Pupils and staff enjoyed a 'trip of a lifetime' to our partner school in Nitte, India at the end of November. Here, pupil Molly-Jean describes the visit.
Six pupils and I went on a trip of a life time: to India. Nitte in particular, a village in Karnatika. The link between Hutchie and Dr NSAM English Medium High School in Nitte is 12 years strong with pupils and staff taking part in reciprocal visits each year.
We were welcomed everywhere warmly with big smiles. When we entered the school, we were met by the school band, sprinkled with flower petals, each given a rose and sand art reading “Welcome Hutchies” made the moment even more special. Their commitment to our global partnership was evident throughout the school with house noticeboards highlighting the importance of our partnership to personalised messages welcoming us in each classroom. It is this whole school involvement and the excitement they place on our visit that is the ethos we will strive to recreate when Melli and Sharru visit in June. Our tour of the school revealed the importance of positivity and creativity in education. Every class had a motivational message and their new ‘Tinkering’ lab was filled with innovative models made by the pupils.
Visiting classes of all ages was a high point, reaffirming the unique link between the two schools. In the classes we sang traditional Scottish songs and the Macarena, held mini ceilidhs, played games, discussed differences in culture and gave lots of ‘hi fives’ to the little ones. We were overwhelmed by all the children who stepped up to sing and dance for us, from pre-schoolers to 16-year olds. Talent was everywhere and their personal commitment and focus to education was clear even in the youngest pupils. Year 12 students have entered a competition and created projects looking at Sustainability Goal 12. We also sat down with pupils to discuss their projects and were all impressed by the amount of work these pupils had put into their one-hour documentaries about Sustainable Goal 12. It was great to have a chance to discuss the differences between India and Scotland and also glean ideas on different ways to educate the wider community about these global issues. I think I can speak for the whole group when I say that visiting the classes and meeting everyone was one of the best parts of the trip.
On Tuesday, we left to go to the Mukka Guest House, Mangalore. Before leaving we were invited to a to a very special leaving ceremony, involving traditional and modern dances and music. My personal favourite was the boy’s dance which was great fun. This open environment was quite different from the formalities of classrooms, but we were given a real taste of their local culture and traditions. Then it was our turn with Morgan singing a Burns poem before Shona recited ‘Tae a Mouse’ and Kathryn sang Caledonia. We finished our part by dancing the Virginia Reel and singing Scotland the Brave dressed in sarees: this was really special as it was a visual demonstration of the joining of the two cultures.
Our first night at the Mukka guest house was great fun as we attended a formal dinner hosted by Mr. Hegde, grandson of the founder of the Nitte Trust Foundation. The dinner was to celebrate the ongoing partnership and also the notable prize-winners from the school. Once the formalities were over we had a game of Duck, Duck, Goose! Saree clad everyone joined in from the 6 year old spelling bee winners to the 15 year old art and science prize winners, it was great fun. I think we made the Mr Hegde and the other staff smile and he commented that it was fabulous to see new friendships forming and children being children and having fun.
The next day and half was spent at the hospital shadowing different faculties. In our scrubs, we had access to general surgery, neurosurgery, cardiac and orthopaedic specialities and were delighted as the surgeons and other consultants explained their roles in the hospital and provided a real insight into the similarities and differences between the two healthcare systems. Personally, I’ve realised surgery is not for me however the experience was most valuable for us all. We also visited the new architecture and media school which highlighted the importance of journalism in a country where 80% of the population are do not have access to the internet and also the continued drive for creativity in a country where so many people aim for futures in science.
Our placements and work shadowing were complemented with visits to temples, churches, a zoo, a cashew nut factory, saree shopping and so much more. We managed to watch the sunset as we walked along the beach before eating delicious local curries. We were even blessed by an elephant! A huge thanks to Winnie, one of the teachers from India for organising our itinerary, to Gloria, Suja, Shree and our daily pupil guides who kept us on schedule and were so welcoming. Finally, a huge thank you to Mrs Barr, who looked after us and made it such a successful trip. Another thanks to Miss Knox, who was her right-hand woman. This trip has given us new friends and memories that will stay with us forever. The Nitte trust has 32 different educational establishment and will open their doors to any faculty we would like to visit, from medicine to IT; architecture to hospitality. Whatever your interest is I strongly recommend this trip for anyone looking for an adventure and the opportunity to see the world from a different perspective.