I am Alice and I recently went halfway across the world to Dehradun and Delhi in India. I was quite apprehensive but excited for the weeks ahead.
The flight to India was long and when my Downe House friend, Felicitas, and I finally arrived at Delhi Airport it was quite hectic! We then had to find our way to our next flight. The travel pack put together by Ms Adams was invaluable at this point and extremely helpful for the rest of the trip. Eventually we arrived in Dehradun, where the school was just a 45-minute drive away.
Everything in India was so different. Driving through the city, we were surrounded by the foothills of the Himalayas, as well as chaotic streets filled with honking rickshaws and cows on the road. When we finally got to the school, we were greeted by lots of girls which really made us feel welcome.
My school experience in India was like no other. Their school routine is polar opposite to ours, and although waking up at five in the morning to go marching was at first a struggle, we quickly learnt to appreciate it.
We attended lots of lessons and had the privilege to watch traditional plays and dances. We learnt to print make, cook traditional Indian dishes, tie dye our own skirts, learn yoga and much more. My favourite was pottery, where I had the chance to make matching mugs shaped like elephants.
Exploring India outside of the school was engrossing, experiencing another country’s culture first hand was like no other. I was lucky enough to visit at the time of Diwali, where I was able to dress up in traditional Indian clothes and celebrate with my buddy’s family. My host family also took me on a trip to Delhi where I got to see the amazing Taj Mahal which was breath-taking.
My buddy came to Downe House at a slightly different time, but I really enjoyed hosting. My buddy was Avika and she stayed in my dorm and accompanied me to lessons. Ms Adams took us all on a trip to Oxford where we got to go punting, see the sights and enjoy some shopping! My family and I also hosted Avika in London where we spent a busy two days seeing all the sights and galleries she wished to visit.
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Alice learned a great deal from her exchange. Her confidence has grown and, in particular, she discovered she was more resilient than she thought she was.
– DH Parent (2022)
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