Witty World

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Memories for Life

Memories for Life

Witty International School believes in broadening the horizon of the students by bestowing them with the opportunity of Student Exchange Programmes which offers broad based benefits and outcomes for students keen to embark on International Adventure. International learning and knowledge propels students towards acceptance and understanding of an array of different cultural and community perspectives. Language acquisition is achieved through practical immersion and awareness and adoption of alternative, multi-faceted approaches to learning. This ideology was catapulted into the arch of experiential learning for the Wittians when 24 students and 3 teachers from RSG Broklede, Netherlands visited Witty International School this December.
As a global member of the Eumind Network (Europe meets India), WIS has sent student and teacher delegations abroad, where interaction between our students and faculty members with others from different countries and cultures has opened up new dialogues with many International schools. WIS conducts Annual International Exchange Programmes through the Eumind Network which has been central for making young people embrace other cultures and to promote liberal-mindedness.
This year the Dutch delegation consisting of 24 students and three teachers, Mr. Frank van de Kamp, Ms. Vera Van De Sand and Ms. Ingrid Bews from the famed school RSG Broklede School, visited Witty International School, Pawan Baug, Mumbai. RSG Broklede, a very unique institution firmly committed as a member to the Eumind, is located in the historic and very picturesque village of Breukelen in Netherlands. It offers bilingual education with emphasis on an intercultural ethos through the activities it undertakes. Since 2012, these two schools had developed strong connections through Eumind, warmly working together on the field of student exchanges. This year’s exchange proved to be the most successful one thus far, in terms of educational value and level of understanding each other’s way of life. The combination of education, culture and entertainment was considered highly satisfactory to both students and teachers. The Dutch students attended regular lessons to experience Wittian School Life. They had interesting lessons on Yoga, Sanskrit, Art and Drama. The students hand-painted the Warli Art on jute bags which were later presented to the Dutch students as gifts. The literary exchange led to a wider sharing of insights and perspectives, ranging from education systems, the role of religion and cultural traditions of India.
 It was a stimulating and educational experience in more ways than one. For the educational part, WIS had invited distinguished personnels from varied fields to interact with the students. Mr. Amol Waghle gave an interesting seminar on “Skills for Success through the Art of Living” while Mr. Deep Kapadia enthused the students on the skills of Vedic Mathematics. In the field of Performing Arts we had Ms. Kushmita Biswakarma who presented a mesmerizing violin concert on Indo- Western Classical Music. Students also performed zumba which involved dance and aerobic movements performed to energetic music and learnt B- boying a unique style of break dancing. Keeping up the Christmas spirit both the Indian and Dutch students had a soulful rendition of Christmas Carols. The Dutch students and teachers from RSG Broklede also visited Witty World, Bangur Nagar where they were given a traditional Indian welcome with special garlands before being escorted on a school tour.

They thoroughly enjoyed participating in an entertaining fashion show with the theme of ‘Make in India’ which had them partnering with our little Wittians and proudly sashaying the ramp in various ethnic Indian wear and accessories. The school’s Multi Activity Studio had the guests and the little ones pulling on their dancing shoes to dance to various Indian folk songs. A lively puppet show, showcasing the diversity of India, by the Teacher trainees of the ECCed course, was much appreciated by the delegates. Dutch delegation also visited Witty International School, Ramchandra Lane where the students had arranged an exhibition which portrayed the cultural blend of both the countries. The exhibition not only depicted the similarities and differences between the two nations but it also highlighted the unique glimpses of the other countries through the world tourism section. The take away section was equally fun filled where the visitors participated in the ‘Diya’ making activity and carried their own creations as a unique memorabilia. 
Director and Trustee of Witty International School, Dr. Raina Jain stated, “Learning can never be restricted to the four walls of a classroom, and this exchange program has been a learning experience that our students will definitely treasure lifelong.”
 A friendly Cricket and Football tournament was also organized between the Dutch students and Wittians. The atmosphere on the ground was surreal giving an experience of one when you watch the match live in the stadium. The Dutch students being new to Cricket were explained the basic rules and techniques of the game. The exhilarating feeling of winning the Football match was experienced by both the team members, thus giving the Dutch Students an insight to Indian Sports Life. Wittians also put up a cultural programme in the school to present the Indian culture, festivals, folk dances and songs for the Dutch guests. The Wittians and Dutch students embarked on Mumbai Darshan to explore the most famous landmarks of this dream city which is a melting pot for various cultures. . A visit to Gateway of India, Colaba Causeway, beaches, Iskcon Temple and much more, showcased the wonderful scenic architecture, notions and sentiments of the city. The students also had a curatorial tour at the famous Bhau Daji Lad Museum wherein the Dutch Students were explained about Indian Mythology and were guided on an Epic Trail at the Museum. The students also explored the wonder of Kanheri Caves and experienced the rise of Buddhism at this 2000 year-old settlement. With rock-cut carvings, old living quarters and stairways chiselled into the hill, students explored the sculptures at Kanheri  caves and embarked on a Nature Trail at the wilderness in Sanjay Gandhi National Park. The programme culminated with a cultural night organized by the school wherein the Dutch and Indian Students performed a beautiful musical play on Ramayana, a famous epic, “Ramleela- Ram Sita Ki Kahani.” The play was a brilliant culmination of various languages such as English, Hindi, Sanskrit as well as Dutch and portrayed the simplicity and creativity in Indian Theatre. Mahrana Pratap, the Great Rajput King’s  fight for survival against Akbar was showcased by the Indo- Dutch students  in a heartrending manner in a patriotic dramatization , “Pride of India.” The Students also performed together on famous Bollywood songs which was an exciting experience for the host families who were invited for the cultural night. The Dutch students also enlightened the Wittians about the Dutch culture, and they found great pleasure in discovering how similar Indian and Dutch cultures are to one another, especially in our conceptions of the family unit.
 Finally the guests shared their experiences with the host families after which the guests and families enjoyed the evening further through the Mumbai Street food festival and home cooked meals made by the host families to enable the Dutch students and teachers to experience the famous food from the eateries in Mumbai. Stated Broklede student delegate Stefan Rooze: “My experience in India, if put in a nutshell, was simply fantastic. From the food to playing Bollywood music, there was always something new and enjoyable to do. I formed a very strong bond with my host family, and without their love and support my trip would not have been anywhere near as memorable.”
Wittian families hosted the Dutch students in their homes for seven days and through this process, they honed their hospitality skills as well as learnt to cook Indian food without spice! In an attempt to give their guests a taste of Indian culture, they let them live the joy and terror of an auto ride, went shopping for traditional sarees and kurtas, showed them around Bombay and described the nitty-gritties of the Indian way of life. Wittians also helped the Dutch Students to pick out souvenirs for their friends and family back home. The Dutch students were open to everything and at times, were more enthusiastic to learn about Indian customs. Says Femke Beernink, “I have grown more than I could have ever imagined, and have learned things that couldn't have been taught in a classroom."
The final goodbye was a teary one; Though the Wittians had hosted them for a mere seven days, but over the course of those seven days, they knew that they had made friends for life. The Dutch Students’ zeal to explore every nook and cranny of our cultural lattice, their accommodating nature and enthusiasm and the alacrity with which they approached a foreign country and a new lifestyle was highly inspiring. Clearly, the Broklede team would be carrying back with them wonderful memories, all memories bathed in unforgettable colours.
 Says Mr. Frank Van der Kamp, Deputy Head, RSG Broklede: “Living, learning, and immersing yourself in another culture has broadened our students’ perspective and given them a competitive edge in this interdependent world. We are very thankful to Witty Management and the host families who have not only opened the doors to their homes for our students but also their hearts.”
 Caught in this epicentre of excitement, Witty is not able to hide its emotions. Visibly humbled by such huge compliments, Witty has turned more introspective. Says Principal Bijo Kurian: “When you experience a different culture you gain a deeper understanding of yourself and those around you—deepening your knowledge about the world in a way that books, school assignments, and a professional career can never reveal. India has great diversity of language and culture and such programmes will aid in building bridges across cultures in ways that otherwise wouldn't have been possible.”
For the visitors, it was undoubtedly a lesson in perpetual tranquillity, continuing education and ceaseless knowledge within an oasis of enlightenment surrounded by a sea of chaos in the outside world. And for the hosts, it was an exercise that is seen as something that should strengthen the bond between the two schools and the two countries. Broklede delegates sway their heads in agreement. And today, Broklede and Witty stand so much more committed to a firm friendship, a fruitful cultural association and a productive academic affinity.




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