By Ana Cecilia Raffo, Educator From Argentina
“On July 20 I arrived in India. Two planes, a train and a car brought me to Patiala and the experience began. The weather was hot, roads were crowded, people and the landscape appeared strange: cows, a lot of vegetation, and I was there with my luggage and my desires.
In my stay of three months, I challenged myself and learnt a lot about the school culture, which is a bit different from my own in Argentina. We made beautiful routine diaries in Spanish. The objective was to make exchange diaries, I am taking copies of these diaries with me to Argentina. And I will send back to India some dairies made by Argentinian students. This would help build a possible connection between students from the two countries.
During my stay, I participated in different activities. I attended the House Nights, artistic events that combine dance, music and theater performances by students of the three houses. The three nights were spectacular, full of smiling and enthusiastic faces. I had the opportunity to take part as a jury and to see all the performances from the front row sitting with the principals and special guests. Also, I had firsthand experience where I witnessed how hard the students worked each morning practicing and at the same time their teachers who were guiding and supporting them backstage.
I also interacted with girls of Community School: The Alicia Jones Community School. This is an afternoon school, which runs in the premises of The British Co-Ed High School. It has been set up for the local underprivileged girls. Stationery, uniform and afternoon meals are provided to these girls by The British Co-Ed High School. It was a pleasure each afternoon whenever I met these girls they would greet me “Hola” and “chau” (Hello and goodbye), the first greetings words that they had learnt the first time. This really made me happy. Moreover, I want to express that the education provided to them is very important because they need to empower themselves and have a better future and life.
In the beginning of October, after the term finished, I had the pleasure of traveling to New Delhi, Agra and Amritsar. The visit to these places was quite learning and enriching as I came to know about the history and architecture of Delhi besides how to deal with students outside classrooms. I also got the opportunity to visit my favorite place, The Taj Mahal. In Amritsar, I learnt more about Sikh religion. Later I visited Chandigah and Sirhind, two beautiful and contrasting cities near Patiala. The first one a modern city planned by the French architect Le-Corbusier and the second one is an old historic city. It was an amazing experience to walk in the narrow street markets and interact with the people of the city.
It would not be appropriate to not write about the friendly, helpful and cooperate staff of the school. They all approached me willingly to help me in understanding the working system of their school. Each member made sure I was acquainted with the school schedule and my responsibilities as a teacher I learnt how to say greetings in both Hindi and Punjabi. I have saved the words learnt of these two languages in my memory.
Such a nice and enriching experience! I enjoyed the School, people, the places, food, colorful culture and shopping for Kurtas as well. Thank you for being my home these three months. I hope we meet each other again.”