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This program examines the diverse factors, internal and global, shaping India’s development strategies and patterns. You will gain foundational knowledge of India’s past, present, and future development paradigms, economic growth, and development alternatives. The program is based in Jaipur, a historical city in the state of Rajasthan.
The program fully immersed us into Indian culture through having us live with a homestay family, engage in conversations with local leaders and learn Hindi. This provided us with a framework of understanding what is happening with development and the juxtapositions that arise due to the imposition of Western development strategies.
Leila Cohen, Goucher College
India is the world’s largest democracy with a rapidly growing economy, vibrant IT industry and service sector, and burgeoning middle class, and it is poised to become an influential world power. Despite its impressive economic growth, social hierarchy, inequity, and poverty remain enormous challenges for this country of more than one billion people.
In Jaipur, you will begin thematic coursework, language study, and the Field Methods and Ethics course while enjoying access to academics, professional associations, and grassroots organizers working in areas such as community development, natural resource management, and poverty alleviation through state-led social security provisions and livelihood development.
Jaipur presents itself as a wealthy and regal city containing clean, stately, tree-lined streets; traditional and contemporary architecture; heritage palaces and forts; five-star hotels; and a thriving tourism industry. However, the largely rural and agricultural state of Rajasthan is among the underdeveloped regions in India, and Jaipur, the state's capital city, reflects this reality. Rural and urban youth throughout the region struggle with problems ranging from life-threatening droughts to gaining admission to prestigious universities. Organizations supported by concerned urban citizens are seeking innovative ways to address issues of poverty, social justice, and sustainable development in Rajasthan’s rural areas as well as among the urban poor.
The program’s lecturers include policymakers and planners, academicians, development practitioners, NGO workers, researchers, Gandhi scholars, journalists, social workers, feminists, and development and social change activists.
Study the Hindi language daily in both large- and small-group formats. You will be encouraged to continue working on your language skills outside the classroom, especially with your homestay families, during excursions, and while completing the NGO workshop. If you have advanced Hindi skills, you may opt for tutoring.
Through the program’s course on the ethics and methods of field research, you will learn appropriate methodologies that will prepare you to undertake primary research on critical issues and topics relating to social and political change and development.
You will acquire research skills and approaches that will be used for the Independent Study Project such as:
Assigned papers will provide an opportunity for you to test the tools introduced during the course while providing occasions for discussions on ethics and intercultural readings. Throughout the Field Methods and Ethics course, you will work to develop your research topics for the Independent Study Project, and you will advance your initial ideas, assumptions, and drafts in close consultation with the program’s academic director.
You will spend the final four weeks of the program engaged in an Independent Study Project (ISP) conducted in Rajasthan or in another approved location in India. The ISP provides you with an opportunity to pursue original research on a situation or topic of particular interest to you. Sample topic areas for the ISP include:
Students have conducted ISPs in the states of Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, New Delhi, West Bengal, Sikkim, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh. NGOs often play a critical role in facilitating ISPs.
This interdisciplinary program is designed to provide students with an understanding of social, political, and economic change within the Indian context by exploring both the historical and contemporary dynamics of India’s colonial past and present frenetic growth. Students consider the most effective transformative tools for India in the 21st century, and examine the notion of “Indian culture” from both anthropological and contemporary Indian political perspectives.
The Field Methods and Ethics course addresses culturally appropriate, ethical field methodology, in preparation for the Independent Study Project (ISP). Study of Hindi opens windows into the culture and the theme of the program.
Links to syllabi below are from current and forthcoming courses offered on this program. Because courses develop and change over time to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, actual course content will vary from term to term.
The syllabi can be useful for students, faculty, and study abroad offices in assessing credit transfer. Read more about credit transfer.
During the SIT program, we had the opportunity to meet and discuss issues of international development with officials from the Indian federal government, to visit a multitude of NGOs across the subcontinent working in fields ranging from rural healthcare to sustainable energy to gender inequality, and to undertake independent study. The experiences I had conversing with NGO leaders, rural hospital employees, civilians, and SIT staff have helped me establish a stronger understanding of the collaborative efforts involved in sustainable development and have helped shape my ambitions and career goals.
Nicky Mehtani, Rice University
Please note that in order to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, program excursions may occasionally vary.
Please note that in order to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, program excursions may occasionally vary.
The program includes visits to a diversity of NGO headquarters, prominent academic and research institutes, and villages. Visits to locations in Rajasthan will expose you to the realities of rural life in India and socioeconomic development in arid and semi-arid regions on the state.
In a typical semester, the excursion component of the program may include visits to all or many of the following NGOs and academic and research institutions:
Immersion in development interventions and sustainability development and social change occurs through the program’s five- to seven-day workshop. Diverse workshop opportunities vary every semester but are offered in the states of Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Himachal Pradesh. The number and choice of workshop vary every semester. All of the below or only few may be selected depending on logistics, facilitation, and interests.
Sample workshop sites:
Tara Devi Dhakal holds a master’s degree from the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, where she specialized in social and economic development and organizational management. She did her undergraduate studies in agriculture and earned a postgraduate certificate in women’s studies in India and is currently pursuing a PhD. Her studies focus on rural sociology and socioeconomic development in the eastern Himalayas, with a special interest in agro-based livelihood security and resilience in farming households in Sikkim.
Tara comes from a rural farming community of south Sikkim, located in northeast India, and has grown up doing farming and associated activities. Before joining World Learning, she worked as a researcher and development consultant with NGOs and international development organizations in India and Nepal. She has worked in a tribal district of Maharashtra as an eco-health researcher with BAIF Development Research Foundation; gender and social inclusion consultant with The World Conservation Union, Nepal; intern and consultant with International Center for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) on a regional program on access and benefit sharing (ABS) from genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge (TK) in the Eastern Himalayan countries; consultant on community development with JPS Consultants Delhi/IC Net-JICA Japan on a preparatory study on an integrated project for sustainable development of forest resources in Sikkim. She has conducted an in-depth literature review of agro-biodiversity conservation in the eastern Himalayas from a gender perspective and executed field studies on gender-based traditional knowledge of medicinal plants and conservation of local agro-biodiversity in the region. Her areas of interest are community development with a focus on urban and rural farming, rural livelihood, agro-biodiversity, and gender issues. Tara is strongly influenced by social justice and equity and is deeply connected to sustainability and practices of environmental and humanitarian spirituality.
Mr. Awadhesh Aadhar has worked with SIT for 14 years. He has a bachelor’s degree in law and sociology from the University of Rajasthan. Mr. Aadhar brings a wealth of diverse expertise to the program, along with his vast network of public connections and resources. He is the key person for organizing and coordinating program logistics, assisting with student affairs, and performing office administration. He also assists students in language classes. He has excellent organizational skills and approaches all his work with great dedication. With his tremendous patience and smiling face, Mr. Aadhar is a valuable asset to his students and the program. Outside of work, he enjoys playing cricket and badminton.
Mr. Manoj Sain has a bachelor’s degree in humanities from the University of Rajasthan. He has worked with SIT for more than six years and is a key person in several areas: the library, student health, and program logistics. In addition, he assists in teaching and individual tutoring in language classes. Before joining SIT, he managed his own pharmaceuticals business and worked as a tutor for more than three years. He is also a professionally trained photographer. With his versatility and wide range of experience, great sense of humor, and generous, helpful nature, Mr. Sain is a tremendous asset to the program. He loves to dance and enjoys playing cricket and badminton.
Mr. Trilochan Pandey received a bachelor’s degree in economics and political science from the University of Delhi and studied sustainable development from the Indian Institute of Ecology and Environment. Before joining SIT, he worked with The Mountain Institute, India (TMI); Right to Food Campaign, India; Oxfam GB; Control Arms Foundation (CAFI); and Greenpeace, India, in New Delhi. He has keen interest in right-to-food policies and systems, organic farming, family farming in mountains, and the solidarity economy within. He assists students in their academics, including field studies, and facilitates their overall academic learning experience. He enjoys photography, reading books, and playing badminton.
Anjani Sharma has a master’s degree in Aacharya from Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeeth, Delhi, and a bachelor’s in education with a focus on Hindi and Sanskrit language instruction. She has more than six years of experience teaching Hindi in both public and private institutions, including primary schools, and has taught spoken Hindi to foreign nationals. She interned for six months in Johannesburg, South Africa, and taught Hindi to American students at the American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS), Jaipur. She has translated many educational high school textbooks and other material from English into Hindi. Anjani is very innovative in her teaching and possesses extensive knowledge of Indian culture, traditions, and development. She is a great resource and source of support for students. Her favorite pastimes include reading, gardening, and coin collecting.
Pragya Vardhan has a master’s degree in journalism and mass communication from the University of Rajasthan. She has worked as a language coordinator in Neerja Modi School, where she conducted the student and teacher exchange programs and taught Hindi to foreign nationals. In addition to teaching, she has assisted Dr. Matthew C. J. Rudolph in his research work on economic, political and social reforms of South Asian countries and has edited a magazine and received training at Dainik Bhaskar (a leading Hindi daily). Pragya brings a wealth of knowledge on Indian culture and traditions as well as language learning and is an extrovert with a great sense of humor who enjoys life to its fullest. She loves to dance, cook, and travel to exotic places.
Ms. Rama Kumari has a degree in social sciences from the University of Delhi. She has been a homestay mother since 1996. She joined the SIT Jaipur team as a homestay coordinator in 2007 and now has full responsibility for the homestay needs of all students. She also plays an active role in delivering cross-cultural orientation, guiding students on social and cultural activities, and attending to other lifestyle issues. Ms. Kumari enjoys cooking various Indian delicacies. She has traveled widely across Europe, has studied German, and enjoys making new friends.
Mr. Uday Kumar Mehto joined SIT in 1999 as a program associate and chef. Trained at the prestigious Lodhi Garden restaurant in New Delhi, he specializes in Thai delicacies. He has also worked at Flow, a restaurant in Jaipur. He has participated in the SIT exchange training program in Kathmandu, Nepal, and has trained SIT’s Nepal staff in Indian cooking. He also offers Indian cooking classes to interested students. Mr. Mehto is a committed team player, and when not in the kitchen he is often busy helping the administrative team. He enjoys listening to traditional Hindi music and playing cricket.
Dr. Jain obtained her PhD in history from the University of Jaipur, Rajasthan. For many years, she was a professor of history and served until recently as the vice chairperson of the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Jaipur. Dr. Jain has published several research papers and books, including Gandhian Ideas, Social Movements, and Creativity and Honour Status and Polity, Rajputana. Dr. Jain is the recipient of many national and international awards. She is a practicing Gandhian and a renowned scholar on Mahatma Gandhi.
Dr. Rajiv Gupta is the professor and head of the Department of Sociology at the University of Rajasthan. He is presently the research convener on military sociology / armed forces and conflict resolution of the Indian Sociological Society (INSOSO). He specializes in the sociology of education, professions, and intellectuals; Marxism; gender studies; and development.
Pradip Saha is a development activist and an independent communication specialist and filmmaker in the areas of environment and development. He worked with the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), New Delhi, as an associate director and edited India’s foremost environment and development journal, Down to Earth. He is currently a freelancer and co-directs a research and communication consultancy firm in New Delhi, catering to diverse national and international development organizations.
Pramada Menon is a queer, feminist activist. She works as an independent consultant on issues of sexuality, sexual rights, gender, violence against women, organizational development, and change and livelihoods. She is the co-founder of CREA, an international women’s human rights organization and worked as the director of programs of the organization from 2000 to 2008. Before co-founding CREA, she was the executive director of Dastkar, an organization working to ensure sustainable livelihoods for craftspeople.
As a student in the India: Sustainable Development and Social Change program, you will live with a homestay family in Jaipur for approximately six weeks. The homestay is an enthralling experience and an integrated part of the program. Homestay families have a longstanding relationship with SIT and are always eager to welcome students into their family with joy and curiosity, semester after semester. Most of the families are from the upper middle class, with varied religious backgrounds and worldviews. Some members of the family are homemakers, while others hold professions such as teacher/professor, engineer, business owner, government official, doctor, artist, etc.
Indian family structure is in transition from multi-generational to nuclear. In addition, the number of families with both parents working outside the home is growing. Students live in families of varied sizes composed of parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters, small children, and uncles and aunts. Few families have pet dogs and cats. The program has a one student, one family norm. Each student typically has a separate room with an attached bathroom that is occasionally shared by visiting relatives.
You will be matched with a family based on your background and health issues, as well as shared interests like music, arts, etc. The homestays are located in clusters within the periphery of one to ten kilometers from the program center. Two to four students are placed in each cluster, accessible to each other within short walks, allowing you to pool auto rickshaws and other modes of local transport for the daily commute to the learning center. You will usually use the same auto rickshaw for traveling around Jaipur in your free time, maximizing safety and convenience. The program has the practice of collecting vital information of the regularly and occasionally used auto rickshaw drivers, like their name, phone number, and vehicle registration number.
The homestay experience will provide you with the opportunity to share and learn customs, food, languages, and social and religious lives by taking part in daily activities at home and with members of the extended family. The experience itself provides a sense of social change and continuity in India’s family structure and traditions. During the Indian wedding seasons, you will also get to attend “Bollywood-style” north Indian weddings with dance, music, jewelry, and sarees. Past students have considered the homestay experience to be one of the most meaningful components of the program.
Other accommodation during the program includes hostels, small hotels, NGO facilities, and educational institutions.
A diversity of students representing different colleges, universities, and majors study abroad on this program. Many of them have gone on to do amazing things that connect back to their experience abroad with SIT. Learn what some of them are now doing.
The dates listed above are tentative. Please note that travel to and from the program site may span a period of more than one day.
Student applications to this program will be reviewed on a rolling basis between the opening date and the deadline.
Application Deadline: Nov 1, 2015
SIT Pell Grant Match Award. SIT Study Abroad provides matching grants to all students receiving Federal Pell Grant funding; this award can be applied to any SIT semester program. View all SIT Study Abroad scholarships.
The tuition fee covers the following program components:
The room and board fee covers the following program components:
International Airfare to Program Launch Site
International airline pricing can vary greatly due to the volatility of airline industry pricing, flight availability, and specific flexibility/restrictions on the type of ticket purchased. Students may choose to take advantage of frequent flyer or other airline awards available to them, which could significantly lower their travel costs.
International Phone: Each student must have a phone in each country. Cost varies according to personal preferences, phone plans, data plans, etc.
Personal expenses during the program vary based on individual spending habits and budgets. While all meals and accommodations are covered in the room and board fee, incidentals and personal transportation costs differ depending on the non-program-related interests and pursuits of each student. To learn more about personal budgeting, we recommend speaking with alumni who participated in a program in your region. See a full list of our alumni contacts. Please note that free time to pursue non-program-related activities is limited.
Please Note: Fees and additional expenses are based on all known circumstances at the time of calculation. Due to the unique nature of our programs and the economics of host countries, SIT reserves the right to change its fees or additional expenses without notice.