By Jasmin Sachutz, From Germany, Hosted in Delhi

I have been here in India now for more than four months but still I am not able to put in words what I am experiencing over here every day. It is a long trip of learning, whether from the Indians nature, the warmth they share with every person they meet or the strength of the belief and how they celebrate it with all their different festivals and traditions. When I arrived at my school nobody was afraid of me, everybody talked to me and wanted to know just everything. The small children too, they gifted me flowers every day, made gifts for me and were so excited to meet me. The teachers were also very supporting because they treated me like a normal student on one hand but on the other they were helping me to understand the syllabus. Teacher also taught me separately so that I can manage my exams. My school coordinator of AFS, also my Economics teacher, was in contact with me all the time. She is always there to help me.

There were many people from AFS who stand by my side and surround me, which gives me the feeling of safety. These people are my host student counselor, the family counselor, the school coordinator, my principal of my school who is also the Delhi chapter president, the other hosted students of Delhi chapter, their counselors, and AFS exchange alumni from Germany with whom I am still in contact to share our experiences. It is a large network of AFS of connections that was always there. I enjoy spending time with the other exchange students at AFS meetings or at other occasions because we are in same boat, experiencing same thing in the same country.

We all have been to different places in Delhi to have fun together. I have to mention my counselor, because he was the most present person during my whole stay. He took me to so many places in Delhi. He also took me to every AFS meeting. He is always caring for me, and at least every second weekend we plan to do some activities, so that I do not get bored or homesick. I always know that when I am not feeling good, I can call him and he will arrange something to get the sadness out of me. He and I have became good friends. We have a lot of fun and definitely, the fun and his effort are the reasons for the success of my stay. Another big reason is the stay in my family. I have never faced any big problems as they are always so caring. They want to see me happy all the time. Also my host sister and I have became real sisters. She is a really good to me, and without her my time would be less fun, because she is the one with whom I share all my experiences including the differences in our cultures. I think I made the best decision to come to India as living with an Indian family and experiencing the normal life with school and seeing India like Indians do, I am able to understand and experience the real culture of this amazing country. Also choosing AFS as an organization to go on program was a great decision as it gave me the chance to experience a unique journey. They not only provided help and support throughout my stay, but also prepared me by providing orientations while giving support and making me understand what problems I could face in my stay and how to solve them. I am changing and I want to become an adult and, my time in India brought positive change in me and took me in the right direction. I have become mature and self-confident. I am more than happy that I made this first step to fill in the AFS application form because from there on, my life has changed forever.”