The Loyola Program in India offers students the opportunity for summer study in regions of North India that are striking for their cultural diversity, natural beauty, and historical richness. The program will be based in Dharamsala, located in the Kangra Valley in the shadow of the Dhauladhar range of the Himalayas.
Dharamsala is the center of India’s Tibetan refugee community and the seat of the Tibetan Government in Exile. Students will also visit Delhi, one of India’s largest and most historic cities and India’s capital; the Taj Mahal in Agra; Haridwar and Rishikesh, important pilgrimage sites on the Ganges River; Amritsar, site of the Sikh Golden Temple; and Tso Pema, the “Lotus Lake” sacred to Buddhists, Sikhs, and Hindus. Students will visit social services programs to learn about their work. They will visit Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain temples, Sikh gurudwaras, Tibetan Buddhist monasteries, a Sufi shrine, and hear talks by traditional Tibetan teachers.
The Summer Program in Dharamsala, India, is open to all students in good standing at Loyola or their home university. Students will take the courses, Buddhist Philosophy and Cultures of North India and Tibet. Lodging in Dharamsala will be in comfortable double rooms in a Tibetan guesthouse. In Delhi, we will explore the Pahar Ganj (old bazaar), visit the Digambar Jain Temple, and the Nizam ud-Din Dargah (tomb and shrine for a famous Sufi saint). A day trip to Agra will take us to see the Taj Mahal. On the trip to Tso Pema, we will visit cave-dwelling Tibetan nuns, Tibetan Buddhist monasteries, Hindu temples, and a Sikh gurudwara. In Mandi we will see Hindu temples and have clothes made by Indian tailors. In and around Dharamsala, we will visit the Main Temple of the Dalai Lama, the Tibet Museum, the Tibetan Children’s Village, and take an optional trek up Triund mountain to spend two nights in a rustic lodge in an alpine meadow.
Before leaving for India, each student will be paired with a Tibetan mutual learning partner in Dharamsala. The partners will exchange messages before our departure, and meet for conversations in India. This will introduce the students to Tibetan culture and help the Tibetan partners practice their English and counts towards service learning.
The program is co-directed by Dr. Marcus Kondkar in Sociology and Dr. Catherine Wessinger in Religious Studies.
Courses LING O294: Cultures of North India and Tibet Michael Smith This course will support the students in the program by providing them with a more in-depth understanding of the cultures of the Indian and Tibetan populations with which they will be interacting. This course contains a service learning component, the bulk of which will be completed by participation in Lha Charitable Trust’s Mutual Learning Partner Program in Dharamsala, India. The course will provide opportunities to process the experiences through exploration of issues related to international group education, and experiential cultural exposure to Indian and Tibetan peoples in northern India.
Phil O294: Buddhist Philosophy John Clark, Ph.D.
This course constitutes an introduction to major issues in Buddhist philosophy. We will investigate Buddhist views concerning the nature of reality, knowledge and value, and fundamental teachings such as the Four Noble truths and the Eightfold Path. We will study key concepts such as Buddha, Dharma, Sangha, emptiness, dependent origination, impermanence, selflessness, suffering and liberation. We will also examine the Buddhist ethics of compassion and non-attachment. There will be an emphasis on a deep understanding of how concepts in Buddhist philosophy relate to basic human experience, to one’s relationships to others and to nature, and to goals such as freedom, happiness, and wisdom. Our itinerary will include visits to sites that will offer insights into the historical, cultural, mythopoetic and aesthetic context of Buddhist philosophy, in addition to lectures on Buddhist philosophy by Tibetan Buddhist teachers.
There will usually be 75 minutes of class time each day for each course. The schedule will vary according to the demands of the travel itinerary.
There will be two mandatory meetings with the students accepted for the program on March 8 from 12:30 - 2:00 p.m. and on April 26 from 12:30 - 2:00 p.m (location to be announced) to discuss courses and trip information.
The program costs $5,300, which covers health insurance, airfare, lodging, group meals, transportation in India, and credit for two Loyola Core Courses. A deposit of $530 along with the on-line application, including a one-page personal statement, are due on February 23. The balance of $4,770 is due by March 23. The deposit will be refunded to students not selected for the program. Checks should be made out to Loyola University New Orleans.
Plane tickets will be purchased shortly after March 23. There will be no refunds after the plane tickets are purchased.
In addition, all study abroad students must pay the university study abroad fee of $300. This amount will be billed separately through Student Finance.
Students should bring to India approximately $500 to cover additional meals, incidentals and Indian clothing. Students will need to purchase inexpensive readymade Indian clothing in Delhi to wear to visit religious places of worship and to meet religious teachers. Students should bring additional money if they want to shop for souvenirs and gifts.
Loyola’s general academic policies apply to study abroad programs. Students must attend all classes and trips (except in case of illness) to fulfill the requirements for the courses. Communications with the mutual learning partner before and during the trip are part of the learning experience and are required. There will be written assignments that are graded.
Students must check with their academic departments or university to determine that the credits and/or grades will be accepted toward graduation requirements.
Any student currently enrolled and in good standing at an accredited institution may apply for the India program.
Passports and Visas
All program applicants must provide the Center for International Education (CIE) a photocopy of their passport on or before February 23. Students accepted into the program are responsible for obtaining a 30 day e-tourist visa which can be applied for online within 30 days of departure.
Apply online: https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html
The Center for International Education (CIE) will be happy to discuss health care concerns you may have related to study abroad. Integration into a new culture and learning environment creates particular challenges, both mental and physical, for an individual. For this reason, if you are currently receiving treatment for any chronic illness it is strongly recommended that you talk with the CIE director or your doctor about plans to manage your health condition abroad.
The program’s activities include long walks, climbing up steep hills and stairs, and an optional five-hour trek from about 6,560 feet (the highest altitude in Dharamsala) to about 9,500 feet to spend two nights on Triund mountain. If you have any concerns about your ability to perform any of these activities or have other special needs or disability related concerns, please contact the Center for International Education.
John Clark is Professor Emeritus at Loyola University, where he was formerly Gregory F. Curtin Distinguished Professor of Humane Letters and the Professions, Professor of Philosophy, and a member of the Environment Program.
Michael Smith, instructor and program coordinator, has a Master’s degree in Social Work and a Master’s degree in Public Health from Tulane University. He speaks fluent Tibetan and Hindi, and has conducted ethnographic research in Nepal on a Fulbright Scholarship.