Students in a market holding up bags of dried fruit and vegetables

How much does the program cost?

ILR students selected to the program would receive a scholarship to cover some program costs including tuition, room & board, and airport transport from Bangalore to Mysore. Students will be responsible for airfare (ILR students will be eligible to apply for university funding and an ILR travel grant to cover the airfare and other costs), visa fees, immunizations, health insurance, United Healthcare Global emergency travel insurance, and personal travel costs not directly related to the program.  Please contact Donna Ramil (dmr47@cornell.edu) for specifics.

For Global Health students, the cost will be around $4,500-$5,000. This includes visa, airfare, tuition, room & board and local transportation in India. Please contact Jeanne Moseley (jmm298@cornell.edu) for specifics.

Will my insurance work overseas?

Call your insurance provider to ask about their company policies about international travel coverage. Some insurance companies will extend coverage for international travel, but availability and type of coverage will vary based on the company. Keep in mind that some companies may require you to pay up-front for any medical services and will reimburse you for the cost upon your arrival back to the United States, so it is best to have a plan for how to access emergency funds just in case.

Cornell University's Office of Student Health Insurance can be contacted by phone (607) 255-6363 from Monday to Friday, 9:30am – 4:30pm, for information about additional travel insurance through the Student Health Insurance Plan.

What is United Healthcare Global?

UHC is a form of medical coverage and personal security that is employed only in emergency cases. This does not include basic healthcare coverage, but will provide any emergency medically necessary care (ex. severe trauma, medical repatriation) or evacuation if in-country safety deteriorates (ex. the government collapses).

Cornell requires students to fly on the safest airlines, as ranked by MEDEX. This includes all airlines that are ranked as Class 1 (good) or Class 2 (adequate). For detailed information, follow the given instructions:

  1. Using Firefox (this process does not work for Safari or Internet Explorer), go to www.international.cornell.edu. Ensure that pop-ups are enabled.
  2. Click on Travel Resources.
  3. Scroll down the page and select Emergencies Abroad.
  4. Click on Access MEDEX Now.
  5. Login using Cornell NetID and password.
  6. Select Airline Insider from the menu on the left.

What can I wear?

Southern Indian culture is conservative compared to North American culture, and dressing appropriately is an important way to show respect and cultural sensitivity. If you will be living in a rural center (i.e. Saragur, Hosahalli or Kenchanahalli), it is especially important to wear traditional South Indian attire. It is recommended for women to purchase salwar kameez (a traditional 3-piece coordinating outfit) in India or to wear loose pants with a long top that is also loose with longer sleeves and a modest neckline (i.e. tunics). It is considered inappropriate for ankles to be visible and for necklines to be too revealing (this includes V-neck and scoop-neck tops). Men are recommended to bring khaki or lightweight pants (no shorts) and lightweight shirts with a button-down shirt for special occasions. Sandals are completely appropriate for both men and women.

Where will I live?

While taking classes in Mysore, students will live in SVYM's hostel in the KIADB Industrial Housing Area in Hebbal, Mysore. Accommodations are comfortable, with each student having their own room or sharing with another Cornell student. Each room has it's own bathroom with shower, western toilet and sink. All meals will be provided in the canteen located on the ground floor of the hostel.

During the Service Learning portion of the trip, housing will vary based on location. Students with placements in:

  • Mysore will continue to live in SVYM's hostel.
  • Saragur will live in the residential wing of the Vivekananda Memorial Hospital-Saragur.
  • Kenchanahalli will live in provided housing within the Vivekananda Memorial Hospital-Kenchanahalli campus.
  • Hosahalli will live in provided housing within the school campus.

Is the water safe to drink? Is the food safe to eat?

Filtered, clean water is available at each of SVYM's sites, and this is safe to drink. Be cautious with tap water, though, even at an SVYM site. When eating in restaurants, only drink the water if it came from a sealed bottle of water – never drink the water if you are unsure if it came from the tap or a previously used water bottle.

All food prepared in SVYM facilities is safe to eat. When eating in restaurants, avoid foods that are raw (i.e. salads, fresh fruit) in case they have been washed with unsafe water. It is good practice to avoid eating street food.

How will I be able to communicate with my family and friends while I'm in India?

Students will be able to purchase pre-paid cell phones in Mysore, and if enough credit is placed on the phone, phone calls may be made to countries outside of India. (These phones are also beneficial for students to communicate with one another while in India and at their respective project sites.) However, students living in Mysore, Saragur and Hyderabad will have reliable access to the Internet and will be able to communicate home via email and Skype. Kenchanahalli has Internet access, but it is not as reliable during monsoon season. Hosahalli has very limited Internet access.

I am a junior who will be studying abroad spring semester. Will I still be able to participate in the India SVYM GSL program this summer?

All students who are going to India through the India SVYM GSL program are required to complete an ILR pre-departure course, a two-credit graded course designed to prepare students for their field experiences in India. This course will cover important topics including preparation for life abroad, appreciating cultural diversity, health and safety, gender issues, politics and issues surrounding development work.
Details about the course will be shared with students who are selected into the GSL program. As of now, students who are unable to complete this course are not eligible to participate in the program. The course will be held on Wednesdays, 2:55-4:30pm, during the spring semester.

Who can I talk to about the India SVYM GSL Program?

ILR students contact Donna Ramil, Associate Director of International Programs and program coordinator for the India SVYM GSL Program, 117 Ives; email dmr47@cornell.edu.
GMHs students contact Jeanne Moseley, Program Coordinator, Global Health Program, HE Nutritional Sciences, Savage B15, email jmm298@cornell.edu.