Cornell University

International Programs

117 Ives Hall, 607-254-7255

Program Description

ILR GSL students

The ILR School has partnered with the Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement (SVYM) in Karnataka state, India to develop the India SVYM GSL Program. SVYM is a community development, non-religious, non-political organization working for the benefit of indigenous and rural people in southern India through effective education, accessible healthcare and sustainable empowerment initiatives. The organization boasts several academic initiatives, including a Master's degree in Developmental Studies offered through a local university as well as housing a grassroots policy research institute (GRAAM) in collaboration with the Cornell Institute of Public Affairs.

Together with global health minor students, ILR students will participate in 2 weeks of courses at the Vivekananda Institute of Indian Studies to prepare for work in their service-learning placements. For more information about the courses of study, visit the Courses page. Students will then participate in 4 or 6-week service learning projects in SVYM project sites that are both interesting to the students and beneficial for the organization.

Description of Project Component

Following the initial 2-week learning component, students will be placed in either 4-week (ILR students) or 6-week (GH students) service projects at an SVYM site. Projects will be selected during spring semester before going to India, and an attempt will be made to match the students' top choices and interests with the needs and desires of SVYM.

The program is split into 2 parts.

Part 1. During the first two-weeks in India, students will take courses at the Vivekananda Institute of Indian Studies, an arm of SVYM, in Mysore, Karnataka state, India ( The courses are:

  • Indian Civilization and Culture
  • Gender in India
  • Indian Labor Relations & Economics or Global Health in the Indian Context (depending on program track)
  • Kannada (official language of Karnataka)
  • Elective course in yoga

Part 2. After 2 weeks of courses, students will take part in service projects at one of SVYM’s field sites in Mysore, Bangalore or Hyderabad. The service project sites will be determined during the spring semester, prior to the students’ departure.

ILR Worldwide


Europe North America Latin America Africa Australia Asia Middle East Europe North America Latin America Africa Australia Asia Middle East

India GSL Application apply by 11/3

Dr. Balu discusses SVYM's partnership with Cornell, view the video

Visit SVYM to learn of its mission and projects,

Visit Dr. Balu's blog to learn of the origin of SVYM and its work,

View the video to learn more about the India SVYM GSL Program, Summer 2014

CNNIBN Yuva features Dr Balu in People Inspired by Swami Vivekananda recognizes

CNNIBN Yuva Dr Balu and others discuss youth movement through the teachings of Swami Vivekananda