Organization of the Year
The schedule of classes and activities for each country is relatively self-contained, although the presence of the traveling Faculty Advisor throughout the journey facilitates an ongoing, cumulative learning experience for students. Thus, each new country marks a new set of topics and approaches reflecting that country's religious and cultural experience.
September 5 – October 29
|Air Travel (San Francisco to Taipei)|
Program in Taiwan
Focus: Mahayana Buddhism, Taoist Popular Religion, National Identity
Highlights: Dharma Drum Meditation Retreat, Tzu Chi Buddhist Service Organization
October 30 – November 7
Air Travel (Taipei to Chiang Mai)
Students may explore locations in Thailand
|November 7 – December 21
||Program in Thailand|
Focus: Theravada Buddhism, Inter-religious Dialogue, Social Issues and Human Rights
Highlights: Loi Krathong Festival, Buddhist Meditation Retreat, Social Issues at the Thai-Burmese Border
|December 22 – January 6
||Winter Recess |
January 6 – March 1
|Air Travel (Bangkok to Delhi)|
Program in India
Focus: Hinduism, Religious Diversity, Social Issues and Human Rights
Highlights: Varanasi, River Ganga, Sarnath, Yoga
|March 2 – March 12
Students may explore India independently before making their way to Delhi
March 12 – April 28
|Air Travel (Delhi to Ankara)|
Program in Turkey
Focus: Islam, Sufism, and Alevism, Turkish Language, History and Culture
Highlights: Konya and Sufi Lodge
Keep in mind that itineraries can change in response to events in the countries to be visited, and the advice of the U.S. State Department.
Overview of the Program
Hosted by National Chengchi University (NCCU), CRC students can expect to devote two days a week to classroom instruction on the campus located in the hills and sub-tropical forest at the southeastern edge of Taipei. In addition to receiving instruction on Taiwanese religion and culture, we will also look to attend the annual student activity fair so that CRC students can join clubs and meet local students. CRC students can also expect to spend two days a week on guided visits to important religious and cultural sites in and around Taipei. One day a week will likely be devoted to advising, community and/or processing meetings, and homework, and the remaining two days of the week will be reserved for free time. Two field trips will take us away from this weekly rhythm: one to a Buddhist monastery for multi-day instruction in Buddhism and meditation, and another to sites in eastern Taiwan that will give us broader exposure to Taiwan's geography, indigenous peoples, traditional economy, popular religion, and other cultural features.
We will begin with a three-week program run largely by the Institute for the Study of Religion, Culture, and Peace (IRCP) at Payap University in Chiang Mai. In addition to classroom instruction mixed with site visits, we will look to spend several days at a Buddhist temple and Burmese refugee camp on the Thai-Burma border, combining service learning and meditation. Following IRCP's program, we intend to spend two weeks of independent study in which students may take advantage of northern Thailand's numerous NGO's and social service organizations, both religious and otherwise. Finally, we will end our first semester at Empty Space, an artist's retreat center in the rural environs of Chiang Mai. While we will have some exposure to international and Thai art, our time there will be largely devoted to reflecting on the first semester's experience and producing final papers and presentations.
We will begin our program in Delhi, the capital and home to numerous sites that display India's national heritage. Gaining a general orientation to Indian culture there, we will proceed to Agra and the Taj Mahal, capping our encounter with India's national heritage with one of the wonders of the world. Journeying east to Varanasi, our program will spend a number of weeks in and around one of Hinduism's most holy cities, a hub of multiple pilgrimage routes sitting on the Ganges, India's most sacred river. In addition to an intensive introduction to lived religion and sacred geography, students will likely have the opportunity for independent study and homestays during this period. Our final destination in India will likely be either Dharmsala in the foothills of the Himalayas or an ashram in Ujjain in the west of India, either of which will allow both programming opportunities and time for final writing and reflection on India.
Ankara will provide our program with an intensive, two-week classroom introduction to Turkish society, politics, and religion, supplemented by select site visits and cooperative programming with Youth for Understanding Turkey. With this foundation, we will journey to the east of Turkey near the border with Syria, encountering a more Middle Eastern culture and several ancient religious and cultural sites. Journeying back toward the west, we will spend several days in Konya living in a Sufi lodge and encountering Islam's mystical tradition. We will end our time in Turkey and CRC with several weeks in Istanbul, mixing some programming with end-of-year assignments and processing of our collective experience.
*Note: The activities listed above may change or be replaced based on unforeseen circumstances and normal year-to-year variations.