Study Abroad India

Visions of India

A 3-Month Study Abroad 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

College students

Spring Begins In

46 Weeks

Fall Begins In

25 Weeks

Land Cost

$14,055


Estimated Flight Cost

$1,995

Kolkata

Leh

Varanasi

Bodhgaya

New Delhi

Program Overview

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


Arundhati Roy writes, “there’s no such thing as an Authentic India… no one religion or language or caste or region or person or story or book that can claim to be its sole representative. There are, and can only be, vision of India.” One cannot understand India from a classroom; it’s a land of color and contrasts, too vast and diverse to summarize without all five senses engaged.

Our Study Abroad India semester splits its time between two visions of India: Varanasi, the holy Hindu city on the Ganges River, and Ladakh, a Tibetan Buddhist region high in the Himalaya.

Varanasi, is the holiest city of Hinduism: the most auspicious place to die or be cremated. Just ten miles away in Sarnath stand Buddhist stupas where the Buddha delivered his first teachings over 2600 years ago. Students visit Sufi shrines and ancient mosques where the faithful are called to prayer. India’s greatest musicians play concerts on the banks of the Ganges each morning as we begin our simple yoga practice at…

Arundhati Roy writes, “there’s no such thing as an Authentic India… no one religion or language or caste or region or person or story or book that can claim to be its sole representative. There are, and can only be, vision of India.” One cannot understand India from a classroom; it’s a land of color and contrasts, too vast and diverse to summarize without all five senses engaged.

Our Study Abroad India semester splits its time between two visions of India: Varanasi, the holy Hindu city on the Ganges River, and Ladakh, a Tibetan Buddhist region high in the Himalaya.

Varanasi, is the holiest city of Hinduism: the most auspicious place to die or be cremated. Just ten miles away in Sarnath stand Buddhist stupas where the Buddha delivered his first teachings over 2600 years ago. Students visit Sufi shrines and ancient mosques where the faithful are called to prayer. India’s greatest musicians play concerts on the banks of the Ganges each morning as we begin our simple yoga practice at our program house just a few blocks away.

In Varanasi, students live in home stays and meet daily at our program house for classes and discussions. We practice simple yoga in the morning, learn Hindi from local teachers, and host guest lecturers from Banaras Hindu University and the surrounding community. We study modern India’s struggles and progress with gender, religion, caste, social justice, development, and environmental issues.

In addition to time in the classroom, students spend time with a mentor to learn a tradition or craft: past students have studied with local artisans, Ayurvedic doctors, cooks, healers, musicians, yogis, and dancers. Students work with activists to contribute to environmental, educational, and social justice movements in the city.

We take a break from Varanasi for a week and travel to Bodhgaya, where the Buddha attained enlightenment under the Bodhi tree. Pilgrims from across Asia meditate, chant, and prostrate themselves before the Mahabodhi Temple and wait to catch a leaves falling from the sacred tree. We study Mahayana Buddhism for a week with a community of monks and nuns before returning to the faster pace of city life.

Depending on the season, the semester either begins or ends in Ladakh, on the banks of the Indus River. After flying into Leh at 12,000 feet, students acclimatize for a week at SECMOL, an environmental education center and activist community run by high school graduates learning English to enter college. While students connect with passionate peers from across the world, we’ll pitch in to maintain SECMOL’s off-the-grid, solar-powered facility, learn about grassroots activism in India, and study the effects of climate change on this high altitude desert.

Once acclimatized, we hike into the mountains for a ten-day trek, crossing passes at elevations up to 17,000 feet and meeting the people who make their living in the harsh high-altitude environment.

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Student Profile

Naropa University LogoStudents on this program come from all different backgrounds, universities and areas of interest. You do not have to be currently enrolled in Naropa University to apply. If you are interested in taking our courses for credit, and you know that your university supports your participation in our program, please sign-up. For more information about transferring credits to your university please see our Frequently Asked Questions.


Accreditation Costs

There are 4 course options for credit. Each course is worth 4 credits. The cost per course is $1,200 in addition to the Dragons’ program price. Therefore a student wanting to participate for the maximum amount of course credit will receive 16 college credits and pay $4,800 in addition to the program cost.


Faculty

Members of Dragons’ Faculty possess a rich blend of academic training, unique life experience, and field-based teaching skills. Whether working for local and transnational NGOs, conducting primary field research in remote communities, or founding their own organization abroad, all share one similar quality: the desire to provide students with the most complete and exceptional educational experience possible. With a 4 to 1 student to faculty ratio, no other college semester abroad approaches the level of personal attention and mentorship available on a Dragons program. Our Faculty will challenge you academically and physically, draw you into an unsurpassed community of curious peers, and carefully guide you through transformative experiences that enliven and inform your academic career at your home institution. Please take the time to review our Faculty bios listed below.

College-Accredited Curriculum

This program is a college-accredited version of the India Gap Year Semester. On these programs, we often have both accredited and non-accredited students. Much of the curriculum is the same. Accredited students will spend more time in class and working on formal assignments, whereas non-accredited students may have more time for other independent study and personal exploration of Varanasi.

Dragons has partnered with Naropa University to offer four interdisciplinary courses for credit that extend from our Core Curriculum. The college accredited courses we offer focus on building important skills, fostering a concern for global issues, expanding self-awareness and gaining an understanding of pertinent issues in each program area. Our approach is both experiential and conventional, using local resources, expert guest lecturers, excursions, pertinent readings, multi-media, and immersion to provide an intimate, well-rounded and powerful learning experience.

The course options are:

  • Regional Seminar – Life Along the Ganges River – This course provides students with an in-depth introduction to the cultures and traditions along the Ganges River. A focus is placed on such topics as the role of women in a Hindu & Muslim country, economic issues of the caste system, environmental sustainability, public health, issues related to education, and spiritual traditions for Hindus, Muslims, and Buddhists.
  • Contemplative Intercultural Development and Leadership – Students examine global citizenship, meet with heads of organizations, develop effective leadership skills in intercultural communication and explore the depths of their internal landscape in relationship to the outside world.
  • Independent Study Project – This course offers each student the opportunity to conduct in-depth study on a subject of his or her choice. An ISP may involve either an academic focus of inquiry or learning a skill through apprenticeship. Typical ISP projects include: research on environmental issues faced in Varanasi, volunteering at a leprosy clinic, yoga and meditation, Ayurvedic medicine, or an intensive focus on the arts: jewelry making, sitar, tabla, for example.
  • Hindi Language Study – This course is designed to provide a foundation in conversational Hindi for students with no previous knowledge of the language. With a principal focus on conversational Hindi and practical language skills, the language lessons presented throughout the semester also include grammar, vocabulary development, and the history of the language.
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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, 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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