July, 2015

Summer Abroad Programmes at Ashoka

Summer abroad programmes at Ashoka serve to augment the educational experience by providing an extraordinary learning environment and helping build life-skills vital for independent living

By Team Ashoka

The world is getting flatter and globalisation is becoming a necessity for the economy. Thus, an effective education has to be one that assimilates academic endeavours and global awareness. With this vision, the Office of Undergraduate Programmes at Ashoka has launched a variety of study abroad programmes this summer with prestigious universities, including King’s College (London), KoC University (Turkey), Sciences Po (Paris), NUS (Singapore) and University of California (Berkeley).

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Shivangi Tikekar, an undergraduate student at University of California (Berkeley)

From among the options available – a Summer Internship, a Summer Abroad as well as a Summer at Ashoka – about 15 students chose to spend their summer overseas in six different universities. They attended courses ranging from Political Economics to Linguistic Science. “We offer our students the opportunity to extend their semester learning experience through Ashoka’s summer Study Abroad programme. Through this, they are exposed to mentored research, intensive courses and other academic endeavours in various fields of study at top institutions globally,” says Dr. Vanita Shastri, Dean of Undergraduate Programmes at Ashoka University.

The programme is about six weeks long. However, in some cases, like with the research- based    programmes at the Koc (Turkey), the term was extended to two months.

Some of the students have already returned to the country and have some interesting experiences to share. Shreyas Shende, an undergraduate student who went to the University of California (Berkeley) said, “My summer session at Berkeley was a series of firsts – first Philosophy class, first Comparative Politics class, and first summer session. Ashoka had given me the opportunity to study at one of the top public universities in the world and I was looking forward to six weeks of intensive reading and writing.”  He mentioned that the greatest part about studying at Berkeley this summer was understanding just how Ashoka had prepared him to survive – and thrive – in those intense six weeks.  University of California, Berkeley is a major public research university ranked third on the U.S. News‘ 2015 Best Global Universities rankings.

Shivangi Tikekar, another undergraduate student who also attended the University of California (Berkeley) and took a course in Linguistic Sciences says, “Berkeley is big on research and while I was there, I participated in a couple of ongoing research experiments in Linguistics. It was interesting to see how such experiments are actually conducted— from the kinds of equipment used to the methods of data collection. We also had researchers, whose papers we had read for class, come in and talk about their work.”

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Asees Puri, an undergraduate student at Sciences Po, Paris

These Summer Abroad programmes placed the students in diverse socio-cultural environments. While some students went to the United States of America, others explored Europe and Western Asia through their pursuit of education.

For instance, Asees Puri, an undergraduate student, went to Sciences Po, Paris (the Institut d’études politiques de Paris) as a part of the programme. She took a course in Political Economics. The university caters to students who are interested in Political Science as well as Economics, History, Sociology, Law, Finance, Business, Communication, Social and Urban Policy, Management and Journalism. Says Asees, “There was perhaps more to learn from a close analysis of the multitude of  perspectives projected than there was to learn from a closer analysis of the theories that formed the root of these projections. The intellectual highlight of the programme was a guest session where the former Prime Minister of Italy, Enrico Letta, spoke to the students about the resurrection of the Euro-zone. The learning, though, was in no way bound by the ancient picturesque walls of the Science Po Campus.”

Most of the students who chose the Study Abroad option have now returned to India equipped with new skills and knowledge, and a multitude of experiences. They certainly have interesting stories to share about living in a foreign land this summer.

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