India: Bengaluru - Culture, Society, and Global Perspectives

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About

Spend your first, or your next, study abroad experience in India at Christ University. Students will be able to choose from a variety of courses in the Business, Sociology and Indian Cultural Studies program.

Student accommodations will be in co-ed apartments or in students residencies on campus. Optional tours to Hampi and Coorg are encouraged, though they are not included in the program fee. Explore the beautiful and diverse culture of India from its food and people to architectural monuments and colorful festivals. Study abroad in the "Garden City" of Bangalore, India with USAC!

Highlights
  • Explore a diverse landscape, varied food, unparalleled architectural monuments, World Heritage Sites, and colorful festivals
  • Live in the “Garden City,” the hub of India’s technology and business outsourcing revolution
  • Study at one of the finest educational institutions in India, located in a trendy and pleasant suburb

Questions & Answers

Reviews

80%
based on 21 reviews
  • Academics 6.8
  • Support 7.1
  • Fun 7.7
  • Housing 8.4
  • Safety 8.6
Showing 1 - 15 of 21
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Victoria
10/10

Rickshaws, Festivals, and Aunties

India is not for everyone. This is not the place to have the poster child European study abroad trip, however, if you want to have a once in a lifetime experience India is more than capable of providing it. It is a country full of warm people and even warmer food. Every day was a new adventure with challenges to be met and surprises around every corner. It is truly the land of unity and diversity. Every state has its own language, dress, food, and geography. There is always a festival to be celebrated and hundreds of people to celebrate with. India will grow you in ways that a Western study abroad trip can't. India will change you.
The program is unique because it offers students the chance to study from Indian professors without the pressure of conforming to the Indian classroom. The campus is beautiful full of birds, flowering trees, and aunties in Sarees. With several trips built in USAC ensures you will see different parts of India. I stayed in the dorms and the curfew was difficult but not impossible to adapt to, and having my own space was crucial to my sanity. Smriti Chhabra is the program director and I cannot sing her praises enough. She is both friend and mom. She was always there for me, teaching me how to get the most out of my India experience and helping me navigate some of the more difficult parts. I would highly recommend this program to any American wanting a safe way to spend some quality time in a country and culture so opposite to our own.

P.s Uber now offers rickshaw rides without the bartering, but once you learn how to haggle with an autorickshaw driver you will have an invaluable life skill. It's an empowering experience.

How can this program be improved?
I think that having someone who has been to India helping on the front end would be very useful. Our American contact had never been to India and could only point us in the direction of travel blogs.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Oran
9/10

One of the best life decions I've made

To be completely honest coming to India wasn't something I would have ever imagined for myself. But one day last fall I went to speak to my study abroad advisor on campus and she suggested India to me and something just sparked. When I got to bangalore I was nervous , this was the farthest I'd ever traveled alone. But my nervousness was eased when we met our sweet residential director. She and our other handler have been a god sent. They have done all that they could to make our time here fun and Memorable. The academics weren't as challenging as they are at home but what I've had to realized is that they did not want to overwhelm us with work because they wanted to give us a chance to experience the beautiful country that is India. A majority of my professors were extremely knowledgeable and I appreciate that they knew that we had questions that sort of went beyond our curriculum but they were willing to talk with us and answer all of our somewhat strange questions. I feel like with this program they had some really nice activities planned for us! Especially our south India tour which made getting over jet lag a breeze. We also had lots of free time and like most things in life you have to be willing to make the most out of your opportunities. For example Myself and my friends were able to take weekend trips and see different parts of India without being burdened down by excessive assignments. Bangalore is a huge and beautiful city. It's not deeply rooted in history like many other places in India but it offers so much if you are willing to step outside and explore all of its diversity.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Jenna
4/10

Exciting Yet Exhausting

When I signed up for the USAC Bangalore program, I was ecstatic. I thought this program was going to be perfect for me and I falsely judged off of the video provided. To say the least, I was surprised. India is nothing like you thought you had expected. Specifically, the program I signed up for. I expected to be integrated into India's culture right away and make endless friends and become more comfortable in a country I know nothing about. This wasn't the case. Our classroom only included the girls that chose this program. Hence, we were not placed with any Indian students. The classes are each 3 hours long and the teachers overlap in almost every topic lectured. Plus, the tests are ridiculously hard and expectations were not clearly laid out. Not only that, but as beautiful as Bangalore is, this city is not the best location for a study abroad. While it forces you outside of you comfort zone, the big city makes it hard to make real connections. This program did have great tours provided, but besides that, I wish I would have picked a different program in India. Don't get me wrong, this was a very life-changing experience, but I wish I had been warned before signing up.

How can this program be improved?
The education part of this program needs to improve. The classes were horrible and uninteresting. The USAC program coordinator who was assigned to us pre-departure was also very unhelpful and made the process of getting a visa very stressful. Overall this program was a hot mess.
Response from USAC

Hi Jenna,

Thank you for your feedback regarding your time in Bangalore. We are continually working to enhance our study abroad programs and appreciate hearing from our students. We do our best to prepare students for study abroad in India, but as you know, no matter how prepared you are studying abroad is always going to have elements of surprise. I have passed on your suggestions for additional preparation to our team. If you have any additional feedback you’d like to share about the program please email [email protected]

No, I don't recommend this program
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Rachel
10/10

No Place Like Bangalore

I went to Bangalore through USAC the summer after my freshman year of college (2015), and it was truly one of the greatest experiences of my life. It was the first time I had been out of the country alone, it was my first study abroad experience, it was the first time for many things for me, and I truly believe I will remember it and cherish my experiences there for the rest of my life. While I was only in Bangalore for the six-week program and I wish I would have stayed longer, I was able to experience a lot and travel around outside of Bangalore more than I had imagined. I took a sleeper bus to Hampi, and a sleeper train to Kerala, and those were just the places I went with other students, USAC took me places as well! The USAC staff was very accommodating and helpful. They are there if you need medical help, if you need travel advice or even if you need a friend. Bangalore is a unique city. While there I took a class on populations and poverty, which was incredibly interesting, especially since it was something that I could see all around me; I completed a service learning project where I watched young children while thier mothers were at work and helped middle school-aged children with homework; and I bought local goods including a sari, art work, and so many tantalizing spices. What I have come to learn about traveling abroad is that the experience is what you make of it. You can spend it tucked away in a room watching movies on your laptop, or you can go out and explore. While I was in Bangalore, it monsoon-ed regularly, but it never stopped me from getting out of my apartment and going around the city to experience different art festivals or markets (constantly look this kind of stuff up online because there are truly endless opportunities and experiences out there). I loved my time in Bangalore and I can say with absolute certainty that I will return to India at some point, hopefully sooner rather than later. I left India having a deeper understanding of the true social problems at play there and feeling a deeper sense of purpose to be a part of the change that can alleviate systemic poverty (not just in India, but everywhere). I left grateful for the opportunity to expand my mental capacities and for the relationships I had built with other USAC students, the USAC staff and random individuals along the way, all of which shaped my experience into the life changing event that it turned out to be. More than anything, though, I left feeling humbled-- humbled by the way people live, humbled by their attitudes in those situations, humbled by how small we truly are as individuals, and humbled by the purpose and sheer magnitude a single smile can hold.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Sierra
9/10

Bangalore Fun

Bangalore was a lot of fun and had a lively and young crowd. I experienced everything from temples, clubs, bars, restaurants, and local markets. The campus is very beautiful with lots of nature and cultural events. You live with American students and go to class with American students, so you really need to put yourself out there in order to be immersed in Indian culture. The apartments are in a nice location near many restaurants and bars; there is always something to do if you just walk around the block! Traveling is fairly cheap and easy to do, but the school didn't provide many days off to travel.

How can this program be improved?
There could be more support from the advisors of the program. They seem to become detached from the students. The apartments are not air conditioned.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Maya
10/10

Immerse Yourself

I have done 3 travel abroad programs, 2 with USAC and 1 with Rotary Youth Exchange, so am privileged in my ability to do a compare and contrast analysis. In the semester previous, I studied for a semester in Thailand with USAC.

Academics:
Thailand’s USAC program said it was USAC rules to be able to miss 3 classes per class, while in India you were only allowed to miss 1 class per class. Professors at Christ University hold attendance to high importance and are apathetic for reasons for absences. Being Americans, being forced to go to class is a strange and hard to follow, especially when you'd rather travel. Do not tell your professors you are missing your one allowed absence to travel, they will not accept it. Classes were 3 hour-long lectures, where the professor would just talk at you while everyone did travel research on their laptops. There were only 2 assignments for each class, which were the midterm and final were you wrote a 14 page essay roughly for each one. Since American schools end later in the year and Indian colleges end sooner, you will be studying only with the other exchange students therefor separating you from the local Indian students at Christ. Nevertheless, the grading system is loose and you will receive nothing lower than a B. Several Indian students go far as to say plagiarism is a norm that will be left undetected.

Accommodations:
As for living the situation, there are two options: living on campus in Jonas Hall (cheaper and only for women) and the off campus Christ Apartments (Coed). I enjoyed living in Jonas Hall despite it having stricter rules. The Indian Christ students have harsher rules they have to live with, such as only being able to go out 2 times a year while staying there and no access to the washer machines in the building. You will be treated differently with more privileges than your Indian flat mates and are allowed to stay out, but won’t be able to be let back in past 9am. The other benefit of living in the on campus dorms is you will be able to wake up 10 minutes before class, instead of a 40 minute to hour walk from the off campus apartments. Moreover, you will have a single room, much needed in a country like India were personal space isn’t as highly regarded. It will be nice to get away at the end of the day. The off campus apartments are nice, but you will have to share a room with another USAC student and it will be more expensive. Moreover, it is my observation that the USAC students in the apartments stick to each other, disallowing them from making local Indian friends.

My Experience:
My time in India will be the most impressionable travel experience I have ever had. India is adjacent to several countries on my travel list such as Sri Lanka, Maldives, Nepal, Bangladesh, Tibet, and Afghanistan. Yet, you will find India is so large you will not be able to even explore India enough with the 4 months you are given. I extended my time there because of this issue. From the sailing the Kerala backwaters to paragliding over the snowy peaks of Kashmir, India is stunning. If you are feeling nervous in result of all the negative propaganda that the media says about India, do not be intimidated. I have always felt safe as a woman, often times taking sleeper busses alone and meeting up with friends later.

Most Important Advice:
Cliché as it may be, please come with the intention to properly integrate yourself. Become self-aware and recognize the internal ignorances you might have about Indian men, culture, and practices look to shatter them. Since you will be separated from the other Indian students do your best to get involved on campus. I was lucky enough to find the Christ women’s soccer team my first week of being there and was able to travel for free for tournaments and make 16 lifelong friends. Having these girls guided me is what made my time here so awesome. They helped me find the best eateries, hospitals, bars, and along with provided friendships that truly made me feel like India was my second home. Through a friend on the soccer team I got to meet my now boyfriend, who is a travel blogger and who I was able to travel India with and feel safe. I learned more about India and the culture through my friends here than I did in my culturally based classes. Ask your friends to take you on visits to Hindu temples. Be cautious in asking about the caste system and where they find themselves in it. Since you can only be born into Hinduism, as an American you will be able to enter temples since you are not apart of the caste system and glorification of white skin post colonialism is still evident. If you are black you will find India to be a racist country and please be wary, but don't please don't be discouraged. It is common to receive unpleasant stares and racist commentary. All in all, India has been an extraordinary chapter of my life that will stay with me forever. I can only owe it to the friends I made here and my boyfriend for why my time here was so successful. If I hadn’t had reached out so soon to the local community, my time here would not have been as enriching. So by all means, get out there. Go to an Indian wedding. Go scuba diving in the Indian Ocean. Go hiking in the Himalayas. Visit temples of all different religions. Submerge yourself in the Ganges River. Do as much as you can because before you know it your visa is up!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Brandon
8/10

USAC Bangalore Fall 2016

The USAC India program is probably one of the most rigorous, exhaustive and meticulous program, but with the right dedication, drive, and focus, you'll be successful no matter what. I planned to go to India for quite a while, so I wasn't blindly going into the country with no prior knowledge or experience with religion, culture, etc... If you live on the west coast of the U.S., the visa process is a little bit easier, those that live in the midwest/eastern US, I heard many stories about the exhaustive visa process. Flying there is very long, one of my flights was a 17 hour flight (again depending on where you live in the US). Arriving in India, it hits you all at once, the noise, pollution, people, geography, culture, religion, societal norms, certain restrictions, and much more. Jacob, the resident director, will be like your dad. Jacob actively makes sure that you integrate well into the program and make sure you understand your living arrangements, classes, trips, etc... Personally I stayed in the apartments off campus (guys have no option, but girls can stay on campus in the dorms), and the apartments were absolutely fun! There is no curfew (dorms on campus have a curfew of 9:00PM), and living in the apartments allows you to have more freedom and control during your stay (can go to nightclubs, easy day trips, get food whenever you want, and you can immerse yourself with the locals better). Security is present at the apartment 24/7, and they do not allow other people to enter for your safety. The downside of the apartment vs the dorms is the wireless internet. The apartments are restricted to a certain amount of internet and it can be very frustrating if you like Netflix, movies etc... The apartments are about a mile from campus, so if you want to walk, that is your exercise but if you're lazy like me, you'll take a rickshaw to campus for a cheap fare (usually less than $1 USD one way). Classes seem a little unorganized, but that is just India. In India, things are very nonchalant, laid back, and be prepared for many holidays. I was out of class more than I was in. It is very similar in structure to classes in the US (midterm, final, and one or two essays). The food in India is probably one of the main reasons people like the country. So much flavors, types, cuisines, regional dishes and more. They don't use the harsh ingredients in foods which is one of the reasons why I lost a solid 20/25 lbs during my study abroad there. I recommend you also take trips in and around India. India is centrally located so it's easy to go to the Middle East, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Nepal, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and more. Domestic flights are cheap in India so you can visit the various regions. The USD currency is really good in India, Rupees are easy to use, but there are problems associated. When at an ATM or bank, try and withdraw less than 2,000 rupees at a time. If you withdraw larger than 2,000 rupees, it will give you a 2,000 rupee bill which is hard to break (if you do find yourself in that situation, go to a fast food place like McDonalds or Taco Bell). Monitor your health while In India too, I winded up getting bronchitis the first two weeks I was there because of the pollution. Take as much medication with you that you think you will need while there! Lastly, be respectful of Indian culture and religion. Do not go to India if you have a sense of entitlement or privilege. A girl in my program had both of these complexities and more and it was not fun at all. Place yourself into a vulnerable position and be susceptible to learn this new environment and life, try and not compare to your life in the US. Don't come with expectations or it'll ruin your experience. This program will change your life as it did mine. You will see things that you though only existed in movies and documentaries, you'll be challenged in many aspects of your life, but if you're able to take on challenges, this program is for you!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Anon
4/10

Horrible Program, Overcharged

There's absolutely no genuine integration through this program. They require you to volunteer but don't help you find a place to volunteer. They have a list of recommendations but their help stops there. The places they recommend often don't really need your help and you end up just feeling in the way.. or you can become one of those who indulges in "feeling useful" for a week and taking your Instagram photos for "likes". I first lived in the apartments, which are only full of international students and is right across the street of a canal full of open sewage, but two months later I requested to be moved into the college dorms. I had to put up a fight with USAC to move me into the dorms, but it was worth it. There was a curfew in the all women dorms at 9 o'clock but I didn't find that troublesome since most Indian women didn't venture out in the dark. I hated that the classes were separate from all the other university students. You are placed up in another room with only international students where the professors give you a ridiculous amount of essays... and then don't grade them. I was there for 2 semesters and in one semester I ended up writing 60 pages total for various classes. The professors also don't seem qualified or aren't really sure what to give you to do.. so the work supersedes the class. I would honestly recommend another place as well.. Bangalore is okay but there are way better places to study in India. USAC is not the program for India.. you will be overcharged for everything. I told my Indian friends how much I was being charged for the apartment and they asked if I had a full staffed kitchen, completely furnished apartment, and a private rooftop. Don't pay the prices. Travel on your own. Ultimately, DO NOT go with USAC.

Response from USAC

Thank you for providing us with feedback regarding your experience in Bangalore. Our first priority is to provide an authentic, educational, and safe experience for our students and appreciate hearing how our programs can be improved. Please feel free to email us with some more specific details about your time in Bangalore as we would like to discuss with you further. You can email us at [email protected]

No, I don't recommend this program
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Belen
10/10

Have a fun and cultural experience in Bangalore, India

The USAC program in Bangalore, India, gave me one of the most unforgettable experiences of my life. Before I get into the fun and thrilling adventures I had, I want to say USAC provided excellent housing (especially for the living standards of India), and had a security guard and a gated entrance into the building. We were 200ft. from the hussle and bussle of a crowded city and I always felt 100% safe. Now, the best part of about Bangalore is that it is the 'Silicon Valley' of India, and because it much more industrialized than other parts of India, it was very easy to find things to do every night. We went to beer gardens, Indian clubs, large commercial shopping centers, there was always something to do! At the end of the night you could flag a rickashaw to take you home for a very low rate. I truly experienced the perfect mesh of both rural and urban India.

How can this program be improved?
A more involved Resident Director would have been more helpful.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Johanna
10/10

Chaotic yet Magical India

India is such an interesting place- so many colors, smells, people, religions, traffic, food....it really is a place where chaos is order. The people are so friendly and it's such an amazing place to take it all in. Jacob at USAC is fantastic and takes great pride in what he does. It's an amazing and unique experience that everyone should take advantage of.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Lauren
7/10

:)

Studying abroad with USAC is a good experience for first time travelers. If you are well-traveled it seems like they baby-sit you to much. The program advisor was an adorable racist man. Bangolare, India I would give a 10/10. USAC I would give a solid 4/10. The classes very very good and intuitive, but the rest of the program was not my favorite. But if you seek out things to do, you will not be disappointed.

Yes, I recommend this program
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parker
5/10

India

I was India for a year through USAC. My experience of the country was amazing and it certainty made a huge impact in my life. Some of my closest friends in my life were made there and I learned quite a bit. India never has a dull day. There is so much life and energy. The culture is so immense and the people there are proud to show it. From my time in India I cannot recall I time were I had felt unsafe. The only negative aspect in terms of safety I could clearly remember was living with females who had felt uncomfortable from interactions with males but for the most part had a great time. If I was to travel abroad to India knowing the USAC program in India I would have taken a different route. Christ University is a nice school but the students in the program are all put in the same rooms with each other and are segregated from the rest of the Indian/International students. This does make it hard to socialize when you have no one else in your class other than the people you live with. In terms of housing you cannot have guests which is another truly negative aspect in terms of socializing. The program refused to let me shift locations. The program also over charges you for many different expenses. Such as housing, tours, and even picking you up from the airport. Its about a fifteen dollar taxi ride when the program will charge you fifty dollars per person. India is an extremely affordable country, everything is cheaper than you think. My advice would be to do research on your own, this will save you heaps of money.

No, I don't recommend this program
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Nick
9/10

Worth Doing: Changed My Life

The program in Bangalore was a blast. Every day, something new and exciting would happen and I would be healthfully confused about what was going. If you are looking for a humbling experience, then this is definitely for you.

How can this program be improved?
Nothing comes to mind.
Yes, I recommend this program
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HT
8/10

USAC in Bangalore, India

USAC is a great program that provides step by step instructions throughout the entire process. They sent constant emails for follow up with detailed instructions. The application process was straight forward and easy to navigate. Now, on to the actual study abroad! I went to Bangalore, India to study business and government relations. The class was taught by an American professor 3-4 times a week. Class was a seminar style. The only drawback was its inconsistent timing so it was hard to make plans, but being in India itself made up for it. I learned a lot more outside the classroom than in it. I can't begin to describe what it was like so try it out yourself!

How can this program be improved?
Schedule of our day before the program began would've been nice.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Christopher
10/10

Meeting the Dalai Lama and Serving-Learning in Bangalore

In late December of 2013, I boarded a plane to Bangalore. Immediately after getting off the final plane, I felt Home. There has never been a more revolutionary experience in this entire life for me. This is no platitude or exaggerated conjecture, this is as truth as science. The people are unmatched in their capacity for care and their creativity of different manifest forms of thoughtfulness. When serving with the Centre for Social Action, I got to spend as much time as I pleased volunteering with a branch of the organization called Parivarthana. It is a non-profit that cultivates sustainability through creating goods out of recycled materials. Its workforce consists of thirty women from the local impoverished areas, supplying them with needed income and promotes systemic social justice simultaneously. Two of the employees became two of my closest friends; neither of them spoke very much English at all, yet we always found ways to communicate with one another. Our friendship grew to a point where I was even invited to one of their weddings. This place became where I spent most of my time, turning my "required" 15 hours into over 100. Additionally, I was led to a United Nations Microscholarship school to help facilitate lessons on Martin Luther King, Jr. and the general culture of the United States. There, I made even more friends. It hurt to leave Bangalore. Sincerely, it was something that I did not want to do. There is a part of me that believes I left both my mind and heart back in South Central India. As for the program itself, the academic challenge is a worthy one and the professors are of high intellectual regards. The program manager is one heck of a tour guide and unintentionally promotes independent learning. If you are a person that self-initiates adventures, appreciates diversity, treats everything as a learning opportunity, does not take life too seriously but treats academics with high importance, and has a longing to serve, then this program is certainly for you. All I know is that I cannot wait to go back and am eternally grateful to programs like USAC and Boise State University's International Learning Opportunities office for the privileged opportunities they played such a paramount role in.

How can this program be improved?
I would simply request that the participants themselves are better screened, as I felt that (no matter the level of preparatory work for culture shock) there were certainly some participants that were not ready to leave a privileged lifestyle and were, therefore, unable to appreciate the experience and/or actually impeded the experience's potential lessons and benevolence for others.
Yes, I recommend this program

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USAC is a non-profit consortium of U.S. universities that collaborates to offer affordable, academic and authentic study abroad programs. There are abundant opportunities to immerse in the culture, history, and academics of other countries providing...