Congratulations on being accepted to an Alliance study abroad program!
Now that you have been accepted, it’s time to secure your spot and upload important enrollment documents. Check your online application to see what to do next. Most required documents can be submitted online, but certain application pieces must be mailed, faxed, or emailed per the instructions provided once you've logged in.
You are about to embark on the experience of a lifetime - one of exploration and discovery, great learning, cultural immersion, and new friendships. The Alliance staff wants you to get the most out of your experience and we know that you have many questions. Your Program Advisor is Kerry Springer. If you have questions that are not addressed on our website, please do not hesitate to contact Kerry at 317-940-4248 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you will be applying any financial aid toward the cost of your Alliance program, you should print, complete, and return the Financial Aid Arrangement form. You can read more about transferring financial aid by visiting our Financial Aid section.
The Alliance for Global Education
6201 Corporate Drive, Suite 200
Indianapolis, IN 46278
Fax: 317-940-9704 / Email: email@example.com
All Alliance students are responsible for familiarizing themselves with the policies, recommendations, rules, cultural expectations and information outlined in their respective Program Handbook prior to departure.
Please also review the following contracts that will be signed at orientation:
Academic Policies Contract (signed at orientation)
Student Code of Conduct (signed at orientation)
Program dates roughly follow the U.S. academic calendar:
- Spring semester begins in mid-January and concludes in mid-May
- Fall semester begins in mid-August and concludes in mid-December
Specific program dates are posted below. All flights should be booked according to these dates. Remember that flights from the U.S. arrive in India the day after they depart from the U.S. Be sure to confirm that you are departing the U.S. on the first date listed below.
The 16-17 week semester begins with an orientation. Students are acclimated to their new environment through introductory lectures on Indian culture, training on health and safety, and given an introduction to campus life. Once students have settled into their dorms, they begin their coursework. Field excursions and site visits are woven into the semester schedule. The semester concludes with a final seminar where experiences are discussed and students are prepared for their return home.
Given the program’s busy academic schedule, weekly local activities and excursions, and field study trips, the Alliance STRONGLY DISCOURAGES students from hosting visitors until the end of the semester. Please encourage family and/or friends to visit AFTER the program has ended. Students should make their travel plans accordingly.
2016 Fall Semester Calendar
9 August 2016 Flight departure from U.S.
10 August 2016 Arrival in Mumbai
11 August 2016 Group flight to Mangalore - Orientation begins
16 August 2016 Classes Begin
8-15 October 2016 Field Study Trip
5 December 2016 Closing Ceremony
6 December 2016 Leave for U.S. after 5:00 p.m.
2016 SPRING SEMESTER CALENDAR
13 January 2016 Flight departure from U.S.
14 January 2016 Arrival in Mumbai
15 January 2016 Flight to Mangalore - Orientation begins
18 January 2016 Classes begin
5-13 March 2016 Field study trip
6 May 2016 Closing ceremony
7 May 2016 Leave for USA after 5 PM
Students are responsible for booking their own airline tickets to India. See "Program Calendar" for arrival and departure dates. Only these dates should be used when making any travel plans and it is mandatory for all students to attend their in-country Alliance orientation at the beginning of the program and stay through the closing ceremony.
Students are required to arrive in Mumbai between 8:00pm and 12:00am (midnight) on their program start date. If you are flying from the U.S., most flights will arrive in India on the day after they depart from the U.S. All students should fly to Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai, IN. The airport code is BOM.
Students will be greeted in Mumbai by the Resident Director. As required by Indian law, ALL STUDENTS MUST CARRY A PRINTOUT of their DOMESTIC TICKET CONFIRMATION in order to enter the airport for the group flight. The following day, all students will fly to Mangalore as one group, accompanied by the Resident Director. All students are required to fly to Mangalore on the designated group flight. The group flight is not optional. The airport code for Mangalore is IXE.
Advantage Travel of CNY is the travel company that assists Alliance students to book their required group flight. To book your seat on the flight to Mangalore, email Sally Curtis at firstname.lastname@example.org and she will assist you.
The one-way flight to Mangalore is the only required group flight. Keep in mind that you will need to book your return flight to Mumbai for a day you choose after the conclusion of the program.
Be sure to confirm that your flight is arriving on your program start date. Once you have booked your flight, including the required flight to Mangalore, be sure to complete and submit your Flight Form through our online application system.
Suggested websites to browse for discounted tickets:
Arriving in India
Students arriving within the mandatory time window in Mumbai will be met at the airport by the Manipal Resident Director and transported to a Mumbai hotel. For this purpose, you MUST communicate your travel plans to the Alliance before you depart for India.
After you leave the customs area and exit to the main arrival hall at the airport, look for the Alliance Resident Director holding a sign that says "The Alliance for Global Education."
Students will stay the first night with fellow program participants and Alliance staff in Mumbai, before traveling to Mangalore the following day. Manipal University is an hour-and-a-half drive from Mangalore and orientation will begin when you arrive on campus.
You will likely experience jet lag during your first few days in India. To help you adjust to the time difference, try to sleep on the plane and drink a lot of water during your trip and after you arrive. Do not consume alcohol or drinks with much caffeine.
Additional arrival details will be provided to participating students.
If you will already be in country or will arrive earlier than the official program start date, it is your responsibility to report to the hotel in Mumbai for the commencement of the program. Alliance staff in India will not be able to assist students before the start of the program.
Students should plan to depart Manipal on the last date of the program calendar. We recommend booking international flights to the United States after 5 PM on that date, so as to allow for travel time from Manipal to Mangalore and flight time from Mangalore (IXE) to Mumbai (BOM). We recommend leaving a three or more hour window between your domestic flight and your international flight. Transfers from the Domestic to International Terminals in Mumbai take time, and delayed flights can happen at any time. There is no required group flight from Mangalore to Mumbai.
Staying After the Program
Students planning to stay in Manipal or travel in India beyond the official program end date should research all of the required visa and registration requirements before arriving in India. Students should be aware that they may be required by Manipal University to switch to a tourist visa for extended personal travel after the program end date. Alliance staff in India will not be able to assist students after the program ends.
In order to study within India, all students are required to obtain a student visa. You will not be permitted to enter India without securing a visa in advance, so it is imperative that you complete the visa application process before you depart.
Instructions on how to obtain your student visa from Travisa are listed below. Please read through this information carefully. These instructions are intended for US citizens. If you are not a citizen of the United States or hold a OCI/PIO Card, please contact your Program Advisor for assistance.
Please remember that it is your responsibility to ensure that the appropriate visa is obtained for participation in the Global and Public Health program.
How to Apply
Complete the Manipal Student Visa Authorization Form and submit this document in the student application portal. Your student visa sponsorship will be based on this information. For question 15, you must list the consulate that corresponds to the address on your driver's license or a major utility bill. Please refer to the consulate jurisdiction and contact details listed below to determine your corresponding Indian Visa Application Center. It is critical that you select the correct Indian Mission on this form. You will not be able to adjust this at a later time.
Upon acceptance to the Alliance program and with Manipal University's approval, your Student Visa Sponsorship Letter will be sent to you via email approximately six weeks prior to your program departure date. You cannot proceed with your student visa application without this letter.
Do NOT proceed to Step 2 to initiate the online India Visa Application form until you have received your Student Visa Sponsorship Letter from your Program Advisor.
Please read and closely follow the instructions listed on the Alliance-Travisa Manipal program page. Here you will find important information about applying for your Indian student visa, the required documents and forms, and how to submit your application.
The Indian visa application form must be completed online. Travisa has prepared a step by step guide for your program; please use this guide as a reference as you complete the Indian visa application online: Travisa Manipal Visa Application Guide.
You will submit your visa application form and additional requirements to the appropriate Indian Visa Application Center that you have identified for your region in Step 1. The processing of visa applications is jurisdictional, so you must submit your materials to your assigned application center, which is dictated by your present location. Please see addresses below.
Submit the following items to Travisa:
- Online Visa Application Form: must be signed by the applicant.
- Passport: Passport must have a minimum validity of six months from the program end date with at least two blank visa pages. Last 2 amendment pages are not acceptable. Must be the actual passport, NOT A COPY. The visa will be a sticker in your passport.
- Photograph: One recent, color passport-size photograph (2x2 inches) on glossy photo paper depicting front pose of applicant's face against light background. Paste or paper clip photo on application form; do not staple. The photo specifications are very strict. You must follow the following instructions carefully; the instructions are also posted on the Travisa website:
Center head within frame and present full head from top of hair to bottom of chin. The face should cover about 60-70 percent of the photo area. The applicant's head, including both face and hair, should be shown from the crown of the head to the tip of the chin. The head must be centered within the frame. Photo should present full face, front view, eyes open. Background should be plain white colored without borders with contract colored clothes (not white clothes). Photos with dark, busy, or patterened backgrounds will not be accepted. No shadows on the face or on the background.
- Proof of Address: Applicants must submit a photocopy with proof of residence/address that matches the address on the visa application exactly. Examples of proof of address include: photocopy of state issued ID (Driver License or ID), major utility bill (Water, Gas, Electric, Sewage), or copy of valid lease with signature of landlord and tenant. The following items are not accepted: cell phone bill, credit card statement, bank statement, cable bill, or insurance forms. The address cannot include a P.O. box. Minor applicants (under 18) must provide a copy of both parents’ birth certificate or any government issued document which shows parent’s name, date of birth, and nationality.
- Admission Letter / Confirmation Letter: A letter confirming admission from a recognized institution along with evidence of financial arrangements for stay in India. This is your Manipal University Visa Sponsorship Letter provided by your Alliance for Global Education Program Advisor.
- Certification Letter: A letter from the U.S. institution with complete detail of the study abroad program, and whether credit will be earned. This is your Alliance Certification Letter provided by your Alliance for Global Education Program Advisor.
- Additional Particulars Form
- Dual Citizenship: (if applicable) Applicants who have dual citizenship with the U.S. and another country must apply on their U.S. passport if living in the US. This requirement does not apply to applicants who hold dual citizenship with Pakistan. Pakistani citizens who have also acquired U.S. citizenship must apply for a visa on their Pakistani passport only.
- Fees: All fees will be paid directly to Travisa by the student. Fee and payment option information will be found on the Alliance-Travisa Manipal page once you have started your Global Service Order form. All fees are nonrefundable, even if the visa is denied. If payment is not paid in full, processing delays will occur. The payment method should be selected when completing the visa application. Shipping fees may vary.
MAKE A COPY OF ALL VISA APPLICATION FORMS AND MATERIALS FOR YOUR RECORDS
Estimated Processing Time:
Travisa does not guarantee processing time. Incomplete/incorrect applications will increase the processing time. Please diligently track the status and location of your application.
For more information about the visa application process for India, please refer to the Alliance-Travisa page or contact a Travisa office directly by telephone.
- Visa application processing times vary by jurisdiction. Please allow for at least 2-3 weeks processing time.
- Applications submitted by non-U.S. citizens or U.S. citizens who require references may take longer to process.
Please make sure that you have the correct and valid visa.
- Visa Type should read "S"
- No. of Entries should read "MULTIPLE"
- Endorsement should read "MANIPAL UNIV. KARNATAKA"
- Visa Agent's Signature should appear
Scan your visa upon receipt. Keep a copy for your records. You must submit a copy of your visa to the Online Application Portal.
3475 Lenox Road, Suite 465
Tel: (404) 465-3575
120 S. State Street, Unit 3
Tel: (312) 332-1161
1001 West Loop South,
Tel: (713) 961-3500
New York, NY
290 5th Avenue, 4th Floor
Tel: (347) 602-9457
San Francisco, CA
220 Montgomery Street,
Tel: (415) 527-0888
1731 21st Street NW
Tel: (202) 463-6166
Here are some frequently asked questions about passports and visas. Please read through these and if you still can't find what you're looking for, we'd be happy to talk to you!
Do I need a passport?
YES!!!! Please visit the U.S. State Department travel pages for the most up-to-date information regarding passport application and fees. If you don't have a passport, you should apply for one immediately when you begin to think about studying abroad.
What is a visa and what kind of visa do I need to participate on an Alliance program in India?
In addition to a valid passport, you are also required to secure a student visa to enter India. A visa is an official document/seal that is glued into your passport that permits you to enter the country.
Where do I go to get a visa?
Instructions accompanying your visa application forms will tell you how to apply by mail.
When should I secure my visa?
You first need a valid passport. You can't apply for your visa until you receive a Student Visa Athorization letter from the Alliance, sponsored by Manipal University. These visa documents are sent to students according to the following timeline:
- Fall term students - early July
- Spring term students - early December
This mailing will also include detailed instructions on how to apply for your visa.
Should I make copies of my visa documents?
YES. Please make a copy of all visa-related paperwork
Is it possible to extend my visa so I can travel around India at the conclusion of my program?
The Alliance's sponsorship of your student visa cannot be extended for travel, research, or volunteer conducted outside its auspices. Students planning to stay in Manipal or travel in India beyond the official program end date should research all of the required visa and registration requirements before arriving in India. Alliance staff in India will not be able to assist students after the program ends.
Is it possible to travel to other countries at the conclusion of the Alliance program and then return to Mumbai to fly back home?
Yes, this is usually possible, but visa regulations are constantly changing and can be complicated. It is best to check with your Resident Director before making any plans.
Download the Packing List for Manipal.
Here’s what alumni have to say:
I wish I had packed…
Vitamins and snacks.
More leggings, more western clothes for going out in the evenings, gifts for Indian friends.
I wish I had left behind…
I could have packed half the number of shirts I brought. I didn't realize that we would buy kurtas (I didn't even know what they were), and that kurtas were the accepted outfit for the classroom and group trips. I probably could have used the space for more leggings and workout clothes since those tended to be my limiting factor in laundry.
Nothing really (I packed very light). Maybe smaller amounts of toiletries.
Alliance students will be permitted only one checked bag and one carry-on. After Mumbai, we will be flying on to Manipal. It is important to note that many Indian airlines have weight allowances lower than that of U.S. airlines, some of which are 15kg/33lbs, so pack accordingly.
We also strongly recommend that your one checked bag be a big backpack. Sidewalks are rare in India, and with train and bus travel as well, backpacks are much more manageable than large rolling suitcases.
Please plan on dressing modestly during your time in India. Whether wearing Western, Indian or a mixture of the two, it’s important to make sure you are “covered” (literally and metaphorically speaking).
The four areas that need extra attention are your shoulders, bust, bottom and thighs. Check for coverage, clinginess, and transparency especially for these areas when dressing in India. If you miss one, you will know almost instantly by the funny looks or extra attention you receive.
However, this doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your personal style while in India! You can get creative while still being culturally appropriate. Students in Manipal often pair long kurtas with leggings, tee-shirts with harem pants or spice up a simple outfit with a beautiful scarf.
Men may have things a bit easier when it comes to clothing, but there are a few things to keep in mind as you’re packing. Shorts and tee-shirts are not appropriate for school, internships or field visits. Short or long sleeve light-weight button downs or local kurtas with light-weight trousers are the most comfortable and appropriate option.
The electrical current in India is 220 volts, 50 cycles whereas the US is 110V/60Hz. If your appliances are not dual voltage (110/220V) you will need a voltage converter or transformer, which can be purchased in India a few weeks after your arrival. If you require the immediate use of your lap top or other appliance, however, we recommend that you bring a voltage converter from home, as well as a plug adapter.
It is easy to purchase appliances (such as a hair dryer) that use the correct Indian electrical current after you arrive. A picture of the most common outlets in India can be found here. Please note that power strips allowing you to plug in your computer and other hardware of variously pronged plug types are readily available at many stores and they are inexpensive. These are not power adapters, but they do allow you to plug in almost anything.
A mandatory orientation led by your onsite Resident Director will take place after arrival in Manipal.
Your orientation will include the following activities:
- Introduction to the Alliance program
- Meeting professors and staff
- Overview of the academic program and Alliance expectations
- Program policies (academic, student conduct)
- Health, safety and security tips
- Individual meetings with your Resident Director
- Experiencing and coping with cultural shock
- Campus tour and tour of surrounding area
- Meeting your Indian roommates (if applicable)
- Cultural activities
The orientation is designed to meet the following goals:
- Deepen your understanding of the program and what to expect during the semester
- Facilitate your introduction to Alliance staff, faculty, roommates, and your fellow students
- Create an Alliance community and culture
- Familiarize you with your surroundings -- the campus, neighborhood, and city
- Teach you how to use local transportation, order food, and safely navigate your new environment
- Establish individual academic and personal goals for your semester
- Prepare you for the new semester both academically and emotionally
The first step to staying healthy in India is to fully disclose any pre-existing health issues or concerns on the Student Medical Form before you go. This allows Alliance to be sure that your needs can be accommodated in the local context, and to anticipate any care that you might require.
Failure to fully disclose any and all physical or mental preconditions might not only impact our ability to provide adequate care in India, it might be grounds for you to be sent home. Please know that all medical information is treated confidentially by Alliance staff, and shared only on a need-to-know basis.
Student Health Insurance
All Alliance programs include comprehensive accident and illness insurance. The Alliance’s plan is offered through Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI) and underwritten by ACE American Insurance Company. The insurance is included in our program fees and is mandatory for every Alliance student. The plan is effective throughout the duration of the participant's program. There is no deductible per injury or illness, and the maximum medical expenses of the policy for accident or sickness is $350,000. Additional information about the Cultural Insurance Services International plan is emailed to students upon acceptance and enrollment in an Alliance program.
Personalized information and support for participants about health care and prescription medication is available after you log into myCISI Participant Portal at http://www.culturalinsurance.com/ifsa/. CISI e-mails accepted students information about coverage, their CISI Participant ID card, and a claim form. Students must print their CISI Participant ID card and carry it with them at all times while abroad.
We encourage parents to work with students when reviewing all resources and coverage. Students have access to provider information and health and safety services. Plan information is available at http://www.culturalinsurance.com/ifsa/.
A copy of the Alliance's insurance certificate with Cultural Insurance Services International is available here.
Please contact Kerry Springer, Program Advisor, via email or at 317-940-4248. Your Resident Director will also provide information during orientation about where to seek medical attention in Manipal.
If you plan to take any prescription drugs while in India, we recommend that you take a supply to last you the entire term. Also, pack a prescription from your doctor for any medications you take to India. This is an extra precaution in case your luggage is searched and you need to verify why you are bringing the medication with you. If you plan to purchase any medication in India, you will need to present a copy of your prescription and see an Indian physician to obtain a new one. While most prescriptions and medications are available in India, it is best to bring all of the specific medications you think you will need for the term with you.
Bringing enough prescription medication is particularly important as prescription medication and even over-the-counter drugs are often held up in customs when shipped from the U.S. The student health insurance program (CISI) can help with prescription drug replacement/shipment if needed.
If you wear prescription eyeglasses, you should bring a copy of your prescription. It is easy and inexpensive to have glasses made in India. Contact lenses and solutions are also available in India, though not all brands you are familiar with will be available.
Vaccinations are not required for entry to India, but we recommend that you consult the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website and consult with your physician to determine which vaccines you may need. You should also make sure that all of your regular immunizations are up to date. The CDC also operates an international traveler's hotline that provides up-to-date vaccination requirements for any region or country you select. The number is 1-877-FYI-TRIP (394-8747).
Staying safe in India involves many of the same behaviors as staying safe anywhere in the world. Be aware of who and what is around you, avoid putting yourself in risky situations, and dress and behave in culturally appropriate ways in order to avoid making yourself a target.
Another component of personal safety that students often neglect is road safety, which is actually the number one cause of American fatalities overseas. India in particular has very high rates of road-related fatalities, and students should maintain high vigilance as they are walking (on streets which rarely have sidewalks), speak up if you are in a vehicle with a driver who is behaving recklessly, and use seatbelts wherever available.
Alliance resident staff will provide a thorough orientation to personal safety matters, with local and culture-specific tips for minimizing risk.
We want you to stay safe and healthy throughout your study abroad experience, so please never hesitate to let Alliance staff know if you have any concerns about your health or safety.
Food and Water
Paying attention to the food and water you consume is the number one way to stay healthy in India. You'll be given a thorough overview of do's and don'ts during your onsite orientation, and travel guides such as the Lonely Planet offer good standard rules to live by, but the first rule of thumb is: HYDRATE, HYDRATE, HYDRATE! Dehydration is a leading cause for students having to seek medical attention, and is the most easily preventable.
Of course, you want to make sure that the water you consume does not make you sick. Plan to carry a plastic bottle around with you to fill up on filtered water wherever you can, and to always have handy. When you are eating, always ask for bottled water instead of drinking whatever is provided to you. Bottled water is inexpensive and widely available.
Also pay attention as you are showering--try not to let the tap water inadvertently pass your lips--and when you are brushing your teeth, use filtered or bottled water.
Be aware of plates or glasses that are still wet, and watch out for juice drinks that have water blended into them--even ice cream scoops left in water can be the cause of great discomfort. Coffee and tea are always safe choices, as they have been boiled.
Soft drinks, too, are a safe bet.
For food, fruits and salads are the main culprits. Rule of thumb: if it is cooked, it is okay. Another rule of thumb: if it can be peeled, then peel it and it should be okay. Grapes, for example, are not a good idea, nor the tempting salad fixings you may see that haven't been properly cleaned and dried.
That said, chances are good that at some point you will succumb to something food or water-borne. In most cases, though it will not be fun, it will pass within 48-72 hours. The key is to keep yourself well-hydrated to flush it out of your system. Many students like to bring electrolyte packets with them from the U.S. to help combat dehydration, either heat- or stomach-related. These packets are available at all pharmacies in India.
As with all health-related matters, keep the resident staff fully informed about how you're feeling, even if you don't think it's anything serious. Our staff is familiar with the kinds of medical issues U.S. students experience in India, and it is important that they be able to keep tabs on how you are doing.
We strongly encourage you to obtain insurance against theft and/or damage to your personal effects for the period of time you will be abroad. The Alliance for Global Education does not provide insurance for your possessions. Contact your home insurance provider to see what is covered, how coverage might be extended, and the possibility of renter’s insurance for your time abroad if your program houses you in an apartment.
India's currency is the rupee. At the time of writing, USD $1 = INR Rs 60.
It is best to change money in banks, hotels, and other authorized locations to which our resident staff will direct you. Do not under any circumstances exchange money on the black market. This is illegal, it may put you in an unsafe environment, and you may receive fake money. ATMs are also widely available around town, and are addressed in more detail below. The best approach overall is to have several different sources of obtaining funds in case cards, cash, or travelers checks are lost, stolen, or not viable in a given location.
Credit cards are becoming widely accepted in India, but generally in larger stores or in nicer hotels and restaurants. In Varanasi most everyday money transactions in India still take place in cash. It is always a good idea to have one or two credit cards on you for emergencies, for travel outside of your host city, and/or for any higher-end shopping you might want to do, but don't plan on using them around town as you might in the U.S. Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted, American Express less so. Some vendors accepting credit cards will add an additional 2-3% to the purchase price with a credit card payment and require a photocopy of your passport.
A convenient way to withdraw money from your account at home is to use an ATM card that has a VISA or MasterCard logo. You should not rely on ATMs as your only source of cash as they may not always work, but in general this is your best bet for getting the best exchange rate, and for avoiding having too much cash on you (or stashed at home) that could be lost or stolen.
Be sure to carry the PIN number in a safe place separately from your card, and also confirm with your bank that your ATM card will work internationally. It is best to test your card in the U.S. before you leave. We also advise that you call your bank or credit card company to let them know that you will be using the card in India. Sometimes banks may obstruct card transactions overseas in the interest of customer security. Also be sure that you are aware of any international withdrawal charges that your bank or credit card company might charge for these transactions.
In Case of Emergency
When you go abroad occassionally financial emergencies arise - whether it is losing your credit card, your PIN not being accepted at an ATM, or needing to send or receive funds home. Its a good practice to keep copies of both sides of your credit/debit cards in your suitcase, to know your bank account numbers (usually found on a check), have your bank's customer service phone numbers and website written down, and to have a trusted person at home who can assist you in case of a financial emergency. Having this information at your fingertips will make recovering from a financial emergency significantly easier. As with all financial information, its vital to keep this information secured either on your person or in a safe place.
Ground floor, Old TAPMI Building
Manipal 576104, Karnataka, India
Phone: +91 820 292 3207
The Alliance for Global Education, US Office
Program Advisor: Kerry Springer
If you are experiencing an emergency outside of US business hours, please dial our 24/7 Public Safety number at1-317-940-9396, extension 1, which is operated by Butler University Police Dispatch. Await instruction from the operator. You will be contacted by an Alliance staff member.
To send mail to the Alliance office in Manipal:
The Alliance for Global Education
Old TAPMI Building, Ground Floor
Manipal, 576104, Karnataka
To send mail to a student on the Manipal program:
The Alliance for Global Education
Old TAPMI Building, Ground floor
Manipal 576104, Karnataka
There is only one time zone in India: 10.5 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time. When it is 10:00pm in New York on Wednesday, it is 8:30 am in India on Thursday.
When Daylight Savings Time begins in March, India is only 9.5 hours ahead, as India does not observe Daylight Savings Time. Thus, when it is 10:00 pm in New York on Wednesday, it is 7:30 am in India on Thursday.
During orientation, you will receive more information about how to call home. Landlines will not be provided in student dormitories. Using Internet telephone booths is generally the least expensive way to call home from India, and you are able to receive calls at these calling centers as well. Students may also wish to contact their U.S. long distance carrier before they depart the U.S. and request an international calling guide. Keep in mind that using calling cards purchased in the U.S. is more expensive than using local options.
As with most of the world, however, cell phones are now the most common way to communicate in India. The Alliance will provide all students with a pre-paid cell phone on arrival. You will be responsible for maintaining a balance, and value can be easily added at nearby shops. The least expensive way to talk with your friends and family on your cell phone is to have them call you. Incoming calls and text messages on Indian cell phones are usually free. Reliance India offers inexpensive calling cards to India from the U.S., as well as a service that allows a U.S. number to be forwarded to an Indian cell phone at reduced rates.
The university has campus-wide WiFi and internet connections in each dorm room. Students also have access to computer labs on campus. It is important to keep in mind that WiFi campuses are unusual in India, and while Manipal is ahead of the curve, the speed of the Internet may not be as fast as you are accustomed to using to in the U.S. Off-campus, internet cafes are available and inexpensive but many students prefer purchasing a broadband data stick so that they have access to the Internet wherever they travel in India.
It is also important to know that Internet access and land-line phone service may not always be available. Power cuts are a frequent and regular part of life in India, though less so at Manipal, so plan as best you can to allow for more time than you might usually need to accomplish even the most humdrum of tasks online. Please also keep in mind that you may not have immediate access to internet during the week of orientation.
Generally, students studying abroad in India have recommended bringing a personal laptop, though the Alliance assumes no responsibility for personal items damaged or stolen while in India. If you are going to bring a laptop, consider purchasing a special insurance policy before you go. See the Travel Insurance section for more information.
Critical skills for success--with all things in India--are patience and an ability to roll with the unexpected. Also, remember that your priority in India is to immerse yourself in your local environment! Too much dependence on communication with home can not only hinder your ability to adapt and integrate, but it can actually exacerbate homesickness and culture shock. Try to set realistic expectations with your family and friends in the U.S. that will allow you to fully focus on this experience and your own personal growth and transformation throughout your semester.
If you need a break from pre-departure logistics, check out these books, films, and other resources about India -- the personal recommendations from Alliance staff and students! These materials introduce many social, historical, and economic aspects about life in India and help prepare you to make the most of your Alliance experience.
- India Calling: An Intimate Portrait of A Nation's Remaking by Anand Giridhadaras – a portrait of India as told by an American-born writer of Indian immigrants
- Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found by Suketu Mehta – this work of non-fiction follows the lives of various individuals in Bombay
- Red Earth and Pouring Rain by Vikram Chandra – a novel based in magical realism, blending Indian myths with stories of contemporary American
- Modern South Asia: History, Culture, Political Economy by Sugate Bose and Ayesha Jalal – a history text on the making of modern South Asia since 1700
- Hind Swaraj by K. Mohandas Gandhi – Mahatma Gandhi’s fundamental work
- The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy – a modern classic about a family in Kerala that is forever changed after one day in 1969
- Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri – a Pulitzer Prize-winning collection about Indians and Indian-Americans caught between tradition and modern-day society
- The Hungry Tide by Amitav Ghosh – a story of adventure, love, and identity set off the coast of the Bay of Bengal
- Cuckold by Kiran Nagarkar – Nagarkar weaves fact and fiction to recreate the story of the Rajput kingdom in the 16th century
- India after Gandhi: The History of the World's Largest Democracy by Ramachandra Guha – chronicles the history of India after independence
- Cultural Intelligence: Living and Working Globally by David C. Thomas and Kerr Inkson – a guide to navigating a globalizing world
- Wanderlust and Lipstick for Women Traveling to India by Beth Whitman – advice, stories, and resources for women traveling to India
- City of Djinns by William Dalrymple – a memoir of Dalrymple’s year in Delhi
- The Indians: Portrait of a People by Sudhir Kakar and Katharina Kakar – an examination of the cultural character of Indian people
- Mantra: Hearing the Divine in India and America by Harold G. Coward and David J. Goa – one of a trilogy, discussing the use of sound in Indian religion
- Darsan: Seeing the Divine Image by Diana L. Eck – one of a trilogy, discussing the role of visuals in Hindu tradition and culture
- Rasa: Performing the Divine in India by Susan L. Schwartz – one of a trilogy, discussing the role of performing arts in India
- Seven Secrets from Hindu Calendar Art by Devdutt Pattanai – an explanation of Hindu calendar art symbols
- Dhobi Ghat (Kiran Rao)
- Peepli [Live] (Anusha Rizvi and Mahmood Farooqui)
- Rang De Basanti (Rakesh Omprakash Mehra)
- Slumdog Millionaire (Danny Boyle and Loveleen Tandan)
- Lage Raho Munna Bhai (Rajkumar Hirani)
- Company (Ram Gopal Varma)
- Earth, Fire, and Water (Deepa Mehta) – a film trilogy
- Bombay (Mani Ratnam)
- Lagaan (Once Upon a Time in India) (Ashutosh Gowariker)
- Monsoon Wedding (Mira Nair)
- Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (Karan Johar)
- Kal Ho Naa Ho (Nikhil Advani)
- Jodhaa Akbar (Ashutosh Gowariker)
- Pather Panchali (Satyajit Ray)
- Gandhi (Richard Attenborough)
- A Passage to India (David Lean)
- U.S. Department of State's Travel Guide
- U.S. Department of State's Country Fact Sheet
- AIIS Pune Photo Archive
- South Asian Women's Network (SAWNET)
- South Asia Resource Access on the Internet (SARAI)
- Asia Society – a non-profit focused on strengthening mutual understanding and partnerships between Asia and the United States
- Matador Network – the largest independent travel publisher online
- Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI)'s public information campaigns – from the Center for Tobacco Control and Health Promotion
- Culture Crossing – a community guide to cross-cultural etiquette and understanding
Journals and Newspapers
- The Hindu
- The Times of India
- Manushi – journal about Women and Society
- Journal of South Asia Women Studies
- India Abroad
- Indian Express
- CoolAge India – journal of college life across the Indian subcontinent
- Indian Journal of Public Health
- Necessary Angels – a National Geographic article on public health workers in Maharashtra
- Along the Grand Trunk Road: Coming of Age in India and Pakistan – an NPR special series
- Hindustan Times India Youth Survey 2013 (click here for a PDF version)