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Exchange

Cambreur College & Smt. Sulochanadevi Singhania School


2014/2015

Day to day journal of Cambreur visit by Nina van Rijen

Saturday (September 12)


Finally! 135 days after the Indian students left the Netherlands, it was our time to travel. To the other side of the
world, without my parents and sister Even though I was a bit nervous about this at first, this feeling immediately
faded away when I arrived on Mumbai airport, when I met the Indian students and their families. The warm
welcome made me feel like a very lucky girl. Very lucky to get this chance to visit such an amazing country full of
special cultures, very lucky to come into contact with such special families. I went home with Aasawari, her father
(who immediately clutched my suitcase and got me a cold Starbucks Ice Tea), her mother (who immediately asked
my everything about the trip, my family and myself) and her sister Adwaiti (who made special welcome posters for
Nikki and me, additional to the big one of the whole group). On the way home, the family started telling me
everything about the area, about the places we passed and about their life in Thane. They were also very curious
about me and my family. We reached home in 30/40 minutes and they showed me around their apartment. It was
simple, smaller than our houses in Holland, but it looked fine and clean. I got my own bedroom (Aasawaris room,
Aasawari herself went to Adwaitis room), with a double bed, desk, wardrobe, big mirror, air-conditioning and fan. It
was dark already, so I could not see anything of the view from the big window. After a refreshing shower, the long
day finally came to an end.

Sunday (September 13)


After quite a long sleep, I was able to see the view from my room: the garden of the society, full of palm trees and
other vegetation. After my first Indian breakfast, which tasted completely different from my Dutch breakfast, but
was delicious, we strolled through the garden of the society. Aasawari and Adwaiti showed me the basketball field,
the game room and the Ganpati temple. We even went inside and got a red bindi and some sweets. I tried some of
Aasawaris and Adwaitis kurtis, to wear in the evening. In the afternoon, Niveditas father brought me, Nikki,
Aasawari and Nivedita to another Ganpati temple. There were a lot of people, praying to the Ganesha idol, which
was inside the temple. People were preparing food as well. It is fascinating to see how people spend their whole day
at this sacred place. From the platform of the temple, we had a beautiful view on one of Maharashtras lakes,
surrounded by lots of bright green vegetation. Even though there are lakes in Holland, this view was special and
could never be seen in our country. Our temple visit was followed by some shopping, or better said: skating, cycling
and wave boarding through Decathlon, a big sports store in one of the shopping malls. We had lots of fun with the
four of us and I started to realise that I really missed them during the last months. Sunday evening was the official
opening of this exchange week, at school. Aasawari made a short movie of the first part, in Holland. They took back
the memories of this amazing week and got me even more excited for part two!

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Exchange Cambreur College & Smt. Sulochanadevi Singhania School


2014/2015

Monday (September 14)
Today was the first day at Smt. Sulochanadevi Singhania School. My first impression: enormous! I did not expect all
children from age 3 till age 18 to be on one building. I had always thought our school was big We followed a few
lessons: English (literature), economics (Holland/India) and sociology (movie). We noticed that the teachers were
quite strict. We were not allowed to say a word, exceptionally during discussions of course. The classes were very big
and the boys and girls were separated in class, which is unusual for us, too. These interesting lessons were followed
rd th
by a wonderful cultural show from the cute kids from 3 /4 grade. They practised a lot and executed their show
with so much energy and fun, which was really nice to see. We even got the chance to talk with them, about their
school and show. After the break, we had another cultural show, from even smaller kids (kindergarten). They sang a
few traditional Indian and school songs for us while sitting in such a composition that the Indian flag was shown.
The older children, but younger than our hosts, made all kinds of creative assignments about different aspects of
India. They showed us around and told us a lot of interesting stories about certain places, rituals and gods.
Aasawaris cousin likes to dress people up, so when she heard about us coming to India, she asked Aasawari whether
we would like to come over so she could turn me into an Indian bride. So we did. We went to her room, where I had to
put on an traditional dress (in the walk-in-closet of course). After she did my hair and make-up, I did an Indian-style
photoshoot. I felt very special and loved the way those people (who I had just met) treated me.


Tuesday (September 15)
Today was the day: we had to perform our cultural show, on which we have been practising for so long. To let our
nerves relax for a moment, we started the day in the kindergarten classes. In pairs, we prepared something to teach
the kids. Floor and I started off with a few Dutch words and phrases and then divided the group to go and play
Annemaria Koekkoek and spijkerpoepen. The kids had never seen these games before and were having lots of fun
(and we were, too). In the afternoon, we had one more hour to prepare for our show. We dressed up and practised a
few more times. With a bit of stress, we finally solved everything and we were ready to perform. The show started
off with the presentations belonging to the Dutch subjects, followed by the Klompendans, arts, Floors ballet solo, a
quiz, acrobatics and a musical performance. We had so much fun and felt relieved when we saw the faces of the
Indian students, who were quite impressed and amused. We did it! Tuesday night, we went to Chokhi Dhani: a
village with all kinds of traditional stands, performances and activities. Nikki and I went for a camel ride, which was
kind of scary but so cool. We saw a few performances of Indian dances and music, bought some souvenirs and got
mehndi. We also had diner at Chokhi Dhani, in Indian style of course, sitting on the ground and eating all kinds of
different things which were served according to your order. Like all the others, Tanyas parents were so hospitable.
That is a thing that kept fascinating me, all those people do the best they can to make us feel comfortable, which is
absolutely wonderful.
Wednesday (September 16)
Wednesday started in a relaxed way: we had a yoga session at school. I had never done that before, so I did not really
know what to expect. It turned out to be really calming, a great experience. While being completely zen, we went for
a tour through the city of Thane. We also went a bit further, to see a big famous market, which was way too

crowded to take a close look, unfortunately. During the tour, we came across the huge difference between rich and

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Exchange Cambreur College & Smt. Sulochanadevi Singhania School


2014/2015

poor again. It is so impressive to see all those tiny houses on the side of the road with this house of Aasawaris cousin
in mind (for example). Back at school, a few of our students sang the Wilhelmus through the speakers, so every class
could hear it. After that, the Indian students had prepared a treasure hunt. We were divided into groups and were
expected to find places in school via clues. We (team blue) ran through the school and thought we would be first.
Unfortunately, when we arrived at the last place, team yellow was already there !. Wednesday night = Bollywood
night. Nivedita opened the evening with a hilarious comedian act. She told us about the first week of our exchange,
in Holland. After that, we ate, danced and played an Indian game with a hula-hoop. We again had so much fun and
this evening reminded me of the fact that we had such a nice group: it did not matter with who you danced,
everybody likes everybody and this feels amazing. After this successful evening, I went home with Nivedita.
Thursday (September 17)
Today was the first day of the Ganpati festival. Aasawari, her family and Nikki picked me up to go and visit their
grandparents. Nivedita originally comes from the southern part of India and therefore celebrates the festival in a
complete different way. She wanted me to experience the festival in the same way as the rest does, so she told me to
go with Aasawari for this morning. Aasawaris grandparents live in Vasai, a village from which the major part of the
population is Christian. We saw a lot of churches, like we know them in Holland. That was quite weird to see,
because you would expect to come across a lot of temples. When we arrived, everyone was waiting for us. The whole
family (not only the close ones) were there, so almost 100 people. They all wanted to take pictures and talk with us.
Aasawari, Adwaitee and two of their cousins (who were approximately from the same age) showed us around the
houses (a few of Aasawaris uncles live next to their parents). They showed us some photo albums of family wedding.
One of Aasawaris cousins made Mehndi on my hand while Nikki was helping the women with making sweets for
later that day. We could even participate in the rituals of the festival. We had to hold a plate, move it around in
circles (in front of the beautifully decorated idol) three times and then put a red bindi on our foreheads. An uncle took
us on a tour through the village. We went to a fort, the beach and an old abandoned Christian church. It is weird
that these places seem so unfamiliar, even though we have all of them in Holland too. After the tour, we went back to
the houses and had lunch. Of course, there is no better way of experiencing this festival than spending an afternoon
with a traditional Indian family. Then, we went back to Thane and joined the rest of the group in the bus.

On our way to Mumbai! I could not believe my eyes over there. Millions of people, thousands of cars and rikshaws,
hundreds of souvenir shops and one beautiful skyline full of enormous buildings. You cannot get a proper image of
this city without having been there. Feeling like an Dutch ant in an enormous crowd of Indian ants. Although I
would never want to live here, it is something you just should experience at least once in your lifetime. Our hosts kept
us by our hands like we were their children and the moms who went with us held the group together like watch
keepers. There was no way of escaping the group and I felt really safe. After paying a visit to the gateway of India,
we did some extremely cheap shopping, still impressed by everything we had seen. Mumbai is by far the most
crowded place I have ever been and totally not comparable to any Dutch city.

Friday (September 18)


Time flies when you're having fun! The last day of this exchange has arrived... We were able to sleep quite long
today: we gathered at school for our last briefing at 10 o'clock. Our teachers gave us the last information about our
journey back to Holland. After this briefing, we went to Padmaja's place with the whole group. Over there, we
celebrated the Ganpati festival with her community. These kind of things, standing there in a decorated room full of
Indian people with traditional clothing singing traditional songs actually remind me I of the fact that I am on the
other side of the world. We were even allowed to participate in this honor ourselves: one by one, we held a plate with
candles and turned it in circles in front of the idol. Afterwards, we held our hands above the candles for a second and
then wiped it over our heads. We felt so special at that moment: we, as Dutch non-Hindus, could participate in an

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Exchange Cambreur College & Smt. Sulochanadevi Singhania School


2014/2015

Indian Hindu festival and everybody supported us in this. It is fascinating to see how much energy and time those
people put into this festival. I do not think Ganpati is comparable to any Dutch feast. We celebrate things in such
different ways. We went to another place, with another idol. We took some pictures and went back to Padmaja's
place to have lunch. We played a lot of cards, talked ans laughed a lot and of course ate a lot. After this enjoyable
afternoon, we went home to have some rest. A few hours later, we met each other in the big mall. We strolled around
and did our last shopping. We went home to have our last diner: Dutch pancakes by Nikki and me. They all loved it.
Niveditas father works as a surgeon and just treated an original Dutch woman who has been living in India for 50
years already. He told her about Nikki and me visiting their place and she liked to meet us once. Therefore, we paid
her a visit and talked Dutch with her, which was really nice. That evening, I packed my bag (with mixed feelings)
and went to bed. My last night in Thane... Time flies when you're having fun!

Saturday (September 19)


Unfortunately, everything ends. The same goes for this exchange programme. We woke up at 6 oclock in the
morning. One last Indian breakfast. One last ride on the Indian roads, which still scared me sometimes. The amount
of tears showed that the relationship we built up during these two/three weeks of seeing each other became really
strong. Too strong to be broken, too strong to just move a part of the group to the other side of the world again. The
Indian families saw us as their own children. They did everything to make their sometimes very small apartments
feel like home to us. Well, they succeeded in this. After one last group picture, one last hug, one last look, we went to
the gate. The 9-hour flight to Paris went really well and quite fast. When we arrived in Paris, the problems started.
However, we finally all safely arrived on the Dutch ground again. We realised this when we breathed in, so fresh
and clean. We saw the blue sky again: home sweet home. The best moment was coming out of the baggage room and
seeing all those parents standing there and waiting for us. Even though I did not feel happy, because we just left our
Indian friends, hugging my parents and sister made my day.

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Exchange Cambreur College & Smt. Sulochanadevi Singhania School


2014/2015

Reflection report including key competences by Dennis Kemmeren
1. Communication in mother tongue/foreign languages

Show the ability to express and interpret concepts, thoughts, feelings, facts and opinions in
both oral and written form (listening, speaking, reading and writing) and to interact
linguistically in an appropriate and creative way in a full range of societal and cultural
contexts; the competence also involves mediation and intercultural understanding.

In the exchange week in the Netherlands you start slowly talking with them about their lives and
family. So we got to know all their things such as having a driver and having someone to come and
clean every day. But also that they never make their own breakfast and it is always done for them. In
the first exchange week we got to learn how to count to ten but I forgot it almost directly again. In the
second week we learned a few more words such as "challo challe" (we only heard it and never written
it) from the Mother of Thanishq (my host), which means keep on walking.
2. Learning to learn

This is related to learning, the ability to pursue and organise one's own learning, either
individually or in groups, in accordance with one's own needs, and awareness of methods and
opportunities.

So one of my weaknesses is giving presentation and doing them in front of a big group. So in the first
week we had to give a presentation on the basics and history of Korfball and it went quite bad. I didn't
have that much to tell but it didn't matter that much, we divided the pieces equally and just to give
them a bit of background information on Korfball. After the presentation we played the game so the
presentation wasn't that important. But in the second week it went better, We with the whole group
had to host a complete show because they also showed their show here in the Netherlands. In this
presentation I had two tasks, one task of competing in a dance and the other one was giving the
intermezzo and a word of thanks. The intermezzo went really good and everyone enjoyed it in the hall
and the word of thanks a bit less. But that didn't matter because I had to pronounce the most difficult
names ever and failed horribly and everyone laughed really hard and I even got a lesson how to say
their full schoolname. What I also wanted to know is how people lived on the other side of the world,
how different is it compared to here, the rich Western. I came across so many different things, a few of
these are: Most people have their own workers, one for driving, one for cleaning and sometimes one
for cooking. Another example is the standards there, only really rich people live in houses while
normal classed people live in apartments and the strangest for us is to haggle, we always just keep the
price which is asked for and there in the less western shops they just ask for high because they know
there is going to be haggled. On the other side of the world people got a really different way of
thinking and working.
3. Social competences

Social competence refers to personal, interpersonal and intercultural competence and all forms
of behaviour that equip individuals to participate in an effective and constructive way in
social and working life. It is linked to personal and social well-being. An understanding of
codes of conduct and customs in the different environments in which individuals operate is
essential.

When I think of social competences I think of talking with Thanishq or anyone else within our group
of exchange students. Talk about how they live how we live, their humor and our humor, our habits
and foods such as stroopwafels and making our bread every morning and their habits and food such as
their breakfast, they don't eat bread like we do every day, they eat crunchy flat dried out pancakes.
They don't have that much desserts as we do, they don't have all those sweets as we eat them every
day. They are the land of spices, the other side of the world. Of course this is typical first week talk
because you want to know as much as possible in the first week. In the second week is it like saying
hello again after seeing each other for a very long time. Here the conversations were more family
related. We talked with their family and they told and showed me where they were living (my
sleeping place for the week) and I asked my mum if she could send a video to show my home and she
did :). Also we saw a part of their family because with Ganesha festival we went to show respect to

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Exchange Cambreur College & Smt. Sulochanadevi Singhania School


2014/2015

Ganesha at the family place. And when you were at school you just talked like you do every day in
school with your friends, such as how was your day and what did you think of your home and if you
get off one day, they will ask you what you did on that day and you would answer something like
yeah, we went to a place called "Jarheads" and while we were eating we did our physical education
homework, because before we went on the exchange our teacher of physical education and our
homework was to see how a real cricket match was. Since one of the most popular sports in India is
cricket it was fun to do and you didn't have to make spare time for it.
4. Sense of initiative and entrepreneurship

The ability to turn ideas into action. It involves creativity, innovation and risk-taking, as
well as the ability to plan and manage projects in order to achieve objectives. The individual
is aware of the context of his/her work and is able to seize opportunities that arise. It is
the foundation for acquiring more specific skills and knowledge needed by those establishing
or contributing to social or commercial activity. This should include awareness of ethical
values and promote good governance.

Here I got 2 concrete examples. Number one is with the first week, everyone got split into pairs or
with three and we all had to make our own lessons. Me, Iris and Liesje had the task to do a lesson of
physical education and teach them korfball. We first had to give a presentation about korfball, about
the history and how it is played. After our explanation everyone got divided and we started playing.
The second example is in the Netherland for India. They showed us their cultural show and we had to
make one as well. So here we started, they asked what were they special abilities of us and so the ideas
came out. Ballet, Music, Gymnastics, Art and a dance with the whole group. I got the task with two
others (Iris and Nina) to make the intro, intermezzo (so in between the acts) and the end. So we started
to work on the intermezzo because I can't design a choreography of dance and it also had to be done.
We came up with different ideas and only one made it in the show, our quiz. We got 5 minutes to do
the intermezzo because little mats had to be placed for the gymnastics. In this intermezzo we got an
interactive quiz in which every person of our intermezzo group had two questions. Also I had to do the
ending. The word of thanks and it went horribly wrong because I can't pronounce any of the names. So
I got a lesson of how to pronounce their names.
5. Cultural awareness and self expression

This involves appreciation of the importance of the creative expression of ideas, experiences
and emotions in a range of media (music, performing arts, literature and the visual arts).

I think this is the part which played the biggest role. In the Netherlands it is starting, new people to
meet. The exchange finally started, you already made contact with them through social media and
counted down until they day they come and on that day a new world goes open. The other side of the
world, whole different habits but still the same western ideas because of the old colony. The first time
I saw them I felt like wow, the western culture even reach them or the other way around because most
likely our clothes come from their country or surroundings. After a few days you clearly could see the
difference in habits, one of the most heard downsides here was no bum wash, they are so used to them.
Also they don't know otherwise than having people walking around in the house every day for
cleaning, cooking and driving. They also showed there music to us in a special evening we held in the
theme of bollywood. We enjoyed the music from here like K3 and their music like London thumakda
and disco deewane. They always seem to have dances for every song. In the week here you got to
know their culture in the lessons as well since we compared the culture in different lessons for
example in social studies, geography and Dutch. With social studies we talked about marriages and
that kind of stuff because there is a big difference between them. With geography we talked about how
their country looked like, so the mountain areas etc.. As last the Dutch lesson, we compared many
fairytales from both countries. Within this lesson we compared 'little red riding hood' and 'the little 7
piglets'. They showed us different stories, I don't know their names anymore but one was about a
monkey and two whales (if I am not mistaking) and it was about that you can't trust every stranger
because the monkey gave berries to the sea animal and killed one of them.

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