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Updated: August 25, 2013 18:46 IST

Understanding India

Ganesh Prabhu
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Students Amrita Bamrah (left) and Leanze Bethel at the Department of Geopolitics, Manipal University.
Special Arrangement Students Amrita Bamrah (left) and Leanze Bethel at the Department of Geopolitics, Manipal University.

Designed for American requirements, the Study Abroad Programme offers 20 courses and has 15 credits

For students coming from various universities across the U.S. to Manipal University in Manipal under the Study Abroad Programme (SAP), the exposure to India is one they never dreamt of.

The aim of the SAP is to apprise students from other countries of India, its culture, philosophy, society and politics. The programme also lays importance on challenges to regional security in South Asia and strategy and perspectives of Indian foreign policy. An important part of the SAP is to take the students on a study tour of both North and South India. “We want to give a holistic perspective of India to the students,” said Arvind Kumar, Director of SAP, Manipal University.

Under the SAP, students from universities across the U.S. including American University, Washington University, New York University, and University of Illinois come to study for one semester (four-and-a-half months) in Manipal University. The students are chosen based on their interest and the parameters set by Alliance for Global Education, the partner institution of Manipal University, which is headquartered at Washington. “We get the best lot. They are interested in knowing about India,” Dr. Kumar said.

The SAP is a 15-credit programme suitably designed for American requirements. The credits are transferred at the end of the semester. The students come from disciplines including international relations, sociology, public health, anthropology, and biology. Here in Manipal, they take up courses such as geopolitics and international relations, Indian philosophy, public health, ayurveda and media studies.

Contemporary Indian Culture is the core course offered by the Manipal Centre for Philosophy and Humanities and it is mandatory for all the SAP students to take it. “We offer 20 courses, of which students can select five courses to complete the 15-credit programme. Cinema in India, Regional Security Scenario in South Asia, and Child and Maternal Health are popular subjects,” Dr. Kumar said.

The SAP was started in January 2011. The spring semester starts in January and ends in May. The fall semester starts in August and concludes in December. It is a continuous programme. Presently there are 17 students from the U.S. studying at the Manipal University. Of the 17 students, 14 are women.

These 17 students stay with other students of the University in the hostels and get completely immersed in the campus life of Manipal University. By being together, the students learn more about the cultures of the different countries.

The students are all praise for the SAP. Leanze Bethel from the American University, Washington D.C., said that she had got an incredible and holistic perception of Indian foreign policy. “I can now understand how India views the world. The faculty here is good. I am enjoying the programme,” she said.

Another student, Amrita Bamrah from the University of Illinois, said that the SAP is a well-structured programme. “One can understand the perspective of a country only when one visits the country and understands it. Interacting with the people and students on the Manipal University campus has been a great learning experience. The Director and professors are extremely cooperative,” she said.

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