All I can say is...GO TO INDIA! Past Review

By (Anthropology & Reconciliation Studies, Bethel University) - abroad from 01/19/2014 to 05/14/2014 with

IFSA/Alliance: Pune - Contemporary India

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned more about myself than I thought I would have. I learned how to deal with conflict, how to stand up for myself, and how to handle being different. I loved (almost) every minute of it. There were times where it was really, really difficult for me to step out of my comfort zone and experience something different, but I found those times to be the most rewarding. Overall, India was one of the most rewarding things I've ever done for myself. India has SO MUCH to offer and I cannot wait to go back to experience more of it!

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Great class content. Fun field trips. Okay professors. Don't adapt to student's advice very well. However, each class has a different professor and it really depends on what class you're taking. Some are great, some are okay. I learned a lot, though.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Poor communication at times, confusing. But very friendly, helpful and welcoming. The director Uttarra is absolutely fabulous! She was our mother for the semester.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I loved my host family. Clean and happy home with wonderful food!

* Food:

FOOD WAS MY FAVORITE PART! Cheap, delicious, and full of surprises. Try everything!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I had classes with only Americans, with Indian professors. I didn't meet many Indians until my internship. This was a huge bummer - I wish we would have more opportunities to meet other students from Pune.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

The doctors do things a little differently over there, so go with an open mind. Other than that, my health was perfectly fine over there except for when it got super hot (almost 107F for over a week). Drink loads of water.

* Safety:

I never felt in danger. I travelled alone in the city extensively and felt fine. As far as walking at night, know where you are going, have your cell phone on & charged, and stay under street lights. You'll be totally fine.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

It's really up to the student. I mostly spent money on food & clothing, which I think was worth it. Those things are completely optional though. India is one of the cheapest places to study abroad so keep that under consideration!

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $15
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Stay away from Western shops & food joints if you want to save money. Keep your eyes peeled for the Rs. 30 meals rather than the Rs. 300 meals.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Beginner
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? None
How many hours per day did you use the language?

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The city of Pune itself
  • My Internship
  • Food
* What could be improved?
  • Administration
  • The Beginner Hindi class
  • Integration with other Indians
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I would have used my Hindi skills more often than I did. I also wish I would have packed less clothing in order to save room for all of the wonderful Indian clothes, as well as souvenirs, that I brought home!

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Social Entrepreneurship

Course Department:
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This was my favorite! We learned about NGOs and their role in India and we're able to meet different Entrepreneurs from around the area. The professor is an amazing person, but has a voice that can easily put you to sleep. Fight the urge! It's a great class.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Beginner Hindi

Course Department:
Instruction Language:
Comments: Yes, Hindi is a difficult language to learn, but that is because it's written in a different script. Once you grasp the alphabet, though, it becomes much more simple! The teacher didn't help us out on that part, though. She quickly taught us the alphabet and then assumed we'd be able to learn everything after that. She took the class much too far for a beginner's course and sadly we learned more grammar than dialogue. I wish we would have done more speaking.
Credit Transfer Issues: