South India Term Abroad’s Academic Year Program is a wonderful opportunity to take the experiences of your first semester with SITA and go even further. One of the main challenges students face when they leave Madurai after one semester is wishing they had more time – more time to explore downtown, more time with their host family, more Tamil language practice, more Bollywood dance classes, more opportunities to explore the culture that they have just recently begun to feel truly at home within. The Academic Year Program allows students to build on the foundation of what they learned during the fall semester to delve even deeper into a rich and meaningful experience of cultural immersion. It is an unparalleled opportunity for greater personal growth, sustained intellectual engagement with the region, and improved cross-cultural skills.
Live with a host family or live independently in an apartment
As a second-semester student, you will have the choice of 1) continuing to live with your host family in order to form an even closer relationship with them, 2) living with a new host family in order to gain more diverse perspectives regarding Tamil family life, or 3) moving into an independent living arrangement in a local apartment. Some Academic Year Program students have decided to live together in an apartment. In this situation, students will be asked to sign a roommate contract. Should you choose to live on your own, SITA staff will help you make arrangements where you will be able to enjoy the greater independence — and learn from the different types of challenges — that come along with living in India. You will deepen your understanding of and cultural fluency within Madurai. It will also offer you a unique opportunity to learn more about yourself as you take greater responsibility for yourself in a foreign city. Being a SITA Academic Year Program student is an invaluable opportunity to build a strong cross-cultural basis for future academic and professional pursuits.
Tamil Language – Anthropological Theory – Development Issues
The curriculum offered to second semester students is meant to further your understanding of Tamil Nadu while also expanding your personal network and engagement with the local community. You will continue to take four classes.
Two of them are required.
1) Level 2 Tamil Language with Dr. Arun
2) Anthropological Theory with Laurah Klepinger-Mathew, SITA’s Resident Director. You will continue directed field research as part of this course, building on the research you completed during your first semester. The research you complete during the spring semester will draw on many months of engagement and rapport-building with your research community, and your increased understanding of Tamil culture through months of immersion. It will be an ethnographic paper of high quality – suitable for future revision as a senior thesis, beginnings of a MA thesis, and publication.
When possible given local professors’ availability, SITA encourages and recommends the following curriculum.
3) Development Issues with a service-learning component. This will allow you to bring in more of your personal interests into your curriculum, further immerse yourself in Madurai, learn about socio-political issues in the region & local and transnational responses to those issues, and develop your professional skills through engagement with a local NGO.
4) One of the elective courses you did not take in the fall.
Julie Edelstein: program firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information about the SITA Academic Year Program, contact Julie Edelstein (email@example.com). As a SITA Academic Program alum (2009-2010) and current SITA Program Assistant (fall 2012 – present), she is great resource. You can also contact SITA’s Executive Director, Connie Etter (firstname.lastname@example.org).
October 1 of fall semester: submit Academic Year Program Form
Even if you did not apply for the Academic Year Program in your initial application, you can stay for the academic year. By October 1, students must submit their Academic Year Program Form. This applies for students who initially applied for the program and newcomers. This form will outline your intent to stay for spring semester, along with your coursework plan and preferred living arrangement. This form must be approved and signed by the Resident Director and Executive Director.