We are giving you a lot of information over the next few days, but it’s all essential in making sure you are well prepared for our travels!
We wanted to take this opportunity to explain our electronics policy on the India semester.
Computers, iPads, Smart Phones, etc…
In an attempt to really ground and authenticate your experience in India, we ask that you leave at home any device that can connect to WIFI.
This includes: computers, iPads/Tablets, iPod touches, Kindle Fires and smart phones. Our experience has shown that this simple step goes a long way to helping students be present in India. If you arrive with any of these sorts of devices, they will live in the instructor bag for the duration of the trip and we are not responsible for lost or damaged devices.
Your instructors will of course have phones for emergencies and while we are in Varanasi you will each have a local cell phone. You will each be living in separate homestays so this will aid in your safety around the city, but also so that you can schedule your own ISP classes/meetings and be in touch with your instructors on days off.
We will be travelling with a Chrome book that is reserved for research, Yak writing and posting, emailing and communicating with your family and friends. While we are in Varanasi you will have the opportunity to use Internet cafes when you really need to.
Four of your fellow travellers are taking courses for credit this semester and they will need extra time on the Chrome book to complete assignments.
You will probably find this experience liberating and will grow to love your disconnect from all things Internet as you make new connections in India.
Bring them! Keep in mind that since you won’t have access to your smart phone, you’ll want to bring another way to take pictures. In the past, many students who didn’t have cameras of their own have borrowed one from a friend or family member. When we are trekking in Ladakh, there won’t be any electricity. And we are sure you will want to take photos of the breathtaking views- so make sure you know how long your battery lasts and if you need to bring an extra one. Of course you might also want to use this as another opportunity to just take it all in.
Many students (and instructors) enjoy bringing their own music on the program. This is fine. Music players can be great on long travel days, however they can also take away from the experience when in home stays, while interacting with the local community and while we are as a group either at the program house or in a different setting. Once we are all together, we will establish guidelines for appropriate use.
Kindles & Reading Material
If you feel you will be able to take care of your Kindle (that does NOT connect to the Internet- Kindle Fires, here’s looking at you) and feel comfortable travelling with it, please bring it. But it isn’t necessary at all as the program house has a ton of great books that we can borrow. Additionally, there is a pretty excellent bookstore in the neighbourhood that we could show you.
You could also each bring a book and do a book swap as the semester moves along.
We hope that you understand our reasoning behind the electronics policy. It is our experience that this policy will enhance your time in India by allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the culture and the place and take advantage of all it has to offer.
If you still have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us!