USA’s Independence Day Celebrations

The celebration of 240th Anniversary of Independence of the United States of America was organized at American Centre, New Delhi on 30 June 2016. The alumni, Abhilasha Khodlan (YES’07); Neha Rustagi (YES’10); Devanshu Kaushik (YES’12); Ajit Singh and Maaz Hasan (YES’13); Akash Kumar (YES’14); Ramsha Khan (YES’15), were part of this event. Celebrations started with the welcome of Mr. Richard Verma, the United States Ambassador to India. AFS YES Alumni were asked to come and share their exchange year experience with the audience followed by their interaction with Richard Verma. The celebration ended with the performance by the U.S. 7th Fleet Band and distribution of Flagship Brass Quintet. Screening of Hollywood blockbuster Captain America: Civil War was done post band performance.

Alumni Mixer

An event called Alumni Mixer was conducted in Bengaluru by Chennai Consulate on 01st July, 2016 where about 80 U.S. State department sponsored exchange program alumni met that also included Prahallad Badami (YES’06), Najmuzzaman Mohammad (YES’08) and Madhuri NP (YES’11). This reunion was set off with an expert alumni panel discussing the U.S. Presidential elections with a focus on U.S.-ttIndia relations followed by a lively musical ensemble which enthralled the audiences. Alumni guests from different cities in Karnataka were visibly elated to reconnect with fellow alumni after many years, shared exchange experiences and project ideas with one another, and discussed creating a formal alumni network.

Community Service

One of the alumni Deepak Solanki (AFS’10) started The Golden Future Project in Indore since last year.  The other members include Neena Roy and Praneeta Taranekar (YES’15) and 65 other volunteers. This voluntary and non-profit organization was started by one of the AFS Program returnee along with a group of 10 other like-minded and enthusiastic youngsters one year back.  It has taken an initiative to work for and take steps towards the Conservation, Enhancement, and Welfare of the Wildlife and other Animals, Nature and Environment and Education of Underprivileged children through various projects.  These 2 AFS YES alumni volunteered for the Zoo Project which aims to work for the welfare of the wildlife. Under this project, the group appeals to release the animals fit for the survival in the wild where the animals are kept in the zoo for any reason shall be kept in open and naturalistic enclosure, instead of cages.

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Pre-Departure Orientation at the US Consulate, Mumbai

The alumni from Mumbai and Ahmedabad chapter namely Pooja Shah and Jennifer Chen (YES’09); Dhwani Gajjar (YES’11); Manshi Gala (YES’12); Soham Shipurkar (YES’15) were invited to attend Pre-Departure Orientation for YES 2016-17 batch (total 26 students) from Western and Central Region on 28 June 2016. In one of the session called as Alumni Panel, these alums shared their experience with the students and the consulate team.  They also answered queries related to host family and host country. Pooja Shah was also given the responsibility of doing follow up with the students for the projects allotted to be done during their exchange year. Philip W. Roskamp (Public Affairs Officer), Brittney Stewart (The Assistant Cultural Affairs Officer); Pablo Tutillo (US Dept. of State Rangel Fellow) and Aditi Tandon (Assistant Media Advisor) were the speakers from the US Consulate Mumbai.

Meet at American Center, New Delhi

A meeting was conducted at American Center for the YES 2016 batch students on 12th July, 2016. The participation included 8 YES 2016-17 participants, 1 YES alumni, 2 AFS Staff and 4 Consulate officials. The purpose of the meet was to share some important highlights about States. The students were briefed how the Indian education differs from the international one and how they can involve in their own individual academic journey. 

The consulate also asked students to make contacts during their stay and make the best use of their exchange program. Some Do’s and Dont’s were also mentioned during the talk.  The students were also requested to register themselves with the after 2-3 months upon their arrival in States in order to stay abreast with any developments.

The alumna Abhilasha Khodlan (YES’07) shared her experience with the students. The consulate officials bid good bye and gave best wishes to the students for their exchange year ahead. They also mentioned that they are looking forward to hear from the students once they are back next year. The students along with the Chaperone (Rajni Singhal) left for their visa interviews in US Consulate.

Meet at US Consulate, Chennai

A meeting was conducted at Chennai Consulate for the YES 2016 batch students on 14 July 2016 which was attended by 3 alumni Chintan Mehta (YES’12); Aishwar Gunasekar and Sheren Shariff (YES’15), 2 YES 2016 students and 1 AFS Staff.  The alumni had a small (informal) talk with the YES 2016 students followed by their meeting with Ms. Andie, Acting Public Affairs Officer.  There was a briefing by the USIEF on Education system in the U.S. Students also took part in interactive quiz session and played U.S. Map puzzle game. A small visit to the American library took place before lunch. The alumni shared their experiences with the students clearing their doubts.