Indian students at Hills to learn about Robotics…and America

By Sofia Papadopoulos


A group of Indian foreign exchange students first arriving at Hills, receiving t-shirts from the robotics team. Photo Source – FRC Team 1676 on Twitter

Walking down the halls, addition to the Montvale and Woodcliff Lake students, there are exchange students from Choice School of Cochin, Kerala in India. They are here to learn about American culture and the FRC Team 1676 daily routine by spending time with the robotics team.

Sophomore Lily Drennan explained the benefits of spreading robotics to other countries: “I think that robotics is a big part of society nowadays, like everything is revolved around technology and we are advancing through and we need to know more about technology in a general, and by learning about engineering will definitely help people get jobs and learn more and improve.”

Kerala exchange student Manasi Thiruvillakat said, “Well, this school does have a lot better access to resources than most schools in India. So, since we got this opportunity we might as well make the most out of it and do whatever we can to learn.”

Fellow exchange student Manu Muralee added, “We also came here to get a new experience and to see how the education system in the U.S. was different from India. I think that here they actually give students a big choice on choosing what type of subject they want, but in India it’s more of everyone needing to do the same curriculum and it is a lot more liberal here.”

Beck Kerman, an electrical subdivision member of the team, said, “I think [being at Hills] will inspire them. It will give them a good base to start their program off of and will be a very positive experience from the adventures they will take with their team.”

Robotics is something that is new to these students. Exchange student Maria Charles said, “We don’t have robotics there so we want to really take in everything. We have a very small team, but it’s not ready or like yours. Everything is based on technology now so we really wanted to experience and make ours better.”

Nikita Lal, another student, added, “Well, I think nowadays most schools should have a robotics team because nowadays just learning from textbooks is over and now we have calculators and things like that. So things are more based on your skills of analysis, and one of the ways you could improve them is by doing something like robotics, where you’re actually getting a hands on experience with what even engineering students do.”

Hills and Valley students on the team are even learning from this experience. Kayla Vincent, senior and non-tech division leader, said, “I think learning about learning about their cultures and their daily lives open our eyes a lot, it doesn’t only let us appreciate all of our freedoms and everything we have here. It is amazing too, to collaborate with them on the projects we are working on in robotics. You have so many points of view now, working with people from halfway across the world, you know, they don’t know half the stuff that we’ve been through, and likewise from us to them. I believe this is a great chance for us to take part in both.”