Vasant Valley Visits Grace

In 1992, Grace Church School had its first cultural exchange with a cohort of middle schools in Yukuhashi, Japan. Over two decades later, Grace continues the tradition, exercising its mission through collaborations with schools across the globe.
Last week, sixteen students from Vasant Valley in New Delhi, India came to Grace. Grace students welcomed them with open arms not only into their classrooms but into their homes and hearts. 

Mere days after meeting, students from Grace and Vasant Valley could be seen walking through campus arm in arm, laughing and talking like lifelong friends. Ms. Ward, Director of Grace International Exchange & Travel Programs, shared that many faculty and students have found lasting friendships in the exchange, including herself. In fact, Ms. Ward still speaks frequently with a Vasant Valley host from 2016. In her words, “the homestay is the cornerstone of the program.” She believes all travel can build self-reliance and humility, but the homestay is an intentional facet of Grace International Exchange that further encourages healthy discomfort leading to immense growth and maturity. 

Grace’s students have given the Vasant Valley visitors a week-in-the-life of a Grace student, and, in return, Grace’s students have been given a new perspective on what that really means. From attending classes together, to sharing a home, to trips to Broadway and the UN, the host students have been able to see not just Grace, but New York City, through new eyes. 

Vasant Valley student Samridh Malik’s favorite part of the exchange was the host families. Similarly, Grace student Kate Bayerd’s favorite part of the hosting experience has been bonding with the Vasant Valley students. Both Vasant Valley and Grace students spoke of admiration for the inclusivity and kindness they’d observed in one another. 

Used to walking to and from class across an 8-acre campus, Anvvi Singhi shared her surprise with how vertical Grace is. Vasant Valley students were not prepared for the many stairs Grace students climb daily and were particularly impressed with how Grace utilizes every corner of its building. The Vasant Valley students also described smaller class sizes, unfamiliar curriculum, more collaborative work, and, perhaps most notably, snacks in the classroom as differences from their school life in India.

Vasant Valley’s motto is “Shreshtha Tamaya Karmane,” which translates to “Excellence in Deed.” While there are many differences between Grace and Vasant Valley, some overt and some subtle, there is a shared mission of excellence through action. Grace seeks to foster curiosity, humility, kindness, and courage, understanding rigorous forms of each to be sources of wisdom. The International Exchange program requires a direct application of these missional values. It is, using Vasant Valley’s words, excellence in deed. 
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Grace Church School is a co-educational independent school in downtown Manhattan, New York City providing instruction for nearly 800 students in Junior Kindergarten through Grade 12.