India is in transition, and opening to the outside world. The idea, from walled city to world city, echoes around the corridors of power and on the teeming streets of New Delhi, our nation’s capital. Everywhere the sense of change is in the air.
Our economy is thriving, attracting increasing international investment, and our education systems provide opportunities for motivated students to learn, and then to develop, the technological, business and diplomatic solutions needed for India to compete in a global economy. Imported from all over the world, new ideas and practices are continually being tested and refined, as they challenge our traditional beliefs and values. Become part of that intellectual and cultural exchange. YFU India invites you!
Kathleen, exchange student
“The typical Indian climate dashed into my face, when we came out from the airport, and instinctively I was astonished by what I saw. The smashing amount of vehicles, the cows on the roads. Every day, though facing little problems now and then, I made myself realize, that I was in India, finally my wish came true.
“And because of that, it was little difficult to adjust to my surroundings. I would not want to miss out on the experiences, never ever. I’ve made lots of new friends, and got a dear family, which I loved most of all. They showed me, what it is to be like to live in a family, facing typical problems, to enjoy with the smallest amount of material things life.”
Mareike, exchange student
“It is great to find so many new families. The first new families I have found is of course my host family. It is great to get so integrated, and I love for example to go to my bhua’s place, have a chat with my cousin brothers, and hug my uncle. The second family I have found and I am very proud of this in the Agnee Family (Fr. Agnel School). I love my school so much, it has a very warm atmosphere and I really feel that I belong here. The third family I have found are my friends. First it was quite difficult to find friends, but then when you have found friend you get the happier.
“I ever certainly feel to belong to the YFU family who keeps on visiting me and supporting me. Having found so may families, it is quite hard to think of the day I will be leaving. I always don’t try to think about it, but sometime I cannot help it. And if even your host mother and your friends keep on telling you they cannot imagine when you are gone, of course it gets all the more hard. I will always remember and cherish my days in India and even hope that one-day I will be able to come back.”
Kevin, exchange student
Elephants and camels on the street, rickshaws, paan, pav bhaji, Ganesha statues and the majority of peoples . . . everything was new for me, but daily for the people here. After living so many months in the country of milk and honey, all the things just integrated in my life and make me feel like an Indian.
“It was a year of great realization. The knowledge, which I obtained you can’t test, see or explain. To integrate, survive, experience and to understand a new world, you need helping hands, which I found by friends, teachers and above all by my host family, who accompanied me in my life here in India. And this is great!”
Note: The students who wrote the reflections above do not necessarily appear in the images shown.
In Her Words
Patricial Lysanne Shoel, from Germany, stayed with the family of Mr. Vinay Kumar and Mrs. Subhra Rani of Dhabi Gujran, District Patiala, India.
“‘Exchange’ — what a small and simple word for such a huge and great thing.
“My exchange led me to the Land of Colours, the Land of Spices, the Far East or however you want to call it: India. It was definitely the best decision of my life. I experienced culture, faced problems, grew personally, cried much and laughed the more, and I am more than grateful that I was given this unique opportunity.
“My host family is entirely different from my German family, but I love them very much. Even if I liked to wring my little brother’s neck sometimes, when he sat in my lap and stared out of the window in the car, it felt like his hearbeat was the most valuable thing in the world.
“And though my host father scolded me often, because I am not very tidy with my things and like to sleep long, while everybody in my host family stands up early, I was glad that I had him.
“My host grandma often made me work and help in the household, and I was quite annoyed by this at first, but now I like doing the work, because I see that it makes her happy.
“Especially my host mother has a special place in my heart — she was always there for me, listened to my grief, and comforted me as well as she taught me patiently and with much love during this year.
“All in all, you may say I had an incredibly amazing Exchange year. I made many new friends, learned many things and gained new experiences, good as well as bad, but all helpful. It was a little bit like a rollercoaster ride — with ups and downs, tension and relief, excitement and boredom, grief and happiness, but in the end, when you get out of the coaster, you would like to ride it directly again and in exactly the same way like before.”
Recently, Indian bhangra music stormed the global pop charts when U.S. hip-hop star Jay-Z remixed Panjabi MC’s driving single, “Mundian To Bach Ke (Beware of the Boys).” Click “Play” above to watch the video