ICS Launches New Indian Experience Course

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Leading distance learning provider ICS has launched a new Indian Experience course, which offers students the chance to sample the social, cultural and educational highlights of a gap year in just one month.

Leading distance learning provider ICS has launched a new Indian Experience course, which offers students the chance to sample the social, cultural and educational highlights of a gap year in just one month.

Gap years have long been a rite of passage for students entering higher education but recent reports have suggested that they are in decline because young people do not have the financial resources or time to take a year out in the context of rising tuition fees. However, the ICS Indian Experience has been specially designed so that students acquire the wealth of insight and experience gained during a typical gap year in just one month.

During the 30-day trip students will take part in a mixed programme of activities, including attending an Indian college alongside indigenous and international scholars, working at a social enterprise, and visiting some of India’s most important cultural sites, such as the world famous Taj Mahal.

Basic Hindi language lessons, yoga lessons, and three nights in a traditional Indian ashram in Rishikesh are also provided as part of the £1,999 cost of the course. Students must fund their own flights and visas.

Jayne Duncan, a final year primary teaching student, who recently returned from an ICS Indian Experience trip, said: “From the hustle and bustle of Delhi, to the unimaginable tranquility of the Himalayas, we witnessed the enormous diversity of India, and it is fair to say the experience has changed my view of the world.

“A personal highlight for me, as a student teacher, was when we visited a school for street children. The hope these pupils felt for the future, despite the extreme poverty they had endured in their short lives, was a valuable reminder of the transformative power of education.”

While final itineraries will be shaped according to the needs of individuals, students will spend their first two weeks of their trip taking advantage of the high quality educational opportunities available in India. In addition to attending relevant lessons at a leading Indian business college, where they will engage with Indian and international students for a richer learning experience, they will also participate in various lectures and field trips.

The third week of the tour will be spent working with a social enterprise organisation, gaining experience of a business model that is increasingly important to India’s burgeoning economy, and the final week will be devoted to visiting some of India’s most outstanding cultural attractions, including the “pink” city of Jaipur, the holy cities of Haridwar and Rishikesh, and the universally admired Taj Mahal, a UNESCO world heritage site.

Numbers in each tour group will be limited in order to ensure students obtain an insider’s view of India. Groups will also be guided by an Indian ‘mother’ and ‘father’, who will endeavour to bring them closer to real Indian life.

Sally Pulvertaft, managing director of ICS, said: “For generations, people’s lives have been changed by the spiritual and cultural life of India and the amazing hospitality of the people. But students today will also encounter India, and Indians, as part of one of the top three economies in the world over the next 10 years.

“So whatever they choose to do in their future careers, it is likely that India will feature there somewhere, and our programme gives them a unique window onto the economic and business side of India too.”

ICS is running Indian Experience trips between 13 August and 9 September 2011, and 10 December 2011 to 7 January 2012. The cost is £1,999, excluding flights and visas.

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