USAC - Study Abroad Program in Bangalore Past Review

By (Economics., University of Florida) - abroad from 08/26/2013 to 12/07/2013 with

USAC India: Bengaluru – Culture, Society, and Global Perspectives

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
So many things. Seeing the poverty in India is eye opening. Great classes. Great program director. Great thing overall.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Bangalore, India Fall 2013. Fantastic resident Director Jacob John - took us on many trips, to Hampi in India, to Mysore in India, all around Bangalore to temples, Lake Ulsoor, A Church, Russell meat and vegetable market. Was very good at handling issues and was a fun guy. The professors were excellent for some classes and inadequate in other ones.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Living arrangement was very good - spacious living room and kitchen, and two rooms with two people in each room. 4/5 stars, the only star reduced because the internet in the rooms was limited to 32 gb/month, so people often ran out of internet after 15-20 days even while trying to be conservative. And it is 4 kilometres from the University, so requires a 50-60 rupee rickshaw ride ($1 approx.), or 40 minute walk to get to Christ University campus. Other than those two, living arrangement itself was fantastic.

* Food:

Cheap multi-ethnic food. Can eat out each meal every day for under $5 daily.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

USAC did a good job of giving us opportunities to participate in Indian Christ University functions, had us go shopping with some local students for Indian clothes. And living in India even if you spend all your time with your American friends, you still feel integrated in the local culture, because it everywhere!

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Almost all 22 USAC Fall 2013 Bangalore students got sick at some point or another, from a combination of food difference, climate differences, pollution, lack of Indian hygiene. All of these things ended up strengthening our immunity systems after some struggle and sickness did not usually recur. I personally had vomiting and diarrhea after eating some street food. Others had fevers or other stomach issues. Visits to doctors are very cheap - the average price is 200 rupees, or about $3.50. Pharmaceuticals are very very cheap in India - what would cost between $100-$200 in the US would usually cost $10 in India. Literally. Local healthcare system quality varies. For serious issues, there are world class hospitals in Bangalore such as Manipal, Apollo, Fortis, BGS Global, etc. For minor things small doctor clinics would usually suffice.

* Safety:

Beggars frequently come and ask for money. But beyond that, the violence level in Bangalore is far less than it is in US cities. Guns hardly exist among the public, and the people are not generally violent. The most unsafe thing in Bangalore is honestly crossing the road - because traffic patterns are quite wild.

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)

Food is very cheap. If all you buy is food and rickshaw rides, the total cost for a week could be $70, and that is assuming you are eating at nicer places 3x day, and rickshawing two ways at a high rate. Living frugally, total cost for a week for just food and transport, could be anywhere from $25-40/week

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $70
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Don't let rickshaw drivers charge you higher prices because you are a foreigner. Make them go by the meter cost, or offer to throw ten or twenty extra rupees on top of meter cost, but no more.


* 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

I did not take the language classes.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* 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?
  • Cost
  • Classes
  • Travel
* What could be improved?
  • Give unlimited Internet
  • Find housing closer to campus
  • Don't lock apartment gate at 10:30 PM (but this is not such a problem because it can easily be hopped)
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? How nice it would be to have spent time actually learning Hindi. It can be very useful. I recommend the future students to learn it.

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!