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India Study and Leadership Experience
March 2012

Rationale

The motivation for this program was derived from the personal and professional experiences of its authors in conjunction with the vision prescribed by Adventure Learning Experiences for all of its programs. This vision involves Learning, Leadership, and Service within the context of safe Adventure. 

Service Learning
A unique and distinguishing component of this program is the concept of “service learning”.  Service learning can be identified as experiential education when the learner adopts a life role that provides meaningful service to a community in order to learn about oneself and others.  The pedagogical value of the service increases when the following are added to the learning:  an academic component designed to prepare the learner in terms of content and competencies relevant to the service; an opportunity to reflect upon and think critically about the experience; an element of adventure and challenge; an international and cross-cultural context; and an alignment of individual, placement, and system goals. 

Affiliation
This program will be delivered with the cooperation and support of the Loretto Sisters. It is being undertaken as part of the celebrations associated with the 400th Anniversary of the Loretto Order of Sisters.

 

Participants

Youth
Approximately 20 young people will be selected for admission to this program and will include primarily high school students.  There will also be approximately 7 adults accompanying the students and participating in this program. This number has been governed by the practical exigencies of traveling to this area of the world.  Participants will be selected according to the following criteria:
 
            1.        Trustworthiness and reliability
            2.        Respectfulness of other people and cultures
            3.        Adaptability to new experiences
            4.        Fitness
            5.       
Pleasant disposition
           
Interested students will be invited to submit an application and two letters of reference attesting to their suitability according to the criteria cited above. 

Code of Conduct
Each student will be expected to pledge commitment to a Code of Conduct,  which will be designed to ensure that respect for each participant, his/her property, and well-being is safeguarded.  This code will preclude harassment and abusiveness and will prohibit the use of alcohol and drugs.  Above all, the rights and responsibilities of all participants will be clearly defined so that the objectives of this program may be achieved within a healthy and safe environment. 

Interviews
Each applicant will be invited to a private interview with the Directors to assess his/her suitability for the program. This will also give the applicant the opportunity to determine if the program serves his/her needs and interests. Students will be asked to bring their letters of reference to this meeting.

Program Design
The authors propose that this learning program be offered as a one credit education model using the Interdisciplinary Studies curriculum document.  The course will be designated IDC 3O and will derive learning expectations from a variety of courses described in Part 4. 

In-Class Component

The in-class component will begin in October 2011 and will conclude in May 2012.  All students in this program will meet as a single group for this component. 

These meetings will take place on the following dates:

Sunday October 16, 2011 9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. 5 hours
Saturday November 19, 2011 9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. 5 hours
Saturday December 10, 2011 9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. 5 hours
Saturday January 14, 2012 9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m 5 hours
Saturday February 11, 2012 9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. 5 hours
Saturday March 3, 2012 9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. 5 hours
Saturday March 31, 2011 9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. 5 hours
Saturday April 14 , 2011 9:00 a.m - 2:00 p.m. 5 hours

There will be 9 additional meetings arranged during the experiential component (45 hours). 

There will be one formal examination that has been scheduled for the following class: 
Saturday March 31, 2012

The assignments in this program are designed to provide background to the course themes and to stimulate relevant learning and personal reflection.  To this end required readings will be assigned and considerable options with respect to written assignments will be offered.  There will be two types of written assignments: 

            1.            Discovery Paper:  This is primarily intended for learning new information                            about a topic. 

            2.            Reaction Paper:  This is primarily intended for reflecting about a course                            theme that was previously reviewed in class, was part of one’s experiences                            on the trip, or contained in a reading. 

 

Experiential Component

The program's leader will be assisted by other senior supervisors in leading the group to India in March 2012.  This excursion will serve as the Service Learning component of the program.  

There will be a variety of service learning opportunities distributed across a few locations.  Formal classes will be conducted whereby teachers and students will be given opportunities to discuss their reactions to the learning experiences and which will offer support for their adjustment to the new environments.  Upon returning to Canada, the students will meet to reflect and process their experiences, and will be given an opportunity to formally present their learning to corporations, institutions, family and friends.  

Topics for discussion during classes in India will be governed by the nature of the activities in which the students will be engaged.  Daily journal writing will be an essential component of this time. 



Reading List
A short reading list will be provided at a later date.


Journaling
Daily journal writing will be an essential component of the program. A composite journal with volunteer submissions from all participants will be compiled and offered to all participants at the end of the experience as a memory of our shared experience.

Service and Leadership Opportunities

  1. Community appreciation: Learn about the ministry of Mother Teresa and the Loretto Sisters in India.

  2. Issues education: Hands-on exploration of issues like child labour and the environment.

  3. Cultural education: Connect with local youth by sharing educational opportunities.

  4. Wilderness Adventures: Experience the beauty of northern India's Himalayan landscape by hiking in the Darjeeling foothills.


Travel dates 
March 4, 2012 until March 20, 2012

Itinerary:  

March 4 Departure Toronto
March 5 Arrive Calcutta
March 6 -10 Calcutta
March 11-16 Darjeeling
March 17

New Delhi

March 18 Agra (Taj Mahal)
March 19 New Delhi
March 20 Depart Delhi, arrive Toronto


Travel Arrangements

Transportation
Local transportation will be organized and provided by Himalayan Travels Inc.  This is a professional travel company situated in Darjeeling and has been used on previous trips to India. International air travel will be provided by a reputable national carrier.
                                              
Accommodation
In India, the accommodations will be primarily provided by the Loretto Sisters.  The adult supervisors will always reside in close proximity to the student residences.  Appropriate separation between genders will always be ensured in these residences.  In some locations additional accommodation with be obtained through reputable hotels. Adult supervisors will always be staying in the same facility in close proximity to student rooms.


Finances
Participants will be charged a single fee of approximately $4395, which will cover return airfare from Toronto to Calcutta and Darjeeling, all travel expenses within the country, meals, accommodations, training materials and donations to the local communities.

Payment will be made by regular installments according to the following schedule:
            $495                Deposit accompanying application
            $1,300             December 12, 2011
            $1,300             January 9, 2012
            $1,300             March 5, 2012
           
Note: Participants are asked to submit a series of postdated cheques according to this schedule. Cheques should be made payable to Adventure Learning Experiences Inc.

 

Fundraising

Fundraising activities will be supported by the authors.  In particular, the principal endeavour will be a booklet which will describe the features and participants of the program.  The sale of advertisements in the booklet will be directly subtracted from the fee charged to individual participants, with a nominal charge for the cost of printing the booklets. 

Refund Policy
For withdrawal before January 1st, a refund of $200 from the original deposit will be provided.

For withdrawal between January 1st and February 1st, a full refund minus the deposit will be provided.

For withdrawal after February 1st, no refund can be provided due to the advance purchase of airline tickets and prepayment of camp costs.

 

Other Costs

The only other costs that are not included in the above price are the following:

            Passport (this must not expire within 6 months of departure)
            India Visa
            Out-of-country health insurance                                                 
            Inoculations (depending upon one’s private insurance coverage)
            Private expenses



Health and Safety
Careful attention to sound health and safety practices will be an important part in the preparation of the program.  This will involve mandatory immunizations, learning  healthy eating and drinking habits, and understanding effective illness prevention practices.  An attempt will be made to have a registered nurse accompany each group.  For maximum benefit it is recommended that participants, in general, be in good health and achieve a sufficient level of fitness prior to the trip.  Physical and dental check-ups are highly recommended prior to the departure date. 

Immunization

a)           The following are ordinarily administered through one’s family doctor in the course of                normal Ontario health care.  All participants are asked to ensure their protection with                inoculations against the following diseases:

               Tetanus – Diphtheria
               Polio
               Measles-Mumps-Rubella

b)            Protection against malaria is by tablet and is taken on a regular basis prior, during,                 and following the trip.  The exact regimen will be prescribed by a travel clinic. 
                

c)            Inoculations against the following may be required: 

                        Tetanus
                        Typhoid
                        Meningococcal meningitis

                        Hepatitis A
                        Hepatitis B
                       

The cost of these inoculations are not covered by OHIP but may be included in private health plans. 


Precautions

As indicated above, careful preparation prior to departure about safe eating and drinking habits and illness prevention practices will be undertaken.  Participants will be expected to purchase “The Travel Doctor” by Dr. Mark Wise (Firefly Books, 2002) as part of this preparation.  A close working relationship has been developed by the authors with Dr. Mark Wise.  Dr. Wise is a family physician in Thornhill whose medical practice includes a travel clinic. He  is considered a leading authority in tropical and parasitic diseases.  Dr. Wise will conduct a 90 minute training workshop about preventative health practices for our students prior to departure and will make recommendations about appropriate inoculations.

It is expected that our groups will greatly benefit from the local contacts which the authors have established in India with the Loretto Sisters in the event that medical care in required. Each participant will be expected to purchase out-of-country health insurance. In addition, Dr. Lato and Mr. Rogers are both members of the International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers (IAMAT). 

It is most strongly recommended that each participant seek proper medical advice for all potential health concerns at a travel health clinic prior to departure. 

It is expected that each participant complete the Consent to Medical Treatment Form in the event that urgent and emergency care is required.

 

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  • Connect with local youth by sharing educational opportunities
  • Hands-on exploration of issues like child labour and the environment
  • Learn about the ministry of Mother Teresa and the Loretto Sisters
  • Experience the beauty of northern India's Himalayan landscape



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