Every year since 2002 ESG has helped organize the India sector of the International Honours Programme’s “Health and Community” and “Cities in the 21st Century” courses. “Health and Community” is a Spring programme offered from February through March, while “Cities in the 21st Century” is a Fall programme offered from November to December. International Honors Programs are offered in affiliation with the School for International Training (SIT), the accredited higher education division of World Learning. The semester long Cities Programme includes exposure to New York, Beijing, Buenos Aires and to Bangalore. Originally known as the “Garden City”, Bangalore is now known for world class information technology. In this cosmopolitan city, boundaries between traditional Indian culture and developmental frontiers often create a challenging scenario.
In the Fall Cities programme, 32 undergraduate students from some of the best universities in the US, along with three traveling faculty, follow their exposure to New York with a month in Bangalore and other cities of Karnataka. Their time in India gives them the chance to appreciate various qualities of these cities: their economies, cultural diversity, religions, social structures, environmental issues, developmental issues and administrative approaches. The students meet local leaders, activists, academics and urban planners, which lets them study the tensions between traditional economic forces and the emerging information technology (IT) centres.
The learning programme includes field exposures, guest lectures, panel discussions, and case studies. Case studies let students analyse issues such as the cultural and historical context of development, the political economy of specific issues, public and private interventions to deal with issues of disparity, and broader policy and legislative measures adopted to secure egalitarian development. Most importantly, students attempt through this programme to understand what it is to be an Indian in India.
Such an intensive learning programme is complete only when participants live with local families and have the chance to appreciate their different cultures, traditions, languages and belief systems. This unique experience complements the students’ academic sessions and field exposures. While the students get to see what it is like to live with a family in Bangalore, the host family is given the opportunity to get to know people from a different country and culture.
More details about the course are present on the IHP website. International Honors Programs are offered in affiliation with the School for International Training (SIT), the accredited higher education division of World Learning. Programs are operated entirely by IHP, but accredited through SIT.
World Learning is a 75-year-old nonprofit organization that operates experiential education and community-driven development projects in 73 countries. SIT offers graduate and professional education and youth programs, as well as SIT Study Abroad undergraduate semester and summer programs in more than 50 countries, including many developing countries. Each year nearly 2,000 students from more than 225 colleges and universities pursue a rigorous integration of classroom and field-based learning. Components include a homestay, academic seminar, field study seminar, a month-long Independent Study Project, and, in most programs, language study.
World Learning also offers summer programs for high school students through The Experiment in International Living. World Learning for International Development works with government sector and private donors to build local capabilities in civil society and social change, education, and training and exchange. For more information about World Learning and SIT, please visit www.worldlearning.org.
- CITIES in the 21st Century – Bangalore forward, but what about the rest? – 16 February 2004
- Environment Support Group and the International Honors Programme “Cities in the 21st Century” India Programme – February 21, 2002
- Interaction with International Honors Programme Participants “Cities in the 21st Century” (Kind Attn. Education Correspondents) – Press Invitation – February 20, 2002
- Boston Varsity students hold workshop in city – The Times of India, February 19, 2004
- From the Big Apple to the back of beyond – The Times of India, February 19, 2004
- US-bound with memories of Indian hospitality – Indian Express, February 22, 2002
- Americans learn what it takes to be an Indian – Asian Age, February 22, 2002