Pune
India
  • About this Program
    • Program Overview
    • On Location in Pune
  • Academics
    • Semester Curriculum
    • Economics Concentration
    • Summer Curriculum
    • Faculty
    • Credits, Grades, and Transcripts
  • Internship, Research, Documentary
    • Internships
    • Directed Research
    • Documentary Film
  • Calendar and Fees
    • Program Calendars
    • Program Fees
  • Daily Life
    • Student Housing
    • Homestay
    • Food and Meals
  • Activities and Excursions
    • Off-Site Orientation
    • Local Activities
    • Field Visits
  • Student Perspectives
    • Contact a Program Graduate
    • Read Student Blogs
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Contemporary India

Program Overview

Development, Economy, Society

The Contemporary India program introduces U.S. undergraduates to some of the most dynamic, exciting areas of Indian society, politics, economics, and culture today. Environmental issues, development, social justice, economics and public health, in particular, are key areas in which India both faces unprecedented challenges and is on the global cutting edge of finding solutions.

By providing a core academic base and allowing progressive specialization though electives, culminating in an internship, directed research project, or documentary film of the student's own choosing, the Alliance's Contemporary India program takes an interdisciplinary yet focused approach to these timely and provocative issues, both as they apply to India and in their global context.

Through this lens of Contemporary India, the Alliance seeks to turn highly-motivated, adventurous U.S. undergraduates from a wide variety of majors and academic interests into sensitive and sophisticated global citizens, with a nuanced understanding of complex international, regional, and local issues.

Meet our on-site staff members!

Pre-Requisites and Academics

To be eligible for this program, students must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 and be enrolled in an undergraduate degree program at an accredited U.S. institution. No previous academic or language coursework is required.

Students are required to take a curriculum of development-focused South Asian studies courses. In the fall and spring terms, students receive 15 credits. In the seven-week summer term, students receive 6 credits.

On Location in Pune

American undergraduates will have the opportunity to explore the changing dynamics of modern, urban life in Pune – a city where tradition and technology, social justice and business, the arts and entertainment compete, counterbalance and coexist.  

Check out this interactive map of the Alliance's resources across Pune:


View Alliance On Location: Pune in a larger map.

The family dynamics of urban India are being remapped in Pune, as multi-generational families embrace the employment of their daughters-in-law; couples Skype with their children who are studying or working abroad; or young women in slums find more liberation than in their home villages. A generation of plugged-in, tech-savvy Millenials roams the streets of Pune, writing blogs, taking selfies, and putting it all online – via their smart phones or Blackberries.  They might live at home until marriage, sure, but experience a greater degree of independence and worldliness than any generation before.

Pune’s rapid pace of economic growth has brought tremendous opportunities – and tremendous risks to many citizens. Thousands of skilled engineers commute to corporate offices in complexes on the fringes of the city; working for domestic giants like TATA and international brands like Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen. Meanwhile, migrant construction workers live on the edge of subsistence nearby the mega-malls, concert venues or hotel complexes, where these same young professionals spend their free time and money.  Social entrepreneurs, activists, and community organizers come together at various levels to propose their solutions to the issues of the day – access to quality education, food security, healthcare, sanitation, economic opportunity and women’s rights.

Traditional Maharashtrian performing arts, fine arts, and artisanal crafts still have their supporters in Pune, but have found it necessary to evolve in order to survive and thrive. The latest Bollywood pictures playing at the multi-story megaplex offer up catchy song and dance numbers that advance the plots of buddy comedies and dramatic intercontinental romances, while nightly Marathi soap operas capture the imagination of families across Pune, with their intricate tales of love, betrayal, family drama, and village injustices.

Studying Contemporary India in Pune offers a unique opportunity to examine the complex and multi-faceted aspects of development, economy and society in this rapidly changing, diverse, and welcoming South Asian urban center. 

Alliance Program Center

The Alliance's Contemporary India program is based at the Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics, one of the oldest and most prestigious research and training institutes in economics in India. Founded in 1930 by the Servants of India Society, and renowned Nationalist Leader, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, the Gokhale Institute occupies a beautiful green campus in the thriving, centrally-located Deccan Gymkhana neighborhood. Alliance students enjoy the best of campus life while utilizing a welcoming program office and modern classrooms dedicated to Alliance courses and activities. The Alliance’s partnership with the Gokhale Institute provides an engaging, collaborative foundation for the high academic standards and strong student services for which we are known, while fostering a meaningful, immersive campus experience for our students.

Our Pune staff have extensive professional experience in study abroad in India and a well-connected local network, and will work to maximize students' learning both inside and outside the classroom, while maintaining the highest standards in health, safety, and professional program management.

Semester Curriculum

The semester curriculum consists of two required courses:

  1. Core Course: Contemporary India
  2. Internship/Directed Research/Documentary Film

In addition, students choose three electives for a total of 15 semester credits.

  • All courses involve a minimum of 44 contact hours.
  • At least one elective must be directly related to the student's internship, directed research, or documentary film.
  • In addition to regular courses, the program offers optional co-curricular, non-credit classes in Kathak or Bharatnatyam dance, Indian classical singing, tabla or other musical instrument, Indian painting or another visual art form.

SOCI 360: Contemporary India (required - 3 credits)

A political, historical, and social survey of post-Independence India as a complex yet unified multi-cultural, multi-linguistic, religiously pluralistic democracy and rising major global power, this core course gives students the ability to understand current events they see around them, contextualized within a historical framework. Topics include: colonialism, nationalism, and independence; Gandhi, social activism and the 1960s; gender and caste; 20th century literary, religious and philosophical movements; and recent history from 1990 to the present.

INTS 380: Internship / DIRR 380: Directed Research / FILM 380: Documentary Film (required - 3 credits)

Students are matched with internship and research placements based upon academic interests articulated in their Internship/Directed Research form. Internships require students to thoughtfully and critically integrate the academic, experiential, and professional within an organizational context, whereas directed research involves a formal research project carried out within an organization, a library, or the field.

The documentary film option allows students to conduct and present research through a visual rather than a written medium. Working closely with a faculty member who is also a film director, as well as students from the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), students are expected to produce a short film on their selected subject area.

All projects are conducted under close academic supervision and entail a final paper or project with accompanying presentation.

The internship/directed research/documentary film component involves a minimum of 155 contact hours, roughly broken down as follows:

  • 96 hours (minimum) – hands-on work in the organization, library, or field
  • 6-8 hours preparatory workshops
  • 38 hours – meetings with Internship/Directed Research/Film Faculty (both group and individual) and faculty guides, as well as familiarization meetings with the organization, interpreters, and other key contacts prior to commencement.
  • 15 hours – attendance at final presentations and oral evaluation

ENVI 380: Environmental Perspectives (elective - 3 credits)

India’s ongoing population explosion, along with its steady march toward urbanization and industrialization, has placed significant pressure on its land and natural resources, leading to severe deforestation, water and air pollution, and land degradation, among other many critical environmental issues. This course exposes students to environmental issues both from an Indian and global perspective, exploring natural, social, economic and political facets of these complex yet pressing concerns, as well as culturally-specific and global strategies for addressing them.

PUBH 300: Public Health (elective - 3 credits)

India faces unique and daunting challenges in the area of public health, battling malnutrition, infectious disease, and high infant mortality. This course will take a multidisciplinary approach to public health in India, incorporating policy development, gender issues, social justice, health economics, epidemiology, behavioral sciences, and health services management. Students will carefully interrogate how social, political, and economic factors facilitate or mitigate the production and transmission of disease, and evaluate ethical and practical consequences of policy and scientific initiatives. 

SOCJ 365: Social Justice (elective - 3 credits)

Social justice movements in India may be most widely known through the iconic figures of Mahatma Gandhi and B.R. Ambedkar, but there is a rich and diverse tradition of Indian social justice theory and action dating from the British Raj era to modern Dalit, tribal, and women’s movements. This course offers students an overview of social justice thought and activism in India, evolving through nationalism and the freedom struggle, 20th-century political and social movements, and contemporary economic, caste, and gender disparities.

ECON 390: Development Economics (elective - 3 credits)

For students with interests in business, eco­nomics, development studies, and international affairs, the Indian economy serves as a com­plex, fascinating example of high technology, expanding trade, vibrant entrepreneurship, and a highly-skilled workforce, co-existing in sometimes tenuous balance with widespread poverty, social inequality, and critical gaps in health care, education, and infrastructure. This course explores how India is seeking to address and reconcile these disparities, focusing on technological change, political economy, trade, social entrepreneurship and microfi­nance, and international aid as they are man­aged and applied within contemporary India.

ECON 391: Social Entrepreneurship and Interventions (elective – 3 credits)

Rapidly changing social landscapes have given way to a greater convergence of government and nonprofit organizations’ efforts in ensuring a better quality of life for their citizens. The increasing importance of professional approaches towards socially relevant enterprises makes an understanding of social entrepreneurship today vital. This course will expose students to contributions made by social entrepreneurs in key areas such as health, nutrition, education, and income generation. This survey course will draw heavily upon inter-disciplinary approaches, case studies, discussions, and insights from guest speakers throughout the semester to help students understand the conceptual frameworks necessary for social entrepreneurship and understand the common challenges social entrepreneurs face.

ECON 392: Emerging South Asian Economies (elective – 3 credits)

India anchors a region full of rapidly expanding markets and fast-growing economies.  This course will provide students with a deeper understanding of the emerging South Asian and Southeast Asian economic region, and the geopolitical and economic relations of the various countries that call the region home. A major focus will center on India’s growing economy as a vital player in the region. Students will embark on an investigation of a number of individual country’s GDP, geography, and economic freedoms as well as political, trade, and investment climates. Students will also examine the dilemmas of future development and issues facing India’s foreign trade and foreign investment markets.

FILM 360: Nation, Caste, and Gender through Film (elective - 3 credits)

Though best known through the Hindi language production powerhouses of Bollywood, Indian films are produced in over 17 languages with a wide and diverse range of subjects and genres. This course provides a critical overview of post-Independence Indian cinema, with a particular focus on social and political ideologies embedded in representations of nation, caste, and gender. Students examine how this popular cultural form has served as an important vehicle for disseminating and constructing Indian national identity, and develop analytical tools for understanding contemporary Indian culture through film and visual media.

HIND 100: Beginning Hindi (elective - 3 credits)

Fundamentals of conversation and written Hindi for beginning students.

HIND 200: Intermediate Hindi (elective - 3 credits)

Fundamentals of conversation and written Hindi for intermediate students.

Economics Concentration

The Contemporary India program offers a concentration in economics appropriate both for business and economics majors as well as for international affairs and development studies majors with a particular interest in economic development. The required courses and supporting electives examine India’s economic rise and resulting challenges, the role of the public and private sectors, and India’s position in the greater South Asian economic context.  Students focus their field-based component on a topic related to economics and attend at least one exclusive excursion. 

The Economics Concentration curriculum offers a total of 15 credit hours per semester. All courses involve a minimum of 44 contact hours. In addition to regular courses, the program offers students the option of taking co-curricular, non-credit classes in yoga, Kathak dance or Bharatnatyam, classical vocals, a musical instrument, Marathi language, or other cultural activity. 

THE SEMESTER CURRICULUM CONSISTS OF THE FOLLOWING:

  1. Contemporary India
  2. Development Economics
  3. Internship/Directed Research/Documentary Film (Economics-focused)
  4. Social Entrepreneurship & Interventions or Emerging South Asian Economies
  5. One elective from among the general curriculum’s offerings or the second economics elective listed above 

SOCI 360: Contemporary India (required - 3 credits)

A political, historical, and social survey of post-Independence India as a complex yet unified multi-cultural, multi-linguistic, religiously pluralistic democracy and rising major global power, this core course gives students the ability to understand current events they see around them, contextualized within a historical framework. Topics include: colonialism, nationalism, and independence; Gandhi, social activism and the 1960s; gender and caste; 20th century literary, religious and philosophical movements; and recent history from 1990 to the present.

ECON 390: Development Economics (required - 3 credits)

There is an economic struggle going on in today’s world in which rich nations like USA & European countries are trying to tackle their problems of debt, unemployment & unequal distribution of income. On the other hand, “emerging markets” like India & China are trying to increase their income levels as fast as possible, making new experiments in their economy all the time. And still there are African countries who are dealing with basic problems of hunger, poverty & AIDS. In short we can say, all the countries are trying for “development” at their own level.

INTS 380: Internship / DIRR 380: Directed Research / FILM 380: Documentary Film (required - 3 credits)

Students enrolled in the Economics Concentration are matched with internship and research placements based upon academic interests articulated in their Internship/Directed Research/Film form. Internships require students to thoughtfully and critically integrate the academic, experiential, and professional within an organizational context, whereas directed research involves a formal research project carried out within an organization, a library, or the field.

The documentary film option allows students to conduct and present research through a visual rather than a written medium. Working closely with a faculty member who is also a film director, as well as students from the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), students are expected to produce a short film on their selected subject area.

This component involves a minimum of 155 contact hours and is conducted under close academic supervision. Students must focus on a topic related to economics and submit a final paper or project and accompanying presentation.

  • 96 hours (minimum) – hands-on work in the organization, library, or field
  • 6-8 hours preparatory workshops
  • 38 hours – meetings with Internship/Directed Research/Film Faculty (both group and individual) and faculty guides, as well as familiarization meetings with the organization, interpreters, and other key contacts prior to commencement.
  • 15 hours – attendance at final presentations and oral evaluation

ECON 391: Social Entrepreneurship and Interventions (elective – 3 credits)

Rapidly changing social landscapes have given way to a greater convergence of government and nonprofit organizations’ efforts in ensuring a better quality of life for their citizens. The increasing importance of professional approaches towards socially relevant enterprises makes an understanding of social entrepreneurship today vital. This course will expose students to contributions made by social entrepreneurs in key areas such as health, nutrition, education, and income generation. This survey course will draw heavily upon inter-disciplinary approaches, case studies, discussions, and insights from guest speakers throughout the semester to help students understand the conceptual frameworks necessary for social entrepreneurship and understand the common challenges social entrepreneurs face.

ECON 392: Emerging South Asian Economies (elective – 3 credits)   

India anchors a region full of rapidly expanding markets and fast-growing economies.  This course will provide students with a deeper understanding of the emerging South Asian and Southeast Asian economic region, and the geopolitical and economic relations of the various countries that call the region home. A major focus will center on India’s growing economy as a vital player in the region. Students will embark on an investigation of a number of individual country’s GDP, geography, and economic freedoms as well as political, trade, and investment climates. Students will also examine the dilemmas of future development and issues facing India’s foreign trade and foreign investment markets.

Students will also select one elective from the general curriculum or may opt for the second economics course. Course descriptions can be found on the general curriculum page.

ENVI 380: Environmental Perspectives (elective - 3 credits)
PUBH 300: Public Health (elective - 3 credits)
SOCJ 365: Social Justice (elective - 3 credits)
FILM 360: Nation, Caste, and Gender through Film (elective - 3 credits)
HIND 100: Beginning Hindi (elective - 3 credits)
HIND 200: Intermediate Hindi (elective - 3 credits)

Summer Curriculum

The summer curriculum consists of two required courses:

  1. Contemporary India
  2. Internship or Directed Research

SOCI 360: Contemporary India (3 credits)

During Weeks One and Two students attend an intensive group seminar-lecture on Contemporary India. This 3-credit course provides an overview of history, society, culture, and political economy geared toward understanding contemporary India and preparing students for their internship or research. Classes will be in the mornings; students will spend afternoons forming their internship and research topics under the guidance of faculty and staff. 

This seminar will be taught intensively for the first two weeks of the program, and then run concurrently with the internship for the remaining six weeks, for a total of 44 contact hours. Students are expected to engage seriously with readings and associated activities, to take an ethnographic approach to exploring the India in which you find yourselves, and to learn from each other as colleagues.

The class will include a mix of lecture, discussion, film viewing, and field visits, which will often extend into the afternoon and involve scholars and experts in and around Pune through guest lectures. Interactions with many of these professionals and academics will also open up vistas of possibility as you plan for the internship component.

INTS 380: Internship / DIRR 380: Directed Research (3 credits)

During Weeks Three-Seven students conduct their internships/research concurrently with the continued Contemporary India class. Students will be required to keep a detailed journal of their internship activities, which must total at least 20 hours a week.

Students are matched with internship and research placements based upon academic interests articulated in their Internship/Directed Research form. Internships require students to thoughtfully and critically integrate the academic, experiential, and professional within an organizational context, whereas directed research involves a formal research project carried out within an organization, a library, or the field.

Internships and directed research projects are conducted under close academic supervision and require relevant outside reading, regular meetings with a faculty guide, weekly journals, and a final paper or project with accompanying presentation. Intern managers and faculty guides will be asked to give the student at least one discrete task they can accomplish in the time of their internship/research project.

This key component involves a minimum of 155 contact hours, roughly broken down as follows:

  • 96 hours (minimum) – hands-on work in the organization, library, or field
  • 6-8 hours preparatory workshops
  • 38 hours – group and individual meetings with Internship/Directed Research faculty guides, as well as familiarization meetings with the organization, interpreters, and other key contacts
  • 15 hours – attendance at final presentations and oral evaluation

The final three days of the program will be a capstone event that will consist of students presenting their work and discussing their experiences and observations as a group. The final product of the internship/directed research will be a paper and accompanying presentation that report and reflect on the student’s experience. Students will be expected to take an ethnographic approach to involving themselves in some aspect of life in Pune, and to document their experiences rigorously. The capstone event is an opportunity for each student to benefit from the experiences of his or her fellow students.

Faculty

Alliance faculty are drawn from across Pune's many prominent academic institutions, think tanks, research institutes, and NGOs. This allows us to select faculty who are among the best in their field, who have experience working with foreign or U.S. students, and who are committed to the high standards of academic excellence for which our programs are known. In addition, the Alliance formed the Pune Academic Council that brings together many of Pune's most prominent intellectuals to guide and advise on program curriculum.

Our current faculty are:

Dr. Triveni Mathur, SOCI 360: Contemporary India

Prof. Indranil Bhattacharya, FILM 360: Nation, Caste, and Gender Through Film
                                                FILM 380: Documentary Film

Dr. Hemant Apte, PUBH 300: Public Health

Dr. Hemant Apte earned his M.Sc. and Ph.D. from the University of Pune in Cultural Anthropology and Health Sciences, respectively.  Since then Dr. Apte has received numerous awards for his achievements and publications, including the Academic Excellence Award from the Rotary Club of Gandhi-Bhavan in 2007.  In addition to teaching in the Health Sciences and Anthropology Departments at the University of Pune, Dr. Apte works as a social scientist at the KEM Hospital Research Centre and serves as Vice-President of the Maharashtra Association of Anthropological Sciences.

Prof. Ashish Kulkarni, ECON 390: Development Economics
                                       ECON 392: Emerging South Asian Economies

Prof. Archana Vidwans, ECON 391: Social Entrepreneurship and Interventions
                                       
Internship and Directed Research Coordinator

Dr. Medha Kotwal Lele, SOCJ 365: Social Justice

Prof. Pooja R. Bhale, ENVI 380: Environmental  Perspectives

Dr. Aparna Jha, HIND 200: Intermediate Hindi

Dr. Aparna Jha completed both her M.A and Ph.D in Linguistics and has over 20 years of experience teaching Hindi, Marathi, and Bengali to foreign students from all over the world. In addition to publishing a variety of textbooks on Hindi, Marathi, and Bengali language acquisition, Dr. Jha has utilized her fluency in 6 languages to translate several novels.

Prof. Sunila Gondhalekar, HIND 100: Beginning Hindi

Credits, Grades, and Transcripts

Credits, Grades, and Transcripts

A study abroad experience is first and foremost an academic experience. All Alliance for Global Education courses have undergone a faculty review and approval process, and are transcripted by an accredited U.S. university. For all Alliance programs through Spring 2014, transcripts are issued by Arcadia University. For Summer 2014 programs and beyond, transcripts are issued by Butler University.   

While in most cases students who have received approval from their home institution to study on an Alliance program can be assured of credits transferring, it is a student’s responsibility to work with their study abroad or academic advisor and home school faculty or academic departments to ensure credit transfer for specific courses.  

Credits and Accreditation

Credits granted for Alliance courses are identified in course listings on the Curriculum page for each program, and appear on the official transcript issued at the completion of a student's term. Credit is issued in U.S. semester hours, ensuring that students continue to make progress toward their degrees and verifying the full-time course load they completed while abroad.

All Alliance courses have been reviewed and approved by Butler or Arcadia University’s Undergraduate Academic Programs Committee. Arcadia University is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. Butler University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Programs approved by the Butler University College of Business—which include the Alliance’s International Business Program in Shanghai—are accredited by AACSB International, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

Grades

Students receive a letter grade on a scale from A to F for every course they take while enrolled on an Alliance program. Withdrawals (W) may be granted due to exceptional circumstances. Although policies at students' home institutions may differ, the Alliance does not permit students to take courses on a credit/no credit or pass/fail basis. Student grades are determined by criteria set forth in course syllabi.  

The grading scale used in determining letter grades for Alliance courses is as follows:

Transcripts

At the conclusion of a program, an official transcript is sent to the participant's home school, with an unofficial copy forwarded to the participant. 

Because timelines for final evaluation may vary due to respective program calendars or administrative structures of partner universities abroad, transcripts may take longer to issue than they do at U.S. institutions. While the timeline varies by program, a general timeline for issuing transcripts is:

·        Fall programs - transcript issued in late February

·        Spring and Summer programs - transcript issued in late September

Transcripts are not released for students with an outstanding balance of program fees or other charge incurred while on the program. Students enrolling in consecutive terms with the Alliance do not receive their first term transcript until their second term fees are paid in full.

Participants in Alliance programs through Spring 2014 can request additional copies of transcripts online or in writing at any time from the Arcadia University Registrar's Office.

Participants in Alliance programs beginning Summer 2014 can request additional transcripts of their transcripts online at any time from Butler University's online transcript ordering service provided by the National Student Clearinghouse, a nonprofit organization serving the higher education community. 

If you have a question about the transcripting process or timeline, please feel free to contact your Student Services Manager.

Internships

A core requirement of the Contemporary India program involves one of three field research options: Internship, Directed Research, or Documentary Film. All three options require a specific academic focus and are conducted under the supervision of a faculty member. It is expected that students will take at least one elective relevant to the topic they plan to explore.

For internships, the Alliance arranges placements within Pune's most forward-thinking and well-respected NGOs, as well as multi-national businesses, IT companies, research institutes and think tanks. All internships are subject to acceptance and availability on the part of the host organization. The placement process begins with the submission of the Internship Intent Form during the program application process, and placements are typically finalized after an in-person interview in Pune. Although the Alliance makes every effort to accommodate student preferences during the placement process, applicants are also encouraged to be flexible. Certain fields and industry sectors may limit the types of work available to undergraduate interns. Browse a menu of sample internship placements.

For more information, consult the Internship syllabus

Featured Internship

Isabelle King (University of Pittsburgh)

"I am working with the organization Parvati Swayamrojgar (PSW)—an NGO that aims to alleviate poverty in Pune’s urban slums by using micro-finance loans, vocational training, and health services. I am focusing on the Early Childhood Program whose goal is to educate the parents of children ages 0-3 on proper parenting techniques, a child’s overall development, and creating an enriching environment. My tasks as an intern are to create a feedback survey as well as to compare women who have undergone the program and those who have not. I am analyzing the efficacy of programs that aim to raise awareness on key techniques for proper parenting. PSW’s work links with my primary interest, social work, because its mission is to work with poverty stricken communities to improve their way of life.

Interacting with Indian parents, specifically mothers, has given me an entirely new picture of motherhood as well as the female’s role. These women live in a culture where education is not valued for women, and the access is thus extremely limited or nonexistent. Even though they lack knowledge that may come from books or formal schooling, they have another kind of insight and experience that I will never be able to truly comprehend. They know how to multi-task and take care of a household made up of sometimes upwards of 10 people. These women also may not have the means necessary to provide their children with all the conveniences and toys they wish they could, but they make it a priority to buy or even make what they are able to and essentially, hope for the best for their children. Working with PSW has been an opportunity for me to experience interactions that I otherwise would never have been exposed to and therefore has impacted both my personal and professional attitudes greatly."

Directed Research

A core requirement of the Contemporary India program involves one of three field research options: Internship, Directed Research, or Documentary Film. All three options require a specific academic focus and are conducted under the supervision of a faculty member. It is expected that students will take at least one elective relevant to the topic they plan to explore.

Students who choose to pursue directed research are paired with a faculty member appropriate to their academic area of interest, such as performing arts, journalism, tribal, environmental or women’s issues, public health, or text-based historical research, and are expected to produce a formal research paper. Research students have regular meetings with faculty guides in their subject area to discuss the formation and execution of their research plans. All directed research projects are subject to the interest and availability of faculty and may require prior relevant coursework. Browse a menu of sample directed research projects.

Featured Directed Research Project

Kelly Fox (University of Wisconsin, Madison)

"My research was incredibly rewarding, and not only offered new insights about my topic, Hinduism and the youth, academic theories versus religious practice, but also provided me with the opportunity to explore other interests, both personal and academic. I spent an extended period of time at Jnana Prahbodhini with female priests, made lasting friendships with my informants and even spent an entire day with a renowned Hindu priest! Through my research I came to a better understanding of my topic, as well as the religious roles, visibilities and agencies of women and feminist struggles in India more generally. The program provided me with intellectual freedom, guidance and help in pursuing my passion!"

Documentary Film

A core requirement of the Contemporary India program involves one of three field research options: Internship, Directed Research, or Documentary Film. All three options require a specific academic focus and are conducted under the supervision of a faculty member. It is expected that students will take at least one elective relevant to the topic they plan to explore.

The documentary film option allows students to conduct and present research through a visual rather than written medium.  Working closely with a faculty member who is also a film director, as well as students from the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Alliance students are trained in the art and technique of documentary filmmaking, and are expected to produce a short film on their selected subject area.  For all majors; no film background is required. Students must provide their own digital video cameras.

Watch the Documentary Films Playlist!

Please note that the documentary film option is not available for summer students. Visit the summer curriculum page for more information.

Program Calendars

Program dates roughly follow the U.S. academic calendar:

  • Spring semester begins in mid-January and concludes in mid-May
  • Summer session begins in early-June and concludes in late-July
  • Fall semester begins in mid-August and concludes in mid-December

Semester Structure

The 16–17 week semester begins with an on-site orientation at a retreat location outside Pune. Two long weekends are built into the calendar for an urban field visit to Mumbai and a rural village visit, respectively. In addition, there are several day-outings to various points of interest in and around Pune. One week is set aside for independent travel, and students may choose to travel elsewhere on the subcontinent after the program ends. The semester concludes with a final two-day seminar where research is presented and discussed, and students are prepared for their return home.

Given the program’s busy academic schedule, weekly local activities and excursions, and field study trips, the Alliance STRONGLY DISCOURAGES students from hosting visitors until after the end of the semester. Please encourage family and/or friends to visit AFTER the program has ended. Students should make their travel plans accordingly.

2014 Spring Term Calendar

19 January 2014           Flight departure from U.S.
20 January 2014           Arrival in India
21 January 2014           Travel to Durshet – Orientation begins
13 May 2014                Closing Ceremony
14 May 2014                Return flight to U.S. (after 5:00 p.m.)

2014 Summer Term Calendar

15 June 2014           Flight departure from U.S.
16 June 2014           Arrival in India
17 June 2014           Travel to Durshet – Orientation begins
01 August 2014       Closing Ceremony
02 August 2014       Return flight to U.S. (after 5:00 p.m.)

2014 Fall Term Calendar

24 August 2014           Flight departure from U.S.
25 August 2014           Arrival in India
26 August 2014           Travel to Durshet – Orientation begins
16 December 2014       Closing Ceremony
17 December 2014       Return flight to U.S. (after 5:00 p.m.)

Program Fees

Spring 2014 Program   $ 16,990
Summer 2014 Program  $ 6,680
Fall 2014 Program  $ 17,500

What’s Included

The program price includes tuition and fees, housing, some meals, pre-departure materials, student visa authorizations, orientation, organized activities, field study trips, course materials, the services of a full-time resident staff, and medical/evacuation insurance.

The program price does not include airfare to India, most meals, passport and consular visa fees, independent travel, and other items not mentioned as included.

Our breakdown of spring, summer, and fall 2014 program fees include an itemized list of additional expenses that students may encounter abroad.

Multiple Term or Academic Year Discount

The Alliance encourages students to enroll for more than one term and to consider studying with more than one Alliance program. Students who continue into a second or third term with the Alliance receive a $500 discount on the program fee for this subsequent term. Some students choose to spend fall term in one location and spring term in another; others continue in our summer term after completing spring.

Student Housing

Alliance programs emphasize cultural immersion, experiential learning opportunities, and extensive interaction with local residents in your host context. Your housing arrangements in Pune are thus an important component of your experience abroad, and we want you to be able to make the most of this opportunity for growth and learning. All housing options are associated with an Indian host.

All homestay families undergo an extensive vetting process with special attention to health, safety, and opportunities for cultural exchange. Many of our homestay families have been hosting American students for years. You, in turn, will be oriented to culturally-appropriate behavior and be expected to act in a way that not only will enhance and ensure a positive experience for you, but that will also maintain the integrity of the Alliance's reputation in the local community so that we can continue offering these opportunities to future Alliance students.

The housing preference form that you complete as part of your confirmation process gives us valuable information to help arrange the best housing placements for you, and we may request more extensive information from you if needed. To the extent possible, please be sure to communicate your preferences in advance to Alliance staff, but also be aware that you will need to approach your housing situation—as with the rest of your study abroad experience—with an attitude of openness, flexibility, and compromise.  Alliance staff will brief you fully on your placement prior to departure, address any questions or concerns you might have, and communicate any specific expectations to you both pre-departure and during orientation. Open channels of communication with our resident staff are key to helping you to navigate your new relationships with tact and diplomacy.

See the Homestay tab for more information about homestay placements in Pune. 

Homestay

All students live with a host family and consistently rate their homestay experience as the single most important aspect of their semester in Pune. As a university town, Pune has many families who are accustomed to renting out rooms to students, and who, in some cases, have semi-independent apartments or rooms attached to their houses.

It is important for students to understand the changes in lifestyle that will be required in a homestay, and the more demanding guidelines for appropriate behavior that will be asked of them. Students will still need to be prepared to follow culturally-appropriate forms of behavior, and to respect the needs and homes of their hosts. Some changes to the student's lifestyle may be required, so it is important to enter this arrangement with an attitude of flexibility and openness. Alliance staff will be available around the clock to help smooth your transition into your new life and address any issues or questions that arise.

The rooms in homestays vary in size and layout depending on the host, and all students should be prepared to share a room with another Alliance student. In general, students should not expect the same levels of privacy to which they might be accustomed in the U.S. You will often be welcomed into the family, brought along to religious, cultural, and community activities, and introduced widely among their friends and family.

In homestays, most evening meals will be taken with the family, though lunches on weekdays are eaten out in the proximity of campus, and breakfast is provided at the program center. In addition, you should expect to spend most evenings in with your host family, and if you do go out, to plan to return at a reasonable (fairly early) hour. A 10:00PM curfew is often imposed in homestays and Alliance students are expected to abide by any such policies.

Transportation

All students will live within a reasonable distance of the program center; however, students should expect to pay a couple of dollars a day to go back and forth to campus. Students placed with host families are typically clustered in the same neighborhoods so that they can share travel expenses to/from the program center, most often by rickshaw.

Food and Meals

Arrangements for meals vary among housing placements. Breakfasts on weekdays are provided at the Alliance program center, and lunches are generally taken in the many student-friendly eateries around the Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics. Expect to spend about $5-10 per day on meals, or more if you eat in nicer restaurants or eat western-style food. Meal prices can range from cheap ($1 for a quick lunch in a student-frequented eatery) to very expensive ($50 and higher in a fancy hotel).

Fresh fruit is available at local markets, and western-style groceries are becoming more and more available in stores around Pune. Vegetarians will find that good food is easily and widely available in India. Dairy products are widely served in coffee, tea, and desserts, which are also highly sugared, but in most cases your preferences can be accommodated. Come prepared to be adventurous and flexible in your eating habits, and you will be richly rewarded!

Off-Site Orientation

In addition to sessions on health and safety, academics, and cultural adjustment conducted at the off-site orientation at the start of the program, students are introduced to rural Indian village life, Hinduism, and tribal issues. Students visit the Astavinayaka shrine, where they learn about the significance of temple etiquette and legends of the elephant god, Ganesh, who is especially revered in Maharashtra. Students enjoy a morning hike from the retreat center to a nearby tribal village, where one can glimpse the beauty and the challenges of life in rural India. Opportunities to greet and interact with the residents are facilitated by local guides and program staff.

Local Activities

In and Around Pune

The program calendar is filled with numerous activities in and around Pune and varies according to the season. Students participate in religious, national and regional holidays, cultural performances and academic events as they arise around the city. Examples of such activities include visiting the Shaniwarwada palace (seat of the Marathi empire) or the Aga Khan Palace (where Mahatma Gandhi and other nationalist leaders were kept prisoner), exploring local markets and heritage neighborhoods, celebrating India's Republic Day, playing colors on Holi or seeing the procession of Ganpati Visurjan. 

Just outside of Pune are the natural beauties of Khandala, Lonavla, and hill stations such as Mahabaleshwar, Bhimashankar, and Matheran. Students enjoy trekking with student groups or local friends in the Western Ghats. 

Expressive Culture

In addition to its rich academic life, Pune boasts a thriving performing arts community, and students are given the option of taking classes in expressive culture. Choices may vary depending on the availability of instructors, but bharatnatyam (dance), tabla (drum) or other musical instrument, and vocals are commonly offered.

A demonstration of the various expressive culture possibilities is arranged at orientation, and students are asked to commit to at least 10 classes if they choose to pursue this option. The Alliance provides up to 15 classes; any additional classes are the student's responsibility.

Field Visits

Village Visits

After several weeks immersed in the bustling urban environment in Pune, students gain a more in-depth look at rural issues and village life from the perspective of Development Economics OR Public Health. Students not enrolled in either class will select one village visit to attend. (Semester programs only.)

Development Economics

Students taking Development Economics visit the village of Baramati and see firsthand the issues of livelihood development and agricultural cultivation.  Farmers who are dependent on increasingly unpredictable monsoon rains struggle to gain access to the infrastructure, equipment and resources needed to provide sufficient yields. Visits to a Farm Science Center and an Agricultural College provide understanding of the technological and scientific developments needed to produce crops in a dry zone. Specializations in niche fields – such as wine, dairy or silk – have provided profitable livelihood development for farmers in this region.    (Semester programs only.)

Public Health

Students of Public Health visit the villages of Urali-kanchan and Velhe to witness the implementation of programs in the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) and learn about other aspects of India’s rich medical tradition. Beginning with a visit to a Nature Cure Ashram, students learn about the application of naturopathic treatments for chronic diseases. Interactions with representatives of NGOs and the local “gram panchayat” government illustrate the social aspect of health.  Visits to the Primary Health Care Center and an “anaganwadi” introduce students to the frontline rural health workers fighting against maternal and infant mortality, malnutrition, and infectious diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDs.  (Semester programs only.)

Mumbai: City of Dreams

Whether you call it Mumbai or Bombay, this mega-city is like nowhere else on earth. It’s a city of staggering extremes, rich history and non-stop action – and it never stays the same for long. Explore Mumbai’s past, present and future through meetings with activists, community organizers and everyday citizens – from a dabbe-walle specialist and Mahatma Gandhi’s great-grandson. Students have one-of-a-kind access to the recycling and pottery industries of Dharavi, and learn about the development of what is called the largest slum in Asia. During the trip, students explore the famous Fort neighborhood and Colaba causeway in their free time. Glimpse the richness and complexity of India through the lens of one of its largest and most vibrant cities.

Contact a Program Graduate

How do Alliance program graduates look back on their experience studying in Asia?  What advice can they offer on making the most of your time abroad?  Contact these students to ask your questions!

To view graduates from other Alliance programs, click here.  Interact with graduates via our Facebook and YouTube pages, too!

Elly O'Leary

Contemporary India
Harvard University – English Major

Hi! I'm Elly and am a senior studying English at Harvard University. Last fall I studied in Pune, India, where I focused mostly on social justice and film. In my incredible time abroad, I learned Kathak dance, made a documentary in a Mumbai slum,...

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Hi! I'm Elly and am a senior studying English at Harvard University. Last fall I studied in Pune, India, where I focused mostly on social justice and film. In my incredible time abroad, I learned Kathak dance, made a documentary in a Mumbai slum, and traveled throughout India, Thailand, and Cambodia. I'm thrilled to be an Ambassador for the Alliance and am looking forward to fielding any questions students might have as they make the exciting decision to study in Asia. hide

Zoe Bertrand

Contemporary India
Georgetown University – Women and Gender Studies Major

Hi guys. My name is Zoe Bertrand and I am a junior at Georgetown University, studying Women and Gender Studies with a focus in Globalization and Poverty. I studied in Pune, India last semester with the Alliance's Contemporary India program. The...

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Hi guys. My name is Zoe Bertrand and I am a junior at Georgetown University, studying Women and Gender Studies with a focus in Globalization and Poverty. I studied in Pune, India last semester with the Alliance's Contemporary India program. The experience was exciting, challenging and overall an incredibly rewarding experience. I look forward to encouraging my classmates here in D.C. to embark on a similarly worthwhile and meaningful semester abroad. hide

Paulina Gerstner

Contemporary India
University of Delaware – International Relations Major

Hey guys, my name's Paulina and I'm a junior at the University of Delaware, studying International Relations and Development. I was in Pune for the Contemporary India program with the Alliance this past fall, and I'm happy to be an Alumni...

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Hey guys, my name's Paulina and I'm a junior at the University of Delaware, studying International Relations and Development. I was in Pune for the Contemporary India program with the Alliance this past fall, and I'm happy to be an Alumni Ambassador with you all! Seeing India (and Thailand for a short trip) was an incredible experience and I'm excited to share it with everyone here at Delaware this coming semester! hide

Joey Shadel

Contemporary India
American University – Economics and Political Science Major

Hi, I'm Joey Shadel. I study Economics and Political Science at American University in Washington, DC and am currently a Junior. Fall 2013 I studied in Pune and had some incredible, life-impacting experiences that I - one - love to remember and...

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Hi, I'm Joey Shadel. I study Economics and Political Science at American University in Washington, DC and am currently a Junior. Fall 2013 I studied in Pune and had some incredible, life-impacting experiences that I - one - love to remember and learn from, and - two - love to talk about with people who care. As an Alumni Ambassador, I hope to encourage students to choose a program in a culture that will challenge them. My semester in Pune created the highest density of discomfort than I've ever experienced, and I grew tremendously because of it. Hopefully other students can learn from my stories and choose their study abroad program more wisely! hide

Channing Carney-Filmore

Contemporary India
Spelman College – International Studies Major

Hello everyone! My name is Channing Carney-Filmore and I am currently a Junior attending Spelman College. I am an International Studies Major with a concentration in Development and minoring in Public Health. I spent my Fall 2013 semester in Pune,...

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Hello everyone! My name is Channing Carney-Filmore and I am currently a Junior attending Spelman College. I am an International Studies Major with a concentration in Development and minoring in Public Health. I spent my Fall 2013 semester in Pune, India with the Contemporary India program. My time spent with the Alliance was definitely one to remember forever. The staff members were incredible, the new friendships I gained helped make my experience the best it could have possibly been, and traveling throughout India was so eye opening and rewarding. As an Ambassador, I hope to share all of my amazing experiences, and to help future Alliance students get acquainted with living in India. I look forward to working with everyone! hide

Annelise Schuepbach

Contemporary India
Cornell University – International Agriculture and Rural Development, Economics and Development Major

Hi! I'm Annelise and I am a junior at Cornell University majoring in International Agriculture and Rural Development with a concentration in Economics and Development. I participated in the Fall 2013 Contemporary India program in Pune, India. It is...

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Hi! I'm Annelise and I am a junior at Cornell University majoring in International Agriculture and Rural Development with a concentration in Economics and Development. I participated in the Fall 2013 Contemporary India program in Pune, India. It is my hope that as an Alliance Ambassador I can share with other students the importance of choosing an abroad program that will broaden their horizons and push themselves out of their comfort zones. I look forward to working with all of you! hide

Sarah Webber

Contemporary India
Boston College – Nursing Major

Hello friends! I'm Sarah and I studied with the Alliance in Pune last spring. In all honesty, I did not prepare as much as I should have, and I wasn't very excited until the departure day had finally arrived. I awoke with a knot in my stomach...

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Hello friends! I'm Sarah and I studied with the Alliance in Pune last spring. In all honesty, I did not prepare as much as I should have, and I wasn't very excited until the departure day had finally arrived. I awoke with a knot in my stomach and a mind filled with fears. 'What am I doing? Where am I going? Why did I do this to myself? What if I never make it back to the U.S.?' It was not until I stepped out of the airport in Mumbai and received a warm welcome from my program director, Uttaraa, that I felt safe once more. From that point forward, I was not scared again, the Alliance is an amazing group of individuals who are willing and able to assist you with any and every problem you may face. This is not to say they will not send you out to experience life and challenges on your own, but to say that they are a wonderful support system and absolutely the best at what they do. If I can be of any kind of assistance, please reach out and share every concern/question/fear/excitement! hide

Olivia MacLennan

Contemporary India
Smith College – Government and Political Science Major

Namaste! My name is Olivia and I am a senior at Smith College, majoring in Government/Political Science and minoring in Global South Development studies. I chose to study in Pune, India for the Spring 2013 semester because I wanted to experience a...

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Namaste! My name is Olivia and I am a senior at Smith College, majoring in Government/Political Science and minoring in Global South Development studies. I chose to study in Pune, India for the Spring 2013 semester because I wanted to experience a vastly new culture and learn first-hand how India has met development challenges and changed since Independence. The Pune program provided me with an incredible host family, trips to challenge and complement my coursework and amazing support to pursue all that I wanted to accomplish on my own. I'd love to connect with and answer any questions or concerns of prospective students because I know how incredibly fulfilling a semester in India can be with a little preparation and a positive attitude! hide

Hannah Bahnmiller

Contemporary India
The City, the River, the Sacred
University of North Dakota Grand Forks – Anthropology Major

Hi everyone, my name is Hannah and I'm a student at the University of North Dakota. I studied abroad Fall 2012 in...

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Hi everyone, my name is Hannah and I'm a student at the University of North Dakota. I studied abroad Fall 2012 in Varanasi, India and Spring 2013 in Pune, India. My experience in India was life changing. I love Indian culture and love to try my hand at cooking Indian food. I'm really excited to be an Alliance ambassador at UND because often times, people view study abroad as a chance to go to Europe and party, but going outside of your comfort zone to somewhere new and unknown can be the most life changing experience! hide

Madhavi Reddi

Contemporary India
American University – Film and Media Arts Major

Hey everyone! My name is Madhavi Reddi, and I am a film major and marketing minor at American University in Washington...

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Hey everyone! My name is Madhavi Reddi, and I am a film major and marketing minor at American University in Washington DC. I studied in Pune in the spring of 2013 and had an incredible experience. For me, being of Indian origin, it was a chance to actually live in the world my parents and relatives grew up in. Not only that, it also helped me connect with my heritage, perhaps in a way that I would never have been able to otherwise. I truly believe that studying abroad molds your mind and puts you in unique situations that reveal what you are really capable of. hide

Zachary Cohen

Contemporary India
American University – International Studies Major

Howdy I'm Zach. I will be a senior at American University studying International Studies and Education. I went to Pune with the Contemporary India Program in the spring of 2013. I...

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Howdy I'm Zach. I will be a senior at American University studying International Studies and Education. I went to Pune with the Contemporary India Program in the spring of 2013. I really enjoyed my time in India and am excited to help future students get ready for an amazing experience. hide

Pauline Adams

Contemporary India
American University – International Studies Major

Hello everyone! My name is Pauline and I'm a junior at American University, majoring in International Studies with a concentration on Development, and a minor in Economics. I lived in...

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Hello everyone! My name is Pauline and I'm a junior at American University, majoring in International Studies with a concentration on Development, and a minor in Economics. I lived in Pune for the Contemporary India program in Spring 2013. It was such an amazing semester for me, and I'm really excited to help others figure out whether the program is right for them! hide

Sheri-Ann Peckham

Contemporary India
Rice University – Cognitive Sciences Major

Hi! I'm Sheri-Ann, a senior at Rice University with a major in Cognitive Sciences and a minor in Biochemistry and Cell Biology. I had the wonderful opportunity to study abroad in Pune...

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Hi! I'm Sheri-Ann, a senior at Rice University with a major in Cognitive Sciences and a minor in Biochemistry and Cell Biology. I had the wonderful opportunity to study abroad in Pune, India during the spring semester of 2013. I chose India because I wanted to experience its colorful and vastly different culture, as well as learn more about its unique social and health issues. The Alliance for Global Education program helped me accomplish these goals, and additionally provided so much more experience and growth than I could ever expect or imagine. As a result, I am a huge advocate for studying abroad and I am excited to represent this program so that I can encourage others in having such an incredible semester as well! hide

Jennequia Brown

Contemporary India
Columbia College – Biology and Psychology Major

Hey y'all! I am Jennequia (Nikki) Brown, a junior at Columbia College in South Carolina studying Biology and Psychology. This past summer I participated the Contemporary India program in Pune, India. If someone had told me...

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Hey y'all! I am Jennequia (Nikki) Brown, a junior at Columbia College in South Carolina studying Biology and Psychology. This past summer I participated the Contemporary India program in Pune, India. If someone had told me six months ago that I would have made so many connections with so many people in a country that I knew so little about, I probably would not have believed them--but I did. The research experience that I gained from working the the urban slums of Pune released me from the veil of ignorance that I had prior to traveling to India. The Alliance broadened my perspectives on the world and made me consider different paths that I can take to succeed in my future career. I am so excited to encourage others to have the same experience that I did. hide

Hannah Goldberg-Morse

Contemporary India
Claremont McKenna College – International Relations and Religious Studies Major

Hi everyone! My name is Hannah, and I spent the past semester studying with the Alliance in Pune. I had an incredible...

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Hi everyone! My name is Hannah, and I spent the past semester studying with the Alliance in Pune. I had an incredible time living and studying in India--though I'd traveled to the country before, the chance to spend four months living with a family in a major Indian city seemed like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I loved being able to meet amazing American students as well as Indian youth, and had an unbelievable experience working with a microfinance institution in the city's slum areas. I traveled to a third of India's states, exploring the country on weekends, during Diwali, and after the program. I really appreciated the chance to get an in-depth look at development on the subcontinent. I loved the experience and hope to return to India as soon as possible! hide

Sophie Mettler-Grove

Contemporary India
Smith College – Government and Environmental Science Major

Hello everyone, My name is Sophie, and I studied abroad in Pune, India this past spring. I had an amazing time in India...

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Hello everyone, My name is Sophie, and I studied abroad in Pune, India this past spring. I had an amazing time in India and can not wait to return shortly. Originally from Syracuse, I'm a senior at Smith where I am a student-athlete and the president of the Smith Democrats. I am excited to help underclassmen learn about the Alliance as they begin thinking about study abroad destinations and programs! hide

Christina Leas

Contemporary India
University of Virginia – Anthropology Major

Hello everyone! I just came back from the summer session in Pune, and I am starting my second year at UVA. I really enjoyed my experience with the Alliance and hope to encourage others at my school to check the program out, especially since studying...

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Leslie Bartley

Contemporary India
Transylvania University – Writing, Rhetoric, and Communications Major

Howdy y'all, I'm Leslie, and I was in Pune this Spring. It was a true blast, and I'm missing weekend trips...

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Howdy y'all, I'm Leslie, and I was in Pune this Spring. It was a true blast, and I'm missing weekend trips to Mumbai, not to mention all my friends I made in my program as well. My pre-departure emotions were so occupied with anxiety, and it seemed like no one my age was around to answer my questions about my upcoming life-changing experience. As an Alumni Ambassador, I can bring a true, empathetic and honest aid to students wishing to pursue education abroad with the Alliance. By informing prospective students and battling misconceptions surrounding study destinations, I feel confident in my ability to help students take the leap to take their education further, and hopefully, to avoid eventual regret. hide

Shani Chibber

Contemporary India
University of Illinois Chicago – Neuroscience Major

Hi! My name is Shani and I studied abroad in Pune this past summer. Taking a trip abroad by myself was probably the best decision I've made. Since my arrival back in the States, I have had nothing but positive things to say about my experiences in...

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Hi! My name is Shani and I studied abroad in Pune this past summer. Taking a trip abroad by myself was probably the best decision I've made. Since my arrival back in the States, I have had nothing but positive things to say about my experiences in India, and so I want to be able to give back and incite that same level of excitement into other students who are considering studying abroad with the Alliance! :) This year I'm also the President of the Indian Student Association, a Resident Assistant for Campus Housing, and a researcher with the UIC department of Global Health. hide

Melissa Carpenter

Contemporary India
University of Wisconsin Madison – Elementary Education Major

Hi Everyone! My name is Melissa and I studied with the Alliance this summer in Pune. I am currently a Junior working...

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Hi Everyone! My name is Melissa and I studied with the Alliance this summer in Pune. I am currently a Junior working towards a major in Elementary Education, a minor in Global Perspectives, and a certificate in South Asian Studies. I love that I was able to find a program that was so multifaceted in its learning opportunities and was relevant to such a diverse range of people and majors. Getting to intern at a primary school during my stay in Pune was the most rewarding and relevant educational experience in my life thus far and I hope that I'll have the opportunity to return sometime in the future to visit the school and to explore more of India. As an Alumni Ambassador, I hope that I can help others find similar opportunities in the programs that Alliance offers! hide

Laura Hayden

Contemporary India
Mount Holyoke College – Environmental Studies Major

Hello students! Despite having traveled extensively in southeast Asian and the Pacific, I'd never been to India....

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Hello students! Despite having traveled extensively in southeast Asian and the Pacific, I'd never been to India. Within Environmental Studies, my concentration is Development, which was a major factor in choosing to study abroad in India. It was one of the best decisions of my college career, and I'm excited to share my experiences (the typical study-abroad ones, as well as the less conventional ones) with other people who are looking in to studying abroad. hide

Jill Rossman

Contemporary India
George Washington University – Public Health Major

Hi! My name is Jill. I chose the Contemporary India summer program mainly because I wanted to intern abroad, and interning at the Family Planning Association of India fulfilled that expectation. Like in any developing country, life in India is...

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Hi! My name is Jill. I chose the Contemporary India summer program mainly because I wanted to intern abroad, and interning at the Family Planning Association of India fulfilled that expectation. Like in any developing country, life in India is hectic. Despite this fact, the Alliance does everything within their power to make it less stressful, starting with host family placements! I can't stress enough how big of an impact my host family made on my experience. If you have any questions regarding travel in India, living situations, or what the internships are really like, please don't hesitate to ask! hide

Brenna Blazis

Contemporary India
University of Evansville – Special and Elementary Education Major

Namaste. It took a lot of work and collaboration with my study abroad office to make going to Pune, India in Fall Semester of 2011 happen, but it was entirely worth it since it has been one of the best parts of my college experience. My host...

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Namaste. It took a lot of work and collaboration with my study abroad office to make going to Pune, India in Fall Semester of 2011 happen, but it was entirely worth it since it has been one of the best parts of my college experience. My host family, making my own short documentary, participating in cultural events, traveling, and making so many friends; together made wonderful memories with the Alliance for Global Education. I am highly involved on my small campus, especially with the international community. In addition, I would love to answer any questions you might have about the program. I am looking forward to hearing from you! hide

Alyssa Peterson

Contemporary India
Miami University Oxford – Finance Major

Hi Everyone! I'm a senior majoring in Finance with a minor in German. During the Spring 2012 semester I found myself taking a break from my business and German classes to study in Pune, India. Choosing India and the Alliance...

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Hi Everyone! I'm a senior majoring in Finance with a minor in German. During the Spring 2012 semester I found myself taking a break from my business and German classes to study in Pune, India. Choosing India and the Alliance for my semester abroad is one of the best decisions I've ever made. I'm passionate about studying abroad, and am so thrilled to have the chance to interact with other students as they are making their own study abroad decisions! hide

Adrian Kwong

Contemporary India
Kenyon College – International Studies Major

Hi all, I'm a senior majoring in International Studies with a concentration in Environmental Studies. I had a great time in Pune, India this past spring, and I've promised myself that I'll be going back...

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Hi all, I'm a senior majoring in International Studies with a concentration in Environmental Studies. I had a great time in Pune, India this past spring, and I've promised myself that I'll be going back in the foreseeable future. Having already been studying abroad in the US to start with (I'm from Hong Kong), I recognize the importance of any source of support prior to going abroad, which is what I hope to be as an Alliance Ambassador.  hide

Giselle Regalado

Contemporary India
St. Michael's College – Gender Studies Major

Hi, my name is Giselle Regalado. I was born in New York City and moved to Dominican Republic at the age of nine. I moved back to New York at the age of fifteen. I now have 7 years in the U.S. although, I would say six years because...

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Hi, my name is Giselle Regalado. I was born in New York City and moved to Dominican Republic at the age of nine. I moved back to New York at the age of fifteen. I now have 7 years in the U.S. although, I would say six years because I spent an academic year in India. Because I was fortune to live in India for so long, I had the chance to emerge myself in Indian culture in such a way that now I have adopted India as my third culture. My most memorable moment in India was my first dinner with roommate and my host mom. My host mom wouldn’t stop looking at the way I ate. I thought that my skills eating with my right hand were pretty good; until I was almost done with my meal. My host mom started laughing. I asked, “What happened?” She said “G, you don’t eat with three fingers, you need to use all five fingers.” I was a bit embarrassed but we all laughed together at the situation.

I am currently living in the U.S.A and attending Saint Michael's College in Vermont. I am a senior majoring in Gender Studies with a minor in Anthropology. I work for student life on my campus as an RA (Resident Assistant). I am also involved in my community by volunteering in the Applied Linguistic Department (ALD) on campus, working with teens and interning with the organization Women Helping Battered Women. hide

Brenna Blazis

Contemporary India
University of Evansville – Elementary and Special Education Major

Namaste, My name is Brenna Blazis. I am a sophomore majoring in Elementary and Special Education at the University of Evansville of Indiana. It took a lot of work and collaboration with my study abroad office to make going to India in Fall Semester of...

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Namaste, My name is Brenna Blazis. I am a sophomore majoring in Elementary and Special Education at the University of Evansville of Indiana. It took a lot of work and collaboration with my study abroad office to make going to India in Fall Semester of 2011 happen, but it was entirely worth it since it has been one of the best parts of my college experience.

Beginning with my wonderful host family; who through conservations, cooking, and festivals; transparently shared their culture with me. The courses I took at Fergusson College, in subjects like social justice, environmental issues, and film, supported my understanding of the Indian culture I was immersed in. The ability to make a documentary film by far the best part of my coursework; through the creation of my film I was able to meet with the founders of special education in the Pune area and learn skills on how make a film. Something I would have never gotten to do otherwise.

Above all, I was able to make great friends with fellow exchange students and locals, and created great memories in our shared experiences, especially during weekends and our travel week. I had a wonderful experience with the Alliance for Global Education in Pune India.  In addition, I would love to answer any questions you might have about the program.  I am looking forward to hearing from you! hide

Brianna Besch

Contemporary India
Macalester College – Geography Major

Hey, my name is Brianna Besch. I’m currently and Junior at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. I am an environmental studies and geography double major with a concentration in international development and minor in physics. I actually...

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Hey, my name is Brianna Besch. I’m currently and Junior at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. I am an environmental studies and geography double major with a concentration in international development and minor in physics. I actually spent my middle and high school years living abroad in Almaty, Kazakhstan and Cairo, Egypt which got me hooked on traveling and development work. I hoped to complement this background with a study abroad experience during college. I wanted to go to India because it is so different from anything I had experienced before and everything is growing so rapidly that there are all kinds of interesting initiatives going on.

I really loved living in India. Being able to study the country as I experienced living there meant I got a much deeper understanding of the culture, people and how things worked (not that you can ever really understand how things work in India) then I had in other places I have lived. There was always something to look forward to, and I had some amazing experiences getting to see different parts of incredible India. There were definitely some non-trivial challenges along the way, but they taught me to be more independent, flexible and just go with the flow, you might not know where you were going but you usually got someplace pretty interesting. My experience in India also gave me a great introduction to working on sustainable development projects in the developing world- I’m already planning to go back. hide

Samantha Grosser

Contemporary India
Brandeis University – Education Major

Maza nav Sami aahe (translation: my name is Sami), I am a senior at Brandeis University majoring in Education and Sociology with a minor in Social Justice and Policy. Ever since I got home from India I’ve been attempting to find a good...

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Maza nav Sami aahe (translation: my name is Sami), I am a senior at Brandeis University majoring in Education and Sociology with a minor in Social Justice and Policy. Ever since I got home from India I’ve been attempting to find a good response to the daunting question “how was your summer?” Going to India was one of the best, craziest decisions of my life. The Alliance for Global Education offered the perfect opportunity to gain hands on experience in my field of interest while immersing myself in a completely different culture.

I learned so much about India’s rich history and was able to conduct research on the ways in which peer education is used to increase safer sex practices among female sex workers. Every person I met was kind, hospitable, and willing to guide me through the challenges I faced during my time in India. By the end of the trip, I felt confident in my ability to navigate through Pune, negotiate with a rickshaw driver, and wear a sari.

India has so much to offer, the culture is incredibly vibrant and full of surprises. I was able to see many facets of Indian society; I participated in a festival, travelled into the slums, and attended a wedding. In two short months I was inundated with knowledge of a new land and was inspired by all that I learned. Now that I’m back, I am constantly reminded of my Indian summer adventures. I would love to hear from anyone who is thinking about studying abroad in India! I had an incredibly rewarding experience and would be happy to share some of it with you. hide

Kathleen Reside

Contemporary India
Providence College – Public and Community Service Studies Major

Namaskar! With little knowledge about the country, Indian culture, and no experience eating Indian food, I was nervous about going half way around the world by myself for a semester in Pune, India. As a Public and Community Service major, I chose the...

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Namaskar! With little knowledge about the country, Indian culture, and no experience eating Indian food, I was nervous about going half way around the world by myself for a semester in Pune, India. As a Public and Community Service major, I chose the Contemporary India program because of the focus of the classes on health, the environment, and social justice. From the moment I met Alliance students in the airport, I knew that I would enjoy my time in India; the excitement and passion of the Alliance students and staff extinguished my fears of homesickness and loneliness. All of my professors were extremely knowledgeable, approachable and open to frequent discussion. Some of my favorite memories are a field trip with my Environmental Perspectives professor to visit his son’s organic farm, a weekend trip to a beautiful fort in the water on the coast of Maharashtra, and an overnight car ride to the deserts of Rajasthan. I also loved morning yoga sessions and walking through the city to school with my roommate.

I came to find out how much I enjoy Indian cuisine and eating without utensils. I discovered that I could adjust to living in a completely new place- even a very hot one! The Alliance staff was a great support to have along this journey, and the twenty-nine students I met will never be forgotten. I would be happy to answer any questions you have, so feel free to contact me! Om shanti, Kathleen hide

Farron Harvey

Contemporary India
University of Massachusetts Amherst – Social Thought and Political Economy Major

Hello all, my name is Farron and I attend UMASS Amherst. My major is Social Thought and Political Economy with a minor in Women, Gender, and Sexuality. Why did I decide to go to India? Well for one, the program fit my needs. I was able to do the summer...

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Hello all, my name is Farron and I attend UMASS Amherst. My major is Social Thought and Political Economy with a minor in Women, Gender, and Sexuality. Why did I decide to go to India? Well for one, the program fit my needs. I was able to do the summer program and still have the chance to do an internship around women empowerment as well as learning more about social issues in another country.

During my stay in India, not only did I fall in love with the food, culture, and the women, I also fell in love with the education that I received. By doing an internship and taking courses I was able to push and challenge myself and seek new horizons. For example, often our universities talk about cultural understanding and appreciation as well as being able to work with people with different backgrounds but it's completely different when your are actually doing it. By going to India I had the privilege to be emerged into a different culture and meet so many amazing people who were passionate about making change in their communities. However, if I didn't have an open mind or an understanding of cultural acceptance then my experience might not have been as awesome.

In short, India was a mind blowing experience that I would not trade for the world! Yes, there were times when I was frustrated, but those moments were small and irrelevant compared to the bigger picture...that I’m in another country learning new things about myself and another culture. If you would like to talk to me or learn more about beautiful India and my experience, please feel free to contact me. Remember "trust the process!" hide

Mysee Chang

Contemporary India
St. Catherine University – Women’s Studies Major

नमस्ते | मेरा नाम माईसी हैं | Hello. My name is Mysee. I’m a student at St. Catherine University ’13 in St. Paul, MN. I am a double major in Women’s Studies and Critical Race Theory. In the fall of 2011, I studied abroad in Pune....

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नमस्ते | मेरा नाम माईसी हैं | Hello. My name is Mysee. I’m a student at St. Catherine University ’13 in St. Paul, MN. I am a double major in Women’s Studies and Critical Race Theory. In the fall of 2011, I studied abroad in Pune. Studying abroad has been one of the most amazing life experiences I’ve had thus far. Not only did it enable me to learn more about myself but it challenged me to grow in ways I never imagined. I was interested in going to India for three major reasons. First off, I am a HUGE Bollywood freak so I thought, why not go to India and experience the real Indian culture. Second, through my courses I’ve been introduced to several Indian women scholars so I wanted to go to India and see firsthand, what were the issues that Indian women faced. And lastly, I wanted to experience living in a developing country. Overall, it was a good experience. I accomplished my goals of speaking Hindi, learning and performing Kathak, watching a Bollywood movie with no subtitles, making friends, eating with my hands, and working with an NGO. If you have any questions about the academics, the daily life experience, Maharashtran culture, etc… don’t hesitate to ask! Chalo! Take care. hide

Read Student Blogs

Read what these students have to say about study abroad with the Alliance in Asia!

 

Katie Houser

Contemporary India
College of William and Mary – South Asian Studies and Religious Studies Major

Amber Longo

Contemporary India
University of California Los Angeles – Psychobiology Major

Anne Bransford

Contemporary India
Southwestern University – History Major

Emily Luepker

Contemporary India
Yale University – Ethics, Politics, and Economics Major

Toniann Maniscalco

Contemporary India
Georgetown University – Philosophy

Jessica Fries

Contemporary India
Smith College – History

Karen Davison

Contemporary India
Luther College – English & International Studies

Isabelle King

Contemporary India
University of Pittsburgh – Communication and Anthropology

Kate Leavens

Contemporary India
Temple University – Public Health Major

Channing Carney-Filmore

Contemporary India
Spelman College – International Studies Major

Lilianna Bagnoli

Contemporary India
Grinnell College – International Development Studies Major

Joey Shadel

Contemporary India
American University – Economics and Political Science Major

Zane Leadley

Contemporary India
University of California Santa Cruz – Linguistics Major

Reshma Shah

Contemporary India
University of Illinois Chicago – Earth and Environmental Science Major

Natalee Robson

Contemporary India
University of Wisconsin Madison – International Studies and Political Science Major

Jennequia Brown

Contemporary India
Columbia College – Biology and Psychology Major

Amarjit Singh

Contemporary India
Temple University – Public Health Major

Stephanie Cap

Contemporary India
American University – International Studies Major

Sarah Webber

Contemporary India
Boston College – Nursing Major

Nailah Henry

Contemporary India
University of Maryland Baltimore County – Social Work Major

Hana Le

Contemporary India
American University – Law and Society Major

Gabriela Weigel

Contemporary India
Georgetown University – Biology and Global Health Major

Emma von Emmerik

Contemporary India
Macalester College – Political Science and Global Health Major

Amanda Wilson

Contemporary India
St. Martin's University – Social Work Major

Merita Bushi

Contemporary India
Macalester College – Geography and Global Health Major

Grace Cerand

Contemporary India
American University – International Studies Major

Amy Esposito

Contemporary India
Georgetown University – Theology and Government Major

Katherine Trudeau

Contemporary India
Smith College – Environmental Studies and Sociology Major

Shani Chibber

Contemporary India
University of Illinois Chicago – Neuroscience, Economics

Lindsay Elliott-Foose

Contemporary India
Carnegie Mellon University – Decision Science & Global Studies

Harmony Haft

Contemporary India
– International Studies Major

Melissa White

Contemporary India
Mount Holyoke College – Politics Major

Laura Hayden

Contemporary India
Mount Holyoke College – Environmental Studies Major

Kari Wozniak

Contemporary India
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign – Global Studies Major

Elizabeth Armitage

Contemporary India
Denison University – Environmental Studies Major

Alyssa Ramos

Contemporary India
Arcadia University – Political Science Major

Alyssa Peterson

Contemporary India
Miami University Oxford – Finance Major

Alison Doyle

Contemporary India
Georgetown University – Science, Technology, and International Affairs Major

Brianna Besch

Contemporary India
– Environmental Studies and Geography Major

Eric Sullivan


Contemporary India
Amherst College – Chemistry Major

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