|Dates:||June 29 – July 19|
|Arrive:||New York, NY|
|Depart:||New York, NY|
|Grade||9th, 10th, 11th & 12th|
(Students Grouped According to Age)
*Airfare for group flight from New York additional
ARCC India 2015 | Video by Jillian Butta
Learn More About Us
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- Immerse Yourself into Daily Life Living in a Rural Indian Community
- Explore Ancient Buddhist Monasteries in the Indian Himalayas
- Watch the Sun Rise at the World-Renowned Taj Mahal
- Volunteer with the Sloth Bear at a Bear Conservation Center
- Teach English to Eager School Children in a Remote Himalayan Village
- Work on a Sustainable Farm and Live the Daily Life of an Indian Farmer
- 40 Hours of Community Service
The Himalayan Project
In the Indian Himalayas at altitudes as high as 17,000 feet a staggering 963 small schools are struggling to provide adequate educations for rural communities. ARCC works with an incredible organization that is seeking to stop the flow of families to far away cities in search of education, by providing opportunities for enriched learning in isolated communities. During the ARCC India: Himalayan Project, students have the opportunity to teach English, refurbish classrooms and build playgrounds for these remote high-altitude schools.
The summer program in India, formerly for ARCC alumni only, is now open to everyone 10th grade and up. Experience the bustling streets of Delhi. Teach English to local school children as the Himalayan peaks tower above you. Watch the sun rise over the majestic Taj Mahal, and much more on this 21 day program in India.
Welcome and Delhi Exploration
We begin in New York and board an evening flight to Delhi where we jump right into the bustling magical mayhem of India. We acclimatize to our new surroundings with the help of our partners, spending our days learning about the culture, sampling some of India’s diverse and delectable cuisine, wandering through elaborate bazaars, and exploring age-old empires.
Into the Himalayas
Catching a short flight to Leh, a small village surrounded by the striking peaks of the Indian Himalayas, we spend a few days acclimatizing to the altitude (11,500 feet) and becoming familiar with our new surroundings. In this charming Buddhist region, one that so closely resembles Tibet, we have the opportunity to explore and visit mountaintop monasteries, all the while learning about the Tibetan influence in this region. We begin to plan for our upcoming teaching segment, dividing into pairs to develop our assigned lessons plans. We take one day to visit a special self-sustaining community outside of Leh, where we learn about local conservation issues.
English Teaching & Playground Construction
We make our way through the lush valley landscape to a rural Ladakhi school where we set up our base camp for the next four days. Situated next to a two room schoolhouse that has never experienced foreign visitors, we spend our mornings working in the school leading an English tutoring and conversation program, and the afternoons constructing much-anticipated playgrounds and refurbishing the simple library. Evenings are spent under the stars, sharing games and cultural interactions with the local families, while furthering our knowledge of the slower-paced Ladakhi lifestyle.
The Taj Mahal
We step aboard our first Indian train, bound for Agra! Settling into the gentle rhythms of the rails, we observe India in all her glory, passing through cities, villages and everything in between. They say you haven’t truly gone to India until you have ridden her trains! Upon arrival, we begin our afternoon at the Sloth Bear Sanctuary where we get up close and personal with the sloth bears and their caretakers, learning about these unique endangered bears and the conservation efforts taking place. The next day we rise before dawn to catch the sunrise over the Taj Mahal, marveling at its beauty and grandeur and snapping the iconic photos that we will treasure forever.
Here we have the opportunity to experience two days in the life of an Indian farming family. We split into groups and alternate between working in the kitchen churning yoghurt into butter, making paneer, setting milk for curd, and cooking roti and daal, working in the fields winnowing, sieving and harvesting wheat and vegetables, cutting fodder for the cows, and ploughing, and learning about bio pesticides and the vermicompost pit. This opportunity to glimpse rural Indian farming enlightens us to the significance of farming in India’s economy and to its people.
Back in Delhi we spend our final evening enjoying a delicious final feast and celebrating our trip. We reflect on the memories that we have made and the amazing friendships we have forged. As per ARCC tradition, we spend a late night as a group, sharing our special memories of this special summer program in India.
“From the immense beauty of the Himalayas to the craziness of city life in Delhi, this program taught me so much about myself and India and challenged me to grow as a person.”— Jillian B. ARCC Student
“He has gained new insights into the problems in the world and the individual’s ability to make change”— Parent of Matt C., Kentfield CA
“I will never forget everything that I saw and the relationships I have established. Indian culture and all the people really made me open my eyes and truly changed my perspective on my own life.”— Claire A., ARCC student
“The service we did in the Himalayas was incredible and so worthwhile, and should absolutely be continued in the future.”— Jillian B, ARCC Student
“It [India] was absolutely one of the most beautiful and amazing experiences of my life.”— Caroline E., ARCC Student
Group Journal Excerpts
Below you will find several Group Journal excerpts, written by ARCC students during their India summer service program:
I wish I could describe to you the feeling of India in its purest form- the overwhelming smell of incense, spices, heated trash, and fried foods that tangle themselves together with such intensity. I wish I could show you the vibrant colors of the rickshaws navigating their way through the constant, flowing traffic, the saris…
Experiencing a Delhi Slum
Our tour was guided by teenagers that lived in the slums and are now working for Salaam Balak Trust, a non-profit that helps children in need by providing shelter and food for them. This experience was beyond eye opening. All 18 of us witnessed something that truly makes us grateful for the lives we are…
Final Days In Rishikesh
We can’t believe it, but it’s our last day here in India. It’s incredible how quickly time can pass; the impermanence of this trip is setting in so quickly! Since we last checked in we have been spending our time at an Ashram in the Holy city of Rishikesh. It was a huge change of…
Teaching in the Himalayas
We are back on the grid in Delhi after several days tucked away from technology and civilization up in the beautiful mountains of Ladakh. We had four of the most powerful days of our lives volunteering with an organization by working in a small mountain school in the village of Gia and camping out down…
What is the Packing List for this Program?
Each program has a specific packing list that has been designed to fit the program’s activities, length, climate and cultural differences. Please click here to view the India: The Himalayan Project packing list.
What is the weather like in India?
Most of India, with the exception of the mountainous regions in the north, can be described as very hot and humid. Daytime temperatures in the summer months usually fall in the upper 90s, with an average humidity of 66% to 82%. In the Himalayas, where we will be doing service and small treks, temperatures will be in the 70s and 80s, though it can cool off in the evenings. Expect rain during your program, especially when outside of the Himalayas. Please pack according to the ARCC packing list; we have taken these climate variations into consideration.
What sort of health precautions should I take before traveling to India?
While there is nothing required for this program, ARCC recommends that you take some health precautions before your trip to India. When you enroll in the program, you will receive complete information on pertinent travel vaccinations and immunizations. Please also refer to the Traveler’s Health section of the CDC website for India. Our leaders carry a full first aid kit and are all certified Wilderness First Responders (WFRs).
Where do we sleep?
During this program we sleep in small hotels in Delhi, Agra and Leh, an Ashram in Rishikesh, and in tents in the rural group stay in Ladakh.
What is the transportation like once we arrive to India?
We use a variety of transportation on the India program. We travel by train, private bus, and public metro (in Delhi).
What is the food like?
We will have the opportunity to sample traditional local cuisine such as curries, naan, samosas, masala dishes, biryani, and fresh fruits, to name but a few of the delicious Indian cuisine.
How much spending money should I bring?
ARCC recommends that you bring an additional $400 of spending money. You should bring this money in the form of cash (small bills are best) and also bring an ATM / debit card with you. India uses the Rupee as currency.
As with any international program, we strongly recommend talking to your bank about its international withdrawal policies to avoid any surprise fees or card cancellations.
Do I need a passport?
Yes, all students traveling to India need to have a valid passport. Please make sure the passport expiration date is at least six months after you travel. Passport applications are available at the post office. If you do not already have a passport, you should apply for one as soon as you enroll in this adventure. It normally takes six weeks to process a passport application.
Do I need a visa?
Yes. You will need visas to enter India. You must purchase your visa in advance. There is a visa information section in the forms that you will receive once you enroll in this program. We recommend you begin the visa process as soon as you enroll as it is notorious for taking longer than anticipated.
What is the time difference between India and the US?
All of India falls within a single time zone. While on your trip, the time in India will be 9.5 hours ahead of New York (Eastern Time), 10.5 hours ahead of Chicago (Central Time), and 12.5 hours ahead of San Francisco (Pacific Time).
Do I really need to bring a backpack, or can I bring a rolling suitcase on this program?
Although you will not be doing traditional backpacking on this program, it is important that you bring a backpack as your main piece of luggage. During the program you will be navigating through airports, on and off buses and trains, up and down stairways and walking to various locations. The group will be able to move much more efficiently if all group members are carrying their belongings on their backs.