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Greetings from Incredible India!

Dear TGS Community,

It’s been a busy start of the second term here in Mumbai, the city that never sleeps. The first few days offered an introduction to the puzzle that this city is, and our students’ reactions and emotions ranged from “completely overwhelmed”, “mildly shocked”, “positively surprised”, and “love the chaos, I can survive this”. Students had a chance to explore the city and learn about its religions, cultures, and neighborhoods in those first few days, as well as how to get around, how freedom zone works, and what the expectations and health and safety protocols are for the term. Besides a few “Delhi-bellies” and sore throats, we have been quite lucky so far.

We have also been quite busy with the start of our modules and personal projects. As you already know, students have an opportunity to participate in one of the three modules this term: E-Commerce, Water Sustainability, and Zero to Infinity. Seeing them all engaged and continuously extending the module conversations well passed their module time has been an incredible privilege. They are actually discussing math concepts during lunch with no prompting from any of us! In the pictures below you can get a glimpse of what they have been up to so far in each module.

Over the past few weeks, educators have also been meeting with each student individually, almost on a daily basis, to help them identify and develop personal projects, choose AP or GOA courses, decide language focus, and complete their THINK Action Plans, which you’ve received this week from the advisors. As students get more familiar with the process, they’ll become quicker at designing their own projects and their own learning paths. At this point, they are just getting started but should be able to delve into these personal projects by the end of this week.

I hope you enjoy the first impressions of Mumbai our students have put together. As always, please feel free to reach out if you have any questions.

Kind regards,


Sonnet of a Paryatak

by Justin Smith-Hoopes

(From Justin: Paryatak means tourist.)

A life short-lived free of the heat and sound,

The layers of the chaos thus consume,

Within my head, I hear a voice, a hound,

No thoughts pass through except that of my tomb.

A whelming terror now flows through my heart,

My confident façade has but faded,

My face began to show a ghastly tart,

And now, by this fear, my mind was laded.

But wait, I feel it, tis a calming breeze,

Coming from somewhere that I cannot see,

As I embrace it, now I feel its tease,

And I let out a laugh that’s filled with glee.

I see beauty in this state as I’m twirl’d

And I am content in this sep’rate world.

A Little Perspective on India from a pedestrian

by Julia Gwioździk

I put my hand in front of me as a sign for the cars driving in my direction, and with all confidence that’s inside me, I decide to cross the street. As I take my first step, I notice a tuk tuk coming right at me. My heart rate increases and I quickly jump to the right. I get a small feeling of an accomplishment, and as I am about to take the next few steps, a huge car comes, then another, and another, and another. I can’t think of a new strategy, because there is no time. I have to act fast. Somehow I manage to not get hit by anything and I am now on the other side, walking past small local shops, that sell everything from used books to vegetables. I am trying to notice all the smells, sounds and sights, but that’s simply not possible. The constant sound of honking, the constant sight of too many people walking past me, the constant smell of, well, everything mixed together. I keep walking and wondering: How can all these things exist right next to each other? A car almost crashes my foot, and for the next few minutes I try to remember what it’s like to walk on a pavement. I guess it’s not that essential to my life after all. I feel like my senses are getting punched, moving my head in every possible direction, trying to make mental notes of what I am experiencing. I still can’t grasp the idea of 18 million people living in this city, coming from a place where most people know each other. After this first week, India is a huge question mark, full of contrasts and those small tuk tuks coming right at me when I cross the street.

Mumbai, Tell Me Your Story

by Salome De Beauvoir Carey


Sing me your lullaby

The one that consists of chronic honking interrupted by the explosion of fireworks



Take me to your streets

Astound me with the masses of tuk-tuks weaving through the maze of traffic as if they were programmed.



Feed me

Tantalize my tastebuds with the names of foods I can’t pronounce and continue to challenge my tolerance of spice.



Tell me where to go

Each street, store and site holds a story of it’s own and I just can’t decide which one to read.



Hand me a camera

One that captures every screech and whisper heard, one that’ll reveal the thrill and fascination felt.



Turn on the air-con

I’ve sweat through three shirts today and this humidity is unmerciful.



Hold my hand

Interlock our fingers and help me feel at ease through all the peculiar situations you confront me with.



Answer my questions

Tell me how such dualities co-exist, the wealthy and the struggling, the slums and the skyscrapers.



Who are you?

Never have I seen so much diversity, and variance in people and lifestyles.



I trust you

I know that I’m in good hands.

Hands that’ll push and prepare me for exposure of any kind.

Running in Mumbai

by Educator Chelle Marshall

It is a pure joy for me to share my passion with students.  Getting out in the early mornings, we find the city in its quietest moments and usually at the coolest part of the day.  

We are fortunate that in our West Bandra location, we encounter many others who resolutely  pad along Pali Hill road with its steep incline covered by a canopy of majestic tree branches.  We make our way to the seawall where we can usually catch a refreshing breeze and find the morning exercise crowd doing pullups and dips on the seaside gym equipment.  We then join the throngs of walkers at Jogger’s Park, who pace around the 400 m circuit edged by hedges with the stalwart rooster crowing from within.  We get the odd whiff of salty, decomposing stench from the water’s edge; I am surprised that the mangroves lining the shoreline actually survive the crush of humanity’s garbage piling up between their trunks and roots.  

During our chats we consider the foods, smells, sights, sounds, and chaos that is Mumbai.  We share our thoughts about module work, guest speakers, and experiences and relate the funny stories and news from home.  We are totally at ease with whomever shows up, accommodating different paces, each person pushing themselves or supporting others.  I value this collective of positivity at the start of each day.

The Dadar Flower Market & Jawhar Village

by Amelie Andreas and Maxim Sindall. Photos by Adam Sturman and Nick Martino

From the bustling Mumbai flower market to a modest saree shop in Jawhar Village, the E-commerce module have spent the past few weeks exploring how economics fits into the constant commotion that characterizes India. From this understanding of economics, we aim to create a webstore connecting traditional artists in Jawhar village with customers across the globe looking to buy quality, handmade products. In the last couple days competition has been rising, as we split into two groups, both vying for the funding to launch their own website.

Zero to Infinity: Photography Showcase

by Maren Höver

These pictures were taken on a trip to the Tao Art gallery, that the Zero to Infinity module made, to learn more about how math can be visualized in the real world through photography.

Local Collaboration on Water Quality Testing

by Chelle Marshall and Maria Valle and students of the Sustainability Module

Dharavi students have been working with us, the Water Sustainability Module, to learn about access to fresh water in the slum area** and to determine how drinkable their water is through water quality testing.  What we found out:

  • There is a tap in most homes
  • Most homes are a single room that may have partitions 3m x 3m
  • An average of 4 – 6 people live in each home
  • Water is turned on for 3 – 4 hours per day in the morning
  • Most homes use buckets to collect the water,  water is stored in buckets and barrels
  • Drinking water is filtered through a cloth; some boil water
  • Men and children shower outside the home, women bathe using buckets
  • Toilets are located in central areas in a ratio of 1 toilet to 150 people – public toilets have no running water and pay toilets have some running water (people bring a bucket to clean themselves)
  • Transient residents of Dharavi number about 200,000 – sleep in their workplace and only have tap water  at their workplace or communal taps in streets

For the most part the water is safe to drink. We are observing and learning what the major drinking water problems and extend education about how to be safer with water.

We found:

  • Most permanent residents have a fair idea about drinking water safety – will boil water if children get diarrhea
  • Children and elderly are most at risk for waterborne diseases
  • Standing water is an issue as mosquitos carrying malaria and dengue breed there

You will have to watch the Showcase to find out more about our studies!


** We are not allowed to take photos in the slum areas – just in our “lab,” which is the upstairs office of Reality Gives, our host organization.


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A passion for travel. A strong academic record. And the desire to improve the world as you experience it. If this sounds like you, you just might be our ideal candidate! Start your application with a five-minute inquiry form - you never know where you might end up.

It all starts here.

Ready to embark on the educational journey of a lifetime?

A passion for travel. A strong academic record. And the desire to improve the world as you experience it. If this sounds like you, you just might be our ideal candidate! Start your application with a five-minute inquiry form - you never know where you might end up.

It all starts here.

Apply now