Global Prep — 2018
Application deadline: February 1, 2018
Uncover the mysteries of one of the most diverse countries in the world with this two-week program in India. You’ll get to soak up local culture by living with a host family in Ahmedabad, a major city in the Gujarat region. There you’ll learn about Indian history and traditions as you explore popular tourist sites like Hindu temples and stunning palaces. You’ll also take part in a volunteer project with an organization committed to empowering young people with special needs. For some fun, hands-on activities, you’ll take lessons on Indian dance, Yoga, and Henna, and then tap into your creativity with fabric painting and mud art. You can also expect to visit Gandhi’s former headquarters, the Sabarmati Ashram.
Your journey will begin in New York City, where you’ll meet with other members of your Global Prep group and then travel with your Group Leader to Ahmedabad. Local AFS Staff or Volunteers will be waiting at the airport, and they may even greet you with a Tilak (a traditional Hindu mark generally worn on the forehead). Then you’ll head to an arrival orientation where you’ll learn some essentials about Indian language and culture. Before long you’ll be overtaken by vibrant colors and spicy scents as you make your way through bustling streets on the way to your host community.
During your time in India, you’ll have the chance to give back to the community by volunteering in Ahmedabad. You’ll work closely with the Blind People's Association (BPA), an organization whose mission is to create equal opportunities for people with disabilities. The BPA works to provide educational and employment opportunities, equal rights, and a higher quality of life for everyone. You and your group will volunteer specifically with children with special needs. (Many of the children you’ll be working with are autistic or have intellectual disabilities.)
To get started, you’ll attend an orientation given by staff members of the BPA and then get to know the kids you’ll be spending time with. From there, you and your group will develop a plan of action to follow for the rest of your volunteer project.
Have you ever wondered what it’s like to see an unfamiliar place from a local’s point of view? The experience of living with a host family will give you just that: an insider’s perspective on Indian life that you never thought possible. As you get to know your hosts, you’ll be able to observe daily life up-close and chat about cultural differences. You may come away with facts or insights you wouldn’t be able to get anywhere else! Plus, after a busy day of volunteering and cultural activities, you’ll can enjoy the comforts of staying with a welcoming family—and you’ll likely get to taste a delicious home-cooked Indian meal!
To gain a deeper sense of Indian culture, you’ll take hands-on classes on topics like yoga, art, and traditional dance. You and your group will learn to make pottery and tie dye fabrics. You’ll also get to try activities like traditional cooking, Henna, and mud art. To learn about Indian music, you may get to play instruments like the sitar or the tabla.
You'll have the chance to reflect on your experiences and make friends with Indian students around your age at a local school, where there’s also the option to play some sports. In the afternoons, you’ll be able to visit some of the region’s most famous temples, including the Sabarmati Ashram (the home of “Gandhi’s ideology that set India free”), before heading home to rest up for the next day’s activities.
"Life-changing" is hard to describe, yet it’s nearly always the first thing that AFSers say when asked about their experience abroad.
"Transformed" is another one. When you return home, if you’re like most AFSers, you’ll bring with you a sense of accomplishment unlike any other. You’ll have gained maturity and independence, discovered new passions, and feel like you can do anything you set your mind to. That transformation isn’t visible only to you, though - others see it as well. AFSers gain critical skills for college and careers, ranging from language fluency to intercultural competence and critical reasoning. "Life-changing" means it’s only the beginning.
Please Note: Travel date ranges are meant to help with general scheduling and are subject to change; please don’t book any travel based on these dates until you’ve received confirmation from AFS. All programs, prices, and travel dates are subject to change without notice.