Please visit our website for more information Study art history, architecture, and Buddhism across northern India on the Tibetan Plateau. Learn inside and outside the classroom. This program infuses learning in traditional and nontraditional formats as students travel from Delhi across remote areas of northern India. In-classroom lectures are interspersed with site visits, readings, Hindi language classes in overnight camps, hikes, treks, picnics, and painting excursions. Explore Vajrayana Buddhism. Students examine the unique Vajrayana Buddhist culture, which has nourished a rich, visual tradition in sculpture, painting, and architecture. Study rare art and art history in remote and beautiful areas of Indic Asia. Students visit monasteries built into mountainsides as they learn about the ancient civilizations that once thrived in the Himalayas. The program engages with those who have reconstructed this history, those who are creating new history, and those who preserve the art that remains. Travel the road across northern India on the Tibetan Plateau. The program travels through the valleys of Spiti, Ladakh, and Zanskar, situated on the Tibetan Plateau, with an average elevation of between 11,000 and 12,000 feet. The group crosses high-altitude passes close to 18,000 feet in elevation. Students discover how Spiti, Ladakh, and Zanskar are regions that remain culturally intact, their ancient monasteries and distinctive secular communities vibrant and creative. Often referred to as "Little Tibet," the region has been an important part of Buddhist and Silk Road culture for hundreds of years. Many of these areas have only recently become accessible by road. See the stunning natural landscape and unique wildlife of the western Himalayas. Besides having a spectacular natural landscape, the western Himalayan area is also significant for its unusual wildlife, including the Himalayan wild ass (kiang), wild yak, ibex, golden marmot, and blue sheep (bharal). Many unusual birds, including the Himalayan snowcock and the enormous lammergeier and griffon vulture, are also seen in the region. Lecturers and Contributors The program’s lectures are presented by the Central Institute of Buddhist Studies in Choglamsar, one of the preeminent centers for Tibetan Buddhist studies in India. The program's academic director, Dr. Mary Storm, is a Buddhist art history scholar with many years of experience in this northern region of India. She will give some of the lectures along with other scholars and professors at the Central Institute of Buddhist Studies. Independent Study Period Near the end of the program, students are given a short independent period to research and write a research paper related to Himalayan Buddhist art and architecture. This provides a chance for students to sum up and evaluate their experiences and think deeply about Himalayan Buddhist art and architecture. Some students opt to join a trek to visit the eleventh-century monastery of Sumda Chun, where they complete a site visit of plans, drawings, and assessment.
YAOUNDE - MFOU Road, Cameroon
Please visit our website for more information. Study alongside Cameroonian students. Each semester, a small number of Cameroonian students participate in the full SIT Cameroon program. The Cameroonian students are enrolled in graduate programs at local universities, including the University of Yaoundé. They complete all of the program’s components — courses, excursions, and ISP research — alongside SIT students. Having lectures, excursions, and field activities together creates a deeply immersive and intellectually stimulating learning environment for SIT students, who benefit from their peers’ assessments and analyses of key issues facing Cameroon. Together, the students examine challenges relating to development; the role of minorities, particularly the Anglophones and Baka-Bagyeli (pygmies); and the impacts of British colonization, among many other topics. The Cameroonian students gain the chance to experience the breadth of their country in collaboration with US students. Both groups benefit deeply from the program’s network of lecturers, resources, and program partners as well as the cross-cultural learning that studying together provides. Yaoundé (program base) The program is based in Yaoundé, Cameroon’s political capital and second largest city, commonly referred to as the city of seven hills. The program typically spends between five and six weeks in Yaoundé. Thematic seminars (four modules) The thematic seminars on development and social change and social pluralism and minorities facilitate the examination of four key topics: The economic, social, political, and cultural development of Cameroon Social change, with a focus on the effect of globalization and westernization on local traditions and cultures Development aid in the context of Cameroon Women and minority groups such as the Baka-Bagyeli (pygmies) and English-speaking Cameroonians Learn from development experts and Cameroonian political leaders. Students are able to engage with staff at development organizations in the public, private, and nongovernmental sectors. This allows students to gain perspectives on Cameroonian culture and development from a variety of sources. In one lecture, students hear from the president of a local, well-established NGO about the creation of NGOs and aid effectiveness in Cameroon. Visits to important political leaders prompt examination of the highly significant role politics has played in shaping Cameroon’s history and development. Engage with traditional leaders. A day at the palace of the chief of Batoufam provides students with firsthand experience of the life and customs of traditional leaders in Cameroon. The chief of Batoufam — respected for his level of education and strong attachment to his culture and people — discusses with students the process of becoming a chief, his responsibilities and challenges, and important rites and ceremonies. He also explains the importance of chefferies (chiefdoms) in the nation-state. In addition to lectures by university professors, local experts, and leaders, thematic seminar courses are complemented by several activities outside of the classroom. For example, students participate actively in International Women’s Day in the month of March by spending a day with members of a microfinance finance institution, marching with the female members of that institution and other women’s organizations, learning about the importance of microfinance institutions for women, and hearing specific stories about how microfinance has influenced/impacted these women’s lives. The program’s French language professors join the group on this visit to facilitate the discussion. Improve your French. Cameroon is part of francophone Africa, so students have many opportunities to practice French language skills. Students receive intensive language instruction in French focused on beginning or improving their speaking, reading, and writing abilities, while gaining insights — through language — into everyday life in Cameroon. All levels of French are accommodated on the program. Beginning students are placed in intensive introductory classes. Those at more advanced levels focus on French for Development Studies, using local Cameroonian literature to explore the realities of postcolonial life. All students gain additional language practice in homestays and field visits and more advanced students are encouraged to complete their Independent Study Projects, including the accompanying paper, entirely in French. Students also receive basic oral instruction in either Pidgin English or Fulfulde during excursions to facilitate local communication. Dance classes While in Yaoundé, students are able to learn Central African modern and traditional dances during an average of four sessions. The dance professor, Patrick Roger, has partnered with the program for more than ten years and is also a professional drummer. Group research project Students participate in a group research project focused on a development issue in Cameroon. Students are divided into small groups and are encouraged to choose a development topic not covered by the program and research the topic using interview and survey methods. The group project helps students prepare for the ISP period as they become aware of the realities of doing research in Cameroon. The project also gives students the opportunity to work as a team and manage group dynamics. Independent Study Project Students spend four weeks engaged in an Independent Study Project (ISP), with the opportunity to pursue original research on a topic of particular interest to them. The ISP is conducted in Yaoundé or in another approved location in Cameroon appropriate to the project. Sample ISP topics include: Political opinion among Cameroonian youth Chinese and American development efforts and perceptions in Cameroon Gender roles and standards of beauty in Cameroon Traditional and modern healing: people’s preferences The uses and practices of bilingualism in Cameroonian schools The influences of westernization on the Bikutsi style of music Oral history of the Bamiléké people Land grabbing and its local impacts Microfinance and women’s empowerment
Please visit our website for more information. Investigate the historical and social contexts of diverse human rights movements, including the roles of culture, political economy, and international law in four different countries. On this program, you will examine the rhetoric and reality of human rights, using an issues-based approach. Peacebuilding, truth and reconciliation, civil liberties, humanitarian intervention, environmental justice, gender equity, and labor rights are just a few of the inroads the program takes to pose a broader inquiry on the nature of human rights and its variance across borders. Key questions include: How are human rights universal? What are the root causes that incite struggles for human rights in different locations? What impacts do international institutions such as the UN have on securing human rights? What is the role of popular mobilization and activism? How can solidarity across borders be built on a human rights platform?