Study in INDIA with YES Abroad!

India, known officially as the Republic of India, is the world's seventh largest and second most populous country in the world. Formerly under British administration, India declared independence in 1947 through a peaceful revolution, led by Mahatma Ghandi. India's constitution declares it a sovereign, secular, democratic nation. The dominant religion in India is Hinduism, followed by Islam. India has the highest Muslim population of any non-Muslim majority country. While Hindi is the most commonly spoken language in day-to-day transactions and is the official language of the government, English is the language of business and higher education, and over 120 major languages are also used throughout the country. India's climate is shaped by the presence of the Himalayas in the north and the Thar Desert in the northwest. The combination of these two geographical regions keeps India very warm in the summer and causes seasonal monsoons from June to September.

Indian culture is characterized by brilliant colors, spices and musical traditions. While traditions vary by geographic region, you will see men and women in both modern and traditional dress wherever you are. However, residents of larger cities more commonly dress in modern Western clothing. Food also varies greatly by region. In the north, a Tandoor grill, or Bhatti, is used commonly, and naan bread is a staple in the diet. In the south, you may find spicier dishes served with rice and lentils. Bollywood films originated in Mumbai and are loved throughout the country. Traditional Indian dance is still a prominent part of any celebration, especially weddings.

Learn more about being a YES Abroad student in India:

Host Family

Students will live with host families in order to experience true immersion in the local culture. Families are selected based on recommendations by members of the local community, and each is carefully screened by AFS staff and volunteers. Families are carefully vetted through a thorough application process and are highly regarded by their relatives and neighbors. Hosting communities exist through the presence of a strong support network, with a local volunteer, staff member, or "liaison" available to each student.

Your High School

Students will attend public and private Indian schools. The primary language of instruction is English, but sometimes the local language will also be used. School typically runs Monday to Friday, and uniforms are customary. Schools typically offer limited extracurricular activities, such as drama, music, or sports.

The Political & Security Environment

The United States enjoys good relations with India. It is an active member in organizations such as the G-20, the UN, and the WTO.

For more information, visit the CIA World Factbook.

Health & Safety

With AFS's 11-year presence in India, we are able to draw on strong local connections for a deep understanding of the intercultural, health, safety, and security issues. Prior to departure and upon arrival, students are given safety briefings by AFS staff. They will also receive security information from the U.S. Embassy’s Security Office, and will be registered for the Embassy’s travel alert system. AFS works closely before arrival and throughout the exchange year to discuss and prepare for students' well-being. YES Abroad students are covered by medical as well as Political and Security Evacuation Insurance. Students will have access to a 24-hour emergency number, and our staff members are thoroughly trained. Each student will be given a cell phone upon arrival and will be given the contact number for their local support representative and his/her national AFS-India office. In the case of an emergency, a Duty Officer is on-call 24/7 in both India and the United States. This number is made available to both students and their parents while on program. For further information on India, visit the U.S. Department of State's website.

Enrichment Activities

Students will have the opportunity to take part in various activities to increase their interaction with local peers in India. Activities may include field trips, sporting events, cultural excursions, social outings, and community service projects. Examples of previous enrichment activities include:

  • Meeting with the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy;
  • Cultural days with Indian YES alumni who studied in the United States, which allow students to experience activities such as Indian dance, drama, music, and arts and crafts;
  • Community service activities, such as volunteering with organizations for children with disabilities