The Highest Highs & the Lowest Lows! Past Review

By (Barnard College) - abroad from 07/13/2014 to 11/22/2014 with

Study Abroad Programs in India

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I think that if you go into the situation with no expectations, and are ready to embrace whatever is about to come your way, then your experience will be incredible. Those who left the program disappointed were those who came in with high or unrealistic expectations. I learned so much both inside and outside the classroom, but that was also because I really challenged myself, and studying Indian history connected to my long-term academic goals. Go to India/Delhi if you are invested in the region and are willing to engage with your environment (i.e. learn the language, embrace the differences, meet locals, try new foods), not just because you wanted to randomly select the most "exotic" location available to you (and plan on spending the entire time complaining about Delhi, on Skype or Facebook, etc.).

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

This is based off of the fact that I only took 1 class at the IES centre; the other 2 were at Jawaharlal Nehru University, and another one was privately tutored.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I opted out of IES' housing, and made my own arrangement with friends.

* Food:

The food served at the IES centre was always healthy and delicious!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I felt very integrated, based on the fact that I had spent considerable time in the area beforehand, but I do not know how much the program itself did to aid that integration.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I did not have any health issues while on-program.

* Safety:

I think that, if you use appropriate caution, Delhi is as safe as any other city of its size. I never had any negative safety experiences during my study abroad, and IES gives general outlines on what to avoid to have a safe experience.

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)

In Delhi, you can live on an extremely high or low budget-- all just depends on your personal expenses and lifestyle, how often you leave the city to travel, etc. Your host family provides 2 meals a day, so you can live on a very low budget.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? No more than $50
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? If you are going to travel, do it with at least 1 other student or friend! That way, you will all split the costs, it will be cheaper and safer. Also, if you want clothes, don't buy Western wear from malls, as this is the most expensive; it is cheaper to buy cloth and get it stitched-to-fit from a local tailor.


* 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

The classes were encouraging, but everyone at the IES centre speaks English.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Intermediate
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Advanced
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Intermediate
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? If this is your first time studying Hindi, try going into the program at least knowing the script! There are tons of free resources on the internet, youtube, etc. I recommend the books "Teach Yourself Hindi" by Rupert Snell and "Beginner Hindi" by Usha Jain.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Other
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Other
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International Students
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?
  • Freedom to take classes at JNU
  • Freedom to take independently arranged classes
  • Location of centre
* What could be improved?
  • On-site orientation
  • Host family selection and housing options
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I took classes at JNU, Delhi University and the IES centre-- the commuting was 3-4 hours a day and was exhausting. I wish I knew what a toll this would take on me, and I wouldn't have taken on so many classes in so many different places.

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 Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!