Study Abroad China

Study Abroad Through Dragons-Naropa: India


Good for: Students interested in studying issues about religious pluralism and practice (Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, Jain, Sikhs), traditional art forms, or global economic development.


Based in Varanasi, the City of Light, Dragons' India semester abroad program immerses students in an intensely thriving community located just above the banks of the Ganges River.  In Varanasi students have the chance to see Hindus walk through dawn light for a ritual dip in their cherished Ganges, and they can learn as well from the communities of Buddhists, Jains, Muslims, Sikhs and other devoted people who live and practice in Varanasi.

Students live with welcoming families whose members might include world-renowned sitar and tabla players, traditional doctors, university professors, or local artisans. Daily language classes in Hindi not only help students communicate with Indian hosts, but with leaders of service-learning projects sponsored by schools, clinics, and environmental organizations. Independent Study Projects, another critical component of the semester, give students the chance to acquire new and fascinating skills, develop a fresh perspective on historical and social issue, and practice traditional Indian art forms.

While engaging in these studies, students also have the chance to explore some of the subcontinent's most venerated and least-known places. From a trip to the Bodhi Tree and Temple at Bodhgaya, where the Buddha attained enlightenment, to traditional local villages rarely visited by Westerners, students witness what it means to live in India in the 21st century. Throughout the journey, students and instructors collaborate to create spaces in which students discover new aspects of compassion and leadership and grow to better know themselves.

Course Descriptions

Course Descriptions: Naropa students may choose to do the program for 12-16 credits

PlANT 250D Regional Seminar: Life Along the Ganges
This course provides students with an in-depth introduction to the cultures and traditions along the Ganges River, with a focus on Varanasi (Banaras). Each week, professors from Banaras Hindu University (BHU) and local experts in their respective fields present lectures to students on such topics as the role of women in a Hindu & Muslim country, economic issues of the caste system, and environmental sustainability. Substantive readings and response papers are assigned weekly to give important historical context to these lectures. Then, utilizing the experiential learning potential of India's oldest-living city, students also visit important sites in and around Varanasi. Through these lectures, reading and writing assignments, discussions, and experiences, students gain an understanding of some of the traditions, religious practices, history, and contemporary lifestyles of the people who make the cities and villages along the Ganges River their home. In addition to these field studies and family stays, students meet with locals who conduct research, perform in the arts, or serve as religious and/or community leaders.
ANT 211D Contemplative Intercultural Development and Leadership
The process of understanding self in relation to others in our globalized world is essential in the 21st century.  The purpose of this course is to carefully examine who we are through the experience of living, learning and engaging in the region.  Through both guided and organic processes, students examine global citizenship, develop effective intercultural and interpersonal communication skills and explore the depths of their internal landscape in relationship to the outside world.  From this wellspring of inner knowing, students discover their own authentic leadership capabilities and strengths as a responsible and curious citizen of the globe.
ISP 345D Study Project
The Independent Study Project (ISP) offers each student the opportunity to conduct in-depth study on a subject of their choice. Students will be matched with two ISP Advisors; a program instructor who has experience and knowledge relevant to the student's ISP topic as well as a member of the local community with whom the student will study or apprentice. An ISP may involve either an academic focus of inquiry, or learning a skill which would require an apprenticeship.
Hindi Language - HIND 150, 250, 350
This course is designed to provide a foundation in conversational Hindi for students with no previous knowledge of the language. Language proficiency is an essential aspect of the program and daily language classes with a local instructor ensure that students are provided with the language skills needed to engage more deeply with the communities in which they are living and learning. With a principal focus on conversational Hindi and practical language skills, the language lessons presented throughout the semester also include grammar, vocabulary development, and the history of the language. Students also gain a basic understanding and utility of the Hindi script (Devanagari script). Students are tested regularly and a written and oral exam is required at mid-course and at the conclusion of the course.


Dates for Fall Semester: Sept 12 – Dec 6 (Coursework begins a month before departure and is done at home.)

Dates for Spring Semester: Feb 12 – May 1 (Coursework begins a month before departure and is done at home.)

Cost for 2017-2018

Naropa tuition*:     $15,810
Room & Board: $3,045
TOTAL: $18,855

*Tuition includes 12-16 credit hours plus in-country travel and excursions.

Additionally, you will be responsible for:

Airfare:   Approximately $2,000
Travel insurance: Approximately $465
Visa: $76
Books & supplies: Approximately $125
Immunizations: Varies
Personal expenses:     Varies


Study Abroad Scholarships

If a student chooses a Naropa Sponsored (Dragons) or Affiliated (SIT) programs, he/she may apply for one of Dragons', or SIT scholarships. In addition to those funds, students may apply for one or more of the other general/regional scholarships for Study Abroad.

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