By Madhusudan Rao, Vice President, Bangalore Chapter

The orientation program was started with an ice-breaker that involved the introduction of all the attendees, after which, the participants were taken through the agenda of the program. History of AFS, its mission and vision were clearly and effectively explained by Mrs. Angela Roye. 

Before starting the department wise sessions, a good amount of time was spent on understanding the expectations of the attendees, from the orientation program. This gave us an idea about what exactly were they looking for. After this, the first session began which was on the sending process. Mrs. Angela explained in detail about what exactly we do in the Sending Department, how does sending team function at the chapter level and in the national office and how volunteers can help in the sending process. 

A debrief of YES program involving how the YES team functions and how the volunteers can help in YES process was done by Madhusudan. 

This was followed by a session on Hosting process where Mrs. Angela explained about what exactly is hosting, how the department functions and how the volunteers can be part of it. Mrs. Vasudha debriefed about each stage involved in hosting process and also shared her experience of hosting. 

Later, a session on counseling and support system was conducted. Here the importance of counseling an exchange student was explained. The participants were given an activity where they were asked to think and answer the “what, where who and why” of counseling. How they can be counselors and help host students was also discussed. 

After feasting on the delicious Rajasthani meals, a session on volunteer development was conducted. It was started with an activity where each volunteer was asked to write the answer to the question “Why am I in AFS?”. All the attendees came up with their answers. The idea behind this activity was to find out, what has actually made them be part of our organization. This was followed by an explanation by Mrs. Angela on how AFS encourages its volunteers through various opportunities and how volunteering in AFS helps in developing several life skills. Later, they were also explained about how they can be part of the volunteer development team at the chapter level. 

All the attendees expressed their interest in volunteering under their preferred departments and it has been noted down by the chapter. 

In the end, an evaluation of the program was done. We came to know that not all the expectations of the attendees were met, but a good number of them were. 

The introductory video of AFS India was shown and the program was ended by singing AFS song.