What are the requirements to apply for the program?
Apart from the set of requirements like minimum percentage of marks, previous leadership roles and more, there are other things which the teachers look out for in the candidates for the program.
Additional skills like knowing how to play an instrument and singing do surely increase one’s chances of getting selected. The most important part of the selection, however, is the interview. There will be a set of selectors at the table including teachers, ex-students and the principal. From the choice of food to why one should be selected, they will try their best to put one off guard by throwing such curveballs. A good grasp of the English language helps one to answer there smoothly along with showing their own public speaking skills to the selectors. Being confident and having the mindset of a normal conversation are the two key points any candidate should keep in mind while applying for the esteemed program.
Why should you apply for this program?
There are over a thousand reasons why students should apply for this program. Apart from getting a chance to explore the beauty of Dublin in Ireland, this program instils in the students a sense of responsibility and independence. While an international student stays in one’s house for two weeks, the student has a chance to understand the diverse culture of a city far away. One will also get a chance to visit the suburbs and a place no one would have ever thought of going to: a village. Learning how students study and pass their time on a daily basis while balancing out their free time is a lesson everyone should learn. I can go on and on as to why someone should apply for this program but at the end of the day, I would just like to say that getting a chance to be part of this program is truly magical and everyone should try it.
Is it necessary to get all the money through sponsorship?
It is not necessary to get all the money from sponsorship but it does give a sense of accomplishment to the achiever. There has been only one student in the 23 years of the program who has been able to gather all the money through various sources so it is very difficult. Nevertheless, every student should try to convince the proposed investor to give them sponsorship mostly by the way they present themselves and of course connections are important. Money management and collection is essential in the real world platform, a skill everyone should possess. This is what sponsorship is meant to do, to instil the ability to convince people through words to invest in someone.
What clothes should be carried to Dublin?
Ireland, as everyone knows, does not have a tropical climate as we find here in India. The climate is much cooler and it is very rare for the temperatures to hit more than 25 degrees Celsius. For such a climate, one should carry warm clothes, especially a raincoat since it might rain and it can be extremely cold during that time. Sports shoes are also necessary since there will be a lot of travelling involved and it can get uncomfortable without them. Carrying a set of formal clothes is also advisable since the host family might take their respective student to a formal dinner. Even though it is common apparel there, shorts should be replaced with track pants as much as possible to prevent the cold from getting in. Overall, one should be prepared for a relatively cold atmosphere although it is said to be the hottest in Ireland during that time.
What are some of the possible food problems you can face?
Food may seem like a major issue in all three aspects of the programme - hosting your Irish brother, going on the village trip, and in Dublin - but it is not.
When you are hosting the Irish, just keep a few basic things in mind. Do not give them food rich in Indian spices and herbs (in other words, avoid masala). Fruits and cereal are the ideal breakfast. Always keep a basket of fruits, juices, biscuits and other snacks in your brother’s room.
For the village trip, it can get really tough if you are not accustomed to eating basic food like rice, dal, and vegetables, especially with your hand - do not expect fancy food. The food on the trip is good and simple. In order to make the most out of the trip, embrace the culture of the villagers and eat together with them.
With regard to Dublin, you should be having no problems at all there. Dubliners often do not understand what comes under vegetarian and non-vegetarian and may confuse being vegetarian with being vegan. Fast food joints like Subway, Boojum and Dominoes will form your stable diet - a diet that is every teenager’s dream.
What are a few of the necessities for the Village Trip?
The village trip might be the first for most of the candidates selected so one should be adequately prepared to face any uncomfortable situations. The Dublin exchange program requires candidates to visit a village for a weekend sometime in February which might be challenging for some students since it probably is their first time.
To start, the village will be in West Bengal itself so the temperature will not be an issue, normal daily wear should do. Comfortable clothes are advised since the train journeys can become tedious. When it comes to the food, the school/ashram will provide students as well as the teachers with normal daily food including pulses, rice and chapatis which should not be a problem for most of the students. Anyone uncomfortable is free to carry whatever they want to but it is advisable not to since it might pose an insult to the host school. Sports shoes are a must since there will be a ton of walking involved so a bottle of water, caps, sunscreen and all the other things required for a long walk should be in every student’s handbag, which is also necessary. Overall, it is a very good learning experience and the village trip is sure to be amazing for those who get selected.