Students Take Their Studies to India
Sarah DeCamp,Associate Director of Public Relations
Students in LIU Global’s India Center and LIU Global’s Comparative Religion and Culture program, spent the month of February in Varanasi, India, the world’s most continually inhabited city, to study religion and culture.
While in Varanasi, students had class on a boat on the Ganges River, visited NGOs working on various issues in the city, and conducted independent study projects on topics such as sex trafficking in Varanasi, fire dancing, traditional and Bollywood dance, henna art, Hindi, and Indian cuisine. In addition, students participated in Banaras Hindu University’s international seminar “Banaras, the Heritage City of India: Culture, Tourism and Development,” which gave students firsthand experience with cross-cultural communication, and allowed them to compare and contrast differences in Indian and American classrooms.
At the seminar, Kerry Mitchell, professor and director of the Comparative Religion and Culture program, participated in a panel discussion about the master plans and future development of Varanasi. Mitchell, who spoke about sustainable development, stated “Development is not just a compartment within academic study; it involves politics, history, economics, religion, and other fields. In a way, it covers all of life. That makes it an incredibly challenging field and a rewarding one.”
“Varanasi was an extremely intense experience that challenged me academically and personally,” said LIU Global student Nikki Higgins. “I loved being thrown into this lively city where I had no choice but to learn firsthand about religious diversity and worship, specifically that of Hinduism. I also got to observe the caste system and how it affected the relationships of the local Indians, something that I hadn't been able to see as easily living in the metropolitan city of Bangalore.”
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