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India Spring Semester Tentative Itinerary

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Hello hello fellow travellers!

Your three instructors are getting super excited to meet you very soon in India! We hope that you are getting excited as well!

By now you must have seen our instructor introductions and our packing yak! We hope these have been helpful and want to say again that if you have any questions at all, please feel free to post on the yak board!

We want to give you another piece of this big India puzzle so that the trip starts taking shape in your minds- the tentative itinerary! As you know, itineraries change, but the basic structure will remain more or less the same.

Week 1

Arrival in Delhi
Your three instructors, Anna, Saurabh and Uttara will meet you at the New Delhi Airport! We will transfer to a hotel, make sure everybody has food, water and a good night of sleep.

Introductions- to each other and the course!
We’ll spend your first full day in India in Delhi, getting to know each other and getting used to the new time zone.

Travel from Delhi to Uttarakhand, Orientation in Uttarakhand
We will take a train from Delhi to Uttarakhand, a beautiful state in India. We’ll spend about 5 days here doing our Orientation at an idyllic location!

Travel from Uttarakhand to Varanasi
Next, we will get on another train (a longer one this time) to Varanasi. The first thing we’ll do in Banaras is have steaming cups of chai before you move into your homestays! We will soon begin our independent study projects, language classes, exploration of the city and so much more!

Weeks 2-6: Varanasi (including side trips)
These weeks in Varanasi will be spent settling into this busy, vibrant city. Of course you will be busy doing your ISPs and language classes, but you will have plenty of time to explore the city as a group as well as on your own.

As a way to break up our time in Varanasi we will be taking some trips outside the city. Some options for these trips could include a long weekend to the pilgrimage city of Sarnath, a few days in Lucknow or perhaps a weekend in Kolkata.

 We will end our time in Varanasi with a community celebration with our homestay families, mentors, teachers and new friends.

Week 7: Expedition Phase
As our time in Varanasi comes to a close, you will begin preparing for an expedition that you have planned yourselves in a different region in India. The X-Phase is a wonderful opportunity for you to use your newly acquired travelling skills and take responsibility for planning and executing a trip for our group. We’ll explain this in more detail later in the course! But it’s a really special and challenging in the best way part of the semester and we hope you will have fun doing it.

Travel from Delhi to Ladakh
We will get up pretty early and take one of the most beautiful flights from Delhi to Ladakh. Most people are absolutely stunned as they step off the plane in Leh, the biggest town in the region and take in the immensity of the mountains and the perfect blue skies and we’re pretty sure you will be too!

Week 8: Meditation Retreat
As a way to calm our bodies and minds from busy city life and your X-Phase we hope to go on a five-day meditation retreat in Ladakh. This will be a most peaceful way to begin the end of our time in India together.

Week 9: Homestays
As you will have seen in Varanasi, homestays are a really excellent way of getting to know locals and integrating into the community. Ladakhi villages are beautiful at any time of the year and we will have plenty of time to learn about rural Ladakhi life, pick up the most useful Ladakhi phrases and drink countless cups of butter tea (very different from the chai you will be used to by now, but still delicious).

Week 10: SECMOL
The Students’ Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh (SECMOL), was founded in 1988 by young Ladakhis with aims to reform the educational system in Ladakh. The campus we will be staying at is almost completely sustainable and has a “foundation year” for students who have failed the 10th grade examinations (very important in India). You will have an incredible time spending time with young Ladakhis, helping out with the upkeep of the campus, participating in English conversation classes with the students and taking part in all sorts of other campus activities.

Week 11: Trek
We will say our farewells to the SECMOL students and head off on our trek! We’ll go over the essentials and advise you on how best to pack your bags. Trekking in the Himalayas will push your body’s physical limits, but it will be so SO rewarding.

We will return to Leh to shower! 🙂 Leh is a lovely little town and in late April the many summer tourists won’t yet be there. We’ll have the opportunity to have guest speakers, visit some NGOs and we’ll make our itinerary for these days according to the interests of the group.

Week 12: Transference
Transference is a time when the group settles down to spend a relaxed few days together to prepare for the transition back home and reflect on our journeys.

Departure from India
We will take flights back to Delhi and say our final goodbyes.

We hope this gives you a basic idea of our three months together and that you are looking forward to this adventure as much as we are!