Study abroad in Pune, India with IFSA

IFSA Study in India: Field Experience

Program Overview

Like our standard IFSA Study in India option, this program is designed to pull you into everyday life in modern India—with the extra benefit of an added month for intensive experiential learning.

Count on our amazing Pune team to learn about your goals and interests, and help you pursue an internship, independent study, or directed research endeavor that will build valuable skills, set your resume apart, and give you a unique connection with Indian culture. Ideal for students looking for personal challenge and a completely new environment with an interest in public health, international relations, development studies, or social justice.

The IFSA Study in India: Field Experience program replaces our IFSA Contemporary India program.

Details in a Glance

Application deadline

Minimum GPA

2.00

Credit load

15 - 18

Housing

Home Stay

Instruction language

English;Hindi

Prerequisites

None

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Academics

Our IFSA Study in India: Field Experience program provides an opportunity to become part of a rich legacy of student-scholars observing, engaging with, and learning from communities in and around Pune. All students will complete an intensive field-based learning experience, conducted during the final month of the semester abroad. In addition to the required class, choose 4 - 5 elective classes taught by local experts in global and public health domains as well as Indian culture, politics, and economics.

REQUIRED CLASS

Three field experience options are available, designed to deepen your engagement with the local community and its culture. You are matched with a project tailored to your personal, academic, and professional interests articulated during the application and prearrival process and developed with the support of IFSA’s on-site staff and community networks.

Internship or Directed Research or Independent Study 

Conducted under close academic supervision, each class involves a minimum of 120 contact hours in the field and entail a final paper or project with accompanying presentation. 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. An independent study allows students to develop their skills in a specific cultural practice, such as classical Indian music or dance, documentary filmmaking methods, or other artistic and artisanal forms. For more detailed information and examples of previous student placements, contact your IFSA Admissions Counselor. (3 U.S. semester credit hours)

LANGUAGE CLASSES

Because of the immersive field experience you will have, we strongly encourage you to enroll in a full language elective to prepare yourself to make the rich of this incredible opportunity and interact respectfully with the communities hosting you.

Essential Hindi

Essential Hindi is taught intensively during the first two weeks of the semester for those students without a Hindi language background. It has two focuses: to equip students with essential communication skills, key words, and phrases, to engage in basic conversations, as well as build their ability to read basic signs and request emergency assistance; and to promote students’ understanding of the local environment and culture in contemporary India enhance their language skills in real world settings. (1 U.S. semester credit hour)

Beginning Hindi I

Language instruction in colloquial Hindi, emphasizing functional use of the language in contexts that students can be expected to encounter in daily life. (3 U.S. semester credit hours)

If you have previous Hindi experience or are interested in studying a different Indic language, contact your IFSA Admissions Counselor about a potential independent study option.

ELECTIVE CLASSES

Not all electives may be offered in a given semester depending on enrollment and faculty availability.

Development Economics

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 class explores how developing economies seek 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 India and other case studies. (3 U.S. semester credit hours)

Epidemiology

As the core science of public health, epidemiology is the study of disease and illness through the lens of social determinants of health, as well as research methods, data management, and subsequent communication. The class is designed to enable students to gain foundational knowledge of epidemiological principles, the basic models for disease occurrence, and skills to design and interpret studies that measure variables both accurately and ethically. Students will explore timely topics such as the impact of socioeconomic factors and lifestyle on disease occurrence, its changing patterns including recent pandemics, and the potential for prevention and intervention on a population basis. (3 U.S. semester credit hours)

Gender and Indian Media

From Hindu mythology to the pages of Bollywood gossip magazines, Indian womanhood has been a constantly evolving site for the mapping of cultural norms, desires, and anxieties. The simultaneous exaltation and oppression of femininity is both reinforced and contested in the mass media—a key tool of communication in a diverse and complex democracy. Through critical exploration of gender in Indian film, theatre, television, and advertising, this class addresses timely and relevant questions relating to women's issues in contemporary India. (3 U.S. semester credit hours)

Maternal and Child Health

For decades, maternal and child health have been critical components of the development agenda. The proportion of population of women in reproductive ages (15-45 years) and children (up to 15 years) makes them the biggest consumers of health services. Thus, preventive aspects of maternal and child health become important to ensure healthy population at present and in the future. This class thus aims at exploring maternal and child health in an Indian context, including important aspects of preventive obstetrics, preventive pediatrics, maternal and child nutrition, growth monitoring and immunization, etc. (3 U.S. semester credit hours)

National Health Policy in India

In India, the health of the society at large is the responsibility of the national government. This class will introduce the formation of the national health policy and examine the design, features, and reach of services governing the health services market. Specialization and alternative treatments create affordable options, while pharmaceutical infrastructure play important role in policy design and implementation. Students will investigate the relationship between health policy and the healthcare system in India, from the challenges generated by implementation to the institutions involved and the ongoing need for skilled healthcare workers. (3 U.S. semester credit hours)

Social Determinants of Health

In this class, health will be discussed not only as a biomedical but also as a socio-cultural phenomenon as it relates to Indian society. In addition to many other health determinants, socio-cultural norms and values shape attitudes of people and communities. India is a vast canvas to look for varied responses of its people to various diseases, National Health Programmes, NGOs’ efforts, etc. This class explores facilitators and barriers while responding to health and illness issues, as well as pluralistic health care delivery systems and their outcomes. Despite limited resources, India’s achievements in the health field will be highlighted. (3 U.S. semester credit hours)

Social Justice Theory and Practice

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 class 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. (3 U.S. semester credit hours)

The World’s Largest Democracy

India is one of the longest continuously democratic states in the developing world. This class offers an opportunity to understand the various institutions that govern India and the complex, diverse processes of governance—from local to national. Students will examine key concepts that have shaped relationships between the people and the state, as well as between national politics and local governance, and their impact on how social, economic, and cultural paradigms are structured in India. Pune, with its diverse demographics, culture, and landscape, is a perfect location to study how the institutions of modern parliamentary democracy function at different levels. (3 U.S. semester credit hours)

Understanding India through its Art

This class aims to provide the students with knowledge of Indian culture within the context of art history. The history of the Indian subcontinent since its origins in the Indus Valley Civilization will be evaluated through its paintings, sculptures, pottery, and textile arts—and in a more limited way, its architectural styles. Particular attention will be given to religious influences from the Mughals, Buddhists, and Hindus; the British and other colonizing powers; and the Bombay Progressive Artists’ Group and other post-Independence artistic trends. Students will develop a critical understanding the past and present of the current India in which we live. (3 U.S. semester credit hours)

DIRECTED RESEARCH

Students who choose to pursue directed research as their field component 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.

INTERNSHIPS

In Pune, students have the opportunity to participate in a full-time, four-week internship to fulfill their field component requirement. Interns are placed in Indian, joint-venture, or foreign-owned non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and companies working in the fields of microfinance, business, women's rights, education, environmental protection, public health, and civic engagement. The placement process begins with the submission of the Internship Interest Form upon acceptance into the program. Please consider your interests carefully while filling out this form, as it is not possible for changes in placement to be made in Pune. Placements are typically finalized after students arrive in India.

Placement Highlights

The following list showcases the variety of recent internship opportunities. While some of these internship opportunities may be available for upcoming terms, internship placements do vary from term to term. We will work with you individually to identify a placement that meets your unique personal, academic, and professional goals.

Organization: This independent charitable organization works to better the lives of low-income communities in Pune through a range of family welfare programs such as education, healthcare, child development, and women’s empowerment.

Subject Areas: Public Health

Potential Projects: On the background of COVID-19, the organization would have you prepare awareness material for their target population. They also work with women, adolescents, and HIV+ people regarding their health and nutrition. Depending on student interest, the work may be designed for a team of students.

Language: English

Organization: The mission of this NGO hospital research center is to conduct research in areas which affect the life of common people, with an emphasis on women and children. Areas of research include reproductive and child health, adolescent health, HIV and AIDS, quality of health services, women’s development, and various clinical topics. In addition to its ICU facilities, it has medical, surgical, and pediatric departments.

Subject Areas: Public/Global Health

Potential Projects: You may work on projects related to literature review, data analysis, and preparing awareness materials for COVID-19, reproductive health, mental health, child sexual abuse, and HIV.

Language: English

Organization: This organization focuses on sustainable socio-economic development through granting micro-finance loans, imparting skills and vocational training, and availing health services through micro-insurance plans. Additionally, the organization successfully runs training, family security, education, and awareness programs.

Subject Area: Finance

Potential Projects: Projects will be based on your specific skill set.

Language: English

Organization: This K-10 school serves more than 800 children from underprivileged families residing in the old central parts of Pune. Many of the students are the first-generation learners in their family.

Subject Areas: Education Studies, Elementary Education

Potential Projects: You would assist in developing personality development workshops for fifth grade to ninth grade students. Other projects available based upon your skill set.

Language: English

Organization: This “inclusive” preschool through 10th grade school accepts students from all socio-economic backgrounds, including those with physical and mental disabilities. One of the school’s extension is a center for children with severe disabilities, while another extension teaches secondary school students arts and crafts as a vocation.

Subject Area: Education Studies

Potential Projects: With teaching plans prepared for the coming academic year, you would work to develop teaching materials and tools to assist the preschool and first grade to fourth grade teachers.

Language: English

INDEPENDENT STUDY

An independent study allows students to develop their skills in a specific cultural practice, such as classical Indian music or dance, documentary filmmaking techniques, or other artistic and artisanal forms. Working closely with a faculty guide or master practitioner—and sometimes with local peers—IFSA students are trained in their chosen medium and are expected to produce a final presentation or performance. For all majors; no background is required. Students must bring or purchase their own equipment (e.g., musical instrument, digital camera) needed for full participation in the chosen medium.

APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS

Eligibility

  • You must be at least 18 years of age. Students under 18 may be accepted on a case-by-case basis.
  • You must be currently attending or recently graduated from a U.S. or Canadian community college, technical college, two-year college, four-year college, or four-year university.
  • You must have completed at least one (1) semester of study at your home institution before the beginning of the term.

Recommendation Letter

Not required.

Visa Requirement

This program requires a visa for all students.

Start your application now by clicking the Apply Now button.

TRANSCRIPT

Upon completion of your program, IFSA will send an official Butler University transcript to your home university with your coursework converted to the U.S. semester credit hour system. You will also have access to an unofficial transcript in your IFSA Student Portal. The transcript reflects courses taken, credits attempted, and grades earned during your term abroad. This service is included in your study abroad program at no additional cost. See our Transcripts page for more information.

Excursions

Activities and excursions are designed to pull you into the communities you visit and encourage cultural connections of every kind. There’s no extra fee to participate in these optional outings—everything is included in your program fee.

Below are examples from previous terms; outings may be different for your program. We’ll make every effort to run them all, but sometimes things we can’t our control, such as local regulations and health protocols, get in the way. As result, we cannot guarantee activities and excursions.

Activities

  • Expressive Culture Classes: Shake off stress as you try some of the elements that make up India’s rich performing arts heritage. Students are welcome to join the closing ceremony.
  • Heritage Indoor Games: Women have long taken part in indoor games as a way for housewives to gather, share their lives, and have fun. These games are also played at festivals for newly married girls where they worship the Hindu goddess Gauri. Take part yourself to experience this important element of local culture.
  • Cooking an Indian Meal: Indian food tastes even more amazing when you learn how to make it yourself! Roll up your sleeves with IFSA staff and learn to prepare three basic dishes including chapati bread, a potato vegetable dish, and shira, a sweet dish made with semolina.
  • Diwali/Holi Lunch: India is known for its colorful festivals and festive lunches. See what happens behind the scenes as you help prepare one of these special meals, then enjoy the celebration together.
  • Know Your City: Take advantage of Saturday sightseeing adventures to share time with Indian peers (your guides) as you visit Parvati Hill, Shaniwar Wada, Agakhan Palace, and more.

Excursions

  • Wai & Mahabaleshwar Trip: On this trip, you’ll see the gloriously lush Sahyadri Mountain range—also called the Western Ghats and designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visit the small town of Wai, known as Varanasi of the South for its 100-plus architecturally stunning temples. Explore the most worshiped Ganesh temple, the Shri Laxmi Narasimha temple, a rural school, a strawberry farm, and get a new perspective from the water with a boat ride. Next, it’s off to the nearby hill station of Mahabaleshwar, where King Shivaji built Fort Pratap Gad during the Maratha Empire, and where he defeated Afzal Khan. Soak in panoramic views that include the Sahyadri Mountains from Mahabaleshwar’s many hilltop points and enjoy strawberries with cream and wood-oven roasted chickpeas at the local market.
  • Village Velhe Visit: Seeing rural India is important to building an understanding of India as a whole. On this day trip, experience village market day, when people from remote villages come to fetch needs for the week ahead. You’ll also a visit to a rural primary health care center and a girl’s hostel run by Jnana Prabodhini — a school in Pune — as its rural development initiative. By playing games with students and meeting female leaders, you’ll learn about challenges for girls’ education and learn about inspiring local empowerment work. Wind up the day with a meal at a small resort where you’ll learn to prepare bhakri, a type of a bread commonly eaten in these villages.

Housing and Meals

Housing

Home Stay

Meals

All Included

Details

During the program, you will live with an Indian host family. All homestay families undergo an extensive vetting process with special attention to health, safety, and opportunities for cultural exchange. While every student has a different relationship with their host family, students are frequently brought along to religious, cultural and community activities, and introduced widely among their friends and family. Host families may be a large extended family, an older couple with children living abroad, or a nuclear family. They will likely speak Marathi, English, and some Hindi. All meals will be provided by the host family and/or IFSA program center. Arrangements for host family meals vary among housing placements. Indian cuisine is generally vegetarian, though some meat dishes are available in Pune. You may choose to eat out at Western-style restaurants at your own expense.

Dates and Fees

Term

Term begins

Term ends

Program costs

Application deadline

Fall 2023

Late August 2023

Mid-December 2023

$16,975

May 1

Spring 2024

Early January 2024

Early May 2024

$16,975 (estimated)

November 1

Term

Fall 2023

Term begins

Late August 2023

Term ends

Mid-December 2023

Program costs

$16,975

Application deadline

May 1

Term

Spring 2024

Term begins

Early January 2024

Term ends

Early May 2024

Program costs

$16,975 (estimated)

Application deadline

November 1

Program Counselors

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