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  • Locations: Varanasi, India
  • Program Terms: Early Fall
Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
Program Information:
sociology italy
 Location Varanasi, India
Early Fall 2017
September 2 – September 23, 2017
 Estimated    Program Fee $3,300 - LOWERED!
 Credits 5 UW credits
 Prerequisites None
 Program      Directors Greg Tuke, UW Bothell Faculty, School of Educational Studies and First and Pre-Major Program; Kara Adams, Director of Community Engagement, UW Bothell
 Program  Manager Katherine Kroeger |
 Application    Deadline April 2, 2017 - deadline extended!
 Information  Session(s) Thursday February 16, 12 – 1 pm, DISC 464 Monday February 6, 3:30 – 4:40 pm, DISC 464
  General Varanasi is one of the oldest living cities in the world. Regarded as the spiritual capital of India, the city draws Hindu pilgrims who bathe in the Ganges River’s sacred waters and perform funeral rites. Along the city's winding streets are some 2,000 temples. This program will explore the intersection of how culture and spirituality affect the environmental health of the Ganges River and the city of Varanasi. This program will include home stays and interaction with local university and high school students, as well as local NGOs.
Where You Will Study
Expenses, Financial Aid, & Scholarships


Program Description

This exploration seminar provides students with a unique opportunity to live, study and interact with Tibetan students and faculty at one of the most prestigious Tibetan Universities in India, as well as an opportunity to get actively engaged with Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO’s) working along the most sacred of all rivers to the Hindus, the Ganges River in India.

UW Bothell has been engaged with this university for the past three years, with our students working directly and virtually, with students at this Tibetan University, the Central University of Tibetan Studies (CUTS). This will be the first time students will have an opportunity to both extend that partnership so students can work and learn side by side with CUTS students, and also open up that opportunity to other students who have not yet interacted on-line with students and faculty at CUTS.

In the first week, students will learn about Buddhist philosophy and how it impacts the daily lives and actions taken to improve both self and the community at-large. Students will compare and contrast philosophies for living, with a focus on how these belief systems impact how one acts in the world at large.

In week two, UW Bothell students will be exposed directly to the personal stories of their peers as a community in exile, comparing and contrasting experiences of friends, families, and other community members in the US who have experienced displacement, immigration and reactions of acceptance, rejection and resignation, and how one responds to those actions of the dominant country. Students will begin to integrate personal philosophy with political exile and how one responds to it.

In week three, students will expand their experience to action-taking, living for a weekend with host families in Varanasi, and exploring issues that local NGO’s are working on, ranging from environmental to human rights along the Ganges River, the most sacred river in India to Hindus. The final days will be spent with students reflecting upon their experience, examining how this impacts their own personal philosophy for living and working for both internal and external betterment, culminating in a 2-4 minute video that captures some aspects of that reflection.



Varanasi, India


Ganges River, Sarnath day trip, Varanasi NGO’s


For the first two weeks, students and staff will be staying at the partner university dorms, CUTS. We will hire a local cook for most of our meals in the first two weeks of this three week experience. During the final week, we will stay for several days in homestays, in Varanasi, arranged by a local NGO, one that works with many universities. CUTS prefers cash, and the housing vendor will accept credit card payment.

At CUTS, there is 24 hour security for the university, and all dorm rooms are lockable as well. There is air conditioning in most rooms, and indoor plumbing with hot water and electricity, as long as there is not a power outage. Which can occasionally occur for brief (hours, rarely days) periods of time.

The homestays have all been vetted by a reputable vender, who works with numerous universities, and has done so for more than a decade.


Pre-Requisites/Language Requirements



5 Credits


BEDVC 401 (5 credits)

This course offers students the rare opportunity to learn alongside Tibetan students in two of the most sacred places in India; Sarnath and Varanasi, on the banks of the Ganges River, holiest of all rivers to the Hindus. While there, you will have an introduction to Buddhist philosophy, and how it impacts both the interior and external aspects of life, and have an opportunity to get engaged in the local community on important environmental and human rights issues of concern. The Central University of Tibetan Studies will be our host, with some familiarity with UW Bothell, in that its students have been working virtually with UW Bothell students in courses focused on contemporary global social issues for the past three years.

Learning Goals: 

  • Gain knowledge of basic Buddhist philosophy, and comparing it to other contemporary Western philosophies.
  • Gain skills in reflective analysis, and in communicating deeper reflections through a video each student produces about their experience.
  • Gain technical skills in the basics of photography, videography, storyboarding and video editing.
  • Students will be evaluated on the products they produce: a daily blog reflection, and the final video they each produce, as well as there levels of active participation and engagement with the participating Tibetan and US students
  • Gain skills in documenting natural history events and produce pieces of science/conservation communication: students will submit a natural history journal, a blog entry and visual material that documents their learning
  • Gain knowledge of the local environmental and human rights issues in the area of study, including an understanding of different cultural practices with respect to resource use, as well human exploitation: students are expected to participate in frequent discussions and do presentations on assigned issues, based on field observations, field lecture, and outside reading.
  • Deepen understanding of their own identities, personal narrative, and values

Program Directors & Staff

Greg Tuke, Faculty, Department of Educational Studies, Program Director

Kara Adams, Director of Community Engagement, Program Coordinator

Kara has worked at UW Bothell since 2009, in multiple roles in the Office of Community-Based Learning and Research. Kara works with community partners, faculty, staff, and students to support CBLR courses, student civic engagement, and broader community engagement initiatives. She received her undergraduate degree in Cultural Anthropology, and her Master’s in Education in Student Development Administration. Kara studied abroad in Kampala, Uganda during her undergraduate degree, and did a graduate internship in Lima, Peru during her Masters. Kara enjoys growing food, watching independent and international films, and dancing and singing pop songs.

Program Expenses

Cost: $3,900

Estimated Program Fee of $3,900, the UW Study Abroad Fee ($350), airfare, food (about $5/day), UW Study Abroad Insurance ($62/month), other health expenses/immunizations and personal spending money.

Average Airplane Ticket Price

$1,600 - $2,000* roundtrip

*Subject to when & where you buy your ticket

Payment Schedule

Program fees will be posted to your MyUW student account and can be paid the same way that you pay tuition and other fees. Check your MyUW Account periodically for due dates.

Payment Type Payment Amount Payment Due Date
Non-Refundable Study Abroad Fee $350 October 13, 2017
Program Fee Balance $3,900 October 13, 2017


There are a variety of scholarships available to help fund your study abroad experience. Visit the Global Opportunities page for more information and application deadlines.


To be eligible to study abroad, all program participants must attend an in-person pre-departure orientation facilitated by the Study Abroad office as well as your program-specific orientations, offered by your program director.

You must register for orientation through your online study abroad account in order to attend scheduled orientations. You can visit the Orientation section of our website to view the current orientation schedule.

Orientation must be completed prior to the enrollment deadline for the quarter that you are studying abroad.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Most forms of financial aid can be applied to study abroad. You can verify that your financial aid award will apply to your program costs by contacting the Financial Aid Office. Financial aid or scholarships awarded as tuition waivers or tuition exemptions might not apply so you will need to verify that these funds are eligible for use with study abroad by contacting the funding office.

Financial aid and most scholarships are disbursed according to the UW academic calendar (at the beginning of the quarter). If your program starts before the start of the UW quarter, your financial aid will not be available to you prior to your departure. If your program starts after the first day of the quarter, your financial aid will be disbursed at the start of the program. In either of these cases, you will have to finance any upfront costs such as airfare, health insurance and the start of your time abroad on your own. Please take this into consideration when you are making plans.

Revision Request

In some instances you may qualify for an increase in your financial aid award (typically in loan funds). Check with the Financial Aid Office about your options. To request a revision in your aid, you will need to submit the following paperwork to the Financial Aid Office:

  1. Revision Request Form
  2. Budget of student expenses for your program: The UW Study Abroad Office will upload this budget to your study abroad account after a signed contract has been submitted to the UW Study Abroad Office. You can request an unofficial copy of this budget by emailing

Visit the Finances section of our website to learn more about disbursement, revising your aid package, short-term loans and scholarships.

Application Process

The application includes a Personal Statement, three short answer questions, one recommendation from a professor or TA, and electronic signature documents related to UW policies and expectations for study abroad. Following the on-line application process students may be contacted by the Program Director for an in-person interview. Once an admission decision has been made regarding your application, you will be notified by the study abroad system via email.


UW Study Abroad is not responsible for obtaining visas for study abroad program participants. The cost and requirements for obtaining visas vary. It is your responsibility to determine visa requirements for all countries you plan to visit while abroad including countries that you plan to visit before or after your study abroad program. You can do so by calling the consular offices of those countries or checking the following website:

Note: If you are not a U.S. citizen, consult the embassy or consulate of the countries you will visit to learn their document requirements. You can check the following website to find contact information for the consulate of the country you will be visiting:

For non-U.S. citizens, the procedures that you will need to follow may be different than those for U.S. citizens. It is important to initiate this process as soon as possible in order to assemble documents and allow time for lengthy procedures.

Disability Accommodations

The University of Washington is committed to providing access and reasonable accommodation in its services, programs, activities, and education for individuals with disabilities. To request disability accommodation for this program, contact Disability Resources for Students at least 8 weeks in advance of your departure date. Contact info at


$350 of the total program fee and the $350 UW Study Abroad Fee are non-refundable and non-revocable once a contract has been submitted, even if you withdraw from the program. Students withdrawing from a program are responsible for paying a percentage of the program fee depending on the date of withdrawal. More details about the withdrawal policy are included in your payment contract. No part of the program fee is refundable once the program has begun. The date of withdrawal is considered the date (business day) a withdrawal form is received by the UW Study Abroad Office. Notice of withdrawal from the program must be made in writing by completing the following steps:

1. Provide notice in writing to the Program Director that you will no longer be participating in the program for which you have signed a contract and accepted a slot.

2. Submit a signed withdrawal form to the UW Study Abroad Office, 459 Schmitz Hall.

Visit the Withdrawals section of our website for more information.