June 13 - August 09, 2023
American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS)
The CLS Bangla Program in Kolkata, India is hosted by the American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS). AIIS is a consortium of 92 American universities with South Asia Studies Centers. AIIS has been instructing American university students and scholars in Indic languages for over 60 years. The academic program is learner-oriented and provides opportunities for both language acquisition and cultural immersion. Students spend 15 hours per week in the classroom, with additional activities, classes and excursions outside of these hours.
Kolkata is a fascinating place to spend the summer. It’s capital of India’s state of West Bengal and is located near the border between India and Bangladesh. It is also one of the world’s most densely populated cities (it’s the third largest in India after New Delhi and Mumbai). In the 19th and early 20th century, Kolkata was the center of the Bengal Renaissance, a period of great growth in art, science and culture, which can still be seen today.
During the summer students will spend their time in grammar, conversation, pronunciation, journal writing, and dictation language classes in order to hone the four skills of language development – listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Weekly activities supplement formal classroom instruction and include guest lectures from members of the host community such as shopkeepers and tradespeople, and music and dance performances. Several local group excursions take place over the summer, allowing students to explore the area, gain in-depth knowledge of culture and history, and meet people from different backgrounds. In the past, such cultural excursions have included visits to College Street, the Rabindrabharati Museum, and Kumartuli.
In addition to classroom hours and cultural activities, students spend approximately three hours each week with a language partner, who is a local community member dedicated to assisting students in their language acquisition. These one-on-one sessions are designed to give opportunities for additional speaking practice on topics of mutual interest and greater access to the host community in a way that offers insights into cultural norms and customs. Students live with a host family which gives them insight into a family’s routine and the rhythm of daily life. Year after year CLS students in Kolkata note that the experience in their host families is one of the most memorable and beneficial aspect of their time on the program.