Four Exeter students will journey to India with Andover students as a part of the Niswarth Program this upcoming summer, announced Raj Mundra, Founder and Director of the program, at Niswarth Night on Monday. Niswarth is a summer program where participants spend three weeks during the summer engaging in projects that deal with urban development and education in India. The program “brings together people and ideas from across the globe. It focuses on multiple perspectives, it works to identify and understand context and it digs into the complexity of pressing issues within communities,” according to its mission statement. Up until this point, the Niswarth Program brought only Andover students to India. He hopes that the addition of Exeter students will broaden the scope of the program. “I think Exeter teachers, as well as Exeter students, will bring new perspectives to the program. Part of the program is to reflect on our own communities, so now we will be reflecting on both the Andover community as well as the Exeter community,” said Mundra. “I have seen a great impact when students come back into the Andover community,” he continued. “I wonder what experiences will be like with this first group of Exeter students. It will be interesting how students from both schools integrate their experiences into their curriculums, into their service programs and into their communities.” Laura Marshall, Director of Studies at Exeter, said, “It is a great way for us [Andover and Exeter] to develop a deeper appreciation and respect for one another. I imagine that the friendships that will develop will continue beyond high school.” Marshall led a trip of ten students and ten faculty to India last March as part of a co-learning trip. “After my return from India, after having had time to absorb and reflect upon my experiences there, I realized that I wanted to return to India and I wanted the experience to still be educational, but I yearned for a community service component. I felt very fortunate when the Niswarth opportunity became a possibility, as it is exactly what I was seeking,” said Marshall. Mundra said that he is excited to collaborate with Andover’s rival. “I was just a part of a big football game against Exeter, and I think we compete hard, and the reason we compete hard is because we have deep respect for each other. This camaraderie fuels the rivalry.” “I want to now use that level of camaraderie and the standards that are similar in both communities to come together for a service learning program. The possible collaboration between the two schools can be equally as intense as the rivalry can be between the two schools,” continued Mundra. The idea for collaboration was discussed at a dinner last spring, where Andover Niswarth participants met with the Exeter students who went to India last Spring Break, according to Mundra.
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