Global Education

India exchange program kicks off this December

By Erika Eldrenkamp
Published: September 2009

This is the country whose national fruit is the mango, whose movie industry is the largest in the world, and in which both chess and Snakes & Ladders were born. This country is the largest producer of tea. This country is where dance is one of its most developed art forms.

This is India.

The cows walk along the streets here, and it is not uncommon to see every shade of orange, magenta, or blue within a few blocks. Here, there are more than a million millionaires, yet most Indians live on less than two dollars a day. India is the largest democracy in the world, and the second most populous. This is a land of extremes, and of everything in the middle.

India also happens to be where ten to twelve Newton South High School students will be spending three weeks of their winter.

With an established relationship between South and the St. Mark’s Secondary School of New Delhi, the exchange program hopes to introduce two radically different cultures to one another.
In this time of globalization, South believes that the students must begin to understand and appreciate one of the most rapidly growing powerhouses in the world.

This exchange also happens to be the first program to send students to India from a public school in Massachusetts.

The program will take place between December 10th and December 31st, during which time each South exchange student will meet up and spend time with an Indian student, their exchange partner.

Students will attend a few classes in the mornings during the first week to get a sense of the differences in education systems, and will also participate in a community service project. During the afternoons, the group will tour New Delhi.

These days will be followed by a two-day trip to Agra, home of the Taj Mahal as well as other famous sites. The second half of the program will be spent on a tour of the most popular places and sights in India, including the Red Fort, the Pink City, Jaipur, and Pushkar.

For this program to be a true exchange, however, both sides must experience the other’s culture. As such, the Indian students who were paired up with the South students will come to Newton for approximately two weeks around the time of April break. They will see how our schools and classes run and explore the city of Boston.

As a new exchange program, the trip to India will undoubtedly be a learning experience. Students will be exposed to a new culture and a new country so different from the one we all know.

For all students who are interested in participating in this amazing experience, application packets are available in the house offices. To be considered for this program, however, students must be in their Sophomore, Junior, or Senior years, and their passport must be valid for at least another six months.

While the cost is not set, it will likely be around the $2600 range, and need-based financial aid will be given to all who require it.

Please don’t hesitate to e-mail the program’s coordinators at or contact Mrs. Vadhera, the assistant principal, with any questions or concerns.

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