20 students and two teachers from Kongsberg travelled to Nagpur, India, in December. This is their journey.
Text: Alison Mulholland, Kongsberg International School.
See a photogallery from the trip below. For norsk versjon: klikk her.
Grade 10 at Kongsberg International School are participating in a collaborative project with Jain International School in Nagpur, India. This student exchange programme aims to challenge students from both schools to develop an understanding of the other’s culture, its strengths and limitations, whilst also reflecting on their own.
Through this process the students will grow stronger together and develop into more informed and open minded global citizens.
Cultural, academic and industrial visits in Nagpur
The first stage of this project involved 20 students and two teachers travelling to Nagpur, India, for 14 days in December.
Nagpur is a small Indian city with a population of around 2.7 million people. It is located at the geographical centre of India and is currently using this position to establish itself as a national hub for exportation of goods and services. The infrastructure of the city is developing with the building of a city-wide metro system and the development of a special economic zone in the area surrounding the airport, is encouraging the establishment of a range of companies.
Whilst there the students undertook a packed and varied programme of cultural, academic and industrial visits. They spent time in the classroom along with a grade 10 class to experience the way in which various subjects are taught in India and participated in good dialogue with the teachers they met on the difference in approach that they are used to in KIS.
– When at the school I was impressed by the discipline and how quiet the classes were, Theo Martin explains.
– The difference in teaching was so huge we all sat there with wide eyes and dropped chins. The teacher talked and everyone was expected to listen and follow, Victoria Neumann Torgersen says.
As part of the cultural programme, they visited a variety of temples and places of worship belonging to the Buddhist, Muslim, Christian and Hindu religions. This highlighted the importance of religion and faith in the Indian culture and the ability for each of these to interact in a peaceful and respectful manner. The students could see the richness that this diversity brought to the daily life of those that they interacted with.
The peaceful nature of Indian society was also evident during a visit to Ghandi’s Ashram, where he spent the final 20 years of his life. Here the student’s learned about his role in bringing about Indian Independence in a peaceful manner and the importance that he placed on minimalism.
A huge sucess
The students also visited several companies whilst there to understand how this up and coming city is embracing globalisation and the impact that this development is having on the infrastructure, economy and quality of life of the residents.
These companies ranged from a small cottage industry with a focus on sustainability, using seasonal local produce and workers from local villages to Tata Consultancy Services, a global entity with a focus on responsible citizenship and employee well-being.
They also visited a company making goods for export to countries, including Norway, which gave them a real insight into the production facilities for the goods that they see in the shops they frequent.
Nagpur is also known as the tiger capital of India and no visit would have been complete without a tiger safari. Unfortunately, they were not lucky enough to see one of these magnificent animals, but they did observe many other wonderful creatures.
They were also lucky enough to be taken on a nature walk by the owner of Tiger n woods, the resort where they stayed during their jungle visit.
This resort has a focus on sustainability and the passion and enthusiasm for this was clear as he took the students on a journey through the local ecosystem. They were challenged to consider the role that humans play in an ecosystem and the importance of safaris to the conservation of the tiger. They were also challenged to take a stance, make a difference and have a purpose in which ever area they were drawn to in the future.
All to soon the visit came to an end but the memories, learning and friendships that developed will last a lifetime.
– This trip went as successfully as what had been expected. I saw this trip as an opportunity for everyone to learn, but from from people of our age. Being Indian myself, but raised in Norway, I have a good exposure to both cultures and their qualities. Some wonderful qualities that I observe of Norwegians is acceptance of others and ideas, freedom, honesty and trust in the humanity. While in Indians, I see as many great qualtities, such as hardwork, dedication, respect and an incredibaly good hospitality! This is one major part of the trip that many of us had not experienced before. From the very welcome, to morning breakfast’s, daily activities and the final goodbye, for each, we were treated with great hospitality, Simran Sahajpal says and continues:
– From this person-person and culture-culture interaction we could learn from each other to not only become a better person, but an even better society and as the effect goes, a better world.
In May 20 students from Jain International School in Nagpur will visit Kongsberg for the second stage of this exiting programme and experience the culture, industry and outdoor lifestyle at the core of Norwegian society. This return trip is being planned in collaboration with the Rotary Club who’s help and local knowledge are proving invaluable.