My semester in Hyderabad, India was an absolutely life-changine experience. As cliche as that sounds, the 5 months I spent in Hyderabad expanded my view of the world to a level that I didn't know was possible.
The school - University of Hyderabad is a really beautiful campus. It had a lot to offer that I wasn't used to coming from a small private school in the U.S. My classes were interesting and I loved being in classes alongside Indian students. It was fascinating to study various subjects from such a different perspective.
The culture - Indian culture is colorful, exciting, warm, musical, loud. India is immediately a sensory-overload experience. And I loved every second of that. The food was amazing - when else do I get to have Indian food every meal of every day for 5 months??
The program - AIFS was superb at helping me through every step of the process. They helped as I planned and prepared back at home. Then they provided so much support when I was in Hyderabad. Sumana, the Resident Director, became our Indian mother, always there to listen, give advice, plan activities, help us find things to do, etc. I felt supported and comfortable the entire time.
My biggest piece of advice for going on this program would be to remain very open-minded. Your experience in Hyderabad, and India in general, will be very different from life at home. At first it might seem overwhelming, but patience is key. I came to love living such a different lifestyle for a period of time. I made life-long friends and learned so much about India, the world, and most importantly, myself. I cannot emphasize enough how much I would recommend this program to anyone ready for the adventure of a lifetime.