By Itsuka Toda Shah, School Program participant from Japan; Hosted at Rajkot
“I think, it’s better to express our home country’s culture to foreigners because when we are on an intercultural exchange, the native country’s people ask us a lot of questions.
I learned that it’s important to share with people. In India there are so many relatives compared to other countries because India has so many people. I found a lot of relationships which I made with new friends and family here because there are plenty of interaction and relations to be understood with people. I feel that Indian people are very thankful to their family members and friends. They don’t share only goods, but they share their amusement, activities and so on with everyone. They taught me about the importance of sharing.
I learnt how to say ‘’Thank you’’. Before I came to India, I couldn’t say ‘thanks’ to people. Many people here taught me how to be appreciative and be thankful. Being a part of the Indian culture, I learned the value of saying thank you as well as the concept of sharing as sharing is caring. When I go back to Japan, I would like to tell my friends and family the value of sharing and being appreciative.
During Diwali vacation, I went to a small village school which is connected to my host school. I tried to talk to the school’s students, but I didn’t know much Gujarati and they couldn’t speak English, so, I tried to speak in little Gujarati I knew. They opened their heart not because I am a foreigner, but because they accepted me. This happened not only once, but over and over again. When I went there again, they remembered me. They greeted me with my name and with a nice smile. I was moved by their love. I wanted to help the village people, and I started with being open-hearted and a smile.
I feel that I have become a positive person after coming on exchange. I have tried so many things and faced many challenges. I have made mistakes many times, but my family and friends helped and supported me. I didn’t feel alone. They made me a positive person; more positive than before.
In the world, there are so many different people who have different ideas and opinions. It’s difficult to communicate and express feelings but if we want, we can still share these things. We can extend our respect and help each other who are in need. Before coming on exchange, I was worried that how I will understand Indian people, but with my experience here, I learned that people in India are always ready to support each other with whatever they have. It does not matter where you come from and what culture you have, you will always get the support and love from everyone here. The exchange program changed me because of the experimental learning which I believe is very important for us. I learned that we could enjoy the exchange program because of the cultural differences.”