Study Abroad in Hyderabad: Community Engagement Program

The objective of the Community Engagement Program is to provide students with the opportunity to develop an understanding of the current issues impacting community life in India and to learn about a people-centered approach to social change. Students experience first-hand the role of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in various development initiatives while earning academic credits. This program is offered only in the Fall.

Students opting to take this Community Engagement Program may earn a total of 8 credits, comprising a 4-credit theory/practical Community Engagement course and a 4-credit language course (Telugu or Hindi – selection based on the location of the NGO). Students can take two more 4-credit courses of their choice, provided they fit in with their CE schedule.

Please note the following admission requirements for the Community Engagement Program:

  • 3.0 minimum GPA required
  • Students must be aged 20 or older by the start of the program
  • Only students at the third year level of their study or more, OR students having completed at least 5 semesters of coursework or more, will be considered for acceptance to the module
  • Students will be required to submit an essay (please consult your AIFS Admissions Officer for further details)

Please note that acceptance to the AIFS Hyderabad program does not guarantee acceptance to the Hyderabad Community Engagement Program. Community Engagement Program applications will be reviewed by the Community Engagement Program Coordinators at the University of Hyderabad, and an acceptance decision will be provided prior to departure from the U.S. This course has a minimum enrollment requirement.

Students interested in the Community Engagement Program may have an earlier admission deadline. Please consult your AIFS Admissions Officer for further details.


Community Engagement: Theory and Practice (4)
This course will include classroom instruction as well as hands-on time in the allotted NGO (Non-Governmental Organization). Students will be introduced to basic ethnographic methods and ideas, as well as gain some understanding of community development concepts, principles, processes and practices. The course will explore a people-centered approach to social change, with emphasis on distributive justice, ecological awareness, local knowledge, participation, and gender equity with reference to the role of NGOs in various development initiatives. Students will be required to keep a field journal of their experiences, and assignments will include a book review, project proposal and a final course project.

Community Engagement: Language (4)
Students will take a language course based either on previous knowledge of a local language (Hindi, Telugu, Urdu) or as appropriate for the NGO placement. Language skills will be developed through classroom interaction, take-home assignments, and practice in the field.

Upon completion of the program, students will have acquired the following:

  • Basic ethnographic skills such as participant observation, note-taking, and working with qualitative data
  • A community/organizational profile with special reference to the NGO they are working with
  • Basic understanding of the core community development concepts, processes and practices of the NGO
  • Identification of their individual role in relation to the tasks carried out by the resource persons in the NGO
  • Practical application of theoretical knowledge
  • Basic understanding of Community Engagement in the Indian context
  • Assessment of their own skills to think analytically, critically and practically about execution of their work
  • Experience of working as part of a team
  • Response to cultural dissimilarity, and value systems that differ from one's own

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