We had gone to Grace Church School, New York, last year on an exchange programme organized by both the schools. This year 19 students and 4 teachers came to visit us. The objective behind such an exchange program is to enrich ourselves with the understanding of different cultures and environments.
On the evening of 24th of March, we picked a tired and anxious bunch of students from Grace Church School. They had reached Delhi after an exhausting 6-hour road journey from Jaipur. We welcomed them at school and Mrs Ward introduced herself and the enthusiastic students. We took a group photo and left for our homes.
On the 25th Mrs Sawhney had organized a visit to the National Museum of Modern Art. We also visited India Gate and went for a dinner together. They drew comparisons between the Indian people, their food, their clothes, their language with that of the United States.
We arrived at school on Monday, the 26th of March and the students from Grace Church school attended an orientation programme where they were taken around the school. All of them were impressed with the big open areas available in our school – the sports field, the tennis court and the basketball court. They made a note of the expanse of our school vis-a-vis their school in New York where due to paucity of space, buildings rise vertically.
Since the children were from different grades, they were paired with their respective class mates, who became their hosts in school. In the afternoon they were exposed to a Tie and Dye session where they made beautiful designs in various colours on the T shirts provided to them. We left for Dilli Haat in the afternoon where most of the girls bought jewellery and palazos. It was an extremely novel experience for the students of Grace Church and allowed them to see the true culture of India, right in the heart of New Delhi.
On the 27th of March, apart from attending some classes, the students of Grace Church School learnt a prayer we sing during assembly – ‘Itni Shakti Hame Dena Data …..’. It was translated in English so that they could understand the meanings of the words they were singing. We left school at 1:15pm to go to Kingdom of Dreams to see a Hindi musical called Jhumroo. After a long and fun bus ride, we finally reached our destination. Jhumroo was a hilarious and entertaining show. We tried to translate and explain the dialogues as much as we could, so that they could understand and enjoy it better. Then, we went to Culture Galli and had ice cream. Some of our guests bought small little souvenirs and trinkets. While waiting for our bus to arrive, some of us held a small jam session, dancing to the music being played by the musicians. After a long tiring day, we finally went back to our respective homes to relax with our guests.
The next day we attended school and had a free evening with our guests. Some of us went to the Malls while the others played a cricket match.
It was time to part. This was a bittersweet moment. The Exchange Program had opened a window into a wider world, through our guest’s eyes. All of us woke up that morning wanting to make our day more productive and memorable since it was our last day with them in New Delhi. Luckily it was a holiday from school which resulted in spending more time with our friends from Grace. Time flew by and the day was almost over. It was time to get ready for dinner at school. Our final evening was spent in school with teachers and students from both schools sharing a common space socially. Our teachers provided us with a very enjoyable evening with music and delicious food. Our week with our peers came to an end and with tears in our eyes we said goodbye. We all created some great memories throughout this exchange program which will be cherished. It was truly hard to say goodbye!