Back to School by DJ Jassal
As I was entering the Mahatma Gandhi International School (MGIS) on our first day there, I remember just thinking to myself “Man, how did you manage ending up back at a high school, after having graduated from high school just two months ago?” Fast forward three days though, and I am just thinking to myself how much I will cherish the memories that I made and missing all of the amazing people I met at MGIS.
Over the past couple days, we spent the majority of our time with a group of high schoolers at MGIS. While many of students we met there hailed from Ahmedabad itself, but we also met a good number of students from different states across India and even different countries across the globe. Over the course of our three days, we worked on a mosaic project, with the task of creating a piece that, in our eyes, represented the legacies of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King. This is a picture of the mosaic that my group ended up making over the three days, and I think it turned out to be something I’m really proud of!
All across the school, and especially in the auditorium -where we spent most of our time- students had decorated the walls with similar pieces of artwork that depicted messages of equality, peace, inclusion, self-respect, and other important themes. This is one piece of work that really resonated with me:
During my time at MGIS, I worked with some of the truly most welcoming, kind, cool, woke, and inclusive kids I’ve ever met, and I definitely think they’re all going to do big things one day. I wrote about this before, in one of my previous blogs, but so many of my interactions with kids my age in India have really taught me how similar we youth are, even despite living in different parts of the world. I think my generation is really special because so many of us have a passion for improving our communities and advocating for equality and inclusion, and it’s really inspiring to see that so many kids my age are doing their part in building a better world, regardless of where they live. I’m gonna definitely miss all of the new friends I made at MGIS, but I’m excited to see all that they do in the future!
DJ is one of 8 students in Indiaspora’s inaugural HeritageINDIA Program. A unique, immersive, 3-week summer program, this initiative gives high school students of Indian descent the opportunity to connect to their ancestral homeland. Students experience and engage with India’s rich and diverse cultural history by completing hands-on projects, participating in stimulating discussions, and building friendships with a cohort that will share in this once-in-a-lifetime experience. With the exciting theme of India’s Riches: History, Culture, Diversity, & Democracy, students visit three areas of India that are geographically and culturally diverse, yet all very much represent India: New Delhi, Gujarat, and Kerala.