EXCHANGE PROGRAM WITH FRANCE
Since the year 2017, VPMS Pune has been sending groups of students to France for a fully reciprocal, linguistic and cultural exchange program. These exchanges are being conducted in collaboration with AADI, a non-profit organisation based in Brittany, France. One of the aims of this organisation is to establish and deepen the links between India and the region of Brittany. AADI also seeks to propagate a better and more up to date perception of India among the local population.
The first group of students from France visited us in November 2017, the next group arrived in November 2018 and the third group in January 2019. Each group was hosted by students of different classes.
These visits were reciprocated when our students visited France and stayed with families there. They also got the opportunity to spend a couple of days in Paris and see some of its best-known landmarks. Such exchanges have proved to be an enriching, life-changing experience for all participants.
They are immersed in the culture and lifestyle of the host family as well as their country and when they leave, they carry with them lasting memories of their stay. The families in France have been overwhelmed by the hospitality, the affection and the warmth shown to their children during the visit and have made every attempt to reciprocate in full measure. Our students have also benefitted immensely from the exposure to a language and culture that they have only seen in their text books. All in all, these exchange programs are richly rewarding for both sides and in the process (as one parent put it) “we have created
young ambassadors for our country”.
THE INDO-SWEDISH EXCHANGE PROGRAMME
“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes”. To further global development and strengthen bilateral student relations an Indo-Swedish Exchange Programme was arranged during the summer of 2019 to Älvboda Friskola with a team of eight students Tanaya Moghe, Mishka Maheshwari, Isha Patil, Pranav Deshpande, Aadi Narang, Siddh Narang, Anshul Bhalsakle and Atharva Narayanan along with two faculty members, Ms Aindrila Sinha and Dr Ravi Sarkar.
The gracious Swedish host families received their Indian guests with lots of warmth on 12 th of May at the airport. They were given a warm welcome on the following day by the Principal and the entire team at Älvboda Friskola.
The team of Indian students and teachers too presented a variety of classical dances and songs depicting ‘India and her cultural diversity’ for the host school on the third day of their visit.
The entire two weeks schedule was well formulated with several subject related activities and classes that facilitated experiential learning about the Swedish education system and culture. The two faculty members were also exposed to an array of events and class visits. Their first visit began with the Junior school’s sports day followed by the pre-school visit to have an insight to their way of learning. They found that a lot of emphasis was given to outdoor stays and activities that train the kids to learn important life skills & not much importance was given to only textbook learning.
They also had the opportunity to attend the junior and the senior school’s music sessions as also the English, Science, History, Physical Education and Home Economics classes. The curriculum, teaching methodology and the teachers instil a strong sense of enquiry in the pupils. The teachers aim at teaching important values and in the process make them responsible too. The teaching methodology welcomed the student as a unique entity. Each student is given the freedom to design their own path of learning by setting achievable goals. One striking feature of the Swedish education system that stands out is that both academics and co-curricular activities are given equal weightage and designed in a manner suitable for offering holistic education.
Other than the class observations they also had some fun time when they were taken to Uppsala the oldest city in Sweden. There they first visited the Uppsala museum, the Uppsala Cathedral(domkyrka) the tallest and the largest cathedral in the Nordic countries and the oldest Botanical garden. They also got a chance to visit ‘Kulturhuset Ytterjarna’ a place far away from the busy city life and the capital city, Stockholm. There they saw the king’s castle, the parliament and the Prime Minister’s residence. They also witnessed the exchange of guards in the king’s castle, in their blue finery uniform.
The Indian students demonstrated exemplary spirit and got accustomed to the Swedish system within no time. They let their taste buds experience and relish the Swedish delicacies. Their shopping bags picked up a lot of Swedish candies, souvenirs and stylish outfits. This programme was a milestone in their personal and professional journey. It was truly an enriching experience wherein they observed the functioning of the school from close quarters and came back to India with renewed knowledge and special memories that will be etched in their minds forever.