India Semester

Himalayas to the Ganges River

A 3-Month Gap Year Program

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Duration
83 Days
Description

Immerse yourself in the rich fabric of Indian life: trek through the Himalayas, meditate beneath the Bodhi tree, deconstruct the term ‘caste’, and become part of another family.

Spring Dates

Feb 7 - May 1, 2018


Spring Availability

accepting waitlist

Fall Dates

Sep 15 - Dec 6, 2018


Fall Availability

open

Number of Participants

12


Suggested Ages

17-22

Spring Begins In

17 Weeks

Fall Begins In

48 Weeks

Land Cost

$14,055


Estimated Flight Cost

$1,995

Varanasi

Bodhgaya

New Delhi

Leh

Jaipur

Kolkata

Program Overview

A sadhu sits quietly on the banks of the Ganges River.


The languid current rolls passed the burning ghats as it has for millennia. Women gather on its shores to wash clothing in the cool, misty dawn, as pilgrims congregate near the water’s edge and cows amble around the stoic holy man, motionless, rapt in spiritual expression…

India is a land of color and contrasts, so vast, diverse and singular that sensations bleed into one another and leave us considering not only what it means to be human, but what it means to be sentient. The India semester offers intrepid students and spiritual seekers a comprehensive examination of the dominant cultural and religious traditions of North India, while analyzing issues central to social justice, community development, sustainability and national identity.

The course begins in Leh, Ladakh, where students find the iconic Leh Palace and listen for turning kora as religious pilgrims circumambulate the stupa down below. Students participate in their first learning service project with a local environmental…

The languid current rolls passed the burning ghats as it has for millennia. Women gather on its shores to wash clothing in the cool, misty dawn, as pilgrims congregate near the water’s edge and cows amble around the stoic holy man, motionless, rapt in spiritual expression…

India is a land of color and contrasts, so vast, diverse and singular that sensations bleed into one another and leave us considering not only what it means to be human, but what it means to be sentient. The India semester offers intrepid students and spiritual seekers a comprehensive examination of the dominant cultural and religious traditions of North India, while analyzing issues central to social justice, community development, sustainability and national identity.

The course begins in Leh, Ladakh, where students find the iconic Leh Palace and listen for turning kora as religious pilgrims circumambulate the stupa down below. Students participate in their first learning service project with a local environmental education center called SECMOL, and soon depart on a multi-day trek in the foothills of the Himalaya, crossing snowy ridgelines by day and enjoying radiant stars at night.

For the next two months, students settle into extended home-stays in India’s holy city of Banaras. Hindus from around the world flock to Banaras to bathe and die in the holy waters of the Ganges River, and the constant influx of spiritual practitioners provides us with an inexhaustible source of questions and guest speakers. Students strengthen their understanding of Indian culture through Independent Study Projects (ISPs). Every afternoon local mentors train schools in a topic of their choice, including kathak dance, yoga, stone carving or Ayurveda, to name a few. Over time, students grow increasingly independent, exploring cultural sites at Banaras Hindu University and eventually planning a student-led expedition.

This semester is designed to give students core competencies as leaders and global citizens, empowering them to continue lives of spiritual seeking and exploration.

Read More Read Less Sample Itinerary

Student Profile

Student participating on the India Gap semester may choose to take courses for-credit. Two college-level courses are available for-credit, although students are not required to take any courses for-credit while participating on the Gap Semester program. Students who take courses for-credit will be invoiced an additional fee at a rate of $1,200 per course. Students who choose to take 1 (one) or more courses for-credit will receive a transcript from Dragons School of Record after successful completion of the program. To read more about the for-credit courses visit our FAQ Page.

Academics

Dragons has partnered with Naropa University, our School of Record, to offer interdisciplinary courses for-credit that extend from our Core Curriculum. Students can take 0-2 (zero to two) courses for-credit while participating on the India Gap semester program. Available for-credit courses on the India semester include:

  • Independent Study Project (ISP) (ISP 325; 4 credits)
  • Hindi Language Study (HIND 150/250/350; 4 credits)

Click on the download button below to view course syllabi.

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Program Components

5/5
Comparative Religion

Inquire deeply into Hindu myth, philosophy and practice, Buddhist philosophy and meditation retreat, and Islam in its Indian context.

5/5
Development Studies

Investigate issues of health and education, urbanization, the caste system, human rights, globalization and poverty.

5/5
Focus Of Inquiry

Explore topics of pilgrimage, sacred spaces and spirituality practices, as well as social inequalities. See College Accredited curriculum for details.

5/5
Home Stay

Spend six weeks in home-stays in the sacred city of Varanasi and participate in a short village home-stay in the Himalayas.

5/5
Independent Study Project (ISP)

Pick a guru in Varanasi and study Sitar & Tabla, Indian cuisine, dance and vocals, women’s issues, comparative religion, stone carving or jewelry making.

4/5
Language Study

Learn to speak Hindi through intensive daily Hindi language classes and try out some Ladakhi phrases while trekking through the Himalayas.

2/5
Learning Service

Reflect on the meaning of service in the context of Indian culture and explore the meaning of reciprocity with Ladakhi youth in the north.

1/5
Rugged Travel

Travel by rickshaws, buses, jeeps and trains into India’s Himalayas and across the vast plains.

3/5
Trekking

Trek for ten days in the high Himalayan mountains of Ladakh's Zanskar Range.

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