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Hindi Immersion Study Abroad / Language and Culture in India

The Center for Global and International Studies is excited to offer a brand new 6-week study abroad to India in summer 2012. This study abroad will take students to two home stay destinations in central India, Bhopal city in the state Madhya Pradesh and Korba town in the state Chattisgarh - the heartland of Hindi. In addition the students will be taken to a third destination called Dev Pahari. Dev Pahari is a very small local residential school for rural children (K-12) in the picturesque mountains of Satpura Range in Chattisgarh state. This is the home of many children from different ethnic populations from all over India. In this traditional residential school, the study abroad students will get to see and experience the gurukul system of learning involving daily yoga, singing, gardening chores etc. In Dev Pahari all study abroad students will be provided simple dorm accommodation.  


Minimum Number of Instruction Hours for Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced Level Hindi

150 Hours Total

Program Duration

6 weeks

Arrival and Departure Date

July 1, 2012 to August 11, 2012

Program Break


Program Fee


Recommended Credit

9-10 credits

Beginning and Intermediate Level students will receive 25 hours of instruction per week, and Advanced Level students will receive 20 hours of instruction per week. All students will receive instruction for a total of 6 weeks by trained teachers who will use a combined instructional method that introduces new grammar, concepts, vocabulary and topical subject matter, and practices the new material with drills to ensure proper understanding and usage. Students will also participate in daily discussion classes designed to reinforce the grammar and vocabulary work undertaken in the drill sessions.  Instructional material will also introduce students to Indian culture.  Students will do homework preparation daily, and will also have the opportunity to make conversations with their host family members on the topics and themes they learn in their classes.

Tests will be held twice a week to enable both the students and the instructors to accurately assess the level of language grasped by each student, and to instruct instruction accordingly.

Because this program will be taught in India students will have a complete immersion experience both inside and outside the classroom.

This program will cover the equivalent of 1 year of language study over the course of 6-weeks.

Qualified instructors with graduate degrees in education and with teaching experience will conduct the regular classes and accompany the students on local site-visits in order to assist Hindi conversations among students.

Extra-curricular activities
Each student will live with a host family where all members will speak only in Hindi with the student.  Each student is expected to participate in some daily home chores such as cooking, cleaning, gardening, laundry, and grocery shopping in the local markets with a house member.

In addition to classroom instructions students will be taken on excursions on weekends to give them a comprehensive taste of India and her temples, rituals, markets, wilderness, schools, festivals, art performances and historic sites. 

Geographical Location
India is a country of numerous languages but the entire Hindi language and Culture Study Abroad program will be conducted in the central Hindi belt of India – the heart of Hindi land.  Students are likely to hear some local variations and dialects occasionally but they will be completely immersed in Hindi and will therefore learn the language rapidly.

Students and local host families will be carefully matched once the student selection is complete.  Students will stay with host families for three weeks in each destination and participate in all activities with household members such as cooking, celebrations, cleaning, shopping, gardening and visiting friends and relatives.  During the weekends the students will be taken to diverse places of interest such as ancient temples, traditional markets, hikes to wildlife areas or other natural preserves, and festival and ritual celebrations. The trip is from July 1 to August 11, 2012.

All levels of Hindi language instruction will be done privately, i.e. not as part of any preexisting institution such as a school or college or university. The instruction will be done by three teachers who will teach only the three levels of students from our study abroad group. This way we will try to make sure that the students get the maximum benefit from the instruction and that there is least disconnect between where the students left off in the US and where they pick up in India and vice-versa.

Program Director: Dr. Geetanjali Tiwari, Coordinator, South Asian Studies Program, Center for Global and International Studies, University of Kansas

Geeta Dr. Tiwari will be with the student group for the entire period to ensure all goes as planned. Dr. Tiwari was born in the very region this study abroad will go to. With her roots in India and as a native speaker of Hindi she also started the Hindi Program at KU. The Hindi program has flourished and Dr. Tiwari is now the Coordinator of South Asian Studies Program which was also started with her initiatives. Within the South Asian Studies Program she has introduced culture courses that include guest speakers from India as well as hands on Indian cooking classes. She opened the student organization SPIC-MACAY at KU and has brought various Indian artists to campus with very successful concerts. She is also currently running "Culture of India" at the Lawrence Public Library where she teaches Hindi language, songs and tells stories of Indian Heritage for the Lawrence community. Dr. Tiwari has created other study abroad programs to India. Her Environmental Studies program in 2010 was unique and got much publicity. She has a Masters in Wildlife Biology from the Wildlife Institute of India, and a PhD in Cultural Anthropology from The Pennsylvania State University.

Bhopal: Bhopal is said to have been founded by king Bhoja of the Paramara dynasty (1000–1055 CE). During the early 1720s, Dost Mohammad Khan transformed the village of Bhopal into a fortified city, and acquired the title of Nawab. Between 1819 and 1926, it was ruled by four women or Begums. The rule of Begums gave the city its waterworks, railways, a postal system and a municipality constituted in 1907. With an average elevation of 427metres (1401ft), Bhopal is located on the Malwa plateau, just north of the upper limit of the Vindhya mountain ranges. The city has uneven elevation and has small hills within its boundaries. The major hills in Bhopal comprise of Idgah hills and Shyamala hills in the northern region and Arera hills in the central region. It has two very beautiful big lakes, Upper Lake (or Bada Talab built by King Bhoj) and the Lower Lake (or Chota Talab). Overlooking the Upper Lake is the open-air Museum of Man (Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya) showcasing cultural and religious diversity of Indian ethnic groups. An entire fishing village has been replicated there featuring a Coastal Village with a Kerala snake boat, Desert Village from Rajasthan as well as a Himalayan Village. Just outside of Bhopal are the Bhimbetka rock shelters archaeological World Heritage site. These caves exhibit the earliest traces of human life in India; a number of analyses suggest that at least some of these shelters were inhabited by man for in excess of 100,000 years. Some of the Stone Age rock paintings found among the Bhimbetka rock shelters are approximately 30,000 years old. Also near Bhopal is the Sanchi Stupa with several Buddhist monuments dating from the 3rd century BCE to the 12th century CE. Toranas surround the Stupa and they each represent love, peace, trust, and courage. It is one of the important places of Buddhist pilgrimage.

Korba: Korba city is the power capital or the Industrial Hub of the newly formed state of Chhattisgarh. The district of Korba is enriched with all the essential raw materials needed for power generation namely coal and water. Korba is also blessed with lush green forest cover, where a sizeable number of tribal population including the protected tribe Korwas (Pahadi Korwa). The Adivaisis or tribal people in the forest areas live in tandem with the environment and have retained their distinctive cultural characteristics and traditional observances.

Dev Pahari: Set in the lush forest in the mountains outside Korba and surrounded by various ethnic peoples villages is the residential school for rural/ tribal children that follows the traditional Indian "gurukul" style of education. This is a rather small school where numerous indigenous groups are represented. A typical day here starts with yoga and chanting. The students also garden, clean, cook and of course study under the guidance of their teachers.

Other Excursions: We will also visit the ancient erotic temples of Khajuraho; the rock-cut caves of Udaygiri; a village that uses traditional methods for silk extraction and weaving; a local school and several other temples in Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh.

All Hindi students (past or present) at KU ( and from other universities can apply, regardless of the level they are at.  

This program is FLAS eligible.

For more information go to: OR contact




Laura Florick

Snake charmer with a cobra. Winner of the KU International Photo Contest Black/White category. Photo Credit: Laura Florick

Laura Florick

Mother with child. Third place winner of KU International Photo Contest People category. Photo Credit: Laura Florick

John Zare

Main gateway to Taj Mahal. Photo Credit: John Zare



Students at the Golden Temple. Photo Credit: John Zare


Lively market near Taj Mahal. Photo Credit: John Zare


Student near Taj Mahal. Photo Credit: John Zare

Taj Mahal

Front of the Taj Mahal. Photo Credit: John Zare


At Bhojpur, in Betwa district in Madhya Pradesh to see one of the largest Shivlings made by King Bhoj in the11th century. Photo Credit: Laura


David trying his hand at ploughing in fields enroute to a Gurukul named Dev Pahiri - up in the mountains in central India. Gurukuls are traditional residential schools that emphasize fundamental human values, and lifestyle where children learn to tend and milk cows, clean, yoga, garden, sing, and of course study... Photo Credit: Laura


Students feeling loved and well fed on a traditional meal cooked with locally grown vegetables, home milked cows at Village Barrai near Bhopal. Photo Credit: Laura


Laura getting Mehndi/ henna patterns on her hand by a local guys on the streets in Korba, Chattisgarh. Photo Credit: Laura


Inside the entrance of the large, beautiful and unique Museum of Man where most of the exhibits are outdoors in traditional homes made by various indigenous peoples of India. This Museum encompasses several hills some of which have ancient caves with paintings. Photo Credit: Laura


Bhimbhetika, a World Heritage Site - ancient cave site with caves that were inhabited from 30,000 to 10,000 years old. Photo Credit: John Zare


Just outside one of the temple gates in Khajuraho sat this man singing and playing his one stringed instrument that John loved. Photo Credit: John Zare


Tea gardens at the Jashpur Sarveshwari Ashram, Chattisgarh. Photo Credit: Laura


Udaygiri Caves. Udayagiri is best known for a series of rock-cut sanctuaries and images excavated into hillside in the early years of the fifth century CE. Photo Credit: Laura


At the Dev Pahiri Gurukul (traditional residential school) right after celebrating Raakhi and dancing with the locals. Photo Credit: Laura


On a hilltop at the Museum of Man (Manav Sangrahalay) in Bhopal. Photo Credit: Laura


With Baabaaji at the Jashpur Ashram, Chattisgarh. Photo Credit: Laura

Some of the ancient erotic temples of Khajuraho in central India


Photo Credits: D.K.Bhaskar



Summer 2010 Experiences




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