Classes in English - Family Home Stays - Independent Field Research - Extracurricular Opportunities in Dance, Art, Music - Travel in India

South India Term Abroad

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about-sita

About South India Term Abroad

Find the right balance of challenge, support, and independence with South India Term Abroad as you learn about South India and apply that knowledge to complete an independent research project, a service-learning project with a human rights organization, or a case study about a current environmental issue in Madurai, Tamil Nadu. SITA started in 1990 and draws on a strong, experienced network of professors, non-profit leaders, activists, social entrepreneurs, business owners, families, religious leaders, dancers, artists, musicians, yogis, and cooks to offer fall and spring semester programs with diverse and creative opportunities for academic engagement and cultural immersion.

Field Research

Produce innovative and rigorous research with the support of SITA faculty. Turn it into a senior thesis, undergraduate research award, published article, or a Fulbright fellowship to return to India. 

Volunteer Experience

Add practical international experience to your resume, and build the knowledge and skills you seek to pursue your career goals through a sustained volunteer experience linked to coursework themes.  

Expressive Culture Training

Not only fun – these optional classes in dance, music, or art will provide you with a unique window into Indian culture, an opportunity to learn deeply, and a chance to forge meaningful connections with members of the local community.

Home Stays

Many SITA alums talk about finding an extension of their family on the complete opposite side of the world. They will make your experience living in Madurai a great one, and you will probably learn the most from each other.

Educational Tours

Travel with knowledgable faculty and staff on week-long and long weekend tours around South India to learn more about this diverse region of the world. 

Engaging Courses

Choose from electives that combine classroom discussions and lectures with experiential learning, field trips, practicums, and research. 

media
“I’m a different person, a better person.” -SITA alum 

See SITA through the eyes of one of our amazing students. Thank you Hayley Nicholas (Bowdoin, Class of 2017) for sharing your experience in such a fun and meaningful way!

Wondering what it’s like to live with a host family? Caleigh Ryan (Grinnell, Class of 2017) and her host sisters, Alfreen and Afshan, formed a lifelong bond that will span continents.

Picture Yourself in Madurai 

Temple Complexes

Temple Complexes

The road to the SITA Center

and Elephant Visits

courses

Courses

South India Term Abroad students earn a George Washington University transcript (15 credits) at the end of a SITA semester. All students enroll in the Ethnography sequence (6 credits total) and Tamil language (3 credits). You also enroll in 2 electives (3 credits each), offered each semester based on student interest and faculty availability.

ANTH 3531: Ethnographic Methods and Theory and ANTH 3991: Research in Madurai (Required)

Dr. Ted Samuel teaches this series, with the philosophy that your SITA research endeavors can be meaningful and useful — to both the researcher and the research participants. syllabus

ANTH 3791: Tamil Language (Required)

Dr. Arun teaches this course, with an emphasis on developing speaking and listening abilities to equip you to deal with different situations you will encounter in your day-to-day life in Madurai. syllabus

SOC 2181/WMST 3170: India's Diversity (Elective)

Discuss sociological theories of power and marginality, learn about the historical background of caste, politics, and gender in Tamil Nadu, and participate in experiential learning within a local NGO. syllabus

REL 3990: Myth, Religion, and Art (Elective)

Whether you’re in class or on a field visit, Dr. Venkatraman – an engaging story-teller – will help you understand and contextualize the architecture, art, and rituals that surround you in Tamil Nadu. syllabus

ENG 3730: Human Rights Literature (Elective)

Professor Joel teaches this discussion-based course that focuses on the intersection of human rights and literature. Dalit, transgender, and Tamil authors will be featured.  

PSC 3994: Environmental Issues (Elective)

Team taught by two professors from nearby Lady Doak College, this course will introduce you to  environmental issues in Tamil Nadu, with a focus on field visits and Madurai-based case studies. 

our-team

The SITA Team

There are many people who will help you prepare for your journey to Madurai and make the most of your time in India. Our core team, with a diverse range of skills, will help you transform your creativity, critical thinking, and ideas into valuable local networks of people and communities, tangible pieces of research and creative work, marketable volunteer placements, and new pathways to pursue your educational and career goals.

Connie

Dr. Connie Etter, Executive Director

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Dr. A. Ted Samuel, Resident Director

SONY DSC

Dr. Arun Raja Selvan, Deputy Director (center)

Ms. Nirmala Christina, Outreach & Operations Manager

Ms. Nirmala Christina, Outreach & Operations Manager

 

 

calendar

Program Calendar

"The magic of travel is that you leave your home secure in your own knowledge and identity, but as you travel the world all its richness intervenes. You meet people you could not invent; you see scenes you could not imagine. Your own world, which was so large as to consume your whole life, becomes smaller and smaller until it is only one tiny dot in space and time. You return a different person." -- Kent Nerburn

Orientation: Week 1

one-week off-site orientation followed by a host family tea, where you will meet your host families in Madurai 

Coursework: Weeks 2-9

you’ll take courses at the SITA Center, with interspersed travel in south India 

Research: Weeks 10-15

 you’ll be immersed in your research, and will share your findings and analyses during a final seminar

application-deadline

Application Deadline

Any undergraduate student at an accredited college or university in the US is eligible to apply to South India Term Abroad. You can enroll for fall semester, spring semester, or the academic year.

Spring Semester 2017 

Application Deadline

September 30, 2016

Required Documents

Submit a Home Institution Approval Form and an Application Form

Program Dates

January 4 – April 15, 2017 

Fall Semester 2017 

Application Deadline

March 31, 2017 

Required Documents

Submit a Home Institution Approval Form and an Application Form.

Program Dates

TBD (mid August – late November) 

fees

Comprehensive Fees

SITA’s comprehensive fees are intended to cover all your expenses once you are in India, with no out-of-pocket expenses. The fall 2016 fees are $19,995 and include all course-related expenses, tours, a living stipend, extracurriculars, and research support. If you choose to study with SITA for a full academic year, your spring semester comprehensive fees will be reduced by 10%.

Students Report on Out-of-Pocket Expenses

“I could have relied only on the stipends given by SITA and have been fine. I used my own money for gifts and more pricey clothes.” – spring 2016 student

Fall 2015 students reported spending $70-$150 beyond the living stipend SITA provides.

Cost Breakdown

See SITA’s cost breakdown for a detailed list of comprehensive fee inclusions and estimated out-of-pocket expenses. 

the-sita-experience

The SITA Experience

Reflections From SITA Alums

  • SITA alum

    I absolutely adored my experience here. I think the SITA Program is run beautifully. I am 100% confident that there is no other abroad program like it in terms of how personal it is, how much people care about you, and of course, the immense cultural value you take away. 

    SITA alum
  • SITA alum 2010

    My semester with SITA was a wonderful, fascinating, and utterly life changing experience. Even though it’s been more than five months since I left Madurai, I’m still processing the experience and implementing the knowledge I gained from India into my life in America. . . . I was delighted to find myself a happier, more adventurous, and a stronger person than I had ever been before.

    SITA alum 2010
  • SITA alum

    SITA is so well-organized I think anyone would succeed here. I’d recommend SITA to any student, to people who want an incredible experience.

    SITA alum
  • SITA alum

    Explore Madurai! It’s an amazing, ever-changing place & what you see now won’t be what you see 10 years from now (and you’ll want to come back!).

    SITA alum
  •  
  • SITA alum, Colby College 2011

    I’ve adopted a new family and experienced a culture that is entirely foreign to me. SITA gave me the basic tools I needed to open up India to me – and for that, I’m very grateful.

    SITA alum, Colby College 2011
  • SITA alum 2015

     My expectations were fully met. The host family and research project went much, much better than I expected. I learned a ton. 

    SITA alum 2015
  • SITA alum 2015

     Some of the best parts of my SITA experience were spent with Nirmala and Dr. Arun. I am so glad that I got the opportunity to know them well, and in a way, the SITA “family” became a second host family for me. My relationships with them are something I will really treasure from my time here. 

    SITA alum 2015
  • SITA alum

    I absolutely adored my experience here. I think the SITA Program is run beautifully. I am 100% confident that there is no other abroad program like it in terms of how personal it is, how much people care about you, and of course, the immense cultural value you take away. 

    SITA alum
  • SITA alum 2010

    My semester with SITA was a wonderful, fascinating, and utterly life changing experience. Even though it’s been more than five months since I left Madurai, I’m still processing the experience and implementing the knowledge I gained from India into my life in America. . . . I was delighted to find myself a happier, more adventurous, and a stronger person than I had ever been before.

    SITA alum 2010
  • SITA alum

    SITA is so well-organized I think anyone would succeed here. I’d recommend SITA to any student, to people who want an incredible experience.

    SITA alum
  • SITA alum

    Explore Madurai! It’s an amazing, ever-changing place & what you see now won’t be what you see 10 years from now (and you’ll want to come back!).

    SITA alum
  •  
  • SITA alum, Colby College 2011

    I’ve adopted a new family and experienced a culture that is entirely foreign to me. SITA gave me the basic tools I needed to open up India to me – and for that, I’m very grateful.

    SITA alum, Colby College 2011
  • SITA alum 2015

     My expectations were fully met. The host family and research project went much, much better than I expected. I learned a ton. 

    SITA alum 2015
  • SITA alum 2015

     Some of the best parts of my SITA experience were spent with Nirmala and Dr. Arun. I am so glad that I got the opportunity to know them well, and in a way, the SITA “family” became a second host family for me. My relationships with them are something I will really treasure from my time here. 

    SITA alum 2015
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