Heloise and Louise chose to go to the Mayo College Girls’ School which is located in Ajmer, one of the oldest cities in the north-western state of Rajhastan.
Louise reports on her experience,
“To begin with, I think we were both quite nervous and of course, saying goodbye to our families was difficult but once we boarded our flight to India, we started to relax knowing that an amazing journey awaited us. It did help that we had already met our buddies, Manavi and Amruta who had come to Downe House in May and we were looking forward to seeing them again.
The first two days were spent sightseeing at Amber Fort in Ajmer and Jaipur and we noticed that everywhere we went was filled with vivid colours and delicious smells. The architecture was ancient but stunning, and the people were always so welcoming.
An important part of the exchange is new experiences and we certainly enjoyed lots of those at Mayo College. The normal school day started at 8am with assembly but early morning sports started at 5am and I felt lucky that I did not have to attend this. Lessons were 35 minutes long and continued until 2.30pm when we had lunch. We did very similar subjects to those we do at Downe House but of course it was so interesting for us to see how the content was focused on India. We took Hindi classes which were fun, and, in the evenings, we did activities and sports including golf which was new for me. The food was incredible, and we tried traditional Indian dishes such as daal, laal maas and butter chicken curry which were all delicious. I also had the opportunity to compete in the House Music competition and perform in the School’s Founder’s Weekend Assembly which was really exciting.
On the last weekend of the trip, Amruta’s family took us to Agra where we visited the Taj Mahal and took some very touristy pictures! This was the highlight of our trip and it was definitely bigger and much more impressive than in the photos I had seen. We also visited the Agra Fort, watched the Lion King dubbed in Hindi, ate a lot of ice cream and went shopping.”
Heloise takes up the story,
“This summer we had the incredible opportunity to go on an exchange trip to India to Mayo College Girls’ School in Rajasthan. Because we arrived in Jaipur two days before term started, we were lucky enough to have the time to do some sightseeing and take in the fascinating culture before going to school. The heat and humidity were quite a shock, but we soon got used to it and we were helped with everything by our buddies, Manavi and Amruta as well as the wonderful Ma’am Shirley, a matron at the school who was always there for us throughout our stay.
We were boarders at Mayo and I was in Charumati House, named after an Indian Princess. When I arrived at my dorm, I was greeted by my 21 new dorm mates who gave me the warmest welcome and helped me to unpack. I remember every single one of them and we are all still in touch. They are some of the loveliest and funniest people I have ever met, and it was incredibly hard to say goodbye. It is amazing how close you can become with other girls in such a short time!
The second weekend, Manavi’s family took me to Udaipur, the city of lakes and I saw some amazing sights and places – we even went to a rooftop bar for mocktails at 2am which I will always remember. Another weekend, we went to visit the villages of Tilonia and Pushkar where we swam, did street shopping and explored the local culture.
I can honestly say that it was the most unforgettable experience of my life!”Find out more about the Global Schools’ Exchange Programme
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