Guide to Indian Liberal Arts Schools • Undergraduate

Beyond Borders: Indian Liberal Arts Colleges Offer Study Abroad Programmes

POSTED ON 05/10/2024 BY The Red Pen

Indian liberal arts college students studying abroad

Study abroad programmes are a transformative journey for Indian liberal arts students, allowing them to expand their horizons and gain a global perspective. In recent years, there’s been a significant increase in Indian liberal arts students opting for international study experiences while pursuing their undergraduate degrees in India. This blog explores the study abroad semester and options for students at liberal arts colleges in India. 

What is a study abroad programme? 

The term “study abroad” typically describes an academic term away from the university where you are currently enrolled as a full-time student.  As a temporary and supplementary part of your academic programme, study abroad allows students to spend limited time in another country, gain valuable experiences, perspectives, and academic credits, and return to their home institution to continue and complete their degree requirements.

This experience allows students to immerse themselves in a different culture, gain exposure to new perspectives, and often take courses that may not be available at their home institution. Study abroad programmes come in various forms, catering to different academic interests, durations, and cultural experiences. They may include exchange programmes, internships, research projects and summer programmes. 

What are the study abroad options for students pursuing liberal arts in India? 

Indian liberal arts colleges are known for providing a holistic education that encourages critical thinking and a multidisciplinary approach. As part of their approach, they offer students study abroad programmes. 

1) Ashoka University

Ashoka University has 18 partnerships with numerous institutions worldwide, including Boston University, Cornell University, ENS Lyon, HEC Paris, King’s College London,  London School of Economics and Political Science, National Taiwan University, and others. Ashoka students can study for a semester abroad at one of its partner universities and take courses for credit. In 2023, Ashoka students studied at renowned universities such as the University of Geneva in Switzerland, University College Maastricht in The Netherlands and Linnaeus University in Sweden. Students also took a study abroad semester at the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University in the US. Suhani Mittal, class of 2024, during her term at the University of Geneva, said, “Studying in an inherently multilingual European country, I have gotten exposure to not only a different style of university atmosphere but also different languages, cultures, etiquette, ideologies, FOOD etc.” 

2) FLAME University 

FLAME University is committed to enhancing students’ education by providing opportunities for them to engage in diverse, multilingual, and multicultural environments worldwide. It offers various collaborative programmes, exchanges, and study-abroad initiatives to fulfil this commitment. Watch Dhriti Sumanth, a third-year undergraduate student who chose Wellesley College for her semester exchange programme, describe her experience. Participation in these study abroad programs is contingent on merit and compliance with selection criteria. Availability of seats and approval from the respective host institutions also play a crucial role. Meeting the minimum eligibility requirements does not guarantee a student a place in the study abroad programme. Here is a list of approved study-abroad opportunities for undergraduate students at FLAME University:

US CanadaEurope
Wellesley College
Yale University
Kelley School of Business, Indiana
University Bloomington
Boston University (MET International)
Amherst College
University of California – Davis, USA
York University
King’s University College

Cooperative State University (DHBW) – Germany
Sciences Po – France

3) Plaksha University

To fulfil its vision of revolutionising education, Plaksha has collaborated with leading global institutes to develop programmes, craft curricula, provide hands-on training, and create international opportunities. These partnerships aim to enhance students’ academic and learning experiences. Its key partnerships for study abroad programmes are with UC Berkeley (formalised in 2019) and Purdue University in the US. These partnerships cover curriculum development, joint research, and faculty and student exchange. Students from  Plaksha’s Tech Leaders Fellowship programme have conducted research projects at Purdue’s campus. The plan is to offer experiences similar to those of other undergraduate cohorts.

4)  Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts 

Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts (SSLA) is India’s first liberal arts college offering a four-year full-time Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science (Liberal Arts) Honours degree. The university provides students with valuable opportunities for international experiences through various programmes. Some of them are

  • Exchange programmes: SIU offers its students numerous opportunities to study abroad for a single semester. This programme consistently witnesses a high number of applicants every semester. SSLA sends at least 3 students to universities worldwide every semester to study the courses of their choice. The credits the students attain whilst studying abroad are then transferred to SSLA with approval from SCIE (Symbiosis Centre for International Education), further permitting students to map their courses and the equivalent credits.
  • Summer and winter programmes: In addition to semester exchanges, SSLA has established partnerships for summer and winter programmes, typically lasting for two to four weeks. For instance, SSLA and Bournemouth University organised the Global Cultural Immersion Program, providing students from both institutions with the opportunity to experience student life in different countries, exchange ideas, and share cultural experiences. Similarly, during winter breaks, students from DePaul University visit Pune, interacting with SSLA students, and SSLA students participate in summer schools globally, including in Hong Kong, the UK, and Canada. 
  • Floating Credit Semesters: The university offers enriching study abroad programmes for undergraduate students through the Floating Credit Semester initiative. Under this initiative, Symbiosis International University (SIU) students can Study Abroad for a semester at the University of their choice. To facilitate Student mobility, SIU has the Floating credit semester, which allows students to undertake subjects of their choice, so mapping the actual course content is not required, unlike their exchange programmes. This also facilitates the students’ undertaking of subjects other than their current course structure. The Floating Credit Semester allows students to earn credit and transfer them back seamlessly. 

5) Jindal School of Liberal Arts 

O.P. Jindal Global University’s Jindal School of Liberal provides extensive study-abroad opportunities spanning 40+ countries and partnering with renowned universities worldwide. These 4-6 months programmes enable students to immerse themselves in academic and social cultures, fostering a global perspective. Jindal School of Liberal offers diverse study-abroad options, such as: 

  • Semester exchange programmes: Students attend numerous exchange programmes at the university’s 150+ partner institutes worldwide. 
  • Dual degree programmes: This programme allows students to earn degrees from Jindal School of Liberal and partner universities in a condensed time frame. It has a credit exchange framework and is supported by competitive scholarships.
  • Short-term Study Abroad Programmes (ST-SAP): These are intensive three-four-week residential programmes covering various disciplines. Some examples include Human Rights and Development at Harvard University, Business and Corporate Law at Columbia University and International Law and Governance at the University of Oxford. 

Study-abroad opportunities offered by Ashoka University, FLAME University, Plaksha University, Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts, and Jindal School of Liberal allow students to gain a global perspective and immerse themselves in different cultures. You may read our blog to find out if a liberal arts education is right for you. However, if you’d like to know more about liberal arts colleges in India and require assistance applying, please get in touch. Our experts look forward to hearing from you.