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The India High School Exchange program is offered to young international students to get the opportunity to live and learn in India for a full academic school year. Students will be based at an English-medium private high school in Jaipur, Rajasthan’s state capital, for all months of the school’s academic calendar. Academic courses at the high school will be similar to high school classes in European schools, except for with the exception of a moderate focus on Indian history, culture, and modern affairs. Students will reside along with other international students on the program at the supervised campus with modern conveniences and appliances. Outside of the classroom students can also take part in organized cultural learning workshops included in the program, such as Hindi language lessons, Yoga workshops, host family stays (with families of their peers), optional local excursions and sightseeing. In its entirety, the program’s design seeks to engage young students through classroom and experiential learning in order to promote academic success, widen worldly perspectives, and develop understanding of a different culture and society.
All care will be taken for stay of the international students in Jaipur and will be arranged in a well constructed campus that will include basic rooms with all modern amenities, such as attached bathrooms, bunk beds, wardrobe, etc. The campus will also provide a common recreational room where students can socialize and relax. This room will include a TV and DVD player and a shared computer with internet access. All meals will be prepared by staff in a clean and hygienic kitchen at the campus. Students residing at the campus will be expected to clean their own dishes, serve themselves, and clean their private spaces (i.e. bathroom, room, etc). Students will be assigned a variety of daily “chores” that will rotate each week. This approach reflects the importance on shared responsibility, where both staff and students share responsibility for ensuring that the accommodation is kept clean and orderly.
Supervision and guidance will be provided to the international students while on the program by the Program Supervisor who will reside at the campus. The English speaking Program Supervisor will be accessible to students 24 hours a day to provide emotional support and patrol care. The supervisor will also ensure that the code of conduct and behavioral expectations for the students are followed at all times, while on the campus and on the program. Once a week, the Program Supervisor will lead a Group Meeting where students can raise questions, concerns, or comments. Once a month, the Program Supervisor will meet with all students privately to review students’ academic schedule, extra curricular activities, and any other relevant issues important to the students’ learning or general wellbeing in India. Apart from academics, the international students will be able to spend their free time in a fruitful and most entertaining manner. The international students will have the opportunity go out to different malls and shopping centers in the city to buy the things for their day to day needs. During their leisure time, they will also be able to go to local cafes and cinema halls to watch movies of their choice to have the entertainment and fun with their peers.
All students will be placed in one of several possible private High Schools in Jaipur, which have been carefully selected based on their esteemed academic reputation. These schools contain well qualified teachers and modern learning resources, such as computers, science labs, and libraries. Students who attend these High Schools come from families who take education very seriously and are committed to the academic success of their children. The exact academic schedule will vary according to semester and class of the student’s enrollment. Below is a sample schedule that covers the types of courses to be offered during the year.
08:00 – 08:30 Morning Prayer, Quotes – Thought of the day, news reading, Meditation
08:30 – 09:10 English Language/Literature
09:10 – 09:50 General Sciences (Chemistry, Biology or Physics)
09:50 – 10:30 Mathematics (Algebra, Geometry or Trigonometry)
10:30 – 11:10 Hindi Language (optional for International students)
11:10 – 11:30 Lunch/Brunch break
11:30 – 12:10 Social Studies (History & Geography, both national & international)
12:10 – 12:50 Physical Education / Arts & Crafts / Games
12:50 – 01:30 Commerce
01:30 – 02:10 Geography / Social Studies
02:10 – 03:30 Extra curricular activities – sports, clubs, and special events
After school, the international students will be able to join their fellow peers to participate in extra curricular activities. These activities may include joining a sports team such as cricket, basketball volleyball, hockey, or football. Other opportunities may include a science club, philatelic club, debate team etc. These clubs and teams are lead by school teachers. Most clubs and teams require a small payment to join for a semester.
Students can expect to find the content of the academic courses quite similar to what they would normally expect in Canadian schools. However, after some time, students may encounter some cultural differences in the approach of teaching and learning. Indian culture places a strong emphasis on respect and esteem of one’s elders and especially in teacher/student relationships. In traditional Hindu culture, the Guru (or teacher) is linked with a God like figure, commanding utmost respect. While the schools the students will be placed at are modern and progressive thinking, this tradition may still be observed in the way the teacher is perceived by students. International students can expect many of his or her peers in India to be more reluctant to confront or disagree with teachers. Teachers may also have higher expectations of students, compared to European countries, regarding discipline, progress, and effort.
In Indian schools there is generally a greater emphasis on tests and exams as compared to other Canadian schools which may equally stress creative projects. School students and teachers take the objective results of exams very seriously as a measurement of academic performance. Teaching in Indian schools is mostly done through lectures. Interactive teaching lessons, where students are encouraged to share their own opinion or apply the knowledge learned in a creative way, are generally less common in India. Students should be prepared to remain focused while being taught through more formal, lecture based, teaching methods.
In addition to extra-curricular activities and academics, the international students will be able to involve themselves in many cultural experiences, organized by Idex and included in the program.
• Yoga Classes (alternate weekdays): Students will have the opportunity to learn the art of meditation and various Yoga postures, which can help with concentration on their studies, exercise and general relaxation.
• Hindi Lessons (alternate weekdays): To understand and interact with their Indian counterparts during their stay in India the international students will have the opportunity to learn the basic Hindi language through organized classroom teaching, twice per week. Once a week students will be led by their teacher to markets, stores, etc. practicing speaking Hindi in real-life situations.
• Host Family Stays (2 times/month): In order to gain a deeper understanding of Indian culture, lifestyle and traditions, students will be able to stay with the families of their peers on the weekends for 2 nights twice a month.
• Volunteer Service (2 afternoons/month): Many of the people who live in Jaipur come from disadvantaged backgrounds and are in great need of assistance. Students will be led by their Project Supervisor to work with children at a local Day Care Center, interact with younger school children and or conduct fun activities with children at an orphanage. This activity will be an important educational experience for the students and is expected to open their eyes towards the lives of other, less privileged young people from India.
• Indian ‘Bollywood’ Movie Nights (Once a month): The best way to improve students’ Hindi Language skills and to learn about India’s contemporary culture is by observing the always popular ‘Bollywood’ movies.
• Indian Cooking Lessons (2/month): This is a special opportunity to learn how to make Indian meals through organized cooking classes. Students can practice what they learn on a daily basis, by assisting the cooking team at the hostel.
• Dinner Out (1/month): Once a month, the whole group of students will be taken to varying traditional Indian restaurants for lunches and dinner, exploring different forms of Indian foods.
There are many activities and attractions in Jaipur for international students to visit during their free time. Included in the program, the Project Supervisor will lead students on guided excursions to the following sites, identified as being most relevant to the cultural and educational experience of the students.
• Amber Fort: Around 11 Km from Jaipur, Amber Fort is located in Amber (Jaipur), which used to be the capital of the Kachhwaha clan, till Jaipur was made the official capital in 1727. The Amber Fort looks stunning, all built in white marble and red sandstone.
• City Palace: City Palace forms one of the most famous tourist attractions and a major landmark in Jaipur. The beautiful palace was built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh during his reign. City Palace complex covers a huge area, which is divided into a series of gardens, courtyards and buildings.
• Jantar Matar: The Jantar Mantar is a collection of architectural astronomical instruments, built by Maharaja (King) Jai Singh II between 1727 and 1734. The name is derived from yantra (“instrument”), and mantra (“formula”, or in this context “calculation”). Therefore jantar mantar means literally ‘calculation instrument’.
• Rural Village Visit with Dinner: Students will have the opportunity to visit a traditional village, outside of Jaipur. Here, students will be culturally immersed in the Rajasthani village lifestyle, including an authentic Rajasthani Thali meal.
As a supplement to the standard program, special overnight excursions may be organized to various places of interest within the vicinity of Jaipur. These optional excursions would be led by the Program Supervisor and take place during school holidays.
• Agra: Only around a 5 hour bus/train ride from Jaiupr, the wonder of the Taj Mahal can be easily accessible on an easy weekend excursion. A trip to the Taj Mahal is an opportunity for foreign visitors to glimpse into the magnitude and exquisiteness of India’s history and culture.
• Pushkar: Only around 2 hour ride from Jaipur, this sacred town is a famous pilgrimage site for Hindus, built around a holy lake and many ancient religious temples. Surroundings are streets of charming bazaars, selling Rajasthan’s finest textiles and handicrafts. Over night camel safaris are easily available throughout the desert regions beyond the town.
• Ranthambore: A 5 hour journey will take you from the hustling Jaipur streets to the calmness of Ranthambore park’s vast array of wildlife diversity, thousand year old abandoned fortresses, and shining turquoise lakes. The tigers are readily observed during the daylight, hunting or lazing abound.
Welcome to India!