India Semester

Visions of India

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

open

Fall Dates

Sep 15 - Dec 6, 2017


Fall Availability

open

Number of Participants

12


Suggested Ages

17-22

Spring Begins In

46 Weeks

Fall Begins In

25 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.


A man kneels down to brush his teeth in the gutter. A cow ambles across the intersection and two men cycle by, balancing a 60-foot ladder on their shoulders, no hands. India is a land of color and contrasts, too vast and diverse to summarize without all five senses engaged. The India semester offers intrepid students a comprehensive examination of the dominant spiritual traditions of the day, while considering central issues of social justice along the way.

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…

A man kneels down to brush his teeth in the gutter. A cow ambles across the intersection and two men cycle by, balancing a 60-foot ladder on their shoulders, no hands. India is a land of color and contrasts, too vast and diverse to summarize without all five senses engaged. The India semester offers intrepid students a comprehensive examination of the dominant spiritual traditions of the day, while considering central issues of social justice along the way.

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

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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