By Philippe Robin, School Program Participant from Canada; Hosted at Rajkot

“It is obvious that going on an exchange program with AFS will change your world and the way you see it. As a young student studying abroad with this organisation, I see a great perspective to share with you, the positive impacts that AFS will imprint on your life.

One of the main changes, I have seen in my personality is the way I interact with others. In Canada, we generally have a very simple circle of friends, but in India everyone is a friend with everybody!

People are much warmer with strangers and they make you feel comfortable at the first contact. I recognize that for future, I will be more open to the idea of meeting new people.

Coming from a country where the density of population is very low, I was very curious to learn how 1.3 billion people can live in a single country. I used to imagine India streets constantly covered by a very dense crowd. I quickly found out that though this huge population is source of many problems, the people here still live comfortably in a lifestyle drastically different from the one in of my native country.

Philippe with his host community for Vipashina Shibir, Meditation Camp

Indians are extremely generous and that is something I really want to bring back with me. No matter if you are a perfect stranger, you will quickly and generously helped by Indians.

I am convinced that this experience is making me different from other Canadian student of my age because I am learning by realistic experiment. My capacity to adapt is much more than those who did not go on an exchange.

To learn to face cultural difference is a huge part of AFS and that is something that no one can learn in a book. That is why, every young student should experience AFS.”