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An intrepid trip to India

Over half term 42 pupils from our Senior School's Years 11 to 13 were lucky enough to go on the residential trip of a lifetime to India. They had 10 days to see some of India’s most famous landmarks, volunteer in local communities, and become immersed in a completely foreign culture.

After a slightly surreal landing in Delhi, the girls jumped straight into a packed week with a visit to Ghandi’s house and the India Gate, a towering war memorial to soldiers of the First World War. In two groups they drove out to the Riverside Free School, with whom Sheffield Girls’ are in the third year of an outreach partnership, and despite the coach breaking down on the way there everyone was in good spirits teaching and leading activities for the pupils.

Continuing the sightseeing, the following day, the travelled by train to Agra to see the Taj Mahal and the historic Red Fort, both were stunning and made the early 4am start worth it. Hand-making chapatis at a Sikh temple, shopping at the market and visiting local families to learn about their lives was a wonderful taste of the Indian way of life.

The visit to Jim Corbett National Park was a chance to recharge and rest after hard work farming and cutting grass for the animals of the village. Frankie, Year 12 said, “We ventured beyond the boundaries of New Delhi to Jim Corbett nature reserve, a place where with every turn of a corner we have opened our eyes to a new aspect of our ever changing environment.

“As well as the eclectic mix of birds and insects, we have also managed to catch sight of elephants and even a tiger (without casualties thankfully), running on the fuel of perhaps four hours sleep (or was it two?), the finest of Indian cuisine, an interesting train journey and most importantly the help and support from one another.”

The group then pushed onto more familiar ground at St Thomas’ Girls School. The pupils at St Thomas’ treated the girls to a morning of dance, performances, fun and beautiful food, before a visit to Delhi’s spice market and a ride on a rickshaw. The last supper was spent at an Indian mall - in contrast to the classic Indian food they dined on for most of the trip they had a celebratory final meal at the more close-to-home restaurant Nando’s!

With everlasting memories of the landmarks and people, a monkey trying to steal a bottle of coke, and playing volleyball at the wifi-free national park, the girls were sad to finally be leaving after 10 days enjoying the incredible country of India.

Group leader Mrs Bouchier said, “We are totally blown away by the girls’ amazing spirit, kindness, courage and resourcefulness. Everyone has loved every minute of this trip - it has been such an amazing experience for us all and one we will never forget.

“We are all devastated to be coming to the end of what has been without doubt up there as a trip of a lifetime. We are all in love with India and are coming back a very happy group of 47, all of whom were awesome. There has been so many wonderful experiences.”

“India has been an amazing experience,” Frankie added. “It has felt like we have been living on a different planet, seeing the weird and the wonderful, and helping out at some of the most deprived yet often happiest of places.”

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