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 4 – October 28
|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 29 – November 6
Air Travel (Taipei to Chiang Mai)
Students may explore locations in Thailand
|November 6 – December 20
||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 21 – January 5
January 5 –February 28
|Air Travel (Bangkok to Bangalore)
Program in India
Focus: Hinduism, Religious Diversity, Social Issues and Human Rights
Highlights: Varanasi, River Ganga, Sarnath, Yoga
|March 1 – March 12
Students may explore India independently before making their way to Delhi
March 13 – April 27
|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 the classroom instruction, a typical week includes guided visits to important religious and cultural sites in and around Taipei, advising meetings, community and/or processing meetings, homework, and free time. We will also look to attend the annual student activity fair so that CRC students can join clubs and meet local students. 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 be living near Chiang Mai University, and will be hosted by the Institute of Southeast Asian Affairs at CMU. In addition to classroom instruction mixed with site visits, we will look to spend several days at a Buddhist dhamma center and Burmese refugee camp on the Thai-Burma border, combining service learning and meditation. Following the initial programming, 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 with a writing week to focus on final papers and presentations.
We will begin our program in Bangalore, home of Global College’s India Center and a hub of India’s modernizing economy. After our initial orientation and welcome to India, we will head west to Kerala where we will engage in a two-week program exploring religion, economy, and globalization. Following our engagement with religion and culture in southern India, we will journey north to Varanasi where our program will spend about a month in and around one of Hinduism’s most holy cities. This hub of multiple pilgrimage routes sitting on the Ganges, India’s most sacred river, also lies close to Sarnath and Bodh Gaya, two of Buddhism’s most holy sites. In addition to an intensive introduction to lived religion and sacred geography, students will have the opportunity for independent study and homestays during this period.
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.