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The UW-Madison Health and Disease in South Asia Field Experience is an intensive, three-week program that provides students in health-related disciplines the opportunity to learn about important health issues, particularly those resulting from the Union Carbide gas disaster of 1984. Students will live and work in the Sambhavna Clinic in Bhopal which is dedicated to helping the victims of the disaster. The Sambhavna Clinic carries out a range of interlinked activities: Medical Care, Community Health Work, Research and Monitoring, Documentation and Seminars and Training.
Most patients at the clinic were exposed to the gas 25 years ago and are still suffering respiratory and vision problems. Many children born since the disaster have disabilities directly related to maternal gas exposure. Students will observe and help in the running of the clinic, and also be exposed to the community-based activism that is part of Sambhavna's mission. Throughout the program, participants will be introduced to the life, health, disease, and culture of India.
India is the largest country in South Asia with a population of 1.2 billion people. Many languages are used in the country, with Hindi and English both functioning as official languages. Bhopal is the capital of the state of Madhya Pradesh, and has a population of 2 million. The language of Bhopal is Hindi/Urdu. Bhopal has the second-largest Muslim population in India, and is thus home to some of the most beautiful mosques in South Asia.
Getting to Your Program
Students make their own travel arrangements but are given guidelines for arrival dates and times.
U.S. citizens must have a U.S. passport valid for at least six months beyond the end of the program. A student visa is required. IAP will provide program participants with visa information upon acceptance to the program.
HousingBasic housing for guests is provided in the Sambhavna clinic. There are two dormitories (one for men, one for women) with six beds in each room. Each dorm has its own bathroom. Living conditions will be simple and a flexible mindset will be required. Most meals are provided, which will consist of simple vegetarian food. There is no air-conditioning at the Sambhavna clinic.
Excursions and Activities
The program will include cultural events within Bhopal such as visits to Bharat Bhavan, Bhopal's internationally renowned performing and visual arts center, the Museum of Man, Birla Mandir and temple gardens, and Bhopal's three 19th-century historic sandstone mosques built during the reign of Bhopal's matriarchy. Daytrips will include a visit to the sacred Buddhist shrine in Sanchi (46 km NE of Bhopal) with a possible bike trip to the Udaigiri Caves. Fieldtrips to the Stupas at Satdhara and viewing of prehistoric rock art at Bhimbetka can be arranged. The Mahadeo Hills and an optional overnight visit to Pachmarhi and Satpura National park to see waterfalls and wildlife is a possibility for learning about local geography, ecology and culture. All fieldtrips will depend on weather and other local conditions. Some trips will be taken by 3-wheeler autorickshaw or taxi, others by public transport.
You will be enrolled in the UW System required health insurance through Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI) and the cost of the insurance coverage is included in program fees.
A faculty member from UW-Madison will serve as Resident Director in India.
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How to Apply
First complete the IAP Online Application. The following supplemental application materials will become available to you through the application portal:
Forms are subject to change. Complete the forms according to the checklist provided to you in the online application portal.
After the Deadline
IAP will review your application and make the final admissions decision. You will be notified of the admissions decision via email.
During the prior Spring semester participants are required to take a two-credit course as a pre-requisite. Students will earn an additional two credits (PHS 645) after successful completion of the summer field program.
The course provides interdisciplinary perspectives on health, disease, and public health. Students will explore topics such as major infectious diseases, HIV/AIDS, maternal health services, malnutrition and traditional healing in South Asia, as well as learn about cultural issues as related to health.
A faculty member from UW-Madison will serve as Resident Director in India. A public health specialist, from Madison will also accompany the group.
Use the links below to see a list of courses that students have taken on this program before and the UW equivalents. Note: this list only includes pre-approved courses for your program and may not be an exhaustive list of courses or departments. You will get instructions on the course equivalent process after acceptance.
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