Crazy, hectic, beautiful, and incredible! Past Review

By (St. Mary's College of Maryland) - abroad from 06/06/2015 to 06/25/2015 with

St. Mary's College of Maryland: Traveling - India Study Tour

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
This experience was so incredibly worthwhile! Not only did i learn about Buddhism, Sikhism, and Hinduism, but I was able to learn how to be more culturally sensitive to other individuals.

Review Photos

St. Mary's College of Maryland: Traveling - India Study Tour Photo

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.

This is a moderately rigorous and intense educational experience. Students do initial research prior to travel, keep a journal during travel, and write a 15-30 page paper (dependent on the professor) after their return. Students learn much on the ground by interacting with Buddhist monks, Hindu priests, and Sikh gurus.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Dan Meckel takes roughly two years to plan each India Study Tour, so they are very thought out. However, there are some small aspects that are difficult to schedule prior to traveling to India.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The living arrangements were very nice. Other than when we were camping, the students always had access to a bed and shower. However, some hotels that we stayed out were nicer than others.

* Food:

The food was delicious, but one does have to be careful about what they eat.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I never felt truly integrated into the local culture. I believe this would be incredibly difficult to do in a context such as India.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I coughed up blood while in India. This was due to bronchitis and quick elevation changes. The professors in charge were very helpful and quick to act. The local healthcare was extremely affordable although somewhat difficult to locate compared to what I'm used to at home. I did need to receive a few vaccines, although I can not remember them right now. The only prevalent health issue within India was Malaria, but we took medication to prevent this.

* Safety:

Overall I did feel safe traveling within India. However I highly recommend that future students travel with a group. Additionally, due to issues recording sexism within India, I highly recommend that women travel with at least one male. There was one incident of a drunken local male harassing a few women on the trip.

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

The great thing about this tour is that no two trips are the same. I'm actually trying to attend the next one too!


* 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)

I know a few students who attempted to pay for this study tour completely on their own. They seemed to have the most expense constraints. However all students were able to afford food, personal expenses, transportation rides, and a few souvenirs.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? We were instructed to bring about $500 for food and water. This was more than enough to last us +/- 20 days. I would say each week would probably be around 50 US dollars.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Wait till the end of the trip to buy things. This will prevent you from running out of money and you won't have to lug around all your souvenirs.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Hotel
* Who did you live with?

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  • Americans
  • Other
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Other
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 trips and actives
  • The educational content
  • The professors!
* What could be improved?
  • More focus on Hinduism
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had known more about the religions within India. I feel like this would have give me a lot of insight.

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 Avid Adventurer
The wardrobe you packed was better suited for a semester of camping than club hopping. Outdoorsy, you might forgo a crazy night out for an early all-day adventure. You'd rather take in the rich culture of an old town than the metropolis of a modern city, but for you getting off the grid is ideal.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Passage to India Study Tour

Course Department: Religious Studies
Instructor: Dan Meckel
Instruction Language: English
Comments: -The adjustment period was challenging. -The location and 'field trips' were utilized perfectly to stress the content of the class. -The professor was extremely knowledgeable, yet not always prepared. This is normal, because it is very difficult to be completely prepared for EVERY occasion or incident when traveling. -I participated more than I usually would at my home institution. -The students were assessed through several short writing assignments, journals that we kept daily entries in, and a final long writing assignment.
Credit Transfer Issues: This was a SMCM approved study tour, so transferring credits was no problem.