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November 21, 2011

Trip to India opens new worlds

 Posted By: Aleksandra Efimova  In: Aleksandra in the Community
Heritage School in India

Aleksandra Efimova with some students from the Heritage School.

Heritage School

Elizaveta Efimova with students from the Heritage School.

Heritage School

Aleksandra working on art projects with students.

Heritage School

Heritage School

I recently returned from an amazing trip overseas ― my first trip to India!

I spent two weeks in this marvelous country, first at my Harvard Business School reunion in New Dehli in the north and then at a wedding in Hyderabad in the southeast.

The week-long Harvard Business School reunion included several days of classes and seminars with local business leaders, including the former CEO of Coca-Cola in India and the leader of one of India’s major media companies. Titled, “Amazing India,” the program highlighted India’s stature as a manufacturing powerhouse and an economic player throughout the world.

As part of the program, we also had the opportunity to learn more about India’s education system by volunteering at a local school. One of my classmates founded The Heritage School in India in 2001 with the mission of paying equal attention to a child’s physical, emotional, and intellectual development. The school is unique because it has revived some of the ancient Indian education traditions that were lost when the British colonized the country, while at the same time pushing India’s youth to be some of the most educated and advanced students in the world.

I had so much fun visiting the school and working on art projects with the students. It was impressive to watch as the students from wealthier backgrounds who understood English better eagerly helped translate for the less advantaged students.

After the reunion, my sister, Elizaveta, and I traveled south to the city of Hyderabad, where one of my classmate’s sons had a glorious, weeklong wedding celebration with more than 2,000 guests! The many brightly colored saris made the event burst with joy.

India was one of the most fascinating places I have ever visited. I have never seen such poverty and wealth all in the same street ― chickens and goats right alongside expensive cars. I have never eaten such delicious food, and everyone I met was so gracious and friendly.

I hope I have a chance to return some day!



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