Visit to the flood affected area in Kadi – Chayanee from Thailand



Chayanee, along with her host family had donated food to the poor people of the town during the floods in Kadi, Gujarat.

Chayanee says:
“Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings “-Nelson Mandela-
Poverty is a major issue in the world and should be solved as quickly as possible. However, for that to happen, all of us need to work hard to help the poor.
For me, I may not be that rich to donate a majority of money to the charity but what I can do is donate my time to help people who really need it….
If we all just took 10 minutes out of our day to help someone that needs it then we can make a huge difference without sacrificing much. A little bit goes a long way. Poverty will not be solved overnight but if we ignore it nothing will ever change. Most people in poverty don’t choose to be there but they are born into it, some people
are privileged and born into wealthy families. To give is to help people just like you that aren’t in privileged…
Even though I am just a 16 year old girl, I have helped many people and I will continue to do so for the rest of my life because I believe that we all were born with the ability to change someone’s why waste it?”



Jamshedpur Welcome Party


Both the host students Lucas and Filipo were very excited when they were informed about the welcome party with their families, coordinators and counselors and volunteers. Rangoli was made and welcome note was written for both. They were informally introduced to all the volunteers present. The Host students wanted to
have just “Indian food”. They tried the different dishes that were there and thoroughly enjoyed themselves. We had singing and game sessions. Everybody enjoyed a lot.




Nashik Welcome Party


On 30th July, Sunday at 8.30 am in morning we started our journey to Bhandardara
Dam with full of excitement. We booked 55 seater bus. We all the volunteers of Nashik
chapter and our families, all the returnees and their families, host students Lisa and
Chiara and their  host families, Omkar Musale the student selected for yes scholarship for this year and his family. Totally we were 17 Volunteers, 2 host students, 5 kids, 1 YES
participant and 25 others (Total=50) enjoyed the starting journey.

Near about 11 am we reached at a beautiful point called Randha fall. All instructions
were given and everyone was asked to take care of their own family as well as others. Specially two volunteers were asked to look after two host daughters.  We all got out of the bus and enjoyed that attractive and amazing waterfall which made all of us more fresh and happy. After some group photo session we moved further. At 12.30 pm in afternoon we enjoyed delicious lunch together. Near about 2 pm we gathered for welcome program.
First Mr. Shivaji Shinde took an introduction round of us. It was so interesting fun game
that even kids took part and gave amazing introduction of themselves.
After lunch we had our chapter meeting. Mr. Shinde talked about AFS and its
intercultural exchange program. He also told about hosting students, shared his
experience being a host family. It created awareness among other families. Then next
we all welcomed our host students Lisa and Chiara by giving them some gifts one by

IMG_4072We also wished Omar Musale a happy journey and best luck for coming year .All
volunteers gave him a contribution gift. Then we enjoyed some funny games.
At last we all moved to next destination and it was the ultimate moment of fun of getting
wet, enjoying the rain and umbrella waterfall and garden. We all enjoyed there a lot.
Near about 6.15 pm in evening we started our returning journey. It was also full of
memories and more awareness about AFS India. That’s why we all are feeling thankful to AFS and also feeling more proud of AFS.

NSLI-Y Summer Program Experience of Rachel Marie Dinh From Tempe, Arizona Hosted in Indore, Madhya Pradesh (Shishukunj School)

As I’m sitting on my host family’s terrace on a breezy Sunday morning hearing peacock shrills in the background, I’m wondering a few things. First of all, did I forget to take my malaria pill again? And second of all, how am I going to leave India, the country that I’ve called home for the last six weeks?

Saying this experience was amazing is not enough. Of course in a new country, you adjust to a different way of life. Here, I saw how Indians skillfully navigate through the chaos that is called traffic. I tried the vegetarian lifestyle and came to enjoy daal, sabzi, and roti. I looked forward to watching Bollywood movies with my family every day. I even got used to using bedays, which is definitely a cultural experience. More than seeing different things though, you can become a different person in another country.

I’m normally a shy person, but here it’s kind of impossible. Every day at school, I interacted with Indian kids who were curious about American culture and my reason for coming to India. At home, I would be telling my mom about my day in broken Hindi sentences. I used to be hesitant in speaking Hindi because kids would always giggle and give pointed looks to each other. You quickly learn not to be sensitive to forward-sounding remarks because it’s only by realizing your flaws and that you can improve.

It’s especially worth it when people’s faces light up because I spoke their native language. Something I admire about India is how there are countless religions and gods, but somehow, these different beliefs coexist in a nonjudgmental environment. For example, at Shishukunj, the morning prayers are from different religions every day.

Riding the bus to school gives a glimpse of rural life in India. There are  kids who are old enough to go to school but stay home to help their parents. In taking a field trip to a small village school, I met dedicated students who told me they loved to learn. I’ve  dreaded getting out of bed to go to school on many mornings, while some just hope for that chance.

If you’re asking about a cultural impact, yes, I definitely had one. It’s easier for me to get out of my comfort zone and to understand others’ beliefs, even if they’re not my own.

Here’s to the last week of authentic chai, unplanned adventures, and unforgettable memories!

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Fancy Dress Competition – Suteera Nilmanee from Thailand

Suteera Nilmanee from Thailand, hosted in Chettinad School, Karaikudi, has won the first place in the fancy dress competition which was held in her school.
Suteera says:
This is my first time that I join in fancy dress competition. Kind of clothes is Nagaland dress (tribe dress).
And I got the 1st place of this competition! At first, I didn’t want to wear this dress and worried that everyone would not like my dress. But when I won the competition. I’m proud of myself. And I think it is an experience as well.

Suteera Nilmanee from Thailand, hosted in Chettinad School, Karaikudi won 1st place in Fancy dress competition

Delhi Welcome Party Report


Delhi Chapter hosted the welcome party for the students hosted in the chapter for the NH 17-18 cycle on 12th August, Saturday, 2:30 pm onwards, at Goverdhan Towers, Kaushambi, Vaishali. This is the residence of one of our active volunteers, Ms Sweta, who had kindly volunteered the space. We had included the celebrations of the Independence Day and Janmashtami too.  The dress code was traditional Indian in tri-colors, which was followed by most of the volunteers and the hosted students. There was a competition for the exchange students, too. They had to dress up like one of the famous Indian personalities, and speak something (preferably in Hindi). This activity was great fun.
Students spoke, some in English, some read out (Hindi text written in English), but we had Yukata, who spoke purely in Hindi and was given a special prize by the judges. Colin (for Jawaharlal Nehru) and Anna McKane (for Sarojini Naidu), received the first and second prize respectively. The Prizes were sponsored by Ms Sweta.

The host parents too, had a good time exchanging their experience with each other. There were a lot of starters before the Lunch. Everyone enjoyed the sumptuous food. We ended the day with the Exchange students cutting the Welcome Cake’, and receiving the special mugs prepared for them.
Everyone enjoyed a lot. Special thanks to Ms. Sweta for arranging everything so well.




  • Najmuzzaman Mohammad (YES’08) from Bangalore facilitated ICL Level W training that took place in Pune chapter on 30 July 2017. He was supported by Chaitanya Gokhale (YES’13) from Pune. The training was conducted for around 21 volunteers and it went off well.

170827 Alumni Report - Pune Level W Training 2


  • The BP official meeting was conducted at their office in Mumbai on 04 th Aug. In this meeting, BP alumni, current batch students, both sending and hosting were invited as follows: Yashashvi Sharma and Prakhar Sharma (2015); Sumiran Parmar and Tauseef Shah (2016); Nidhi Rathod, Jonathan Sheeba and Zeesha Shafi (2017); Annika Champe, Sidney Carr, Hannah Ochterbeck and Banu Newell (2017). Divya Arora, National Director of AFS India and Sabita Kotenkar, Mumbai Chapter President were also present. The meeting agenda included the introduction to BP and what we do in India and around the world along with sharing experiences and achievements. The participants also got an opportunity to interact with Sashi K Mukundan, Head of BP India where he talked about the strategy of BP India and where they are heading. After sharing the conversation turned where both the set of students (Indian students and host students) started talking about their experience in both Indian and USA. This was also then become advise
    to the next generation (students going this year). The other speakers present were Kedar Apte, Marketing person from Castrol India and Sneha Chanchani, Geologist in BP. At the end of the session, a small competition was held having 3 winners for the same. The meeting was well conducted and the students continuously asked questions about various issues that were being discussed.
  • Yashodhan Shende (YES’12) from Pune and Dhruv Thakkar (YES’13) from Gandhinagar were one of the two facilitators for National Gateway Orientation (PDO) for YES 2017-18 batch conducted in Delhi from 05 to 07 August 2017. Both also being the YES alumni, also shared their experiences with the students and were also able solve students queries at the same time.

170827 Alumni Report - National Gateway Orientation


  • The Volunteer Strategic Plan (VSP) Training was conducted in Pune on 20 August 2017. This training was attended by 10 volunteers (7 from Pune and 3 from Sangamner). Yashodhan Shende (YES’12) facilitated about the Volunteer Strategic Plan 2016-2019 and the various departments of the same. During the sessions, various queries from the volunteers were answered and the newly registered volunteers got a complete overview along with the details of AFS India. In addition, Zia Rahman from NO talked about what it means to be an AFS Volunteer and the very many aspects related to it. Saurabh Gadgil briefed about the day to day chapter functioning and the wonders as single volunteer can do.

170827 Alumni Report - Volunteer Strat Plan Training

  • Manshi Gala (YES’12) has been entitled as National Qualified Trainer (NQT) adding one more name in the list. She attended NQT training held in Delhi in February 2017.


English Language Summer Program 2017


The key objective of the program ventured into giving the participants a platform wherein they can improve their English language skills. The program this year was a mixed bag of participants from Italy (08) and Japan (1) with the key objective learning English language skills. It comprised of devising class room methods by our partner school DLF Public School-Ghaziabad, who organized a rigorous curriculum ensuring that all the components of English language: Reading, Writing, Speaking and Vocabulary were sufficiently covered so as to procure a noteworthy escalation in their English language learning. The participants were hosted by Indian host families in Delhi NCR.
With a view to ensure proper guidance for the participants, AFS India, in coordination DLF Public School, Ghaziabad, our partner school for the program, had organized the following:
a) Orientations: A variety of orientations right from the inducting the host families about the inclusions of hosting, arrival orientation to give the participants a warm welcome and helping them understand the expectations from the program, host family and host school, mid stay orientation to determine the growth of the participants while on program and lastly end of stay orientation to assess the take away points of the participants from the program. The host family experience of the students helped the participants to gauge the colorful Indian culture with its varied customs, the joint family way of living, the Indian parentage and many such myriad forays into the Indian culture.
b) Cultural Visits: With a view to ensure that the participants also had an insight into the Indian culture, we also organized visits namely:
i. Delhi Darshan: A visit around the famous and noteworthy monuments/heritage places
around Delhi which mirrors the history of Delhi. The participants really enjoyed the visit
and were very happy to have a deeper understanding of the Indian culture, history and way of living.
ii. Agra Visit: A visit to the Taj Mahal, Agra counted as one of the seven wonders of world
as well a Heritage sight was organized for the participants. A special guide to instruct on
the history and construction of Taj was appointed for the participants and it was really good to see the participants making the most of their trip to Taj.

  1. c) English Lessons: The partner school took special precaution in ensuring that the students were
    well instructed on their English lessons. The students were assessed on arrival for their English
    language skills and based on that special curriculum was designed so as to gain maximum learning in the language skills.
    Overall, the program turned out to be good and AFS India had a wonderful time hosting the participants.
    We are happy to note that all the participants had a very learning oriented experience where-in they gained not only English language skills but also got a chance to delve into the Indian culture



Summer Institute for Intercultural Communication (SIIC) Training Design for Intercultural Learning Workshop

I was fortunate to attend five day concurrent workshop at the Summer Institute for
Intercultural Communication (SIIC) in Portland, Oregon, USA this year from July 14 –
July 21, 2017.
The workshop was on Training Design for Intercultural Learning facilitated by Dr. Janet Bennett and Dr. Michael Paige.

SIIC is an opportunity characterize by the intensity of learning experience, relevance
to one’s professional development with an emphasis on knowledge & skill. The
atmosphere is supportive and respectful in which collaborative learning takes place.
It is a global inclusive village where cultural differences are appreciated.
It was a proud privilege to be trained by two renowned personalities Dr. Janet
Bennett and Dr. Michael Paige in the field of intercultural learning. The workshop
focused on designing teaching across cultures as well as teaching about cultures. It
was comprehensive overview of intercultural training design with an emphasis on
using developmental approaches to reduce learner’s resistance and enhance

The agenda of the workshop was –
1. To know yourself as trainer
2. Analyze your audience
3. Selection of training content
4. Designing the training process
5. Assessing the learner’s resistance

New strategies of training were the highlight of the course. A very interesting case
study to emphasize the need to understand the interesting factors of intercultural
communication was given.

Another one was RSVP a way to elicit problems or solutions in a group with common

It gave me an opportunity to work with a community of intercultural scholars and
practitioners. It was wonderful learning experience and net working in a stimulating
environment. With the greater insight in the ICL, I will be able to conduct ICL trainings
more effectively and would like to contribute in designing intercultural learning activities for school students in future. At personal level I gained greater understanding of ICL to strengthen my social network with friends abroad.
I also had opportunity to meet AFSers from different parts of the world and spent
time with my trainer Michael Leidecker who organized for us a lovely barbeque
dinner in amazingly beautiful surrounding.

siic photographs (1)