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Summer Studies in India overview

The Summer Studies in India Program offers students a unique opportunity for personal growth and academic discovery through a faculty-led, 8-week program delivered in partnership with the Vivekananda Institute of Indian Studies (VIIS). Located in the southern city of Mysore (Karnataka), VIIS aims to connect students with Indian history, culture and contemporary issues through class work, discussion, field trips, and an array of extracurricular pursuits.

Nine 3000-level credits are available for courses in Indian culture, gender issues, and sustainable development.

This is an open program jointly administered by Mount Allison University and Dalhousie University (Halifax, NS).  Students from Mount Allison, Dalhousie, and other Canadian universities are all welcome to apply. Dalhousie students should notify the International Development Studies Department of their intention to apply.

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Academic overview

There are three core courses offered:

  • Indian Culture and Civilization (3 credits)
  • Gender Issues in Indian Society (3 credits)
  • Science, Technology and Sustainable Development (3 credits)

Students will earn nine (9) academic credits through this program. The three core courses that students take at VIIS will appear on their Mount Allison transcripts according to their original VIIS course titles. Each course has been assessed at the 3000-level. It is important to note that courses taken on the Summer Studies in India program will not show up on students transcript as MTA course equivalents or substitutes.

Students who wish to use these credits towards degree requirements of a major or minor should consult their faculty advisor and ask that a note be appended to their degree audit form that will confirm that one or several of the courses taken on the program will fulfill the necessary degree requirement.

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Outside the classroom

Students have the opportunity to participate in co-curricular activities such as yoga, music, dance and Indian cooking lessons during the program.

Yoga classes (included as part of the program) are offered daily at 6 a.m. Classes on Indian music, dance, and cooking are also available for a separate fee paid directly to the instructor.

Students will also go on several trips and activities that directly or indirectly complement the academic aspects of the program.

These include:

  • A day of sightseeing in Mysore and its vicinity in your first week there, to give students a sense of the place where they will be staying for two months.
  • A day trip to see a hospital that combines both allopathic and tribal medicine and serves a tribal community. You will also visit the school for tribal children set up by the same organization some distance from the hospital. For more details on the hospital, school and organization, please see http://www.svym.org. Internship opportunities are also available here.
  • A weekend trip to the world-famous temples of Belur and Halebid, and to visit the monolithic statue of Gomateshvara (one of the tallest in the world) at Sharvanabelagola. (For more on these sites, please see http://templenet.com/karnataka.html)
  • A half-day trip to see an organic farm just outside of Mysore.
  • A half-day trip to see a women's self-help organization called Shaktidhama.
  • A day trip to visit one of the largest Tibetian Buddhist settlements and monasteries outside of Tibet (in Bylekuppe).
  • A week-long trip to Northern Karnataka where the group will visit various archaeological sites including those at Badami, Aihole, Patadakal, Bijapur, and the UNESCO world heritage city of Hampi. (For more on these sites, please see http://templenet.com/karnataka.html and http://hampi.in/monuments-of-hampi)
  • A multi-day trip to New Delhi at the end of the program. Students will visit the Taj Mahal and many other famous sites in Delhi.

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Program logistics

The Summer Studies in India Program takes place over eight weeks from late May to mid-July.

Eligibility requirements:

  • Ideally, students who have completed two years of undergraduate study and have completed a substantial component of India Studies coursework or have a particular academic interest in India Studies
  • must have a valid passport with at least six (6) months remaining after the end of the Summer Studies in India program or be able to apply for a new passport before March 1, 2017.  
Application requirements:
  • Official transcripts of all post secondary studies
  • A completed application form
  • Application deadline: Friday, February 3, 2017

Selection will be based on the merit of the student's application and the relevance of their coursework and academic training to India Studies.

Summer Studies in India application form

If you are a non-MTA student and have been conditionally accepted to the program, you are required to do the following:

  • complete a visiting student application for Mount Allison University 
  • fill out a Letter of Permission through your home university and then submit a copy of your transfer credit evaluation form to provide proof of transfer credits toward your degree

Cost: The approximate total cost of the program is $8,830 (CDN), which includes application fees, tuition, airfare to and from India, room and board (3 meals a day), materials, and field trip costs. Exact figures will be available in March once we have better sense of how many students will be going, and what the costs in India will be. The program fee does not include Indian visa costs, immunizations, or personal / incidental expenses.

Refund policy: Students are required to confirm their acceptance by the end of March.  Students confirm by paying a $125 non-refundable Study Abroad and Exchange Fee and the $2,000 confirmation deposit. The remainder of the program fees must be paid by the end of April.  

If you withdraw from the program after the first installment payment, you will receive the refundable portion of your airfare charge only. If you withdraw after the second installment payment you will receive the refundable portion of your airfare and insurance charges and 50 per cent of the meals and accommodation charges in India. There will be no refund on other program fees (including tuition).

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Accommodation and food

Students will stay at a VIIS-owned and managed residence which features double rooms and attached bathrooms. Wireless internet access is available in each room. Since the institute also runs Masters' programs for Indian students interested in working in non-governmental organizations, program participants will have the opportunity to interact with engaged, socially aware Indians from all parts of the country.

Meals are vegetarian and served on campus by a VIIS-approved caterer. A range of other meal options are available within a short walk or rickshaw ride from campus.

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Getting your bearings: VIIS and Mysore

VIIS is situated on a compact campus located 7km from the heart of downtown Mysore. Its facilities include a computer lab, well-equipped classrooms and residence facilities, dining and laundry facilities, and on-site security. The institute is affiliated with an excellent faculty, who will serve as instructors for courses taken as University credit.

Mysore is a city of a million people and is home to a number of universities, heritage buildings, and institutions that make it the cultural capital of the state of Karnataka. Mysore enjoys a reputation as The City of Palaces and is proud of its place as one of the historic centres of yoga study and instruction.

The moderate summer weather never exceeds 30 degrees Celsius. The city's tree-lined boulevards and nature parks offer a pleasant setting for visiting students and tourists.

Mysore is three hours by road from the state capital of Bangalore, home to the nearest international airport and the principal point of arrival for the program's participants.