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USAC INDIA: Bangalore - Sociology & Culture Studies
University Studies Abroad Consortium participants University Studies Abroad Consortium participants

USAC INDIA: Bangalore - Sociology & Culture Studies

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community

    10

Bangalore and beyond

I traveled to Bangalore when I was 19, after my freshman year of college for one of USAC's summer sessions. I had never expected to be so impacted by a mere six weeks, but I have forever been changed and now I am more driven than ever to see the world in all of its glory. India's culture is so unlike the United States' that it basically exists on the other end of the spectrum. There is no real traffic regulations, so bikes and rickshaws cluster the streets making it nearly impossible to cross the road, vehicles merge in and out of lanes and at times, riding in the back of a rickshaw, I was a bit scarred for my life. The city streets are decorated with a hybrid of urban development and rustic roots. The side walks are unstable; dogs and cows roam the streets freely; and trash pour out from behind buildings, it lines the streets, and is nearly inescapable. With all of that said, Bangalore is one of the most charming and down to earth places I have ever traveled, and I would go back in a heartbeat if I could. I saw people in the worst conditions more grateful than just about any person I had ever met. I saw humility, I saw strength, I saw ideals that I wanted and needed to embody. I completed a service learning project in addition to my coursework while studying abroad through USAC's Bangalore program, and that experience was where I saw the face of poverty with my own eyes. At first it didn't make sense how someone, who to me appeared to have so little, could be so strong and so okay, but it really made me step back from my cultural ties to materialism and my need for endless consumption. It made me reevaluate what matters in life and helped me tear down the fallacy of the 'American Dream'. I loved my time in Bangalore and my time traveling to other cities in India because I learned so much about a different culture (which also differed from one region to the next) and it shaped my understanding of the world that wasn't based in an American context. More than anything, my experiences left a lasting imprint that have affected and still affect me and my future today.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    5

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health & Safety

    5

  • Community

    9

A bizarre, exciting, eye-opening, thrilling 9 months in India with USAC

First off, let me say, if you don't feel called to go to India, DON'T. You have a 99% chance of hating it. If, however, for some reason, there are elements of the culture, the cities, and the country that excite you or intrigue you, let go of your inhibitions and jump right in. USAC's Bangalore offers the most affordable, high-value study abroad experience I know of.

The folks working in the USAC India program are excellent, though of course experience the same limitations everyone in India experiences (consistent delays, inefficiencies, unhelpful/corrupt administration, etc.). The teachers are a strange mixture - a couple really excellent ones, and a few who teach in COMPLETELY different subjects most of the time and are incredibly inexperienced when it comes to the subjects they teach to the study abroad students. If you are majoring in a social science back home, you can expect every class with USAC Bangalore to be at a MUCH lower academically-nuanced level than you would be used to, with few exceptions.

Bangalore is an incredible city, full of thousands of daily sights to see, and people to meet. There's a great feeling of neighborhood friendliness that comes from living in the USAC apartments that are a decent walk away from school. There's really nothing like building up that day-to-day familiarity with everyone from the banana-seller to guy who sells shoes at a stand on the corner.

I would recommend this program without any reservations to folks who are willing to remain humble and expect to break through their stereotypical and pre-existing notions of "what India is".

  • University Studies Abroad Consortium responded to this review April 18, 2017 at 2:51 PM

    Thank you for your honest review. We appreciate hearing about the program from a student's perspective and will pass your feedback onto our team. Most importantly we're glad you enjoyed your time in India.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health & Safety

    7

  • Community

    8

Bangalore fun

Bangalore was a lot of fun and had a lively and young crowd. I experienced everything from temples, clubs, bars, restaurants, and local markets. The campus is very beautiful with lots of nature and cultural events. You live with American students and go to class with American students, so you really need to put yourself out there in order to be immersed in Indian culture. The apartments are in a nice location near many restaurants and bars; there is always something to do if you just walk around the block! Traveling is fairly cheap and easy to do, but the school didn't provide many days off to travel.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Academics

    3

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    6

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Health & Safety

    8

  • Community

    5

India was life-changing, USAC was not

Going to India was a life-changing experience. The summer I spent in Bangalore was the experience of a lifetime, and it changed me as a student, as a person, and as a leader. That said, the program itself was less than perfect. The academics were less rigorous or educational than I expected, which I suppose is alright for a summer program, but some classes were downright painful to sit through. The program's scheduled trips were enjoyable, but they were mostly relaxed visits to nearby locations where we could enjoy the scenery and some shopping, not places that would showcase the beauty of India. It was traveling on our own that really made the program spectacularly for me, but in that case be ready to spent a few hundred dollars in addition to the cost of the program. On our own, we went to Mumbai and Goa, in addition to Bangalore, but with just the program we never went more than a few hours away from the city. We did visit a rural village, which was very interesting. It was difficult for us as American students to get involved on the university campus, and meeting people was possible at meal times only, since our classes were separate from everyone else's. I had an amazing time, but if I study abroad again I will not pick a USAC program.