Collegiate hopes to establish exchange program for students from India

By Patrick Hyde and Phuong Tran-Le

One local private school has taken a new approach to the increase of Indians in the Henrico and greater Richmond area.

David Colon, academic dean at Collegiate School, recently took a group of four juniors and another faculty member to India for a two-week conference. He hopes to set up an exchange program in May and a summer program in August for Collegiate students.

The idea for this program was a convergence of personal interest, the increasing Indian population at Collegiate, and the school officials desire to create an international education program, Colon said.

The Indian parents at Collegiate helped Colon make connections with other Indian Schools. Colon and Keith Evans, head of Collegiate School, made a trip to India during the summer to scout out possibilities. They eventually settled on the Community Development and Leadership Summit at the Modern School in New Delhi.

"The Community Development and Leadership Summit is a yearly event where students meet with students from around the world," Colon said. On top of that, "we met with the finance minister, mayor of New Delhi and the minister for women and families.

"The highlight was the interaction between students from the most trivial to the most profound differences in culture."

Colon said that students also discussed topics that varied from video games and pop culture to democracy and terrorism.

"Of the many things I took away from the conferences [and] one of the most valuable was learning about other countries' cultures and people," Collegiate junior Harrison Roday said.  "It is comforting to learn that many of them enjoy the same activities we do, and are also interested in changing the world."

The Collegiate students were also interviewed by The Times of India and a television station about their experiences at the conference.

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