Study India two-week cultural immersion programme took place in two instalments during each of which 150 UK students travelled to New Delhi and Mumbai to build understanding of India’s diversity, complexity, scale — and ultimately its relevance to their studies and careers. India’s cities, villages workplaces and places of worship became a classroom in which participants explored how knowledge of India’s history, culture, and economy can play an important role in each of their diverse individual undertakings.
Three- day immersions at Delhi University (DU) institutions offered participants an unparalleled opportunity to team with Indian peers in considering a range of “big questions” in areas ranging from development, globalization of markets and cultures, environment, education, healthcare, international diplomacy and more. Meanwhile, presentations, lectures and panel discussions with acclaimed authors, businesspeople and entertainment professionals gave context to the India classroom and contributed to the identification of ways in which participants could continue to interact with India. These activities were woven together with cultural site visits, events and performances; reflection sessions, culturally immersive challenges and activities and classes in Hindi, Yoga and Bollywood Dance.
Dozens of visits, lectures and events took place during the programme with highlights including a concert by Sonam Kalra and the Sufi Gospel Project at Delhi’s Purna Qila (old fort); a lecture and Q & A session with Sir Mark Tully, author and former Chief or Bureau, BBC New Delhi; a walking tour of Old Delhi with a Hindustani classical music performance by Ustad Imran Khan taking place in one of the neighbourhood’s historic grand homes and a panel discussion with residents and small scale industry owners of Dharavi, Asia’s largest slum community and filming site for the movie Slumdog Millionaire.
Five colleges in the Delhi University (DU) network of institutions served as institutional partners for Study India, hosting three-day campus immersion programmes consisting of lectures, interactive sessions and cultural outings, events and presentations. Participants were paired with DU students at Maitri College, Gargi College, Sri Venkateswara College, Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies and Sri Ram College of Commerce. Participants also visited Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay and Bombay Stock Exchange Institute.
Participants also visited a variety of school campuses for pre-primary, primary and secondary schools in Mumbai including Anjuman-i-Islam Girls’ School, Universal School Ghatkopar and Universal School Thane, RIMS International School, Pragnya Bodhini and National English School, Virar West. At these visits, participants shared special presentations on different aspects of UK culture and education system with school students while school students showcased their academic projects and offered cultural performances for participants’ enjoyment.
Feedback from participants was positive, with the Study India Programme receiving an overall approval rating of over 92%. Maitri Patel, graduate student in French, Persian and Philosophy from University of St. Andrews, had this to say: “This trip has changed the course of my life and my journey. Despite having lived in India for a couple of years and having visited many times over a space of 19 years, this is the first time I have been fortunate enough to catch the glimpse of India’s true essence!”
Post-programme, a few participants went on to intern with Zone Startups, networking with a variety of business professionals, learning about Indian tech startups and contributing to companies’ marketing and social media campaigns.
Study India participants have completed a variety of post-programme projects reflecting on their time in India and discussing the ways in which programme participation has influenced their ways of learning, living and working. In particular, participants have evinced significant takeaways from their time at Delhi University institutions, with several post-programme projects focusing on higher education in India and the lives and points of view of participants’ Indian peers with whom they have remained in touch. Participants will be sharing these projects at a special dissemination event to take place in the UK in early 2016.