Ramapo Facilitates Summer Program to India

Amidst an emerging economy facing numerous social and environmental challenges, India has been actively rooting for clean technology and energy efficiency for a sustainable approach to development.

According to the Huffington Post, Prime Minister Narendra Modi frequently shares his vision for, “sustainable economic growth without compromising on environmental safety.”

Ramapo students have an additional opportunity to learn about the trajectory of developmental approaches in India through a summer study abroad program, “Culture and Sustainability in India,” which will take place from July 8 to Aug. 18, 2017.

“Ramapo College has been facilitating study abroad programs in India for more than 15 years. The addition of a short-term summer option expands the opportunity for students who might otherwise not have participated in a semester program. With over 150 Ramapo alumni of the India program, we are confident that participating in a study abroad program to India will provide a transformative experience that will support students academically, professionally and personally," said Ben Levy, the Director of International Education.

This summer program is based at the Fireflies Intercultural Center, 30 kilometers from Bangalore, on a hill that slopes down to a lake. Fireflies aims to promote Earth's spirituality, the resolution of ethnic violence and the deepening of democracy and civil society in India. Fireflies hosts international events and seminars on social transformation. Pipal Tree, an organization located at Fireflies, conducts local workshops for the cultural revitalization of religion, myth, folk tradition, dance, arts and crafts, environmental resources and spirituality.

Students will register for two courses simultaneously, earning eight credits in total. Courses fulfill requirements in the Sociology, International Studies and Environmental Studies majors, the Anthropology minor and may apply to some general education requirements as well. All of the courses include a wide range of experiential learning opportunities such as frequent trips to temples, markets, urban and rural development projects and cultural sites. The program will begin with approximately one week at Ramapo before traveling to India for six weeks, followed by a closing week at Ramapo.

Each student will also have the unique opportunity to contribute towards the progress of a nonprofit and nongovernmental organization in Bangalore. Organizations will be from a variety of sectors, including, but not limited to, sanitation, gender issues, sexual minorities, agriculture/food security and urban planning. This component will occur toward the end of the summer program after students learn about the cultures of India and the issues related to sustainability and development. This experience will occur over approximately 12 days and include both an orientation/training and reflection component.

Students will spend the majority of their program on field trips outside of Fireflies. Trips will include visits to development projects promoting women's literacy and ecological sustainability, ancient temples and palaces and tribal villages. Excursions will be to visit a variety of institutions and communities in and around Bangalore city, as well as to Mysore, H.D. Kote and the state of Kerala.

The cost of the program is approximately $7,800 for NJ residents and $10,000 for non-NJ residents. This comprehensive program fee includes round-trip airfare to Bangalore, India, accommodations, meals, tuition and fees for eight credits, preparatory costs and academic materials, all excursion and entrance fees, comprehensive international health insurance and the India visa fee. It does not include immunization fees, U.S. airport transfers, personal expenses or fees associated with flight date changes.

“You will never have this opportunity again. To someone who is interested, do it. To someone who isn’t, do it anyway,” said Michael Joseph Pacheco, a senior and previous participant of the program.

For more information regarding application process, important dates and deadlines and scholarship information visit the program website or contact the Study Abroad Office (ASB-123) by email at goabroad@ramapo.edu or by phone at 201-684-7533.