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AIFS Study Abroad in India: Semester or Year

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    4

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Life changing experience

Everyone that travels to India should go to Varanasi and take sunrise and sunset boat rides on the Ganges.

I chose this program because of the Travel included at the beginning of the program and the community engagement program.

My accommodations was a Dorm/hostel.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    3

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Life changing experience

The dorm had international students from various programs. The AIFS program was clearly the best. The golden triangle trip at the beginning of the program was amazing. Students learned right away how to travel in India but with training wheels. It set us up for later adventures on our own.

Academics:
The issues with academics are the Indian education system, not a program issue.

Living Situation:
The dorm/hostel was a great choice. Air conditioning when every day was in the 100's. Many opportunities for independent travel.

Cultural Immersion:
Classes held with local students. AIFS students were able to join a local football/soccer team. Life long friendships were made.

Program Administration:
In country program director was amazing as well as the dorm house manager.

Health and Safety:
Dorm/hostel had very good security. Always traveled in groups or with another student.

Social Life:
Made lifelong local and international friends.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    9

AIFS India

Overall, this semester was both wonderful and challenging.

AIFS was extremely helpful during the pre-departure time (many emails and questions were answered!) and the Resident Director could not have been sweeter or more helpful. As a native of Hyderabad, she truly helped show us the unique culture of the area and helped to broaden our horizons.

Lodging was quite comfortable as well. Tagore (the international residence hall) is very nice- there is wifi in a big common room, the individual rooms have ethernet and ac (helpful during the summer months when we first arrived). The study abroad students live on the top floor, and long-term international students live on the bottom floor. Definitely go out of your way to try and get connected with them- all are very nice people! Mr. Das, who works in Tagore, is incredibly helpful as well and a valuable source of knowledge for everything from how to get to the store to how to travel to Mysore. The kitchen staff is a great group of guys- very friendly as well. The few downfalls included the fact that no outside people were allowed inside Tagore- so if you had friends from a class, they wouldn't be allowed inside, which made it more exclusive than I would have wanted.

Classes were a challenge at first, though I think a lot of that is the adjustment to the different educational systems. It was extremely difficult for me to get in contact with both my professor and the department of the direct enrollment class I was in. The structure of the Hindi class was frustrating- myself and a lot of the students didn't feel as if we had actually learned much Hindi we could immediately apply (it was more grammar structures). Definitely take the Kuchipudi class if you are able to- it is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I haven't once regretted taking it.

The Golden Triangle tour at the beginning of the trip was absolutely fantastic. Though we were all a bit jet-lagged throughout it, I was definitely glad I had gotten to see all those places at the first part of the trip (by the end, I was ready to go home!) Traveling in the rest of India is pretty easy and can be cheap if you do some research (I recommend going through Stayzilla.com for lodging) and there are really beautiful places.

Really my main complaint with AIFS is over the Community Engagement Program. That was one of the reasons I selected AIFS, and I filled out the EXTREMELY long application, only to never hear anything back regarding the program (it turns out only two of us had applied, so they decided not to hold it). This was really frustrating to me, as I had been looking forward to it. It also wasn't nearly as easy to get connected with places to volunteer with as we had been promised in the brochures.

Another issue was with the orientation packet- it makes India sound like this terrifying, horrible place and impossible to navigate or manage on one's own, when in fact, it is pretty easy to figure out. There is definitely a learning curve, but the orientation doesn't do it any favors.

Institution Affiliates:

World Youth Student & Educational Travel Confederation