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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 2014

Final deadline: March 15, 2014

Fall semester 2015

Final deadline: March 15, 2015

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
egaul@acm.edu

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Publications & Resources

India program brochure

India student handbook - Fall 2014

India: Culture, Traditions, & Globalization

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Jessica Schachterle Studying in India and living with a host family was the most difficult and most rewarding experience of my life. Living in an Indian city (as a student, not a tourist) expanded my world and challenged me to consider new ways of thinking, acting, and learning. Years later, I still reflect on my experience as a foreigner in a culture where everything seemed new and different at first: new food, new language, new alphabet, new weather, and new surroundings. I went from being highly literate in English to barely being able to sound out store signs in Marathi. Now as an English teacher and coordinator, I work with hundreds of immigrants and refugees going through a similar adjustment.

—Jessica Schachterle, India, 2001

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