As we walked towards the blue gate of the Shri Ram Vidya Mandir School, I could feel my heart palpitating in my chest. Moments earlier I had been informed that we would be performing our choreographed dance for the hundreds of kids who attended the SRVM school. Trying to calm myself down, I began to focus on my breath rather than the daunting experience of performing an Indian style dance, that we had not practiced for days, in front of hundreds of children, grades one to twelve. When we walked through the gate we were met with a militaristic sight. Meticulous lines of children facing the front of the school where a special group of kids, and a few teachers were planted with a drum, speaker, and microphone. As we walked down the center aisle, I could feel curious eyes following our path and analyzing our every move. For the first thirtyish minutes of their morning, the students sang prayers, listened to motivational speeches from their peers, and heard a variety of other important information pertaining to the day presented. After we had gone up and performed our dance, the children ended the morning assembly with the India National Anthem, and then they filed out line by line in a very orderly fashion. We waited and watched, all in awe of how efficient and respectful the kids were, before heading up to the second floor to meet with a select group of 11th grade students and teachers.
When the other students from SRVM arrived we divided into groups, and began to talk with each other. The SRVM students quickly began to ask us questions about our own studies, and our “aims.” When telling these kids that I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do after high school, and didn’t know my “aim” or future career yet they were mortified. They had all been put into different “streams” and were already sure what career they wanted later in life, so it was a big shock for them that I had so much choice, and that I could be unsure of what I wanted to do. As we continued talking, we found more differences between our lives, but we also found a lot of similarities. They all were stressed for their upcoming exams, just like I get stressed for finals and AP tests. They all enjoy hanging out with friends and going on social media to relax, and so did we. Although we live in two completely different worlds, eight thousand miles apart we were still able to connect with one another and find aspects of our lives that we share in common.