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Academics & Courses

In India, the topics you study in your courses are closely connected with the program’s excursions, your activities, and your everyday experiences outside the classroom.

From the intensive orientation when you arrive in Pune, to field trips that illustrate India’s rich history, to guest speakers who will deepen your understanding of current events and social issues, the program’s curriculum is designed to support you as you immerse yourself in Indian culture and society. Your academic study will provide context and help you develop informed perspectives for viewing your experiences in India.

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Study the Marathi language

Studying Marathi, the primary language spoken in Pune and the state of Maharashtra, will help you engage with your host family and will open doors to meeting people wherever you go. The language course emphasizes conversational skills, builds your proficiency, and introduces you to aspects of local culture and history. For example, on a trip to a local vegetable market, you’ll talk to shopkeepers, learn to negotiate prices, and see the kinds of foods that are available at a typical Indian market.

Explore the culture and history of India

Your course on contemporary India gives you a broad overview of the nation’s culture and history, while your chosen elective course adds more depth to your exploration of modern India. You’ll also experience a style of classroom teaching that may be more formal than you are used to, and courses mix lectures with discussion-based learning.

“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.”

Nate Grady, Lawrence University, environmental policy major

Conduct independent research

“I loved the independent study project (ISP) portion of the India program. The public health focus of my project engaged me in a topic that I grew increasingly passionate about, and altered my career path.”

Helen Noble, Lawrence University, biology and environmental studies major

Your independent study project (ISP) is a central component of the program, and is not simply a research paper. It’s an opportunity for you to take charge of your academic experience as you explore an aspect of Indian society and culture that interests you and furthers your goals for the semester. Throughout your project, you’ll be guided by a local expert whose knowledge and experience will enrich your study while connecting you with resources in Pune.