Frequently Asked Questions
Is there an application form?
Yes, the form is on-line. Please follow the instructions on Applying to the Program.
Do I need a passport to apply?
Yes. You will need a current passport with two blank pages for the India visa application. You must have the passport in hand when you apply to the program.
I know that one of my references has to be a professor. Who should the other one be?
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.
What are the selection criteria?
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 necessary.
Can first-year students apply?
No. First-year students are not eligible for this program.
Are there any prerequisites?
Do I need to speak a language?
English is essential. No other language is necessary, but Tibetan and Hindi are great assets.
How many students go on this trip?
Fifteen from the Five Colleges.
Will our classes be taught in English?
Some of the classes will be taught by English-speaking professors; some will be taught through translators.
What does my fee cover?
Your 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.
What doesn't it cover?
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.
How much more money do I need?
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.
If I am not a Smith College student, how do I get financial aid?
Talk to the appropriate folks on your campus.
If I am a Smith student, can I get financial aid?
Yes. You may apply for an International Experience Grant to help cover the costs of the program.
for more information. *Note that the application deadline
for this grant may differ from the application deadline for
Tibetan Studies in India Program.
Can I make my own travel arrangements?
No. You must travel with the group.
Can my partner come?
Do I need shots to come on the trip?
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.
If I don't take the course for credit do I still need to go to class?
Absolutely. Participation in all program activities and attendance at all classes is required.
Do I have to go to orientation?
Do we get to tour around India?
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.
Can I see the Taj?
The 2015-2016 program will include a visit to the Taj Mahal.
Is this really academically intense?
Where do we live when we are there?
At a very nice guest house on the campus.
What is the food like?
Vegetarian Indian and Tibetan. Very good, very healthy. While vegan diets can be accommodated at the guest house where we will spend most of our time the program is unable to guarantee accommodations for those with special food restrictions or severe food allergies.
What will the weather be like?
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.