The Ethics of Community Engaged Learning in India 2017

The India Field School will be taught in two parts: a classroom-based seminar during the Winter 2017 semester followed by a one-month experiential course that will be based in Dharamsala, India in May 2017.

This international field school is open to students from all disciplines at the University of Guelph, and will examine both theoretically and practically the benefits and challenges associated with experiential learning in community settings, particularly in cross-cultural contexts in the Global South.

Applications are now being accepted for the India Field School.

Field School Details

Instructor: Dr. Andrea Paras, Department of Political Science ( )

Offered: Winter 2017 + May 2017

Prerequisite: 7.5 credits and permission of the instructor, 70% cumulative average at U of G

Credits: 1.0 U of G credits

If you have any questions about the program, please contact Dr. Paras. 

Program Dates

Winter Semester (January – April) 2017: Guelph-based Classroom Seminar

May 2017 (Exact dates TBD): One-month experiential course in India


The India Field School consists of two separate courses, one in Guelph and one in India, each worth 0.5 credits for a total of 1.0 UG credits:

POLS 3960, Selected Topics in Political Science, Winter 2017, 0.5 credits

This seminar-style class will engage students in readings and discussions about the objectives of international experiential learning, such as internships or volunteerism. One of the main objectives of international study experiences is for students to develop intercultural competence, which is believed to break down prejudice, facilitate intercultural understanding, and contribute international goodwill. This is also a learning objective that has been identified by the University of Guelph under the broader goal of fostering Global Understanding amongst students. As such, this course will engage students in a critical understanding of intercultural competence, as part of the preparation for the India-based portion of the course. Each student in the class will take the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) survey, which is a learning tool designed to help identify areas where individuals could improve their intercultural competency. Additionally, special attention will be paid to the ethical dimensions of overseas volunteer programs, with a view to considering both the positive and negative contributions of overseas volunteer work. In particular, students will engage in readings and discussions about power and privilege. Finally, this course will serve to prepare students for their subsequent experience in India. Readings will provide a historical background on India, as well as the ongoing Tibetan political situation. Students will also be given appropriate logistical and cultural preparation. Student assessment for this portion of the course will be based on participation in weekly seminars, written assignments, and regular written reflections.

ISS 3270, India Studies in the Social Sciences, Summer 2017, 0.5 credits 

The one-month intensive course will take place in Dharamsala, an small India town that is home to various India, Nepali, Tibetan, and ex-pat communities. Dharamsala is also the base of the Tibetan government in exile and the home of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Students will be given placements with local Indian and Tibetan NGOs. Over the course of the field school, students will spend approximately 85 hours working at their placements on a task that will be agreed upon by the organization in cooperation with the student. In addition to the placements, students will have the opportunity to attend guest lectures, take language classes, and participate in field trips to the Taj Mahal, the Golden Temple in Amritsar, the Dalai Lama temple in McLeod Ganj, and a weekend village camping trip. The assessment for this course will be based on journal entries and a major written assignment that will be submitted after students return to Canada.  

*Students may get a POLS credit for this course if they wish to do so.

Both courses are mandatory for all students enrolled in the field school, and admission to both is by instructor permission only. 


India-based costs: Approximately 2300 USD  (includes accommodation, food, transportation in India, and excursions). At current (May 2016) exchange rates, this converts to approximately 2750 CAD. Due to fluctuating exchange rates this final amount in CAD is subject to change. An exact amount will be provided to students when the payment for the field school is due.

Personal expenses (i.e. souvenirs, additional excursions, etc.) are in addition.

Tuition and fees for 1.0 credits at the University of Guelph (one course in Winter 2017 and one course in Summer 2017)

Airfare: Round-trip flight to Delhi, India


Students applying for the program must have completed a total of 7.5 University of Guelph undergraduate credits by the time the program begins in January 2017. 

The program is open to student from all disciplines at the University of Guelph, with a total of 15 students being accepted to the program.

Apply to the India Field School

If you are interested in applying to the India Field School,  please email Lisa Blenkinsop at 

Please note: You must have a 70% cumulative average to apply to the India Field School. 

Application deadline: 30 September, 2016