Ludovica Fois & Sophia Mersmann
AFS is an international, voluntary, non-governmental, non-profit organization that provides intercultural learning opportunities to help people develop the knowledge, skills and understanding needed to create a more just and peaceful world.
They also conduct a a full year study program for students which is the most popular of all their programs and the choice of thousands of young people around the world which is a year-long immersion program for participants of 15-17.5 years old. Participant gets a host family to stay with along with studying in a local school. Over 30,000 students from all over the world have gone on this program in the last 50 years.
Ludovica Fois (Cagliari, Italy) and Sophia Mersmann(Fulda, Germany) are one of those thousands students. Both are staying at Rajkot (Gujarat-INDIA). Ludovica stays with family of Dilip Sanghvi (businessman) and Sophia with family of Vinodkumar Thakkar (Principal – Rajkumar College, Rajkot). Both are studying in standard 11th in science stream in Rajkumar College.
During this one year stay in INDIA, they will study as well as learn about India, i.e. its culture, tradition, people, family life etc. For them, this is a brand new experience which will strengthen them with a broad and new vision towards the world.
The roots of AFS (earlier known as American Field Service but now just as AFS), are in World war I and World war II. At that time, nearly 5,000 young men volunteered as ambulance drivers. In WWI they served in France and the Balkans and in WWII they served in Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, India and Burma.
In 1919, AFS Fellowships for French universities were established and a total of 222 fellowships were awarded between 1919 and 1952.
AFS also conducts ‘Community Program for Adults’ which is perfect for university and graduates, 18 years or older who want to have an international experience. With these programs, participants can make a significant contribution to the community while gaining marketable skills by volunteering with a local organization – all while they learn about a new country, language and culture. participants works may involve environmental conservation, education, management, health, technology, social issues or community development.
Interaction with the Sanghvi Family
SpeakBindas had an interesting interaction with Sanghvi family, i.e. Mr. Dilip Sanghvi, Mrs. Bhartiben Sanghvi, Pooja Sanghvi (daughter, AFS volunteer) and Ridhi Sanghvi (daughter, AFS volunteer). Watch the below video where they talk about their experiences of hosting an AFS student, as well they share their message to parents of students studying in the region of Rajkot.
P.S.: You may also like to watch video interview of ex-AFS student Dhruvin Mehta.
More about AFS:
Main website: http://afs.org/
AFS India: http://www.afs.org.in
P.S.: Special thanks to Bharat Dudakia for being a liaison.