Service Trip to India
16 Aug 2017
Lower VI students, who joined the service trip to India, experienced wonderful culture and sights. They shared their knowledge whilst teaching in two different locations around Bir: in a Buddhist monastery and at the Tibetan Children’s Village School.
We started the preparations for the trip meeting every Friday after school during the summer term. In these sessions students learnt about the culture, religion and characteristics of the places we were going to visit. They also had time to discuss and prepare lesson plans and resources for their teaching. We were also very lucky to hear, and talk, to three students from the Pestalozzi School in Battle, who come from Bir, where the teaching took place.
We arrived in Delhi and got over the jet lag immersing ourselves into the streets of the city. We visited the Jama Masjid Mosque, the Red Fort and went for a rickshaw ride through the crowded bazaar of Chandni Chowk. We also visited the Gurudwara Bangla Sahib sikh temple.
We then headed towards Agra for a sunrise visit to the Taj Mahal and an evening visit to the impressive Agra Fort. To top up our visit, we witnessed the colourful festivities of an Indian wedding and were warmly welcomed to join in.
We then proceeded our journey to the Tibetan colony of Bir in the North of India, where the service part of the trip took place. In Bir we stayed at the wonderful Garden Café and its very hospitable owner, always accommodated our food cravings and needs with a smile on her face. We were also lucky to be there during the Dalai Lama’s birthday celebrations and enjoyed the locals’ generous and wonderful Tibetan food.
Students had to teach in two different locations around Bir: in a Buddhist monastery and at the Tibetan Children’s Village School. At the former, the young Lamas were at a beginners/intermediate level of English, so the classes focused on presenting and practicing new topics. They also enjoyed games of cricket and football and our students gave them various items of stationery for their studies and some cricket bats to continue practicing sports. At the Tibetan Children’s Village School, the level of English was very good so the teaching focused more on literature, songs and engaging debates about many topics, e.g. “Can money bring happiness?”.
While teaching both groups, our students faced various challenges as the level and engagement of students varied considerably. They showed initiative, enthusiasm and motivation to make the most of their service and they prepared and adapted their resources and ideas during the evening to make the most of their stay in both schools.
While in Bir, they also learnt to cook delicious Indian and Tibetan food, played a football match against a local team and visited a local waterfall and the various temples. There was also a weekend trip to McLeod Ganj, where the students visited the local craft markets and the Dalai Lama main temple.
Report by Inma Lara