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

3 Weeks

Fall Begins In

34 Weeks

Land Cost

$14,480


Estimated Flight Cost

$1,995

Varanasi

Bodhgaya

New Delhi

Leh

Jaipur

Kolkata

Program Overview

Experience the diversity of 21st century India from the mountains to the plains.


Based in Varanasi, the City of Light, our India semester immerses students in an intensely thriving community built along the banks of the Ganges River. Among the most sacred cities in India, Varanasi is a melting pot of ancient tradition, modern commerce, and spiritual exploration.
Depending on the season, we either begin or end our course with a month deep in the Indian Himalaya, trekking through the mountains amidst snow-capped peaks and staying in a village with Tibetan Buddhist families. To communicate the breadth and depth of Indian culture and the complexities of the modern Indian State, we embark on trips to Delhi, Calcutta, and Bodhgaya. However, it our extended stay in Varanasi that frames this course, providing students a deep cultural encounter that encompasses extended homestays, yoga instructor, artists internships, ISs, and learning service work. In Varanasi,…

Based in Varanasi, the City of Light, our India semester immerses students in an intensely thriving community built along the banks of the Ganges River. Among the most sacred cities in India, Varanasi is a melting pot of ancient tradition, modern commerce, and spiritual exploration.
Depending on the season, we either begin or end our course with a month deep in the Indian Himalaya, trekking through the mountains amidst snow-capped peaks and staying in a village with Tibetan Buddhist families. To communicate the breadth and depth of Indian culture and the complexities of the modern Indian State, we embark on trips to Delhi, Calcutta, and Bodhgaya. However, it our extended stay in Varanasi that frames this course, providing students a deep cultural encounter that encompasses extended homestays, yoga instructor, artists internships, ISs, and learning service work. In Varanasi, students see Hindus walk through dawn light for a ritual dip in their cherished Ganges, and also learn from the community of Buddhists, Jains, Muslims, Sikhs, and other devout people who live and practice in this holiest of holy cities.
It is in this inspirational celebration of life and transformation that we immerse ourselves. Students live with welcoming families whose members might include world-renowned sitar and tabla players, traditional doctors, university professors, or local artisans. Daily language classes in Hindi not only help students communicate with Indian hosts, but with mentors of community service projects sponsored by schools, clinics, and environmental organizations.
Independent Study Projects are a core component of Dragons India semester, giving students the chance to master new and useful skills, develop a fresh perspective on historical and social issues, and practice traditional Indian art forms. While engaging in these studies, students also have a chance to explore some of the subcontinent’s most venerated and least-known places. From a trip to the Mahabodhi Temple at Bodhgaya, where the Buddha gained enlightenment under the bodhi tree, to traditional local villages rarely visited by Westerners, students witness what it means to live in India in the 21st-century.
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 mythology, philosophy and practice. Learn about Buddhist philosophy and attend a meditation retreat, and see Islam in its Indian context.

5/5
Development Studies

Investigate issues of health and education, urbanization, the caste system, human rights, globalization, gender, 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 homestays in the sacred city of Varanasi and participate in a short village homestay in the Himalayas.

5/5
Independent Study Project (ISP)

Pick a guru in Varanasi and study Sitar, Tabla, Indian cooking, Kathak dance, Urdu, 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 traveling 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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