Is that field school right for you?
And an overview of the India Field School
By: Robyn Welsh, Publishing Editor
I never expected to become the field school advocate I am now until experiencing the India 2018 Field School. The amount of learning, personal growth and confidence it brought me is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.
Even in my first year, I was extremely excited about the prospect of an international experience. But before I signed up I had so many questions. Would the courses be relevant? Would I learn enough to justify the trip? Is it worth the money? And so on.
Luckily I had so much support. Read the story about what to know before your international experience here.
Is the field school you’re looking into the right fit for you?
Chances are, you were drawn toward your field school of choice for a reason. Think carefully about what that reason is.
If your main reasoning for considering a field school is because your friend is doing it, look into all the other opportunities first to see if one will suit you better. I only knew one of the professors and had met the other students at meetings before my field school. In my opinion, it made the experience. It threw me into a situation and environment that was fully new and challenging.
As well, I think it’s important to mention that it is okay to take classes that aren’t going to count toward your degree. Universities are institutions designed for learning. Take advantage of that while you’re in school by taking a few extra classes that you find interesting. Remember, you always have your electives too! Don’t let the fact that you have no more classes to complete get in your way of a life-changing experience.
The India Field School
The India Field School is a 24-day trip in Northern India. Students from all disciplines are welcome on this trip. This year’s group consisted of social work, child studies, education and journalism students.
On the Mount Royal University International Opportunities website, the field school is described as dealing with “dimensions of social, cultural & personal development.”
Participants will take two classes: INTS 3331 (International Community Development) and COMM 3501 (Intercultural Communication), which both fit into general education requirements. In addition to the field school, students partake in a block week course both before and after the trip. The second block week involves a lot of finalization on projects and is a lot of work, but is quite rewarding.
Each year the trip runs, two groups are decided before departure because the Sri Ram Ashram, a home for abandoned and neglected children and one of the field school partners, can only accommodate so many people at a time. The two group tradition started with groups A and B in 2012, and continued through to groups G and H in 2018.
Group G arrived in Delhi first. We had the opportunity to ride on many tuk tuks, visit Hauz Kaus, Ghandi Smirti, Old Delhi and several temples and mosques. We made our way to Agra next, where we visited the Red Fort and Taj Mahal before stopping for a marble inlay demonstration.
We made our way to Haridwar for our Ashram experience. The Ashram is a place full of love and incredible people where everyone has a unique experience. When staying at the Ashram students also have the opportunity to explore a bit of Haridwar and the surrounding villages. We also had the opportunity to participate in aarti prayer on the holy Ganga river.
With group H, we made our way to Jalandhar by bus for Lovely Professional University. Here, we participated in traditional Punjabi dancing, spent time exploring the campus with students and took several day trips. One of these trips was to visit the Golden Temple in Amritsar.
To finish off the trip, we took a bus ride to Dharmsala for two days. Here we learned about the Free Tibet Movement, explored and shopped, hiked and more! The trip is packed full of incredible cultural experiences and I felt honoured to be in many of the spaces we visited.
If you’re interested in joining groups I and J on their adventure, keep your eyes on bulletin boards around the school for updates regarding meetings (they start early for this field school)! If you would like more information about future meetings email professors Sally Haney at firstname.lastname@example.org and Yasmin Dean at email@example.com.