Traveling to India during high school will certainly broaden your perspective beyond the four walls of second period Social Studies class. A country rich in ancient civilization, spiritual tradition, and modern global importance, India has the power to change the life of any student from anywhere in the world. Riding elephants, volunteering at orphanages, and hiking in the Himalayas are just a few of the countless possibilities for high school programs in India. An epic journey on its own, upon returning from traveling in India you undoubtedly will notice positive changes in yourself and view the world a little differently.
India is an incredibly diverse country with over 1.3 billion inhabitants, so anywhere you go you are bound to experience something unique and different. Many high school programs allow students to travel through a variety of locations, whether it be Northern India through the Himalayas, west through the deserts of Rajasthan, east through the Bengal region, or Southern India through the tropic coastal plains. The Indian subcontinent is unceasingly fascinating and beautiful, and nearly any place you visit will be geographically mesmerizing in its own way.
New Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, and Calcutta are all examples of cities you may be placed in during a high school program in India. Indian cities can be intense for new travelers upon arrival; poverty is very prevalent, traffic is chaotic, and many Western amenities are not available. But, experiencing this unique manifestation of life is part of what makes it such a positive developmental experience for young people.
Many high school programs in India allow students to venture outside of the big cities, and travel through the rural areas of India. Over 70 percent of the nation’s population lives in rural areas, which tend to be areas where most communities lack proper education and rely primarily on agriculture for sustenance. From the mountainous villages of the north to the fishing villages of the south, there is a large diversity of life to be explored in India’s rural areas. Typical high school programs based in rural India focus on volunteering, such as teaching English, working with children, or raising awareness about various issues. Traveling and living in India’s rural villages will be a great experience and open student’s eyes to a whole different side of the country.
Programs & Placements
There are a few different type of programs available for high school students interested in exploring India, but most high school programs in India include accommodation with a local host family, 24/7 on-site staff supervision, and the opportunity to take classes or complete volunteer work.
For example, high school students can spend four weeks living in New Delhi studying Hindi and Indian History or work in a rural area teaching English to local children. No matter what the placement, programs in India provide a fantastic way for students to become ingrained in local communities and live daily life like a local.
Other programs offer a more adventure-oriented approach, traveling throughout the country while participating in a variety of cultural excursions, historical tours, and nature outings. These programs are typically much more structured and will therefore have a fixed itinerary.
Winter, spring, and summer breaks are all popular times for high school programs in India. Winter and spring provide a more cool and temperate climate, while the summer months can become quite hot and humid, depending on the region. Summer programs are an especially great option for students interested in traveling for a longer period, since these programs won’t interfere with the regular school semesters. High school programs in India last anywhere from one to six weeks.
Accommodations & Visas
Students will most definitely be made comfortable during their program in India, but they should not expect accommodations to be luxurious by any means. Participants must remember that India is a developing country, so housing conditions will often be quite basic, especially in rural areas where students will need to get used to taking bucket showers and using Eastern-style latrines. All high school programs in India will pre-arrange accommodation for all participants, so students who feel drawn to a particular housing set up should check with the program provider before selecting a program.
Many high school programs organize homestays for participants, especially for programs that last for a longer period of time. Homestays are a fantastic way for students to immerse themselves fully into the local culture, not to mention Indian hospitality is nearly unparalleled around the world. Students who stay with host families will regularly be invited to attend festivals, ceremonies, and family get-togethers, further expanding their experiences abroad. Homestay accommodation will not only provide high school students with a “homey,” family living environment, students will also have access to regular home-cooked meals, which are a must during any trip to India.
As a foreign national, students will need to obtain a visa before joining a program in India. Program providers will usually guide students through the visa process and make sure their visas are secured prior to arrival. Typically students will have to submit a visa application in person at the nearest Indian embassy in their home country (consult GoAbroad’s Embassy Directory to find one nearest to you).
Benefits & Challenges
Traveling to India will be an unforgettable experience for high school students. India will expose students to an entirely different way of life through both shocking and enlightening experiences. Completing a high school program abroad, will lead students to become more flexible and adaptable, two very beneficial characteristics for their futures.
So let your adventurous side take the lead and open your heart to the infinite wonder of an entirely new civilization!