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Summer Internship Experience - Abhijay Singireddy - July 2022

Updated: Nov 18, 2023

My name is Abhijay Singireddy, I'm a Senior at Hopewell Valley Central High School, Pennington, NJ, USA. I joined VTSeva in 2021 and since then have participated in countless volunteer activities. Community service is a passion for me and I always looking for ways to help the people around me. In my free time, I love to play basketball, sing, and hang out with my friends. Sharing experience from July 2022 summer internship camp.

What Is The Internship About?

Every year, VTSeva invites high school students around the globe to participate in the 2 week long “VT Youth Summer Internship Program" in India at VTSeva-sponsored schools for tribal and visually challenged students. Through this program, interns participate in cultural exchanges and teach at schools for the underprivileged by taking up several projects such as math, English, and various other topics including robotics, art, music, and sports. I was selected for the amazing opportunity in the summer of 2022 along with 14 other interns from various states in the USA.

First Day at the Statue of Equality, Hyderabad, India

The internship began at the Statue of Equality, Hyderabad, a 216-foot-tall statue of Sri Ramanujacharya. Nearby the statue, there is the JIMS homeopathy hospital and Netra Vidyalaya which is VTSeva’s college for the blind. ​I met up with the other 14 interns and got settled down. We went to the temple and HH Sri Chinna Jeeyar Swamiji's kuteeram (hermitage) to receive his blessings before our 8-hour bus journey to Allampally.

My Days In Allampally, Telangana, India

When we arrived, we were greeted by the older male students who collected all of our bags for us and took them inside. The school has a large open grounds area that has space to play games such as coco, volleyball, and cricket. Then there are the guest and student dorms and lunch areas, along with a separate school building with two floors.

I opted to teach the 10-grade kids, who were the oldest at the school. Their English skills were very impressive as they could easily converse with me and write inspiring essays about their ambitious dreams.

The first half of the day was strictly academics but in the second half of the day, each student was allowed to choose an extracurricular activity that interested them. There was robotics, art, a Rubix cube, and music. I taught singing and dance.

We decided to teach the children Kommuram Bheemudo from the film RRR, as the film was very popular, but mainly because the real Komuram Bheem came from the jungles in Allampally. Children, young and old, mastered these skills with ease as they had the passion and focus unmatched by any other children.

Trip Highlight: Visiting the Thandas (Villages)

One day we took a trip to the Thandas, or the villages where the children live. The houses we visited were built by the villagers themselves to support their basic, everyday needs. They are made of mud and sticks and consist of two rooms. When visiting the tandas, each student invited us to their house. They were so proud to show us how they lived and explained every facet of their lives. The students have shown us how to be grateful and thankful for what we have.

Return To the Statue Of Equality

Returning from Allampally, we spent a couple of days at the Statue. We woke up early the next morning and had our yoga class with HH Sri Chinna Jeeyar Swamiji. Swamiji carefully helped all the interns personally with the positions. Additionally, we were invited to his kuteeram many times to talk about our experiences. Swamiji also taught us many spiritual lessons. We also toured the JIMS hospital where we learned about homeopathic medicine. Additionally, we visited the Netra Vidyalaya and learned about how blind students learn.

Final Thoughts:

I have been enlightened by some of the purest humans on Earth. They are untouched by the technology and politics that have taken over our world. They have intelligent, but clear minds full of thought and compassion. The students have respected me more than anyone else I have met and not only treated me as a teacher but as a friend, and a brother. Surrounded by the beautiful forest and underneath the clear blue sky, I learned the most powerful and inspiring lessons of my life.

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