India: Sustainable Development and Social Change


Students in the India: Sustainable Development and Social Change program live with a homestay family in Jaipur for approximately six weeks. 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 new members in 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 are engaged in professions such as teachers/professors, engineers, business owners, government officials, doctors, artists, 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.

Students are matched with families based on their background, health issues, and shared interests like music, arts, etc. The homestays are located in clusters within the periphery of 1–10 kilometers from the program centre. Two to four students are placed in each cluster, accessible to each other with short walks, allowing students to pool auto rickshaws and other modes of local transport for the daily commute to the learning center. Students usually use the same auto rickshaw for traveling around Jaipur in their 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 provides students 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, students 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, hotels, guesthouses, and farm houses.

Costs Dates

Credits: 16

Duration: 15 weeks

Program Base: Jaipur

Language Study: Hindi

Prerequisites: None


View Student Evaluations for this program:

About the Evaluations (PDF)

Fall 2013 Evaluations (PDF)
Spring 2013 Evaluations (PDF)
Fall 2012 Evaluations (PDF)

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