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India: Culture, Traditions, & Globalization

Pune, India

Welcome message from ACM India Program Director Sucheta Paranjpe

India is a country of contrasts:  a modernizing economy in which village production continues to dominate, a vibrant democracy with an entrenched bureaucracy, a nuclear power in the place where nonviolent protest was born.  Its largely urban-based, modern service sector stands in stark juxtaposition to rural India, where fields are plowed with bullocks and brick kilns dot the landscape.  Road traffic, proceeding at multiple speeds, incorporates these different sectors, as Mercedes and Marutis share the roads with scooters, bicycles, and even camel-drawn carts.  Even the entertainment sector exhibits these disparities, with older Bollywood productions portraying rather chaste interactions between the sexes, while newer films and video games are more risqué in their portrayal of men and women.  India today is rooted in this dichotomy, embracing the dynamic forces of globalization, while still holding fast to the traditions of an ancient culture.

The fall ACM India program, located in Pune, is designed to provide students with insight into these varied aspects of Indian culture and society today.  The program begins in mid-August, with a three-week orientation, in which students begin an "Introduction to India" core course, study Marathi language intensively, and draw up a plan of research for their independent study projects.  The regular term begins in early September, where students continue the core course and Marathi language, choose an elective course, and begin to carry out their independent study projects.   In each of the courses, classroom learning is augmented by weekly activities outside of the classroom, and students are also encouraged to volunteer with local organizations.  The program organizes several program-sponsored overnight excursions to sites in and around Pune, while a one-week break in October provides opportunities to travel further afield in India.

In Pune, students live with Indian host families, providing a window into Indian society that students might not otherwise have, and for many it is the highlight of their experience in India.  Pune is a medium-sized city with a strong student life and culture, offering students excellent resources for experience, exploration, and study.  The quintessential university town, Pune is home to more universities and colleges than any other city in the world, earning it the nickname of "The Oxford of the East."  The city's residents include leaders in the fields of art, music, dance, yoga, theatre, film, religion, politics, environmental science and social reform. 

For more detailed information, please use the links located on the left-hand side of this page.

Quick Facts

  • Term: Fall semester
  • Language prerequisite: None
  • Language of instruction: English (plus Marathi language class)
  • Living arrangements: Host family
  • Who can apply? Students from any college or university

Application deadlines

Fall semester 2015

Final deadline: March 15, 2015

Fall semester 2016

Final deadline: March 15, 2016

If the deadline has passed and you are interested in applying, contact the ACM Office immediately. Late applications may be accepted on a space-available basis.

Program contacts

Emily Gaul
Assistant Program Manager

11 E. Adams Street, Suite 800
Chicago, IL 60603
Phone: 312.561.5919

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Publications & Resources

India program brochure

India student handbook - Fall 2014

India: Culture, Traditions, & Globalization

Follow us online

Nate Grady My journey with the ACM India Program was a truly self-defining experience, as it so greatly enhanced my understanding of of the world, of myself, and of what is important to pursue in life in general. India as a country is so complex and dynamic, with such a remarkable mix of ancient customs and lifestyles and a modern, globalized economy that a visitor cannot help but learn a great deal so long as they know where and how to look, and the ACM program was a critical guiding hand in this respect. From the professors and the classes they taught, to the staff and the trips they organized (both in Pune and in the country at large), everything was well calibrated to give us a good picture of "the Indian way," from which we in turn could learn so much. I left the country with a profound respect for (and connection with) the people I met there, which I am confident I will maintain for the rest of my life, and that would not have been possible without the ACM program.

—Nate Grady, India, Fall 2009

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