The Alliance for Global Education provides many different courses for you to choose from to further your study abroad experience. Our classes are coming towards a close and since I have taken all of the courses being here for a year I thought I would give you my personal ratings of the courses. Be warned, this is one opinion and rating of the courses that will hopefully give you more insight into the classes. Don't take everything to heart.
This course is taught by Dr. Ashish Kulkarni who also teaches Development Economics. He has been at Gokhale, the school the program is at, for a long time. He isn't big on powerpoints, rather he utilizes anecdotes and personal stories to give examples to the cirriculum. He is a fabulous teacher, and makes the hour and a half pass by quickly. He takes a five minute break within class and leaves the last ten to fifteen minutes to questions about the class or any question in general. Classes are not only about current topics in contemporary India, he will give you tips on where to eat around school and other new insights. You will also get the chance to go out somewhere to dinner with him as a class to get to know him better which is a great opportunity. There are also classes in which you get to read the newspaper and ask any questions than you have. Though assigments are shown within the syllabus, he never follows those structures or due dates. Don't worry, he will tell you what assigments are and when they are due. He is a favorite amongst all students he teaches over Pune thus making this class a five star review.
I am the wrong person to be asking about this course. I am in no way a fan nor expert of economics in any way. I do love Ashish and his teaching style, but economics is not a subject that I enjoy nor understand fully. This course will have to be decided on your own therefore the star rating is undetermined.
Beginner and Intermediate Hindi
These courses are taught by Sunila Gondhalekar are some of my most favorite and memorable classes. Professor Sunila has been teaching sanskrit and hindi for a very long time. She is very patient and will take the time to see that you understand all of the material. She gives breaks within the classes and utlizes the board. For a beginner you have class almost every day to get you associated with Hindi. She sometime uses videos and songs for classes which bring in a new element. In intermediate, classes are scheduled seperately and not as frequent. There are more expectations for intermediate than beginners, but again Sunila is very patient. These are the only classes really where there are tests and she will give you plenty of time to review and tell you what is on the test. There are oral parts to these tests as well and a final presentation where you can do whatever you want in Hindi. If you need help, she is more than willing to help you. There have been times where I have struggled in Hindi, with tears in my eyes. She has been there through all of it to help me and reassure me. Sunila gets more than a five star but a five star plus where her course recieves a five star review.
Gender and Indian Media
This class was the one I was most looking forward to when coming to India. I have already done papers and research on this subject so I was looking forward to furthering that research. It was much more beginner, therefore I didn't get to further enhance my knowledge as I had hoped. But that as I have already stated is the catch to having expecations. This was still one of my favorite classes despite the circumstances. This class is taught by Dr. Ajay Joshi who teaches as many other colleges in Pune. Many of the assignments consist of your experiences in Pune and how you see gender. After every paper you read it out ot the rest of the class which he believes furthers the learning process. There are two feild trips in this course, the most interesting one is visiting the transgender community here in Pune. You will be able to see and understand this community in the class which is very interesting. Though it was different and sometimes frustrating for me being trans, I still enjoyed this experience. He is well intended in the subject but if you are looking for full polictical corectness, then take this class with a grain of salt. The gender circumstances are different from the U.S. and here in India, which can be frustrating but makes things confusing in his course. He can also be a tad condescending at sometimes, but that does not go to say that this class was still one of my favorites. Again, take my opinion with a grain of salt, not everyone has this opinion. This course gets a four and a half star rating from yours truley.
This course is taught by a bad ass social justice feminist who has her own organization working towards providing resources for women whose name is Medha Kotwal. She utilizes powerpoints that can be long and reiterate the readings, but otherwise are informative. She gives examples of current issues in India and sometimes guest lecturers come to discuss these issues more in depth. She is very passionate about social justice which make the subject more interesting. You have to participate in all of her classes and if you don't she will prompt you to say something. Make sure to be prepared for that in your classes with her. Readings consist of teachings from famous political social justice leaders including Gandhi. There is a in class debate, a few presentations and a final project describing your own research of a social justice issue in India of 10-15 pages single spaced. If you are up for it, it is a great class and the ten to fifteen page single spaced paper is doable. There are two feild visits one to a site in Pune itself and another visiting her organization which does really interesting work and has a great library. This was another one of my favorite classes, this class gets a four star rating approval.
This course is also taught by Medha Kotwal. This course often overlaps with the social justice class, especially when it comes to guest lecturers. Since there is not enough literature and education on the subject, the class consists of dialogue and watching a lot of videos. For the course project, you create your own buisness plan for a social entrapenurship in your own country or in India. I think the coolest thing about this course was the guest lecturers and the feild visits. We visited organizations doing work from copper smiths to the Indian Bill Nye. It also helps learn how organizations function in India and give a better picture of social entrapenuership. I don't suggest taking both social entrapenurship and social justice because the classes tend to overlap and one can only handle a teacher for so long. This is still a very interesting class which gives it a rating of three and a half stars.
This class is taught by Dr. Hempte Apte a anthropologist and doctor who has worked in the tribal areas of India as well as an organization for sex workers. This class examines many health issues within India. In every class, one person sumarizes the readings and the other discusses that issue in their own country. He also starts every class with a piece of current Indian health news. He also uses personal anecdotes from his own experiences working in public health. Though he can seem intimidating, he is a hilarious loving guy who loves his oxygen (cigarettes) and meat. He gives a break in between the classes and encourages dialogue and discussion. For assignments it is critical you follow his instructions because he is looking for something very specific. If you don't follow those instructions it can impact your grade. He will let you know when assignments are due and what he expects of them as well so make sure to pay attention. there is a field visit to a rural hospital/health care center which is really interesting to see the contrast. He also is welcome to show you the red light district of Pune as well as do a visit to the tribal areas he is in connection with. I am enjoying this course so far this semester, I give it a four and a half star rating.
I hope that you have taken my opinons at thought, but please don't let this disuade you from taking certain classes. This is just one opinion, and the courses here are so amazing and what furthers the study abroad experience. You are also allowed to change your classes in the beginning week, so don't stress to much.