CCAC Honors students prepare for international study tour and adventure in India

Article by: CCAC Public Relations

PITTSBURGH - A group of 10 CCAC Honors students will embark on an international study tour in India from January 5-16. During the tour, they will attend lectures at universities, meet with government officials, perform community service at schools, volunteer at an organization that promotes women's economic independence, visit cultural and historical sites, and more.

The trip is designed to promote academic exposure, cultural exploration and community service while advancing the students' knowledge and understanding of India for the Honors course "Comparative Cultures & Politics of India & the United States." Each student is required to do a comparative analysis of India and the U.S., focusing on a particular topic, such as comparing Mahatma Ghandi and Martin Luther King Jr., and to showcase their research for the course. Accompanied by Honors faculty members, the students will interact with professors and students at Jawaharlal Nehru and South Asian universities in relation to their subjects.

"Students will be engaging themselves around their topics and will do first-hand research," said CCAC Professor Srujana Kanjula, who is teaching the course and leading the trip. "They'll come back with so much more knowledge and exposure that it will make a huge difference in their perspectives and will add immense value for the course."

The group will visit a nongovernmental organization (NGO) micro-credit program for women, as well as a preschool for poor children run by the NGO, where the students will deliver school supplies. While there, each student and faculty member will engage a group of children in a creative activity. They also will interact with speech-impaired children, for whom the students are making toys and books, at a school run by the military. In addition, the students will meet with officials at the Ministry of Overseas Indian External Affairs and the India Institute of Public Administration. They will also visit significant historical and cultural sites.

"It will be an extraordinary life experience for the students, and they are getting very excited," said Julia Fennell, CCAC English professor and director of the Honors program. "Our hope is that they gain an understanding of different cultures so they are able to see the world through a different lens."

This is the first time the CCAC Honors program has undertaken a study trip abroad. The students have conducted several fundraisers and continue to sell T-shirts and candy to help cover the cost of the trip.

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