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SIT India Sustainable Development and Social Change

Fast Facts

Sessions Offered:

Fall, Spring

Location:

Jaipur, India

Credit:

Transfer

Eligibility:

2.5 GPA, good academic and disciplinary standing

Application Due:

Spring: 9/27, Fall: 3/15

Program Cost:

Refer to the Application tab for more details

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
  • Undergraduate research through an Independent Study Project
  • 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

Academic Program

Examine India’s socioeconomic development trends and how rethinking development is gaining urgency for shaping sustainable social change.

This program examines the diverse factors, internal and global, shaping India’s development strategies and patterns. You will gain foundational knowledge of India’s past, present, and future development paradigms, economic growth, and development alternatives. The program is based in Jaipur, a historical city in the state of Rajasthan.

Major topics of study include:

  • Development concepts, theories and approaches
  • India’s transition: post-1990s
  • Rural and urban development: crisis, challenges, and response
  • Moving beyond developmentality
  • Creating a roadmap for sustainability in India and radical ecological democracy (RED)
  • Development alternative interventions and case studies

Students who participate in this course earn 16 s.h. For course descriptions and sylabi, please consult SIT's program webpage.

Cultural Activities

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

The program includes visits to a diversity of NGO headquarters, prominent academic and research institutes, and villages. Visits to locations in Rajasthan will expose you to the realities of rural life in India and socioeconomic development in arid and semi-arid regions on the state.

In a typical semester, the excursion component of the program may include visits to all or many of the following NGOs and academic and research institutions:

  • Bodh Shiksha Samiti (Jaipur and Rajasthan) works toward quality education for underprivileged children through its community residential schools founded in 1987. It currently serves more than 26,000 children (urban and rural) through its bodhshalas and government schools in Rajasthan.
  • Jaipur Foot Factory is the world’s largest producer of prosthetic below-the-waist limbs provided free of cost to those in need, irrespective of caste, religion, origin, and ethnicity. This excursion introduces students to one of the most successful models of a physical disability rehabilitation center and provides an opportunity to learn about social change and the empowerment of individuals with physical disabilities.
  • International College for Girls (ICG), University of Rajasthan is a private institution that provides higher education for women in the Jaipur district of Rajasthan. SIT students may interact with students their own age currently enrolled in the college.
  • Gram Vikas Navyuvak Mandal Laporiya (GVNML) is run by Mr. Laxman Singh, an Asoka fellow, social activist, and development practitioner. The organization is engaged in various development and conservation initiatives including biodiversity conservation.
  • Pak Visthapit Sangh (PVS) in Jodhpur is a rights-based movement that highlights the plight of Hindu refugees who have been victims of religious fundamentalism. The organization conducts advocacy work for their citizenship and rehabilitation.
  • Uttari Rajasthan Milk Union Limited (URMUL) Trust (Bikaner) works with indigent individuals to facilitate increased self-reliance.
  • National Research Centre on Camel (Bikaner) was established by the government due to the importance of camels in the socioeconomic development of arid and semi-arid zones. The center undertakes basic and applied research for the improvement of keystone camel species in collaboration with national and international institutes.
  • Barefoot College (Tilonia) is a rural development organization led by the people it serves and whose development goals are self-defined. The Barefoot College provides basic services and solutions to problems in rural communities, with the objective of making communities self-sufficient and sustainable. These solutions can be broadly categorized into the delivery of solar electrification, clean water, education and livelihood development, healthcare, rural handicrafts, and communication.

Development Workshops

Immersion in development interventions and sustainability development and social change occurs through the program’s five- to seven-day workshop. Diverse workshop opportunities vary every semester but are offered in the states of Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Himachal Pradesh. The number and choice of workshop vary every semester. All of the below or only few may be selected depending on logistics, facilitation, and interests.

Sample workshop sites:

  • Kiran Centre (Madhopur/Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh) is a center for education and rehabilitation for children and youth — many of whom have polio, cerebral palsy, rickets, or hearing impairments — which provides children with education, vocational training, physical rehabilitation, and other skills. At Kiran, you will be able to see the work in all the units and to volunteer your time with children and youth.
  • Shikshantar is an organic learning community, video and library resource center, and applied research institute working in the areas of lifelong societal learning and just and balanced living for the 21st century. It aims to challenge and dismantle the existing monopoly of factory schooling and enable and connect open learning communities that support the generation of new visions of Swaraj, or self-rule, envisioned by Gandhi. At Shikshantar, you will engage in various activities to go through an “unlearning” process through transdisciplinary reflection, dialogue, vision-building, and experimentation.
  • Rural Litigation and Entitlement Kendra (RLEK) (Dehradun, Uttarakhand) is a nongovernmental organization that works with communities in the hill state of Uttarakhand. Started in the 1970s, spearheading the local issues and development work in the tribal area of Jaunsar-Bhawar, today it works in six states: Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, and Haryana. It currently works to bring awareness about human rights and to supplement the initiatives of the National Human Rights Commission and the various state commissions; community forest management (CFM), with special focus on safeguarding the rights of the indigenous nomadic Van Gujjars community and on capacity building of marginalized communities in Panchayati Rule (local self-governance) while working towards gender equity in local governance.
  • The Adivasi Academy (Tejgadh, Gujarat) is established to create a unique educational environment for the study of tribal communities. It is aimed to become an institute for the study of tribal history, folklore, cultural geography, social dynamics, economy, development studies, medicine, music, arts, and theater. With its multidisciplinary approach and related interventional measures, the academy is striving to create a new approach of academic activism.
  • Jagori Grameen (Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh) is a national feminist-based organization committed to social justice that works with communities to address discrimination based on gender, class, caste, religion, and disability. At Jagori, you will be exposed to different interventions such as informal women’s courts, rural knowledge resource centers, inclusion and capacity building of women in local governance systems, and sexuality and human rights education.
  • Watershed Activities and Services Network (WASSAN) (Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh) is working toward bringing about a qualitative change in the watershed-based development programs in India and provides capacity building and support services for development initiatives in natural resources management with a focus on promoting livelihoods for people living in poverty and economic and gender equity.

Program Dates

Program dates vary from year to year, but typically follow the University of Iowa’s academic calendar.

The fall program takes place from early September to mid-December. The spring program takes place from early February to mid-May. You can find the specific dates for the upcoming sessions on SIT's program webpage.

For More Information

Steps to Studying Abroad

  1. Before initiating an application with SIT, 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
Email: study-abroad@uiowa.edu

India is the world’s largest democracy with a rapidly growing economy, vibrant IT industry and service sector, and burgeoning middle class, and it is poised to become an influential world power. Despite its impressive economic growth, social hierarchy, inequity, and poverty remain enormous challenges for this country of more than one billion people.

Jaipur, India

Photo Credit

In Jaipur, you will begin thematic coursework, language study, and the Field Methods and Ethics course while enjoying access to academics, professional associations, and grassroots organizers working in areas such as community development, natural resource management, and poverty alleviation through state-led social security provisions and livelihood development.

Jaipur presents itself as a wealthy and regal city containing clean, stately, tree-lined streets; traditional and contemporary architecture; heritage palaces and forts; five-star hotels; and a thriving tourism industry. However, the largely rural and agricultural state of Rajasthan is among the underdeveloped regions in India, and Jaipur, the state's capital city, reflects this reality. Rural and urban youth throughout the region struggle with problems ranging from life-threatening droughts to gaining admission to prestigious universities. Organizations supported by concerned urban citizens are seeking innovative ways to address issues of poverty, social justice, and sustainable development in Rajasthan’s rural areas as well as among the urban poor.

Safety

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

By living with Indian host families, you will have an excellent opportunity to practice language skills and share daily life, including many memorable meals. You may also experience special cultural activities, including religious ceremonies and weddings.

Jaipur homestay

Photo Credit

As a student in the India: Sustainable Development and Social Change program, you will live with a homestay family in Jaipur for approximately six weeks. Homestay families have a longstanding relationship with SIT and are always eager to welcome students into their home. Most of the families are from the upper middle class, with varied religious backgrounds and worldviews. Some members of the family are homemakers, while others hold professions such as teacher/professor, engineer, business owner, government official, doctor, artist, etc.

Indian family structure is in transition from multi-generational to nuclear. In addition, the number of families with both parents working outside the home is growing. Students live in families of varied sizes composed of parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters, small children, and uncles and aunts. Few families have pet dogs and cats. The program has a one student, one family norm. Each student typically has a separate room with an attached bathroom that is occasionally shared by visiting relatives.

You will be matched with a family based on your background and health issues, as well as shared interests like music, arts, etc. The homestays are located in clusters within the periphery of one to ten kilometers from the program center. Your home will be within a short walk of three or four other SIT students, allowing you to share auto rickshaws for the daily commute to the learning center. You will usually use the same auto rickshaw for traveling around Jaipur in your free time, maximizing safety and convenience. The program has the practice of collecting vital information of the regularly and occasionally used auto rickshaw drivers, like their name, phone number, and vehicle registration number.

The homestay experience will provide you with the opportunity to share and learn customs, food, languages, and social and religious lives by taking part in daily activities at home and with members of the extended family. The experience itself provides a sense of social change and continuity in India’s family structure and traditions. During the Indian wedding seasons, you will also get to attend “Bollywood-style” north Indian weddings with dance, music, jewelry, and sarees. Past students have considered the homestay experience to be one of the most meaningful components of the program

Other accommodation during the program includes hostels, small hotels, NGO facilities, and educational institutions.

Passport

If you do not have a passport, it is important that you apply for one as soon as possible to ensure you receive it before the program begins. US citizens can find more information about how to apply for a passport on the US Department of State’s website.

Important notice for students without a valid passport or whose passport will expire within the next 12 months:

US citizens can find more information about how to renew a passport on the US Department of State’s website.

Students with a valid passport should check the expiration date. Passports must be valid for at least 6 months AFTER the anticipated return to the US from studying abroad. If your passport is not valid for at least 6 months after your anticipated date of return to the US, you must renew your passport before applying for the visa you will need to enter your host country.

Expedited processing service is available for US passports (although this still takes several weeks and is at an additional cost). UI Study Abroad encourages students to ask the passport agency at the time of application whether expedited service is recommended.

Non-US Citizens

Students who are not US citizens should contact their consulate for more information if they need to get a new passport or renew their passport.

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.

Eligibility

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.

Costs

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.

Scholarships & Financial Aid

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

You can find more information about options for funding your study abroad experience including scholarships on Undergraduate Scholarships for Study Abroad.

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

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 for study abroad programs through Spring 2022, students will not be charged the $50 application fee until travel is assured. If a student chooses to withdraw prior to the application fee being billed, it will not be charged.

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

Application Deadline

Applications for the Fall session are due on March 15.

Applications for the Spring session are due on September 27.

Acceptance and Confirmation Materials

Coming Soon.

Health & Safety Planning

In addition to submitting their Confirmation of Participation form, students should review the following:

Study Abroad Resources

Passports and Visas

Iowa Regents CISI Health Insurance Information

Students are also encouraged to complete the PDFHealth Preparation Guide for International Travel 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.

Visa

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.

Orientation

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 safety-abroad@uiowa.edu.

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.