IFSA Contemporary India

Pune, India


Fall, Spring
Language of Instruction

English, Hindi

Language Prerequisite


Finance Options
Scholarships, grants, financial aid, monthly payment plan, credit card payments and more!
Application Deadlines:
  • Fall: May 1
  • Spring: November 1
Min. GPA for Consideration:
Typical Credit Load:
15 - 18

About Contemporary India

Explore the unique issues facing the world's largest democracy as a multi-cultural society and rising superpower. Courses span from social justice to development economics and intensive field-based and experiential opportunities such as research, internships and film making are part of the immersive experience. Improve your critical language skills by enrolling in a Hindi elective course to connect with nearly 500 million Hindi speakers globally.  Plus, you will live in a homestay to become part of an Indian family's life and traditions.

Contemporary India Benefits

  • The Fund for Education Abroad offers semester and summer awards for study abroad in India. Click here to find out more.
  • Don’t just study contemporary India – live it! Immerse yourself in Pune,  the cultural capital of Maharashtra, with a thriving university scene and active development community leading the next generation of Indian innovation
  • Make lasting connections in your host community by living with Indian families and learning Indian customs that might be difficult to experience in any other way
  • Take advantage of our centrally-located program center at the Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics for easy access to nearby shops, restaurants, entertainment and transportation throughout the city
  • Gain valuable field-work experience and boost your resume by participating in an internship, directed research, or documentary film project

The IFSA Difference

Your success is our success! Whatever your goals, our approach is carefully designed to help you achieve them.
You will experience challenging, rewarding coursework in the highest quality classes, while receiving the academic support you need.
More than a tourist in a foreign country, you will engage in the community, build competencies, and develop yourself as a citizen of the world.
Our programs and practices reflect the value we place on diverse perspectives and are designed to support a variety of learners.
Round out your classroom experience with hands-on opportunities like internships, directed research, student teaching, community-based learning or volunteering, and cultural excursions.
You will have academic and personal mentors to assist with program choice, application, travel, cultural acclimation, language acquisition, class registration, academic issues, health and safety, and everything in between.

Academics at Contemporary India

The Contemporary India program takes an interdisciplinary approach to investigate the pressing issues facing Indian society, politics, economics, and culture today. This 15-credit semester is comprised of a required core course and field component plus three electives. Students choose from three field component options - internship, directed research, or documentary film - which take learning outside of the classroom and into local communities in Pune. Students also have the option to enroll in up to 18 credits. If you are interested in taking an additional elective, please contact your Program Advisor. 

  • Contemporary India (3 U.S. semester credit hours): A political, historical, and social survey of post-Independence India as a complex yet unified multi-cultural, multi-linguistic, religiously pluralistic democracy and rising major global power, this core course gives students the ability to understand current events they see around them, contextualized within a historical framework. Topics include: colonialism, nationalism, and independence; Gandhi, social activism and the 1960s; gender and caste; 20th century literary, religious and philosophical movements; and recent history from 1990 to the present.
  • Internship or Directed Research or Documentary Film (3 U.S. semester credit hours): Students are matched with internship and research placements based upon academic interests articulated during the application and pre-departure process. Internships require students to thoughtfully and critically integrate the academic, experiential, and professional within an organizational context, whereas directed research involves a formal research project carried out within an organization, a library, or the field. Documentary film allows students to conduct and present research through a visual rather than a written medium, working closely with faculty and students at the Film and Television Institute of India. Conducted under close academic supervision, all field components involve a minimum of 150 contact hours and entail a final paper or project with accompanying presentation. For more detailed information and examples of previous student placements, contact the program advisor.

ELECTIVE COURSES At least one elective must be directly related to the student's internship, directed research, or documentary film. Not all electives may be offered in a given semester depending on enrollment and faculty availability, and all are 3 US Semester Credit Hours each.
  • Beginning Hindi or Intermediate Hindi: Fundamentals of conversation and written Hindi for beginning or intermediate students.
  • Gender and Indian Media: From Hindu mythology to the pages of Bollywood gossip magazines, Indian womanhood has been a constantly-evolving site for the mapping of cultural norms, desires and anxieties. The simultaneous exaltation and oppression of femininity is both reinforced and contested in the mass media - a key tool of communication in a diverse and complex democracy. Through critical exploration of gender in Indian film, theatre, television, and advertising, this course addresses timely and relevant questions relating to women's issues in contemporary India.
  • Development Economics: The Indian economy serves as a complex, fascinating example of high technology, expanding trade, vibrant entrepreneurship, and a highly-skilled workforce, co-existing in sometimes tenuous balance with widespread poverty, social inequality, and critical gaps in health care, education, and infrastructure. This course explores how India is seeking to address and reconcile these disparities, focusing on technological change, political economy, trade, social entrepreneurship and microfinance, and international aid as they are managed and applied within contemporary India.
  • Social Entrepreneurship and Interventions: Rapidly changing social landscapes have given way to a greater convergence of government and nonprofit organization efforts in ensuring a better quality of life for their citizens. The increasing importance of professional approaches towards socially relevant enterprises in key areas such as health, nutrition, education, and income generation makes an understanding of social entrepreneurship today vital. Students develop an understanding of the conceptual frameworks necessary for social entrepreneurship and the common challenges social entrepreneurs face.
  • Public Health: India faces unique and daunting challenges in the area of public health, battling malnutrition, infectious disease, and high infant mortality. This course takes a multidisciplinary approach to public health in India, incorporating policy development, gender issues, social justice, health economics, epidemiology, behavioral sciences, and health services management. Students interrogate how social, political, and economic factors facilitate or mitigate the production and transmission of disease, and evaluate ethical and practical consequences of policy and scientific initiatives.
  • Social Justice: Social justice movements in India may be most widely known through the iconic figures of Mahatma Gandhi and B.R. Ambedkar, but there is a rich and diverse tradition of Indian social justice theory and action dating from the British Raj era to modern Dalit, tribal, and women's movements. This course offers students an overview of social justice thought and activism in India, evolving through nationalism and the freedom struggle, 20th-century political and social movements, and contemporary economic, caste, and gender disparities.
  • Exploring Community & Culture in a Global Context:Through a creative asynchronous online format, this course facilitates active engagement with your host community, exploration of cultural identity and examination of diversity in the context of political, economic and sociocultural structures. Students cover topics such as intercultural communication skills, intercultural learning theories, tools for intercultural analysis and the development of personal strategies for engaging with differences of any kind following the study abroad experience. This course is ideal for students seeking transferable skills and specific competencies for success in the global marketplace. Depending on your chosen IFSA program, this course may be taken as a part of or in addition to your full credit load. Home institution approval is required for enrollment.
Experiential Learning
In Pune, students have the opportunity to participate in a full-time, four-week internship to fulfill their field component requirement. Interns are placed in Indian, joint-venture, or foreign-owned non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and companies working in the fields of microfinance, business, women's rights, education, environmental protection, public health and civic engagement. The placement process begins with the submission of the Field Component Intent Form upon acceptance into the program. Please consider your internship interests carefully while filling out this form, as it is not possible for changes in placement to be made in Pune. Placements are typically finalized after students arrive in India.

IFSA makes every effort to place student interns at companies or organizations that match the organization's needs with what each student brings to the table in their stated area of academic and professional interest. Applicants are encouraged to be flexible. Internships may include opportunities to:
  • Prepare market research reports to inform expansion of client base and attend subsequent outreach events
  • Evaluate microfinance products and services, including financial literacy, micro-loans and micro-health insurance
  • Analyze data focused on air and waste pollution to create environmental education modules
  • Support women’s empowerment seminars on a number of family issues such as immunizations, hygiene, and family planning
  • Assist with developing and testing software and other technologies with Indian IT companies
  • Assess compliance of police stations with India’s rape policies; develop training and policies on sexual harassment with local advocates
Students who choose to pursue directed research as their field component are paired with a faculty member appropriate to their academic area of interest, such as performing arts, journalism, tribal, environmental or women's issues, public health, or text-based historical research, and are expected to produce a formal research paper. Research students have regular meetings with faculty guides in their subject area to discuss the formation and execution of their research plans. All directed research projects are subject to the interest and availability of faculty and may require prior relevant coursework.

The documentary film option for the field component allows students to conduct and present research through a visual rather than written medium. Working closely with a faculty member who is also a film director, as well as students from the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), IFSA students are trained in the art and technique of documentary filmmaking, and are expected to produce a short film on their selected subject area. For all majors; no film background is required. Students must provide their own digital video cameras.
Faculty are drawn from across Pune's many prominent academic institutions, think tanks, research institutes, and NGOs. This allows us to select faculty who are among the best in their field, who have experience working with foreign or U.S. students, and who are committed to the high standards of academic excellence for which our programs are known.
  • Dr. Ashish Kulkarni (Contemporary India; Development Economics)
  • Dr. Veena Joshi (Internship; Directed Research)
  • Prof. Milind Damle (Documentary Film)
  • Dr. Hemant Apte (Public Health)
  • Dr. Medha Kotwal Lele (Social Justice)
  • Dr. Ajay Joshi (Gender and Indian Media)
  • Prof. Sunila Gondhalekar (Beginning Hindi)
After you return to the U.S., IFSA will send an official Butler University transcript to your home university with your coursework converted to the U.S. credit system. You will also have access to an unofficial transcript in your IFSA Student Portal. The transcript reflects courses taken, credits attempted, and grades earned during your term abroad. This service is included in your study abroad program at no additional cost
Subjects offered at Contemporary India
Agriculture Asian Studies Business Civil Engineering Communications Community Studies Computer Science Cultural Studies Early Childhood Education Ecology Economics Elementary Education Entrepreneurship and Innovation Environmental Engineering Environmental Health Environmental Science/Studies Film Production Film/Cinema Studies Finance Health Administration/Management Health Education Health Studies Herbal Medicine/Naturopathy Hindi Human Rights Human and Child Development Information Technology International Studies/Affairs/Relations Management Information Systems Media/Multimedia Studies Music Philosophy Policy Studies/Public Policy Population Studies/Demography Public/Global Health Social Justice Social Policy Sociology Statistics Teaching English as a Second Language Urban Studies Wildlife Management

Housing & Meals

Housing Type
Host Family
Some meals included
During the program, you will live with an Indian host family. All homestay families undergo an extensive vetting process with special attention to health, safety and opportunities for cultural exchange. While every student has a different relationship with their host family, students are frequently brought along to religious, cultural and community activities, and introduced widely among their friends and family. 
Arrangements for meals vary among housing placements. Indian cuisine is generally vegetarian, though some meat dishes are available in Pune. Breakfasts on weekdays are provided at the IFSA program center, lunches are eaten out, and dinner is served at home.
Host Families may be a large extended family, an older couple with children living abroad or a nuclear family. They will likely speak Marathi, English and some Hindi

The IFSA Team

IFSA has a dedicated team who are here to help you prepare to achieve your goals. Feel free to reach out. We are happy to answer your questions!

Program Advisor

Emma Robinson's headshot

Emma Robinson

Student Engagement Specialist. Program Advisor for Australia, China, India, Israel, New Zealand, and Sri Lanka

(317) 940-4258 erobinson@ifsa-butler.org Read Full Bio   Schedule Time to Talk

Resident Director

Uttaraa Jadhav's headshot

Uttaraa Jadhav

Director for India Programs, Resident Director Pune Program

Read Full Bio  

Academic Affairs Director

Dates and Fees

Spring 2021

Program Dates

Program Start Date
Late January 2021
Program End Date
Mid-May 2021

Program Fees

Total Program Fee
Coming Soon
Students pay a $500 non-refundable program deposit upon confirmation of attendance. The deposit is applied to the total program fee.

Estimated Costs

Local Transportation
Personal Expenses
(Includes utilities, laundry, entertainment, expected start-up costs, etc. Does not include personal travel.)
Total Estimated Costs

Fall 2020

Program Dates

Program Start Date
August 24, 2020
Program End Date
December 11, 2020

Program Fees

Total Program Fee
Students pay a $500 non-refundable program deposit upon confirmation of attendance. The deposit is applied to the total program fee.

Estimated Costs

Local Transportation
Personal Expenses
(Includes utilities, laundry, entertainment, expected start-up costs, etc. Does not include personal travel.)
Total Estimated Costs