IFSA: Contemporary India

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Explore contemporary India as a complex yet unified multi-cultural, multi-linguistic, religiously pluralistic democracy, and rising economic superpower. Study development, economics, and social issues in Pune, a vibrant, bustling city that has long been considered India’s academic center and has a thriving student scene. Host to many of the country’s most forward-thinking NGOs and multi-national businesses, Pune is also an ideal location to do hands-on fieldwork by electing to complete an internship, documentary film, or directed research project.

The program center is based at Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics. You will live like a Pune resident, staying with an Indian host family and commuting to campus by auto rickshaw. Two long-weekend excursions will take you out of the classroom and expose you to a different side of India.


IFSA Scholarships and Financial Aid

We believe that study abroad should be within reach of every student, so we offer a wide range of scholarships and funding opportunities for all our participants.

$500 - $2,500

Questions & Answers


8.57 Rating
based on 7 reviews
  • 9-10 rating 85.71%
  • 7-8 rating 0%
  • 5-6 rating 14.29%
  • 3-4 rating 0%
  • 1-2 rating 0%
  • Academics 5.9
  • Support 6
  • Fun 7.9
  • Housing 7.7
  • Safety 8.9
Showing 1 - 7 of 7
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Yes, I recommend this program

A Life-changing Experience for the Flexible Traveler

I am a mechanical engineering student, so the liberal arts courses offered were outside of what I was used to studying. This was a great way for me to expand my horizons and learn some new things. The professors and staff on this program are all amazing. The program size is usually small, so you get to know your classmates super well. The homestay component is really amazing. There are also opportunities to learn art/dance/music forms and perform in the closing ceremony. There is time to travel independently, and the staff even helped us arrange weekend trips to nearby cities. I completed a full-time engineering internship the last month of this program in the prosthetics center of a very large hospital. I would recommend this program for anyone looking to go well outside their comfort zones.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
The city is safe, but the program has restrictions to really ensure the safety of the students. There are some rules that American students may not be used to, like curfews, but these are set out of respect for your host family as well as for your own safety. This program is probably not suited for those who love to know everything about what is going on at all times, as there is a lot of going with the flow and taking things as they come. For the flexible, easygoing traveler, this program is great.
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No, I don't recommend this program

India is great. IFSA Pune? Absolutely not.

I would recommend studying abroad in India for anyone who thinks their future academic work relates to it. It's a very different society, and definitely challenging in a lot of ways. While the program should have been supportive and understanding, they were actually the source of all my problems. I would describe the staff as unforgiving, unsupportive, and unaccommodating. You don't get any sick days. If you're sick, you have to suck it up and go to class, which starts at 8 and goes until 6 pm. You are treated like a child. The academics are a joke. No one cares. You have packed days where they try to prevent you from seeing India. You are trapped in a horrible classroom, squirreled away from all the other students and people your age. A few of the teachers are incredibly kind. The Hindi teacher they have is abusive and cruel. The resident staff is the opposite of understanding, especially if you're brown. If you can pass as India, expect a double standard at every turn. God. What a waste of time, energy, and money. I wish I had just lived in India off of grant money!!

What would you improve about this program?
I would cancel this program. Literally just don't go. It's not worth it!
Response from Institute for Study Abroad (IFSA)

Dear Ananya,
We are deeply disappointed to hear about your experience. We are committed to receiving and acting upon student feedback to ensure the highest quality programming for our students. It is our understanding that you have already shared your feedback with our team, including our CEO, who were recently in Pune; they are already working on modifications based on what you shared. If you have additional thoughts you would like to share, please reach out to us using the contact information on our website to continue the conversation. We take all student feedback very seriously and use it to improve aspects of our programs for future students.

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No, I don't recommend this program

India is great, program is OK

I would highly recommend the experience of studying abroad in India, just maybe on a different program. The staff are really nice but they are pretty disorganized and absent and struggle to receive feedback. The homestay experience is worth while and the classes vary by professor, but overall they’re pretty good. There’s room for improvement, the core course is awesome and the electives depend on the professor. Feedback isn’t received by the staff so the professor of the core contemporary India course takes It upon himself to get feedback and improve his syllabus. It was a good experience but would have been better on a more organized program. I’d like to see the staff succeed. Things however fall apart when it depends on their follow through.

Response from Institute for Study Abroad (IFSA)

Dear Jesse,
Thank you so much for taking the time to review your experience on the IFSA Contemporary India program. I'm sorry to hear that your semester abroad wasn't quite what you hoped it would be. We would love to hear more about your concerns and how we can do better moving forward, so please don't hesitate to email us at studyabroad@ifsa-butler.org to start a conversation.
Best wishes,

Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing place, Great people and an Extravagent experience in total

From the moment I arived in china until the day I left, the company and my host family made me feel at home and so relaxed. They truly helped me make it a very memorable experience. I've learn a lot about the culture of China through the culture activities and culture classes they gave, all of them were really enjoyable and gave me a whole new look at China. The language classes was of an exceptional standard and the teacher got us all involved which made the learning so much easier and in all I really enjoyed taking the classes.

Thanks to Aupairia and all the ladies in the office for the chance to experience all these great things.

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Yes, I recommend this program

India, a home away from home

I had the most amazing time in India on this program. Though everything was not perfect, it was a great experience to learn how to handle situations on my own and learn a lot about myself. It was definitely hard being in India since it is such a different environment from what I am used to. But it was also the beset decision I ever made. I loved my host family and the others that were in my program, they made my experience so great. I got to learn so much while I was there especially outside the classroom and got to meet such great people in Pune.
Though it was very difficult at times I have no regrets with my decisions.

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Yes, I recommend this program


I really enjoyed every aspect of studying abroad in Pune, India for approximately four months. The food was so delicious and inexpensive! I really enjoyed interacting with the locals and learning more of the culture by attending festivities like a baby shower, wedding, thread ceremony, and Holi! I lived with a wonderful host mom who included me as part of her family. I lived about fifteen minutes away by rickshaw from the college. I did the internship component and was able to work with an organization that works with slum dwelling communities. During the weekends, I would explore Pune or neighboring places such as Goa, Mahabaleshwar, and local villages. There is also a week of travel and I decided to visit New Delhi, Dharamsala, and Amritsar.

What would you improve about this program?
Even though I really enjoyed working with the organization during my internship, I think there are some aspects that need improvement. There was a lack of coordination and accountability.
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Yes, I recommend this program

A summer in India

I studied in Pune, India for 7 weeks over the summer through Alliance for a Global Education. I stayed with a host family near the college where I had class every morning. In the afternoon I worked on a research project using Indian college students. Most everyone else had an internship. Weekends were for exploring the city and short travel trips, including an excursion to a rural village.