26th October 2016
This was our last day in India. Today we met at school so that we all could drive together to Fort Saint George Museum. Fort Saint George is citadel built by the British East India Company in Chennai, which later became the British capital in south India. The fort was named in honour of Britain’s patron saint. There we saw a lot of old war weapons (canons, mortars, bayonets, swords, etc.), coins and breath-taking paintings of British monarchs from India’s colonial past.
After that we proceeded to St. Mary’s cathedral, which is the oldest Anglican church in Asia.
Later we all came to our place (Sanjana and Kathleen) and ate pizza.
It was really good to be together but we were also sad because we all knew that it would be the last time that we were all together.
Unfortunately everyone had to leave early because we had to finish packing.
We spent our last hours in this wonderful country with our hosts an ate our last Indian meal. Sanjana cooked fried rice and paneer butter masala for me. Then it was time for me to check if I had left behind anything, and later we headed to the airport. It was full of hugs, goodbyes and tears.
Goodbye India, goodbye new friends.
Sanjana and kathleen.
Tuesday, 25th October 2016
Today was our last full day in Chennai. The day started with a visit to PSBB, KK Nagar. The students of LMRL conducted their quiz about Luxembourg for the eleventh standard students who will participate in the exchange next year. The students of LMRL as well as PSBB had a lot of fact-filled fun.
We got to order our favourite dishes (Naan and Paneer Butter Masala) for lunch one last time.
After lunch some of the Indian students presented a cultural program.
We heard traditional Carnatic music, watched a Bharatnatyam dance performance and participated in an origami tutorial. At the end of the day, we had a 90-minute yoga class, which was a very relaxing experience.
After a packed day at school, we returned home and rested for a while.
In the evening, we all met at Keerthanya’s house for dinner. We had the opportunity to celebrate Diwali, the Festival of Lights, a few days early as we were set to leave just before the actual festival began. The house was fully decorated with lamps and fairy lights. We burst crackers and watched the fireworks in the sky. There was a buffet with traditional South Indian food, like Idiappam (somewhat like white noodles) and Dosa (pancakes with rice flour). We played lots of music and danced happily. These were some of the songs that will make us remember our trip to India always. At the end of the party, we became emotional and didn’t want to leave because all of us had bonded as a group.
It was an experience none of us will forget and a perfect ending to our first trip to India. We’d like to give a big thank you to everyone who made this experience an unforgettable one!
Keerthanya and Catherine
Monday, 24th October
The day started off early at around 8.00 am. We left to go to PSBB Nungambakkam and the students sat down in the library to finish their presentation about Luxembourg and rehearse it.
The initial presentation was made to the Indian students who will be chosen to go to Luxembourg next year. We went to three classes, where we presented our quiz about Luxembourg.
The events in the afternoon included a trip to the primary school in T-Nagar, where over three hundred kids showed us a traditional Dandiya and Gharbha dance, and some of us tried to imitate the dance steps. This dance was followed by an original song presented and written by Mr Manian. Then we returned to Nungambakkam school to have lunch Everyone had brought his own lunch box with traditional Indian food and we were dispersed.
In the evening Most of us took naps and watched movies, while some of us went to a seafood restaurant along the beach. We had fantastic food and were fascinated by the amazing view along the beachside.
Pranav and Nick
23rd October 2016
Today was a day of rest and revitalization. Since we had had a sleep over at Shraddha’s place, we spent the whole day together. It was the first time in these, now, 9 days that we had the possibility to sleep late. All of us woke up at around 11 a.m. Then we went shopping in nearby Vallurkottam. There were so many different Indian artifacts on offer and everything was immensely beautiful. After this little shopping trip, we got back to our house and enjoyed our lunch and just being together and having a good time. After this we watched a movie and had dinner together and everyone started going back to their respective houses. All in all today was a perfect rest day that helped us regain our energy for the last 3 days in India.
Saturday, 22 October 2016
Much to our surprise, we had to go to school today even though it was a beautiful Saturday morning! The school was hosting a big programme called ‘The Business Battle 2016’. It was a collection of different competitions in which students from various schools participated and were judged on the basis of their presentations which involved displaying their business related talents, such as coming up with a logo or an innovative business plan. It went on for the entire day, and had a lot of participants. The students from Luxembourg had never seen any projects like the Business Battle and hence we were pretty amazed.
In the evening, we went to Shraddha’s house, where she hosted a beautiful dinner party for us. It was an extremely entertaining evening with some fun games, like seeing who could light the most candles with a single match. We also made colourful floor patterns traditionally called ‘Rangolis’ or ‘Kolams’. After a sumptuous dinner, we had the opportunity to get some henna tattoos done. In India, women wear henna ‘mehendis’ for special occasions. We had a laidback evening in Shraddha’s house, where most of us decided to stay over night. A little later, we went over to the terrace and lazed around under the beautiful night sky. We had one of the best days of our stay in India in the simple company of newly found friends.
Clara and Amrutha
Friday, 21th October 2016
It has been a whole week since we arrived in Chennai and these 7 days just got better and better.
Today started out as a normal school day and around noon all of us met in K K Nagar school to watch a debate. The Indian pupils are extremely good at speaking in front of an audience, and the motion ‘super heroes should be under state control’ was very interesting.
Afterwards, we left for a road trip to visit a hindu temple in Sriperumbadur. We were met by the temple’s very special pet, an elephant!
It was a breathtaking experience being that close to this beautiful and huge animal. Some of us were lucky enough to get blessed by its trunk.
After that, our trip continued and we were headed to Choki Dhani, a show village built in style of the north Indian state of Rajasthan.
After nightfall, the whole place looked magical with all of its lights.
We really enjoyed the various workshops and the entertainment they offered.
A big highlight for me personally was the moment when Shraddha and our teacher Mme Diederich danced to traditional Rajasthani folk music.
How to better end a day like this than having dinner while sitting on the ground in the lotus position?
De Iuliis Lisa
20th October, 2016
It was quite an early start today for all of us. We started off from the PSBB school campus and headed straight to ISKCON temple. This temple has a significance all over the world. It is a part of an international movement which orginated in India. The temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna, the naughtiest Hindu God according to Indian legend. The temple depicts different stories of the God in colourful paintings. Later we moved on to Mahabalipuram, a place which is a great tourist spot about two and a half hours from Chennai. We went to the Shore Temple, an architectural marvel of the 7th century AD. We then proceeded further and on the way we visited Lord Krishna’s butterball, which is a giant rock in the shape of a ball. Lord Krishna is supposed to adore butter. Legend says that many kings tried to remove the rock but failed. Later we had lunch in a beach restaurant and spent some time along the shore. After lunch we headed home. Keerthanya, Catherine, Clara, and the two of us went shopping in Pondy Bazaar, the hub of shopping in Chennai. Later some of us went to dinner at a South Indian restaurant. It was a fairly long day but we learnt a lot and really enjoyed ourselves.
Kathleen and Sanjana
19th October, 2016
Today was one of the most relaxing days till now since the Luxembourgish students got to rest for a while. We went to school in the morning and spent some time in the library to study for the tests we have to take when we’re back in Luxembourg. We also looked around the school and the auditorium a little bit. While having lunch, we had a nice time talking to some Indian students and friends of our hosts. After lunch, we saw a MUN program where people spoke about crimes against women. They were representing different countries and spoke about the image of women in their place. It was very interesting to hear about the issues that affect people worldwide. After the presentation, we went home, spending some time with our host families and taking some rest. We (Catherine and Keerthanya) baked some cookies with ingredients from Luxembourg. They were so delicious that they disappeared real quick.
In the evening, we went to a nice hotel to meet a really famous Indian actress called Suhasini Maniratnam and Mrs. YG Parthasarathy, the Dean and Director of PSBB. There was a good buffet with all kinds of Indian food and we had a lot of fun. We even went to the rooftop on the 20th floor and enjoyed an amazing view of Chennai at night. For the Luxembourgish students, this was the highlight of a perfect day.
Keerthanya and Catherine
18th October, 2016
Day 4 of our trip to India was an eventful one. Our day started off early at around 8.15 from the KK Nagar branch of the PSBB School. We picked up our teachers from the hotel and headed to Kalashetra- The School of Indian Dance and Music.
We first visited the arts and ceramic sections of the school and were intrigued by art we found there.
The visit then was followed by lunch at a beachside restaurant. We particularly enjoyed the cheese fries which were served there.
We then headed back to the dance school and observed a session of classical dance which was then followed by a Indian rhythm class.When we came back we prepared ourselves for dinner at Sanjana’s place. We enjoyed a warm dinner at her house and finished the day on a cheerful note.
By Nick and Pranav
17th October, 2016
Day 3 of our educational trip to India was a little more calm than day 2. We started the day around 9:30 a.m. where we went to school and attended two classes, the first class was accounts where me and Lisa learned the basics of shares which was the topic they were learning currently and the second was business studies. The rest of the time in school we spent in the library where we were discussing the many differences between Chennai and Luxembourg. After lunch we went for a table tennis competition which was organized by their school and watched the finals of both the girls and the boys. The game was very fast and the boys were better players so their match was more interesting to witness.
The other students (Catherine, Nick, Kathleen and Clara) went to the KKN branch of PSBB and attended classes there, for lunch they had pizza in school after which played cards and table tennis.
In the evening I went to the beach in bBesant Nagar with Shraddha and her mom. We ate north indian food there and went close to the water where we saw the beautiful moon and its reflection on the ocean. Clara went shopping with her host and the others stayed at home and rested to prepare for the long day we have tomorrow.
All in all it was another fun filled yet educational day in Chennai.
16th October, 2016
The second day of our visit to India was a kaleidoscope of new experiences and cultural backgrounds. In the morning, we took a bus to Dakshin Chitra, a place of interest a few kilometers away from the main city. It showcases the various aspects of South Indian tradition. Although the whole visit there was extremely interesting, the part that we most liked was the parrot that can predict your future. After hearing some strange but funny versions of our lives (such as the fact that Clara was supposed to be born as a boy!), we moved on to try our hand at pottery and watched an old man weave an intricate silk saree (a traditional Indian robe). After all the fun, we all became quite hungry. For lunch, we ate on banana leaves and fascinatingly, we learnt how to eat with our fingers, which was difficult but, amusing. All in all, we found out a lot about the Indian culture, thanks to the teachers who were giving us all the information.
In the evening, we went to the mall to hangout for a while and then eat some dinner too. That’s when we went on a crazy ride that made us all hold on very tight, and we had a good laugh at Pranav and Amrutha, as they became really dizzy. Meanwhile, Kathleen and Sanjana went shopping for sarees and tried on some beautiful colors, while Catherine had a pleasant time with her host family at a festival with loads of fireworks. And thus, the second day of our trip to India came to its end and left us tired and happy at the same time.
Clara and Amrutha
14th and 15th October 2016
After a long and tiring journey of almost 20 hours, we finally reached our destination Chennai in the middle of the night. Of course, we were beautifully welcomed by our host families, who took us right into our new homes.
Only a few hours later the Indian students had to leave early for school whereas, we were trying to sleep off the jetlag. Kelly and I got to see our new school later that day, which was a lot different than what we are used to in Luxembourg. Apart from the size of the building, which was a whole lot smaller, the students were very interested and curious about the exchange students from Luxembourg. What particularly stood out, was the comfortable relationship between the teachers and the students.
This day we were all trying to get to know the Indian way of life better, for example by tasting the traditional food and we can proudly confirm that it’s all true what they say about their spice.
As the day went on, most of us just got ready for a dance festival, whereas Clara spent that time riding horses on the beach and enjoying the warm weather.
At around 8 o clock, I met the rest of the group, who were all properly dressed (Indian of course) and ready to dance to traditional Indian music.
Even though we didn’t know all of the right steps and movements, we had a good time laughing, dancing and enjoying our first evening in Chennai.
De Iuliis Lisa