Humility, nonviolence and respect for the elderly tend to be universal values in India. Sharing and the community are also very important – you can even share the food on your plate with others freely as a sign of closeness. People in India usually focus more on the needs of the group over an individual. The Indian communication style tends to be rather indirect, and you will rarely hear someone saying an outright no to an invitation. There are 22 different languages that have been recognised by the Constitution of India, as well as other local languages and dialects depending on the area.

A photo posted by Kate Gilbert (@kaaycoo) on


India is notable for its religious diversity, with Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Islam, Christianity, and Jainism among the nation’s major religions. 79.8% of the population are Hindu, 14.2% are Muslim, 2.3% are Christian, and 3.7% follow other religions! Religious tolerance is very important for any AFS participant in India.

Host Family and Community

You may be hosted anywhere in India. No matter where you are, several generations often live together, and decisions about education or marriage are rarely made without consulting other family members. The Indian sense of community means that you should try and spend as much time as possible with others at home, rather than be alone behind closed doors.

Indian families are close and multi-generational – you could have your grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins all living close to you. Family is very important in India, so expect to spend a lot of time participating in your family’s life. Your family will likely be vegetarian, and can show you their religious and cultural festivals, how to cook delicious foods, and how to participate in Indian culture.


Food is a big part of Indian culture, and it is as diverse as you can imagine depending on the region. Full of flavor and often spicy, meals are a great time to socialise and be with your family. Indian cuisine consists of lots of vegetables, beans, lentils, rice and only sometimes meat, so vegetarians will have plenty of options to choose from. A large section of the Indian population is vegetarian, not having even eggs. Their diet includes lot of milk and dairy products.


Hindi and English are the official languages, but you can expect to speak English during most of your exchange in India and should know it before the program. There are 22 different languages that have been recognised by the Constitution of India, as well as other local languages and dialects depending on the area.


India has one of the largest education systems in the world! Education is quite demanding in India. You will most likely attend the 11th grade at an Indian public school (which are considered private schools around the world). Depending on which state you are placed in, your school year may start in March (Delhi) or in June (South India). You will choose one of the four tracks of study: engineering, medical, commerce or (liberal) arts. Exchange students usually take (liberal) arts track, where they learn economics, history, philosophy, psychology, sociology etc. You should also try out one of the extracurricular activities offered in schools, such as drawing, games, group discussions, cricket or basketball.

Host Student with Henna_edited

Let AFS guide your intercultural adventure

Go abroad with AFS to discover who you really are, make new lifetime friendships and immerse yourself in a fascinating intercultural experience.

Our learning program will prepare you for an amazing AFS intercultural experience. The program begins at your home country with a pre-departure orientation and continues with orientations and other supported learning activities and facilitated conversations will help you maximize your experience, cope the challenges of navigating a new culture and community and gain knowledge, skills, and a global understanding, throughout your time abroad, and as you return to you home country. AFS volunteers will be there to support and guide you and your host family through your learning journey abroad.


The Global Competence Certificate (GCC) program will support your intercultural learning experience. This state-of-the-art program prepares you to successfully navigate new cultural environments—during your AFSNext experience and long after you finish the program. Online intercultural learning modules combined with in-person sessions help you develop practical and global skills, knowledge and attitudes that employers need and mission-driven organizations believe will help achieve their social impact goals. You will receive your certification upon completion of the training program.   

Explore the Programmes Available in India



  • DestinationIndia
  • DurationsYear
  • Program Dates
    • Jul 2025 - May 2025