Hello! My name is Binali and I am a Sri Lankan undergraduate of University of Kelaniya. I am really fortunate to get the opportunity to join RICE NGO as an intern in Akshara Techno school under the guidance of Mr.Amarendar. This was a new experience as I was exposed to a completely different culture in a foreign country. At first, I didn’t know how to cope up with this completely new environment and the new circumstances I met but, under the guidance of Mr.Amarendar, Swetha madam and the supportive staff I could adapt easily. The new people, the food, the culture, the places and simply everything about India was interesting. I learnt how amazing Indians are and how exciting living in India is during my 45 days of internship. The students and teachers I met in Akshara Techno school were always helpful and friendly. I was given all my fundamental necessities; food , accommodation and the protection as I was a foreign intern.
Akshara Techno School
Under the RICE NGO I was assigned work at Akshara Techno school where I was a spoken English teacher. Mr. Amarendar was the guiding light of all of us as he explained and provided all the information for the staff to carry out the academic activities. I was given classes from grade 1 to 10 and I happily taught the students there. The students were very friendly and was interested to learn. They were keen in speaking English as it was the only way they could speak with me due to the language difference. Seeing how the students try to speak English more than they used to always made me happy. I knew I was doing a great job. The students thus improved daily in their communicative skills.
The staff members were very friendly and helpful and I am really grateful to have worked with such a supportive group of teachers. I have made many Indian friends through this internship also . Honestly, I would definitely spare a minute to talk about the welcoming and warm-hearted nature of my fellow Indian teachers whenever I get the opportunity of talking about them to the Sri Lankans.
World Environment Day Celebrations
In Akshara Techno school apart from academic activities they organized extra-curricular activities too. Thus the world environmental Day celebrations took place in 4th of July 2023. I also got the chance to advice the students about the negative effects of using plastic via a speech. There was a rally in order to get public attention on the issue of plastic. The students were educated about the negative outcome of using plastic which is important for the nation’s development. Thus through the school the students get the exposure to lead a better life as a worthy citizen. The teachers and students are collectively educated by these kinds of awareness programs conducted by the initiation of Mr. Amarendra. So I would definitely say how proud I am to be a part of this staff and experience such activities.
According to my knowledge Bonalu is a festival celebrated by Indians in Telangana each year. Akshara Techno school also celebrated this festival in a grand way. Being a Sri Lankan this festival was a new experience to me. I saw how people pray to Durga Matha and get the blessings by performing certain rituals. It was awe-inspiring. Everything about Bonalu was completely a new experience. Swetha madam gave me the assistance in buying and wearing a saree on that day. Also the students came to apply Mehendi on my hands. Wearing India’s traditional clothing with Indian jewelry I could embrace the Indian culture. I danced in the road among the other teachers and students while travelling to the temple. Inside the temple I performed the necessary rituals by looking at the others. It was indeed a life changing experience.
The School Trip
Mr. Amarendran never fails to entertain the staff and works towards the betterment of them. He is always the captain of the ship which was sailing among the waves. The trip to Yadagirigutta Temple was a special event organized by sir for the teachers. On that day I got the chance of wearing a Kurtha; a traditional Indian dress. I witnessed the breath-taking beauty of India via the visit to that temple. Located on the top of a rock the temple was built in a extremely prestigious manner and its beauty is immeasurable. We went on a long-dive to that temple along with the family members of the teachers. On that day I got the ability to communicated with all the staff members and make a closer connection with them by sharing my social media accounts and WhatsApp number. Thus that is a memorable event that took place during my stay in India.
Beauty of India
During the internship period I got the ability of exploring Hyderabad. I travelled to different places such as Hussain Sagar. Hussain Sagar is a place where a massive buddha statue is built, being a Buddhist I am so lucky to have gone there to worship. And also the NTR gardens and Birla Mandir in its suburbs were very attractive places.
I also visited the worlds largest film city which is called Ramoji Film City located in Hyderabad. That is a massive city which is extremely beautiful. There I took many photos and videos. I also got to know that famous films such as Baahu Bali was filmed there. Telegu is a beautiful language and so are the films produced. And the fun fact is that some students and teachers told me that I look like Kriti Shetty, a Telegu actress. I still smile whenever I recall that memory.
I also visited the Salar Jung Museum in Hyderabad. I was amazed by the history of India while I explored the museum. Also I got the chance to visit Charminar twice during the stay. Charminar is a place to do street shopping. I always loved street shopping and my urge for it was satisfied in India. I shopped bangles, earrings and necklaces in Charminar. I also got a perfume which was unique to Hyderabad.
Travelling in metro was a new experience as we don’t have metro in Sri Lanka. Once I travelled from LB Nagar to Miyapur by accident and all the way back as I missed the stop. It was literally one half of Hyderabad and that was fun! I also went to many shopping malls to buy gifts to my parents and friends. I bought some unique things to India such as Mehendi tubes, kurtas, jhumkas, bhindi stickers, halfsarees and sarees.
Indian dishes are very unique in compared with most of the dishes in the world. Indian food has a unique taste with its spices. The flavour is different and interesting. When I got down at the Hyderabad airport the crew there asked me to taste Hyderabadi biriyani and I did it! It was very tasty.
In Balapur, where I was staying ,we had Red Bucket Biriyani which was very famous and I tasted it many times. Near our school there was a chai shop and I as a habit I drank a chai in the morning on my way to school. Chai has a unique taste and as a Sri Lankan I was mesmerized by it. Also vadai was very tasty with the curries. I tasted sweet corn samosa, chapati, idli, dosai,poori etc. Paani poori was also my favourite. I still remember the taste of these food and I really miss it.
Indian sweets are also very tasty . Actually I don’t know the names of the sweets to describe here but I ate a lot of different sweets. There were shops which only sold sweets in Balapur and I used to eat a lot. Thanks to my internship in India I got the chance of experimenting most of the food items in India
The hardest Good bye
Finally, after experiencing all these marvelous events and teaching the students with my whole heart I could not leave the school with a simple goodbye. We met with simple hellos but left with complicated goodbyes. Specially Sir and Madam were like my own family and it was with tears that I said goodbye to them. I wish I could have stayed longer but unfortunately it was the end of my internship period. I had to leave Akshara Family with a heavy heart. I will forever cherish all the memories there and India will secure a special place inside my heart forever.
I am really grateful to Mr. Amarendra and Swetha Madam for everything they did during my stay. And I am really happy to have met the wonderful staff members in Akshara Techno school.
Thank You and Goodbye India !