language learning among American youth. The U.S. Department of State, in cooperation with American Councils for International Education, awards and administers merit-based scholarships to high school students for participation in summer and academic year immersion programs in locations where the eight NSLI-Y languages are spoken. NSLI-Y immerses participants in the cultural life of the host country, giving them formal and informal language practice and sparking a lifetime interest in foreign languages and cultures. NSLI-Y program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State.

In Traditional Attire

The Tale of Unity By Nadine Abdul Rahim “Being a Muslim American exchange student in India was quite thrilling to say the least. Going from being the minority to majority was thankfully a learning experience. One moment taught me more than anything. One day while talking to my Muslim friend Ayesha at school expressing how happy it made me to find Muslims in Queen’s College, she said to me “Why do you American care about castes so much? You’re always asking about the castes and what not, why? Nadine - We all have the same divine soul living in us. It lives in me, you, the Hindus, the Punjabis, everyone. We all are one- human. These castes define our belief systems and backgrounds but otherwise do not separate us like you think. We are one.” This message showed me how much my own American culture teaches us to separate people into boxes innately. Here in India, I have found the world that I’ve never had before and I’m beyond thankful. We truly are all ONE.”



Patience By Carrey Hickman


“Coming into the exchange I was a person, very rigid when it comes to plans and such. I did not have the ability to go with the flow and not be well informed of plans and times. I also was not ready to understand the differences that existed in people around me. From the very first moment arriving in India, I was forced to drop this and adjust very quickly to a new way of understanding. I was never involved into plan making and almost never informed of what or when we were doing things. I had to deal with the Indian Standard Time which was different. I also had to get used to just having to accept differences in my host family because I did not want to seem rude. The shock of being left out of plans and having so many issues that I just had to accept and take for granted taught me to become a more patient person who can more effectively deal with his problems and be more chill in my plans and mindset.”

The Cultural Discoveries By Amiya Wiggins “When I came on this program, initially I did not know what to expect. I did not think that many connections would be made and I would only be learning Hindi. I was entirely wrong. While I was there in Indore, I was able to step out of my comfort zone and fully embrace the Indian culture. At home I did not wear any “feminine” clothing or have a “girly” attitude but, Indians are very strict about the gender roles, so originally I strongly objected wearing skirts, sarees or traditional Indian wear etc. I did not want to give cooking a chance and I didn’t like having to eat after my host brother or father. As the time went on, I became more immersed in the culture and gave things a chance. I wore the traditional wear and actually enjoyed it. I was also more open to helping my mother with cooking, shopping and serving/helping men in the family. In summary, I learned how to be more open to new experiences and ideas even if it conflicted with what I’m used to doing. I think I’ll be more adventurous in the future and willing to tackle more experiences right away. My goal is to travel around the world and help people, and I can be more beneficial if I am able to immerse myself in the culture.”

Beyond The Language Goals By Nandita Parekh “I came to India as an Indian American girl familiar with Indian culture and media. As I entered Shishukunj School and started talking to my host family, I realized that my years of watching Hindi movie, helped me pick up the language very quickly. A lot of Hindi words were similar to the language Gujarati, which I speak at home in America. As I picked up the Hindi language, I was worried that I wouldn’t reach my NSLI-Y language learning goals. However, during the next few weeks I realized that NSLI-Y wasn’t only about the language. The friends that I made in Indore and the memories I made with my host family were so valuable and lovely. I loved this experience so much because it was completely different from my expectations. The experience I had in India was invaluable and I am thankful that I got a chance to visit and meet such wonderful people.”

Cultural Learning By Carson James Bennink “I was interested in the program mostly due to the language aspect, but I ended up gaining more. Above all I gained a new set of friends and a very loving family. I now feel like I have an entryway into this new country and culture through my host family as well as the language I learned I definitely plan to stay connected with my family and with the people of Indore.”

From top: Carrey, Amiya, Nandita, Carson & Simran

Exploring India By Simran Kaur Sall “Coming to India for the first time through NSLI-Y was a very fulfilling experience. As an Indian – American, I have been exposed to a small amount of Hindi through songs, Bollywood movies, and various festivals. However, my India trip with AFS truly solidified everything whether it was learning Hindi in class or going to either class with my host mother, I am now much more appreciative of my Indian background and cannot wait to visit India again.”



Valuing the Exchange By Jackie Foster


“Whether you are someone that is looking to learn Hindi or someone that enjoys travel; I know and feel that everyone will go away from this experience with more knowledge then they came with. Throughout my exchange, I enjoyed learning Hindi and I learned a lot of life lessons which will help me for the rest of my life. My host family was amazing, and I don’t ever consider them my host family anymore, they are now my family. Your host family isn’t only your family, but they are your best friends they are people that will love you and care for you when you are down, they will pick you up. They will change your life. Outside of my family and school, this experience allowed me to become a better global citizen. I learned the true identity of India and I’m glad I was able to show them what it truly means to be an American. I am forever grateful.”

Togetherness By Sachin Sanjay “While on the plane to India. I had somewhat of an idea of what Indore was going to be like as I had already been to a few other Indian cities before I knew that this was going be completely different experiences as my family wasn’t with me driving around Indore it reminded me of where I live Indore is not too big nor small but then the thing that impacted we the most was the “Indori culture”. The entire society is based on respecting each other, however, there was such a togetherness through informality between strangers. Within a few days, I already felt like I was a part of my host family, the school, and the Indore community. I had only gone to India before as a tourist, but now I learned and experienced how life in India was as a student and a part of the community.”

Intercultural Connection By Annika Corinne Ganzeveld “After six weeks in Indore. India, I know that this will be an experience that I will never forget, From learning about various religions, especially Jainism, through my host family, to experiencing the respect that is given to elders, this program was filled with cultural learning. The connections we made with our host families, local students, and friends were impactful and broke down cultural stereotypes and burners. Furthermore, the meaningful intercultural connection we made will stay with us even as this life changing experience in Indore comes to an end.”

Language Learning By Keshwan Shrivilliputur “Mera naam Keshwan Shrivilliputur hai! During my stay in India, I learnt many things and met many people. My impact story is about tennis during my stay. I play for my university tennis team back there at home, so I was worried that I would fall out of shape during my stay here in India. Luckily, my host family talked to the head coach of the Indore Tennis Club (ITC) and arranged for me to take lessons. When I first went to tennis, I expected there to be many differences. However, the practices were almost identical to those I had back home. The only difference was the language barrier, but even that was simple. The technical words were all in English. The other words used in Hindi just added to my vocabulary. My use of commands improved (as the coaches used them a lot), also my general vocabulary improved. I also managed to connect with people that I wouldn’t have, due to our common interest in the sport.”

Forming Relationships By Luke Tyson

From top: Jackie, Sachin, Annika, Keshwan & Luke

“When I stepped off the plane in Indore for the first time around six weeks ago, I was terrified. Unsure of what my program would hold, how I would get along with my host family and whether I would succeed with a completely foreign language, I was understandably nervous about what was going to come. As I waved hello to my new city for the first time my host brother awaited me with a beaming smile, my mother with open arms, and my entire extended family with excitement that made me feel instantly at home. NSLI-Y is an about forming relationships that’s why languages are so important in the first place- they bring people together. From my first moment in my host community to teary-eyed goodbye exchanges on the day of my departure, I’ve found the most important of these formed relationships to the one I’ve made with the family that opened their home to me and welcomed me as one of their own.”


Group photo of participants on Kakehashi Program

Asia Kakehashi Project | National Level Gateway Orientation

Who is funding this scholarship? AFS Japan has been appointed by the national Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) to run the Kakehashi project, focused on facilitating intercultural exchange and understanding between teenagers in Japan and 20 other Asian countries. This government-sponsored program will provide full scholarships for 1,000 Asian high school students to study in Japan’s public high schools over the next five years. Together with 40,000 of their Japanese peers, these students will develop greater global competence and understanding of each other’s countries.

It gives us immense pleasure to share that AFS India conducted the National Level Gateway Orientation for the first batch of students for the prestigious Asia Kakehashi Project at AFS India National Office from 20th to 21st August 2018. Our heartfelt gratitude to the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) for this wonderful scholarship and opportunity to the students. It was a great experience to recruit students not only from India but also from Bhutan, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal. Participants on this program will build their global competence and become the future leader by spending an exciting time studying abroad in Japan! They will get to live with a host family or in a dorm, and will attend a Japanese high school and make friends with the Japanese peers. All this will help the participant improve their Japanese speaking skills, academic prospects, and intercultural fluency. We also want to thank AFS Japan for their continuous support and guidance round the clock.


The orientation was conducted by the staff along with our alumni who shared best practices on various topics like Ice Berg, W Curve, Communications styles etc. The orientation had a broader vision to prepare the participants with the right expectation from the Program with a focus on understanding the concepts of the intercultural learning. Our best wishes to the students for a great exchange program!

Apply for AFS Program!



School Trip to Tokyo By Shreesti Poudel, Participant from Nepal, Hosted in Japan, Asia Kakehashi Project 2018 “I am so happy to be here being on my school trip in Tokyo. I wanted to share my sincere gratitude to all involved because where I am right now is just because of your cooperation and support. Thank you for giving me this wonderful opportunity.”

My First Experience By Rinzin Tamang, Participant from Bhutan, Hosted in Japan, Asia Kakehashi Project 2018 With the Honorable “I feel so delighted to prepare Ema Dathsi (Bhutanese dish) for my beloved host family. Though Bhutanese dishes are spicy Governor of Gujarat they still loved it! This is an unforgettable experience for me and I want to thank each and everyone for giving me a chance for this cultural exchange experience.” 9


Community Service Experience


By Luka Wohl, YES Abroad participant Hosted in Delhi “On 1st Sept’18, accompanied by two exchange students and other friends, I was able to volunteer regarding raising money for the Kerala Relief Fund. Before commencing our volunteering, we were introduced to a girl from Kerala, whereupon she has been staying in Ghaziabad for the duration of a month while Kerala gets back on its feet. I was very curious so I asked about her family’s situation, and luckily she told me that her home was spared and that everything was fine, but unfortunately, that is not everyone’s case in Kerala. Therefore that is why we decided to volunteer for such cause, homes of families have been destroyed and they have no place to stay; most of the state needs to be rebuilt, or as said by many, “God’s own country needs our help”. So we did just that, we took the message to each house asking if they would donate their old newspapers, in which we would recycle, and in return get money to be placed in the Kerala Relief Fund. With three hours of knocking on 14 floors of house doors, we ended up receiving approximately 500 kilograms of newspaper, which equivalents to ₹5000, all to be donated for Kerala relief efforts! I learned from this experience that doing a minor thoughtful thing, such as collecting newspapers, can end up impacting people’s lives positively. With this, I have told myself that I will start helping out more often, in bigger ways, and not just in times of crisis. If more people learn and adopt this approach around the world, everyone would benefit across the globe.”

Hosted Students & Volunteers during community service

My Weekend Made The Difference By Harry Lou Cnops, School Program participant from Italy, Hosted in Delhi “Yesterday some friends and I we went to Ghaziabad in a building with 14 floors with 4 apartments each. We went there for collecting old news paper for Kerala Relief Fund. At the beginning I was very skeptical, I didn’t know if we could collect a lot of them, but finally the result was excellent, we collected 500 kg of newspaper and its value was 5.000 ₹. Yesterday I learned something that if I was in Italy I couldn’t learn, everything has a value, it can be very cheap or very expensive, but they still have a value, like the news papers. I’m really happy for what I’ve done, I helped people that have a lot of problem in that time and only of a few hours of my weekend made the difference. I was doing this with the thought that it was one of the best things that I made in my life and I was doing that with my friends, so I had a lot of fun and a lot of energy. I certainly want to do this again, and if everybody can make this, I’m sure this world would be 10

With host parents

better. If this happens it is also thanks to the AFS volunteer Sweta who organized that, took us from the metro station and gave us lunch.”

Positive Change By Reetta Elina Tenhunen, School Program participant from Finland, Hosted in Delhi “At the moment the situation in Kerala is very bad. For the community service and to give a little help from our side, we decided to collect old newspapers to sell them and give the money for the Kerala’s flood relief. We went door to door in our building to ask people old newspapers. Most of the people happily gave their old papers to us, which was great to see. The activity of the day thought me that very small gestures from people together can bring postive change and can be of huge help. It didn’t cause lot of effort for us to carry papers or people to give old newspapers to us, but still we raised good amount money, almost 5000 rupees! Also, it inspired me to give my help more often in the future and to contribute to the betterment of the society. It didn’t take anything else than a little time from me, but gave a good feeling of being helpful. In addition I had lot of fun time hanging out with friends while doing a good deed that’d help someone in Kerela.”

My First Month in India By Dávid Gyula Pinczési from Hungary, Hosted in Vadodara “Since I arrived to my host community I learned a lot of new things. I started learning the local language and now I can do shopping in Gujarati and also I can ask for directions. I can speak with the Rickshaw wala. I realized that I am speaking much louder then I used to do. The hardest thing to get to used to the traffic. Now I can ride the cycle while I am going for my training, Gujarati classes etc. Here I started to pay attention more to the cars and the pedestrian as everybody is going everywhere on the streets. If I would like to cross the road I need to be careful because nobody stops for anyone here. Other strange thing that in every mall or store there are security gates, it’s really surprising. Now I have got used to the school, I have a lot of friends and we hang out a lot. They always help me in everything regarding school, language, homework. The teachers are really kind and helpful too. I also learned how to serve a guest in India. If a guest arrives I give them a glass of water on a tray. This was really different to me, because in Hungary the guests will ask for water if they need. I had the opportunity to go to Ahmedabad to see a ring ceremony. In Hungary a ring ceremony is a small event with really close family members (max. 10 people). In Ahmedabad when we entered the place of the ring ceremony I was shocked there were more than 500 people invited. The ceremony was so beautiful and colorful with various dances. After the ceremony the lunch was served. When I ate a lot after my father told me, this was just the starter, so after it we ate second-course. I am looking for other great experiences”




Ohio Renaissance Festival By Brijesh Pansuriya, Hosted in Bedford, from Anand, Gujarat “I love traveling and exploring new things. I went to the Ohio Renaissance festival on 16th September. Our coordinator took me and other exchange students there where I also got to meet exchange students from different areas. It was a great experience overall. We learned many things about the festival and pirates. Exploring cultural aspects of America is something I enjoy a lot. Thank you YES Program and AFS!�

On Right: Celebrating Raksha Bandhan with host brothers and cooking Indian food by Amisha Choudhary from Jamshedpur, Jharkhand, Hosted in Farmington, Maine, USA 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.



Photo Above: Group of volunteers engaged in the Service Photo Below: Volunteers in Action

Restoration of Lakes By Saravanan Rajan, AFS India Alumni, Volunteer AFS India Chennai Chapter “Being an alumni of a prestigious program is to change the world. But, not all of us have the opportunity to do even a little in making this world a better place. So the volunteers of Chennai decided to do community service at least once every month, starting from September. One of the main issues around the world is water scarcity. Sometimes we receive rain and sometimes we don’t but saving water has become one of the most important factors. Apart, from the reservoirs, lakes are the most effective way of storing water. But currently, it is being turned out into a dump-yard, a place where all the waste ends. So we started off with cleaning the lakes which were filled with trash and waste. An NGO called Environmentalist Foundation of India (E.F.I) basically works on the restoration of lakes. We volunteered in one of their weekends Lake Cleanup activities. We cleaned a part of the Kothandaramar Lake in West Mambalam, Chennai, India on 1st September 2018 from 7 am to 9 am. We are planning to do an awareness program along with EFI to give presentations to school children and also bring clubs like NCC (National Cadet Corps) and NSS (National Service Scheme) from schools to work on various activities like Lake Cleanup and wall paintings. There were three YES program alumni and four alumni of various other programs took part in this project. Thanks to the volunteers who participated. We are also planning to involve in beach cleanups in near future with the help of more volunteers.


We are planning to include more school students and build up with an awareness program around Chennai.” 13

Green Run Event on International Youth Day By Shilpa Tanna, Volunteer from Gandhinagar Chapter

Kadi Sarva Vidyalaya Visit By Shilpa Tanna, Volunteer from Gandhinagar Chapter “On Saturday 4th August 2018 a volunteer from Switzerland Mirtha, and 3 exchange students (2 from Italy and 1 from Thailand) along with Kadi volunteers visited Kadi Sarva Vidyalaya campus. They were welcomed by putting tilak and bouquet of paper flowers made by the students. AFS Gandhinagar chapter President Dr. Varsha Parekh welcomed and introduced them. The Principal, Mr. Arpit Christian also welcomed them and gave a glimpse of activities and programs done by the school. The faculties introduced and welcomed them. It was followed by an interaction between exchange students, faculties and school students. Some interesting questions were put up by students like the education system in their country, exam pattern, a celebration of festivals, religion, etc. All the questions were answered very nicely by the students. One of the most interesting questions was, “What has the government of their country planned for the youth?” Similarly, the reply was also nice. He said that the government wants the youth to be active, engaged in some good work and be part of the development of the country. One of the experiences they shared was about the schools in India was, they found Indian schools are quite strict and they like the way Indian students respect the teachers. They even liked the school uniform system in India. After the interaction, the students and volunteers went to the campus visit. They met the rector of the hostel Mrs. Kaushalyaben Parikh. They asked a few questions and talked about the rules of the hostel. They had delicious Gujarati lunch at the hostel and left for Kadi.”

“Rotary Club of Gandhinagar organized Green Run event on International Youth Day on Sunday. Our AFS chapter received a special invitation from 2 host students where 5 volunteers participated. The Principal of our M. B. Patel School also participated in the run along with host students. Each participant received a T-shirt and a certificate. The Mayor of Gandhinagar Shri Pravinbhai Patel and Secretary of Tuna Seva and Cultural Department Shri Bhaveshbhai Erda met and wished them good luck. Overall, 1900 people participated in the Run. Our volunteer Ms. Sonal Shah did a commendable job to make this event a great success.”

Monu John Thomas (YES’12) from Trivandrum participated along with 15-20 volunteers from St. Rita’s Malankara Church conducted an activity of Tree plantation on World Environment Day. They all together planted around 18 saplings.



Tree Plantation By Yashodhan Shende, Volunteer, AFS India Pune Chapter “Tree Plantation Activity was conducted with the partnership of Forest Department, Maharashtra State at Pune Chapter on 28th August, 2018. The volunteers, host families and host students who attended this event were first briefed by the Forest Department Officials on the motive behind the Tree Plantation Initiative led by Forest Department, Maharashtra State and then, the participants planted the trees with great vigor and enthusiasm. Later, the participants of this community service project also toured the Biodiversity Park which is still under construction. The participants of this community service project felt very excited about this event. They were motivated to conduct such type of community service events with various AFS stakeholders at Chapter Level.”

Environmental Advocates A group of committed AFS volunteers who call themselves Environmental Advocates are part of a Project titled as Reduce, Reuse and Recycle where they are educating people about the importance of reducing, reusing and recycling plastic in community, school etc. Currently they are aiming towards reaching out to School for maximized impact after creating awareness amongst friends and families.

Being part of Reduce, Recycle, Reuse plastic project has made me realize that it’s possible to beat plastic pollution only through conscious efforts by individuals. Making sure that plastic doesn’t reach the outer surrounding and reusing it as long as we can is probably the best way to start with. Taking initiative at the individual level is very important in order to bring a change in society. Choosing a few simple tasks and making an effort to follow them consciously has made me explore the significance of the same. In RRR project, with the motto of beating plastic pollution, I chose simple tasks such as always carrying a water bottle while going out, using plastic bottles to plant saplings or store cooking ingredients, avoid using straws and buying plastic files and folders etc. Requesting friends to adopt some of these activities in their daily life has also been found to be fruitful. It’s so good to be a responsible environmental advocate. Through this Project, I want to continue spreading awareness about the harmful effects of plastic. - By Madhusudan Rao, AFS India Alumni, Volunteer, AFS India Bangalore Chapter


Being part of this project had made me realize that since past so many years how adversely we have been consuming plastic and how badly it’s impacting our surroundings. It is well said that charity begins at home, if we need to change something, we have to start as an individual only. Implementing the same we’ve started taking up simple tasks like saying no to chewing gums, taking your own bag everywhere,recycling and reusing plastic bottles and containers in an artistic way and so on. These activities have helped me realize that it’s not easy to implement in a broader way but it can be done for sure if we keep our efforts going on continuously. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “be the change you wish to see in the world”, so in this project too, we all started implementing it on an individual level, then took it to the society level and then later we’ll plan to go on the larger scale. Taking these small steps will definitely help us to achieve the sustainable environment and help Mother Earth in beating the plastic pollution.

- By Keval Rathod, Volunteer, AFS India Ahmedabad Chapter The project has made not just me, but others in my circle, change their lifestyle to eco-friendly living - By Vasudha Tavag, Volunteer, AFS India Bangalore Chapter

AFS Mission AFS Intercultural Programs is an international, voluntary, non-governmental, non-profit organization that provides intercultural learning opportunities to help people develop the knowledge, skills and understanding needed to create a more just and peaceful world. AFS Values AFS enables people to act as responsible global citizens working for peace and understanding in a diverse world. It acknowledges that peace is a dynamic concept threatened by injustice, inequity, and intolerance. AFS seeks to affirm faith in the dignity and worth of every human being and of all nations and cultures. It encourages respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms without distinction as to race, sex, language, religion or social status. AFS activities are based on our core values of dignity, respect for differences, harmony, sensitivity and tolerance.

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

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

AFS India Newsletter | September 2018  

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

AFS India Newsletter | September 2018  

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