Chai and Complicated Bharat Past Review

By (South Asian Studies, Middlebury College) - abroad from 08/27/2012 to 12/09/2012 with

SIT Study Abroad: India - Sustainable Development and Social Change

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned to be more confident, loving, trusting, and independent. I learned that I can live in India with the help of friends. I love India and will definitely go back to visit or to study.

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.

I like the focus on an experimental and hands-on approach. The freedom to do my own field research was refreshing. My independent study project reinforced the merits of doing my own personal research. I may pursue something similar in the future.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The SIT Staff was one of the best components of this program. Everyone was very supportive and made us feel very welcomed.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I was staying with a host family for most of my time in India and that definitely helped me to immerse myself into the culture more.

* Food:

The food was amazing!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I think I integrated into the local culture really well. I ate and drank whatever was placed in front of me. I wore the traditional Indian dress. I also learned hindi and some Gujarati, which allowed me to converse with the locals.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Fortunately I did not get sick and did not have to experience going to a hospital but I did fall down and have my big toe nail removed. Manoji, one of the SIT staff workers, did a great job of bandaging my wound for me. The SIT staff was very careful to insure that the students remained healthy and safe.

* Safety:

I felt very safe after living in Jaipur for a month. I recommend walking in the city because you familiarize yourself with your surroundings, as a result, it is easier to adapt and call a foreign place, your new home. However even if you are very independent, it is always better and safer to travel with a buddy.

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)

SIT provided us with stipend money during our independent study project and also food money on some of the excursion trips. Money was not an issue because of the adequate funds SIT provided.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 0 - 50 rupees (during my home stay months) 3000 rupees during my Independent study project weeks
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Eat clean street food if your area permits and find a guest house with a water filtration system, so you save on buying water from outside.


* 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

We had to use the language because the locals' understanding of English was very limited.

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? I had completed 300 level German but that was barely helpful while learning Hindi.
How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Speak with the locals, friends, staff, and host family. Use your limited Hindi because that is only way to learn Hindi when you are living in North India.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* 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 people: American students; SIT staff; home stay family; hospitality of strangers
  • the food
  • chai
* What could be improved?
  • the integration of the field and methods class with the excursions
  • more chai
  • more ice cream
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Do not bring a big suitcase. A small suitcase is enough. Bring only what you need, nothing more, nothing less.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Nearly Native or Trail Blazer
Craving the most authentic experience possible, perhaps you lived with a host family or really got in good with the locals. You may have felt confined by your program requirements and group excursions. Instead, you'd have preferred to plan your own trips, even skipping class to conduct your own 'field work.'

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Independent Study Project

Course Department:
Instructor: Rahil Subedar
Instruction Language: Hindi/Gujarati/ English
Comments: Researching and writing my own thirty page research paper were extremely challenging but it made me apply all the field methods skills I have learned during the excursions. My advisor was very helpful because he connected with key organizations and people in Ahmedabad, who helped me with my research. He also made me more comfortable with living alone in Ahmedabad.
Credit Transfer Issues: