TIBETAN STUDIES IN INDIA
Itinerary and Important Dates
Frequently Asked Questions
As part of an ongoing academic exchange program with the Tibetan universities in exile in India, each year the Five Colleges send fifteen students to spend January term studying Buddhist philosophy, Tibetan history and culture, and Tibetan textual analysis in an intensive program taught by the faculty of the Central University of Tibetan Studies in Sarnath, India. The University is a research and teaching university established and jointly administered by the Tibetan Government in exile and the Ministry of Education of India.
Sarnath is a small village on the outskirts of Varanasi (Benares) in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Varanasi is an ancient city of about two million on the river Ganges and a major pilgrimage site for Hindus. Sarnath, the location of the Buddha's first teaching after attaining enlightenment, is a major pilgrimage site for Buddhists, and an important archaeological site. In addition, the program will take full advantage of its location outside of the ancient city of Benares to visit Hindu temples and museums, attend classical Indian music concerts, and participate in other educational and cultural opportunities.
The course of studies will include daily lectures in Buddhist philosophy, close reading and discussion of important Buddhist treatises, hermeneutics, and special lectures on such topics as Tibetan medicine, art, history, and culture taught by the faculty and staff of the Central University of Tibetan Studies. Arrangements for language instruction can be made for any students who wish to pursue this. This year, His Holiness the Dalai Lama will be in residence at CUTS for several days, and will give public teachings. These teachings will be part of the hermeneutics component of the course, and will also be attended by thousands of Buddhist pilgrims, giving students a glimpse of Tibetan pilgrimage culture.
Professor of Anthropology and Asian Studies, Hampshire College, will accompany the students from the United States, provide academic support while in India, and facilitate in-country travel arrangements. There are four required orientation seminars prior to departure.
Students will live in a guesthouse or hostel on the campus of the Central University of Tibetan Studies. Each student is assigned a Tibetan "buddy" student from the Central University, and there is ample opportunity for interaction with the Tibetan students and with other friends in and around Sarnath. Students will also take classes and live with Australian students from the University of Tasmania Exchange Program. All participating students must travel and remain with the group.
All students who participate in the program must enroll for Phil 253J, "Indo-Tibetan Philosophy and Hermeneutics," a three-credit January term course.
Click January Term CUTS Course Syllabus 1 here to see a sample syllabus.
Click here for a complete list of required and suggested readings.
First-year students are not eligible to apply. Applicants must be at least 18 years old.
Interested students should send an application letter including:
Year in college:
A color photocopy of your passport. Your passport must be valid through July, 2013. If you do not have a passport valid through July, 2013 you cannot apply for the program this year. No exceptions. This is because of the current delays in passport processing by the Department of Homeland Security. In addition, the India Consulate requires that your passport have at least two blank visa pages to process the visa request.
One-to-two page statement indicating reasons for wanting to participate in the program, relationship to academic work, and relevant preparation
Two letters of recommendation (one of which must be from a faculty member)
Copy of academic transcript
The entire application should be submitted to:
Tibetan Studies Program
Northampton, MA 01063
The deadline for application to this program is
Friday, October 12, 2012 - 12:00 Noon
All students accepted into the program will be asked to make a firm commitment
(including a non refundable deposit) to participate in the program by Wednesday, October 24, so those on the waiting list can be notified. Preference
will be given to students for whom this program would be an integral part of
their program of studies and who have undertaken relevant preparations (such
as the previous study of Buddhism, Tibetan studies, or Asian studies.); however,
no previous experience is required. The four mandatory orientation sessions will
be held at Smith College in Dewey Hall.
Tuesday, November 6, 2012, 7:00-9:00 PM (Dewey Common Room - 1st floor)
Thursday, November 8, 2012, 7:00-9:00 PM (Dewey Common Room)
Tuesday, November 13, 2012, 7:00-9:00
PM (Dewey Common Room)
Thursday, November 15, 2012, 7:00-9:00 PM (Dewey Common Room)
INFORMATION SESSIONS - Students from all campuses are welcome to either session:
Smith College-Campus Center, Room 205
Tuesday, September 25, 2012 12:00 PM
Hampshire College- Franklin Patterson Hall, Room 108
Friday, September 21, 2012 12:00 Noon
The program costs approximately $2200, which includes all travel from Logan International Airport and back to campus, accommodations, and visa fees. This does not include books, medical expenses, passport or pocket money. Financial aid is available to Smith College students who are on financial aid. Students from other campuses should check financial aid options through their study abroad office. Students accepted into the program will be required to pay a non-refundable $300 deposit by Friday, October 19, 2012 with the balance due by Thursday, November 29, 2012.
Please note that this itinerary is tentative and is subject
Check back later for more details
Departure from Boston (Logan) late afternoon 12/27/12
Arrive New Delhi early AM 12/29/12
Travel by air to Sarnath 12/29/12
Travel by train to New Delhi - departs Varanasi 1/19/13
Arrive New Delhi morning of 1/20/13
Travel New Delhi to campus 1/22/13
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: Is there an application form?
A: No. Just follow the instruction for application on
Q: Do I need a passport to apply?
Q: I know that one of my references has to be a professor. Who should the other one be?
A: Anyone who knows you well, and can attest to your
interpersonal skills, maturity and suitability for an
intensive program in a very challenging cultural context.
Q: What are the selection criteria?
A: No hard criteria. We look for people who have good
academic reasons for undertaking this program and who
seem to be academically serious and mature. We try to
balance the group by areas of study and to make sure
that students from all of the Five Colleges can participate.
Having done some preparatory work, or having some previous
multicultural experience is an advantage, but is not
Q: Can first year students apply?
A: No. First year students are not eligible for this program.
Q: Are there any prerequisites?
Q:Do I need to speak a language?
A: English is essential. No other language is necessary,
but Tibetan and Hindi are great assets.
Q: How many students go on this trip?
A: 15 from the Five Colleges, 15 from Australia.
Q: Will our classes be taught in English?
A: Some of the classes will be taught by English-speaking
professors; some will be taught through translators.
Q: What does my fee cover?
A: visa; Round trip air fare from Boston; all transportation,
food and lodging and program-related costs in India;
ground transport from Boston to your home campus.
Q: What doesn't it cover?
A: your passport; Getting to Boston, gifts for your mom;
stuff you might want to buy in India; your medical preparation;
your discretionary spending in India
Q: How much more money do I need?
A: That depends on your medical insurance (immunization
costs and coverage varies), how far you will be from
Boston at Christmas, and how much you like to spend on
yourselves and friends. Hard to say in general.
Q: If I am not a Smith College Student how do I get financial aid?
A: Talk to the appropriate folks on your campus.
Q: If I am a Smith student, can I get financial aid?
A: Yes. Smith students on financial aid are automatically granted a financial aid package for this program. Talk to Andy Rotman (Smith Religion Department) about that.
Q: Can I make my own travel arrangements?
A: No. You must travel with the group.
Q: Can my partner come?
Q: Do I need shots to come on the trip?
A: Yes. You will need to consult your own doctor, but most people get immunized against hepatitis A and B, typhoid, tetanus and take malaria pills. Some also immunize against meningococcal meningitis.
Q: If I don't take the course for credit do I still need to go to class?
A: Absolutely. Participation in all program activities and attendance at all classes is required.
Q:Do I have to go to orientation?
Q: Do we get to tour around India?
A: No. You will be in Sarnath/Varanasi almost the entire time, except for a weekend trip to Bodh Gaya and Raj Gir and two days in Delhi.
Q: Can I see the Taj?
A: If we get to Delhi on time, then students may arrange at their own cost to travel to Agra to see the Taj.
Q: Is this really academically intense.
Q: Where do we live when we are there?
A: At a very nice guest house (probably nicer than your dorm) on the campus.
Q: What is the food like?
A: Vegetarian Indian and Tibetan. Very good, very healthy. Vegan diets and other special diets can be accommodated.
Q: What will the weather be like?
A: Cool at night; warm during the day; probably no rain. You will need a sweater or light jacket, but also clothes suitable for warm weather.