Alliance-India students will be permitted only one checked bag and one carry-on. We will be traveling by van to the orientation site, and there are space restrictions for how much baggage can be brought on board.
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. Though Pune is a modern university town, and you will no doubt see some Indian students wearing jeans and tank tops, as a foreigner you will want to minimize the kinds of unwanted attention you might receive. Furthermore, for your internship and directed research you should be prepared to dress in manner appropriate to more traditional contexts.
This means just following a few basic rules of thumb: shoulders should be covered, pants and skirts mid-calf or ankle-length, necklines not too low, all clothes fairly loose (though fitted is fine), and fabrics opaque. Layering is always a good idea: having tank tops, camisoles, and slips under fabrics that might be translucent, tops that are hip-length, and cotton scarves or shawls to throw over your shoulders. Often linen pants are very comfortable, and if you are in Pune during monsoon season you should bring pants that can be rolled above your ankle. You should also bring one pair of jeans for any weekend excursions that might include hiking or similar activities. In a university or metropolitan setting, modestly-fitting jeans and leggings are also acceptable when worn under more traditional hip-length tunics. Shorts are not appropriate, even in your homestay.
Most women students end up buying a lot of local clothing, or even better, having outfits tailor-made! The traditional Indian salwar kameez outfits that you'll see most women wearing are always comfortable, attractive, inexpensive, practical, and appropriate.
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 are not appropriate, especially not for internships, documenatary film, or directed research. Same goes for T-shirts. Most men in India wear lightweight, collared shirts with cotton pants. You should also bring one pair of jeans for any weekend excursions that might include hiking or similar activities. As with the women, remember that your experiences in India will be enhanced if you are dressed appropriately to the local context.
Women’s and Men’s Clothing
Underwear: Bring plenty of underwear! All hosts will provide a way for the laundry to be done as often you need it, however, if you are in Pune during a drought there, obviously, won’t be an abundance of water so you will probably cut back on the frequency of doing your wash. Also, in most cases your laundry will be hung up in public areas to dry, so try to bring modest cuts and solid colors as not to draw attention. Cotton underwear is typically best for the hot climate.
Sweater/Outerwear: Even in December and January, Pune has a lovely climate, so one sweater, sweatshirt, or fleece should suffice unless you are planning on traveling to North India after the program. For travel and the rainy season, it is good to pack one lightweight shell or waterproof jacket.
- Flip-flops or sandals - In India people commonly slip off their shoes before entering homes, temples, and even some classrooms and places of business, so you’ll want at least one pair of flip-flops or sandals that you can take off easily. These are widely available and inexpensive in Pune as well, if you’d prefer to wait to acquire a pair when you’re there.
- Sturdy walking sandals – also a good idea, also available in Pune.
- Light trekking shoes or sneakers – with the many hills and mountains that surround Pune, you might want to bring a pair for light trekking.
Sun hat/sunglasses: Indian sun is strong, so be sure to bring adequate protection.
Dress clothes: Chances are good that you will be invited to at least one Indian wedding or other celebration while you are in India, so you'll want at least one nice outfit to wear. Women, this could be your opportunity to buy your first sari, but if you do also want to bring something from home, keep in mind the above guidelines here, too.
Please be sure to bring a full semester’s supply of any prescription medication you require. Most medications are available in Pune, but certain brand names may not be available or there might be slight variations, so bring as much of any required medication as you will need for the duration of your stay.
Most everyday toiletries are available in Pune, but you’ll still want to start out with a basic supply (a few weeks' worth) of the following:
- Mosquito repellent
- Basic self-medication needs (aspirin, band-aids, etc.)
- Anti-bacterial waterless hand cleaner (you’ll be using A LOT of this)
- Contact lens solution
- Feminine products (though you might want to consider the Keeper, a favorite of women travelers, www.thekeeper.com)
- Laptop computer (see "Telephone and Internet" for more information)
- Camera and charger
- Adapter/converter (see "Electrical Applicances")
- Appropriate equipment for your anticipated internship or directed research project, for example, a digital voice recorder for interviews or a hand-held video camera for documentary filmmaking
- Small flashlight (power cuts are frequent)
- Sturdy water bottle with screw top
- Money belt
- A towel to use when you first arrive
- Small photo album with pictures of family, friends, home, and college to share with your host family/roommates
- Travel alarm clock
- Ziploc bags (you have no idea how many uses you find for these!)
- Locks for luggage or cabinets
- Swiss Army knife (be sure to pack in your checked baggage)
- USB "flash" drive
- Any favorite small games (Frisbee, cards, chess, etc.)
- Musical instrument if you play one (this would be permitted as a second carry-on)
- Gifts for your host family or roommates (something from your college/university or unique to your hometown/region is usually a good idea)