By Sejal Parmar, Volunteer from Gandhinagar


Really, hosting Svetlana Ivonina from Russia has become an evolving, enthusiastic and endearing experience for my family, which I am assured is so enriching that an everlasting bond of compassion and love has been already established between our two families viz. the Ivoninas and Parmars.

The days and nights spent between 6 November, 2017 to 17 November, 2017 have garnered plethora of reminiscences that would be lovingly cherished for the time immemorial. Healthy, lively and inspiring communication with Svetlana led to breaking barriers of communication regarding cultures and customs in the far off land that she hails from and helped in firmly developing concrete faith and wisdom in genuine generosity that glide beyond geographical boundaries and embrace ethical and aesthetic human values.


Having experienced the warmth of the host family in Egypt during the class exchange programme in 2014, life has circled to perfection with my hosting experience.

My husband Mr. Pankajkumar Parmar, daughter Rajal and me are still in awe of this amazing experience. For Rajal, Sveta became a loving ‘Masi’ from whom she learned the basic Russian and German words. Sveta insisted on calling my husband ‘Pankaj Kumar’ as the sons-in-law in Gujarat are addressed as. This developed the strong sisterly bond between me and Sveta.

The time spent with Svetlana from morning till night, engaging in various activities and hearty conversations enabled both Svetlana and us to    widen our horizons of familial friendship. She appreciated Indian food, culture, customs, traditions and heritage and in return made us taste the Russian delicacies as well. Svetlana has no access to the water boundaries in Russia. Considering this, my husband Pankajkumar Parmar planned and executed the trip to Veraval and Somnath – one of the biggest fishing industries in India. There we visited the Aqua Export Fishing Industry and also got blessed by visiting Somnath temple, where we got enthralled and spellbound by the sunset on the seashore amid the ‘Shankhnaad and Aarti’ in the temple. In a true sense AFS connected our hearts and sensitized us even more in our approach towards accepting and comprehending variant diversities with optimism and harmonious balance much required to meet the needs of globalization.


I extend my gratitude towards Gandhinagar chapter in order to make Svetlana’s visit to India, especially at my home to develop from a mere volunteer acquaintances into an elaborate, charming and cordial family bonding. HAIL AFS.


Mrs. Sejal Pankajkumar Parmar