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Program Itinerary 2017

Group, during Heritage Walk

The program begins in New Delhi, India’s capital, with the Program’s in-country orientation and introductory academic sessions. Several days are dedicated to organized visits to points of interest such as the Jama Masjid, Chandni Chowk market, and the Red Fort in Old Delhi, and UNESCO World Heritage sites such as the Qutub Minar and Humayun’s Tomb. New Delhi is rich in important cultural institutions and museums such as the National Museum and the Nehru Memorial and Indira Gandhi Memorial Museums. Numerous non-governmental organizations provide an introduction to India’s important NGO sector and contacts for individual student Independent Fieldwork Projects (IFPs).

Students, in Indian Attire

From the hubbub of metropolitan Delhi, the group moves on for a 5-6 week residency to Jaipur, capital of the northwestern desert state of Rajasthan, with its centuries-old pink sandstone walls and proud Rajput traditions. In Jaipur, students begin their formal Hindi instruction with faculty of the American Institute of Indian Studies. Other academic work under the supervision of the Faculty Director includes a program of reading and written assignments, lecturers, guest speakers, site visits, extended fieldtrips, and opportunities for observation and experiential engagement in the work of numerous NGOs and other organizations. Dedicated time is committed especially to IFP research. Students live with home-stay families, with whom they take most of their meals and celebrate the major annual festivals of Dushehra and Diwali.

Following the Jaipur phase of the program, 5-6 days of free time is scheduled during which students typically work on their independent fieldwork projects or travel independently in small groups.

Tulsidas Ghat, Varanasi

The program’s next destination is Varanasi (Banaras) on the banks of the sacred river Ganges and one of the most important pilgrimage sites in all of India. During their stay, students experience Shiva’s “city of light” on foot and by river. Also included in this segment is a visit to Sarnath, where the Buddha offered his first teachings. Students continue their Hindi instruction and independent fieldwork, as well as a diverse program of speakers and cultural events.

The program comes to its conclusion in Delhi, with approximately two weeks for final fieldwork, course projects, formal presentation of the students’ independent fieldwork projects, and reflection upon the term’s experiences. During this period, the students will also travel to the Sikh holy city of Amritsar, home of the Golden Temple and important also to the study of India’s struggle for independence.

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