It has been 20 years (2003-2023) since we have been a host family of more than 50 volunteers for long-term and short-term projects from various countries. It is really nice to exchange cultures. We are still in contact with many of our volunteers; we call or message each other, we send wishes to each other on special occasions, and some of them even visit us after a few years. We really miss each one of them and hope to meet them soon.
I have learned a lot of things from the volunteers. It was so difficult to manage the volunteers in the beginning due to communication problems, a lack of understanding about different cultures, and volunteers not accustomed to Indian cuisine. I also used to prepare many non-vegetarian dishes like fish curry, which was too spicy for them. Slowly, I understood their food habits and started to cook less spicy food, which they liked very much. Most of the time, volunteers help in kitchen and they also learnt how to prepare Indian cuisine.
Volunteers like to participate in cultural events and wear traditional clothes. I used to take them to most of the cultural events, and they enjoyed it. I also learned more about the culture, customs, and lifestyle of different countries by hosting international volunteers. I treat a volunteer as one of my family members. We have dinner together and talk about different topics. Hosting volunteers helps me and my children improve our English and become more open to different cultures.
Now, I feel very proud that I have hosted volunteers from more than 20 nationalities. Thanks a lot to FSL India for the continuous support.
By Gretta D Almeida (Host family member with FSL India, Kundapur)