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SIT India Traditional Medicine and Healthcare Practices

Fast Facts

Sessions Offered:



New Delhi, India




2.5 GPA, good academic and disciplinary standing

Application Due:

Summer: 3/4

Program Cost:

Refer to the Application tab for more details

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Note: This program is not available for the Summer 2021 session.

SIT Study Abroad offers more than 60 accredited semester and summer study abroad programs — in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East, as well as the International Honors Program, comparative programs in multiple locations.

The SIT Experience

  • Rigorous academic programs through a field-based, experiential approach
  • Cultural immersion through fieldwork, language classes, and urban and rural homestays with local families
  • A small group of students in each program, supported by SIT faculty and staff, homestay families, in-country experts, and community members
  • Access to SIT's extensive local resources and networks
  • A commitment to reciprocity as the foundation of our educational philosophy

Traditional Medicine and Healthcare Practices (Summer)

Explore and experience India's vibrant traditional medicine systems in the context of rapid economic growth and health policy reform.

This program will introduce you to many of India’s healthcare systems. You will examine many of the social, economic, cultural, and legal paradigms that provide a context for healthcare service delivery in India. You will consider how policy and practice link together to either support or hinder specific health systems and how uneven access to modern healthcare may affect the sustainability of traditional systems.

Major topics of study include:

  • Ayurveda, yoga, Siddha, tradi­tional Tibetan medicine (Amchi), Unani, folk medicine, naturopathy, and other traditional health systems
  • How issues such as climate change, globalization, and development may be impacting health services and healthcare access across India
  • How issues of globalization and India’s modern development agenda affect the delivery of healthcare services
  • The institutions, methodologies, and practitioners of traditional medicine in India
  • How marginalization affects the lives and health of India’s indigent populations
  • Ayurveda in philosophy and its practical applications as a healing system
  • Yoga as preventative and curative medicine
  • Indigenous health systems in rural communities in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh
  • The Himalayas as a repository of medicinal herbs

Students who participate in this program take two courses:

  • Traditional Indian Medicine: Theory and Context (seminar, 5 s.h.)
  • Field Study of Traditional India Healthcare Practices (research methods and ethics course, 3 s.h.)

For a course descriptions and syllabi, please consult SIT's program webpage.

SIT Academic Program

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Interdisciplinary Seminars

Thematic seminars merge student experience with academic theory to examine critical issues from multiple perspectives. Students learn from SIT faculty as well as guest lecturers from local universities, research institutes, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and community and professional associations. Field-based activities and assignments complement readings, discussions, and research papers, allowing students to engage in a variety of study methods.

Research Methods and Ethics

Students learn appropriate methodologies that prepare them to undertake fieldwork on topics connected to the program’s theme and specific cultural context. Students develop research skills and approaches including cross-cultural adaptation and skills building; project selection and refinement; contact and resource cultivation; observation and interviewing skills; gathering, organizing, and presenting findings; and maintaining a field journal. Students also examine the ethics and impact of their research on local communities and are required to follow the World Learning/SIT Human Subjects Review Policy, which serves as an approval process and guide for ethical field study practices.

Program Dates

For program dates, please consult SIT's program webpage.

For More Information

Steps to Studying Abroad

  1. Before initiating an application with CIEE, students must complete a Discover Study Abroad session at the University of Iowa. 
  2. After completing the Discover Abroad session, students must call the Study Abroad office at 319-335-0353 to be assigned to the appropriate study abroad advisor.
  3. Once assigned, students must meet with their study abroad advisor to receive program application instructions.

Study Abroad
1111 University Capitol Centre
Iowa City, IA 52242

Phone: 319-335-0353

New Delhi, India

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The program is based in New Delhi, India’s central hub for policymakers and organizations active in both health and human rights. Greater New Delhi is home to more than three hundred international and more than a thousand local NGOs actively involved in the health and development sector. The National Human Rights Commission, National Commission for Women, and other rights-focused organizations are headquartered in New Delhi. You will be encouraged to utilize the city’s many academic institutions and resources, including its excellent libraries, to advance your learning.

New Delhi has an extensive public transportation system, many parks and green spaces such as Lodhi gardens, sports facilities, and dozens of historical monuments and cultural associations. The city sees itself as both cosmopolitan and distinctively representative of its ancient roots.

Indian Himalayas

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You will consider how other issues, including climate change, globalization, and India’s modern development agenda, may be impacting health services and healthcare access across the country. By visiting Himalayan locations — home to some of India’s rich botanical natural resources — you will learn how environment and healthcare are linked at state and local levels.


SIT places the highest priority on the health, safety, and security of all students. Through their 80-plus years of running international experiential education programs, they have developed sophisticated proactive and reactive risk management strategies. Their proactive risk management begins with in-country assessments of safety and continues through student orientation and emergency preparedness. Their reactive risk management strategies include 24/7 on-call availability, emergency/crisis response protocols, and comprehensive student insurance. Their structure also allows for rapid response and adjustment to changing situations.

US Department of State Country Information

The US Department of State provides safety and security information for every country of the world to help you assess for yourself the risks of travel. Each country information page contains a Travel Advisory, Alerts, and other important details specific to that country that could affect you.

Pay close attention to the entry and exit requirements, local laws and customs, health conditions, and other details to help decide whether traveling to any given country is right for you. Non-US citizen travelers may also wish to seek guidance from the embassy of their country of citizenship. The UI International Travel Policy for Students addresses restrictions on student travel to high-risk locations and engagement in high-risk activities abroad.

Living Arrangements

Nainital homestay

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You will spend approximately 10 days of the program living with a carefully selected host family in rural Nainital, Uttarakhand. Typically, two or three students are placed with one family.

Most host families have lived in the same place for generations and, in some cases, for centuries. Host families are typically lower middle class but vary in size and caste background. A majority of host families have multiple generations living under one roof and are typically located in small villages.

In addition to being an excellent opportunity to practice language skills, the homestay also gives you the chance to intimately observe and participate in the culture and daily life of the local rural communities in the Himalaya. You may also experience special cultural activities, such as religious ceremonies and weddings, in addition to sharing many memorable meals.

Other accommodations

You will stay in an NGO guest house in Palampur, a guest house in Rishikesh and Dharamsala, and in a hotel in New Delhi during the orientation and concluding periods.

Educational Excursions

Please note that in order to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, program excursions may occasionally vary.

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Site visits and excursions are an integral part of the program. You will spend time at hospitals, NGO headquarters, and academic and research institutes in New Delhi and other areas of North India.

Most program time is designed to help you build a foundation in traditional healthcare systems’ theory and practice and learn how marginalization affects the lives and health of India’s indigent populations. Excursion destinations may include rural and urban Nainital, Rishikesh, Palampur, and Dharamsala.

During excursions, you will interact with community members and traditional health practitioners. You will learn firsthand about ongoing struggles to survive and the challenges in acquiring adequate healthcare services in remote locations.

Travel Arrangements

Airfare is not included in the program fee but students will work with SIT to determine the best time for arrival. Students will also receive support from SIT if they need to apply for a visa. More information on travel arrangements will be provided by SIT after the application cycle has concluded.


This program is open to UI students who fulfill the following requirements:

  • Minimum 2.5 cumulative GPA: Students must have at minimum a 2.5 cumulative GPA to participate in this program.
  • Good academic and disciplinary standing: Students must be in good academic and disciplinary standing at the University of Iowa. Academic and disciplinary history will also be considered when determining whether a student is prepared to represent the University of Iowa as part of this program. Students who, even after being accepted into a program, are put on either academic and/or disciplinary probation for any period of time overlapping with the study abroad program dates are ineligible to study abroad. In these cases, students must forfeit their acceptance, will not be allowed to study abroad, and are wholly responsible for any and all financial expenses incurred.


The cost sheet (forthcoming) outlines the total estimated costs associated with participating in this program and can be used for financial aid purposes. It includes fees charged on students’ U-Bill, as well as out-of-pocket expenses. Actual out-of-pocket expenses will vary from individual to individual. Quoted estimates are conservatively high, yet realistic.

The cost sheet includes the Study Abroad Administrative Fee and Mandatory Iowa Regents CISI Travel Insurance. Please see the respective websites for further details. If the fee is inclusive of UI tuition, it is calculated by Current Tuition. Please contact your study abroad advisor with questions regarding this cost sheet – call 319-335-0353 to schedule an appointment.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Most financial aid (scholarships, grants, and loans) is applicable to study abroad programs. Please check the Study Abroad website for information on financial aid and how it may be applied to studying abroad. You are also encouraged to speak with someone at the Office of Student Financial Aid to explore financial aid options.

Scholarship opportunities exist for study abroad participants. Please explore Study Abroad’s websites for UI Study Abroad Scholarship Opportunities, and Non-UI External Awards.

SIT automatically gives students from Big Ten institutions a $1,500 scholarship. There is no application necessary, the credit is automatically credited to your account. SIT offers additional awards that can be found on SIT's webpage.

Pell Grant Recipients will have their application fee waived by SIT, are eligible for additional SIT scholarships, and are competitive candidates for the Department of State's Gilman Scholarship. Please talk to your Study Abroad Advisor for more details!

How to Apply

Note: This program is not available for the Summer 2021 session.

Interested students should make an appointment with the designated UI Study Abroad advisor to discuss the program and the application process. Appointments can be scheduled by calling 319-335-0353. During the appointment, the advisor will provide full application instructions. Note: Application materials will not be reviewed unless a student has already met with the advisor to discuss the program.

The application process consists of the following steps:

• Complete the UI Online Application for Study Abroad. Please note that the non-refundable $50 application fee will be charged to your U-Bill as part of this online application.

• Complete the SIT Application Final admissions decisions to the program are made by SIT.

Confirmation Materials

Coming soon.

Pre-Departure Preparation

Health & Safety Planning

All students preparing to study abroad should review the following:

Iowa Regents CISI Health Insurance Information

UI Financial Aid Information

Students are also encouraged to complete the Health Preparation Guide for International TravelPDF form with their medical practitioner. This document is intended to help you plan for your medical needs abroad. Please DO NOT turn this form in to UI Study Abroad.

Financial Aid

For more information about receiving financial aid while studying abroad, please review the following:

UI Financial Aid Information

Flight/Travel Arrangements

SIT will provide you with a document called "International Flight Information" that will assist you with making travel plans and give the information you need to purchase your flight. Please refer to this document.


If you need a visa, SIT will send you a document titled "Passport and Visa Information" and you should follow these instructions. Contact the SIT visa coordinator with questions or reach out to Study Abroad. You must have a passport valid for 6 months after your return date in order to apply for the visa, so please renew or apply for your passport as soon as possible.


In order to prepare for your time abroad, you are required by the University of Iowa to complete two orientations. These may be in addition to orientations provided by your on-site provider. See below for more information.

Online Education Abroad Pre-Departure Orientation

You are required to complete the International Programs online “Education Abroad Pre-Departure Orientation” course distributed through ICON prior to departure. This orientation is mandatory for all students going abroad under the auspices of the University of Iowa. It covers many practical matters about living overseas, such as health and safety, communication, money, goals and much more. You will be enrolled in this course by International Programs and an email will be sent to you once enrolled. If you have any questions you can email

Program-Specific Orientation

This orientation will be facilitated by your study abroad advisor and will cover content specific to your program and host country. It could be conducted in a group setting or one-on-one depending on your type of planned activity abroad. Your study abroad advisor will send you more information about this mandatory in-person session.

Resources and Cultural Information

SIT Resources

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Contact a Former Student
SIT Confirmation Materials
Pre-Departure Materials by Program
SIT Medical Review