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  • Locations: Gangtok, India
  • Program Terms: Summer
  • Restrictions: HWS applicants only
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Program Description:
HWS  Short Term Summer Faculty Led Program
India: Himalayan Challenges: Environment, Labor, and Politics; 1 Credit
Led by: Vikash Yadav

India Sumer2


Country (Region) Description:
Spread in ribbons over a steep mountain ridge, surrounded by emerald-green tea plantations and towered over by the majestic Kanchenjunga Mountain, Darjeeling is the definitive Indian hill station and arguably West Bengal’s premier attraction. The steep and winding bazaars below the town bustle with an array of Himalayan products and faces from across Sikkim, Bhutan, Nepal and Tibet. When you aren’t gazing open-mouthed at the surrounding mountain ranges, you can explore colonial-era architecture, visit Buddhist monasteries, and spot snow leopards and red pandas at the nearby zoo. From Darjeeling we will travel north to the former Kingdom of Sikkim nestled against the great protector deity, Mt. Kanchenjunga.

Course Description:
From the storied tea plantations of Darjeeling to the terraced fields of Gangtok, the idyllic Himalayan twin cities at the gateway India’s Northeast are simultaneously at the forefront of sustainable development in a globalized economy and a reminder of a colonial era economy that is quickly vanishing in the face of unplanned development and environmental degradation. The state (formerly Kingdom) of Sikkim is the first territory to move to entirely organic agriculture in India. Meanwhile, the women and men who labor on the tea plantations of Darjeeling continue a practice established by the British colonial power in an earlier age of globalization. This program will explore how environmental, labor, and identity politics intersect in these areas which are simultaneously at the periphery and forefront of our global economy.

Themes and Focuses of the Course:
  • Explore the relationships between religion (Buddhism & Hinduism), culture, economy, and environmental public policy
  • Understand the unique environmental challenges in the fastest growing major economy in the world
  • Question and analyze how environmental policy impacts low-income farmers and laborers   
  • Think through how colonial and post-colonial history shape state strength and capacity in policy formulation and implementation                                 
Faculty Director:
Vikash Yadav, Ph.D. is an associate professor of political science who regularly teaches courses on South Asia, Globalization, and the Politics of Development. He has published numerous articles on South Asian politics and taught courses on environmental politics prior to his appointment at HWS. Dr. Yadav has traveled extensively throughout India and led the NYSICCSI (India Consortium) study abroad program in North India in the fall of 2013. He has also participated in and directed previous faculty study tours to China, Japan, and Thailand. Professor Yadav can be contacted at

Travel Dates:
Dates: May 20 2019- June 12 2019.

*Students to depart NY on May 20, with an arrival into Calcutta on 5/21. Group will depart India on 6/11 – with a return to NY on 6/12.

HWS Info Session:
Tuesday, Sept 11, 2018. 7:30pm, Merritt Hall 100

Application Deadline:
Monday, October 15, 2018 by 11:59pm (Apply online)
Application deadline extended until 10/29

Itinerary Highlights:
  • Informal class sessions will include visits to non-governmental organizations, cultural sites, and meetings with academics and activists
  • Visit working tea plantations in the area
  • Observe a wide variety of birds, barking deer, Himalayan brown bear, red panda, and red fox in their natural habitat at the Fambong Lho Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Trek to Dubdi Monastery, one of the oldest monasteries in the region
  • Explore Kanchenjunga National Park, home of the third highest mountain in the world. Hear from a conservation NGO and learn about the challenges of preserving this unique biosphere
  • Visit a fully organic farm in Western Sikkim
Housing and Meals:
Students will stay in guest houses/hotels. Depending on the gender composition of the group, students may be housed in double or triple rooms. All meals (either group meals or stipends) are included as part of the program cost. Class lectures will be held outdoors whenever possible or in conference/dining room space of guest house accommodations.

Group flights will be arranged by the CGE and accepted students will be notified of the cost and booking info for the flight once it’s available. Students are strongly encouraged to purchase the group flight offered through Advantage Travel. There is an option to have this cost billed to your student account.

Passports and Visas:
All students will need a passport valid until at least 6 months after the return date of this program to participate. E-Visas are required in advance and can be easily obtained online through the India Visa Online website. Before applying for the visa, make sure to read the filing assistance page here for specific instructions and requirements. A consulate visit is not necessary, all materials and payment can be completed online. Visitors must carry a copy of their Visa when traveling. Upon arrival in India, visitors will have their bio-metric information taken at the airport. Non-US Citizens from should see Anthony Mandela in the CGE about the visa process as soon as you are accepted.

India does not present a noteworthy health risk. Nonetheless, some travelers choose to receive Hepatitis A and typhoid immunizations prior to travel. The program takes place in a no-risk yellow fever zone and the Sikkim region is not a malarial area due to its high altitude. Please also check the CDC website to read more about the recommendations for travel to India. If you choose to get immunizations on your own, you can do this at a local medical clinic near your home - use this link to find travel medicine clinics. You could also discuss travel vaccinations with your home doctor or contact one of the Passport Health offices in Canandaigua, Rochester or Syracuse who provide travel immunizations. Their contact number is: (585) 275-8884.

IndiaIII. Eligibility

Course Pre-requisities:
  • All accepted students will be required to attend any orientation session(s) set by Professor Yadav during the spring 2019 semester.
Important note on Application Criteria and Course Credit for Short-term Programs.
Qualified first-years, sophomores, juniors and graduating seniors may apply. First-years, sophomores and juniors will have priority and seniors will be admitted on a space-available basis.
GPA Requirement:
Students applying for this program should have a minimum of a 2.5 cumulative GPA. In the case of first-year students, we will have to wait until your fall grades are in before we can formally admit you. Provided there are spaces available, first years with successful applications may be given a conditional offer based on achieving at least a 2.5 gpa in the fall semester.

Course cross-listings and credit:
The course taught by Prof. Yadav (“Himalayan Challenges: Environment, Labor, and Politics”) will be offered as a 1 credit course (ASN 110) through the HWS Asian Studies department and has been approved by the following departments to receive major/minor elective credit:
  • Asian Studies
  • Environmental Studies
  • Political Science
  • International Relations
  • Development Studies
Advisors in related fields may allow you to count the course for major/minor credit and is also possible to use this course to fully satisfy a goal requirement, particularly Goal requirement #7—multiplicity of world cultures. Students should always discuss major/minor and goal requirements with their advisor and department chair in advance.


Program Fees:
India program fees will be approximately $3,200* for the 3-week program, which will cover tuition, accommodation, all meals, international mandatory health insurance, entrance fees, day trips and excursions.

Students will also need to budget for round-trip airfare at approximately $1,000-1,200, books at $50, and a non-refundable administrative fee of $100 charged for all faculty-led short-term programs. The administrative fee will show up as a separate charge (separate from the program fee) billed to your student account.
*Costs are subject to change based on currency fluctuations, changes in costs of services provided and the number of students confirmed on the trip.

Click below to access our comprehensive budget estimator, which includes a comprehensive estimate of all expenses:
India Budget Estimator

In an effort to assist students in financial hardship wishing to participate in a short-term program, there is a limited pool of HWS funding available. If you are accepted to this program, we will invite you to submit a funding application. Funding will be allocated on a need basis and we will contact the financial aid office to verify your need status. We will also contact the Student Affairs office and the Dean’s office to access your social/disciplinary records as part of determining your eligibility for funding. We will let you know whether you have been awarded funding before the deadline by which you are required to put down a deposit for your place on the program.

Payment Schedule and Program Timeline:

After applying and being accepted to the program, students will need to make a $500 deposit in person to Student Accounts in Demarest Hall to hold their place in this program. This amount will be credited to your student account and will be applied to your program cost.
 Application Deadline  DUE: Oct 15, 2018  by 11:59pm online
 Decision Date  Nov 06, 2018  
 Funding/aid Applications  DUE Nov 06 2018 complete as part of essay section of application
 Funding Decisions Made  Nov 19 2018  
 Deposit Deadline  DUE: Dec 05 2018  $500.00
 Program Billing Date  Feb 11 2019  Balance charged to student account
 Final Payment  DUE: Mar 30 2019  Remaining balance due*

*Please note: Students must make the initial non-refundable deposit to Student Accounts in Demarest Hall. Program fees for the remainder (lump sum) of program will be automatically billed to the student accounts separately.

Cancellation Policy:
The initial $500 deposit is non-refundable. Students will be responsible for additional expenses beyond the $500 if they withdraw from the program while it is in progress or 90 days or less before the program begins. Specifically, students will be held accountable for any expenditures made by HWS on their behalf that the CGE is unable to recoup from any untimely withdrawal, such as housing deposits, non-refundable hotel reservations, excursion deposits, etc.

Questions? If you have questions about this program, please contact Anthony Mandela in the Center for Global Education at 315-781-3663 or


Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.

This program is currently not accepting applications.