Critical Language Scholarship Program | Lucknow, India

Lucknow, India

Program Dates:

June 12 - August 10, 2024

Hosting Institution:

American Institute of Indian Studies

The CLS Urdu Program in Lucknow, India is hosted by the American Institute of Indian Studies (AIIS). Founded in 1961, AIIS aims to increase and improve understanding between India and the United States through academic research and language. AIIS has been instructing American university students and scholars in Indic languages for over 60 years.

Lucknow is the capital city of the state of Uttar Pradesh, India and is 574 kilometers southeast of New Delhi. Lucknow has been a center for Urdu literature and culture since the eighteenth century, so living in Lucknow presents students with many opportunities for deep exploration of different aspects of both historical and modern life in the region.

Students spend 15 hours a week in the classroom, with specific classes focused on grammar, conversation, pronunciation, journal writing, and dictation. Classes quickly equip beginners with the tools they need to navigate daily life in Lucknow. Advanced learners are supported to grow their language skills into the professional level. Faculty are prepared to work with students both in small groups and individually to help them master the basic principles of the language while also exploring their own interests.

To supplement formal classroom instruction, students participate in co-curricular activities and excursions. These events can include guest lecturers and music and dance performances. Past excursions have included visits to Bara and Chota Imambaras. These events are designed to compliment the classroom experience and allow students to explore their host community in greater breadth and depth. Students gain further insight into history of their host city, as well as contemporary society, and benefit from engaging with people from different backgrounds.

Students in Lucknow live with Urdu-speaking host families. This gives them insight into modern contemporary life in India and offers opportunities to discuss a range of topics in a relaxed environment over breakfast or dinner. In the past, students have also taken the opportunity to learn how to cook traditional Lucknowi dishes like biryani. They have also enjoyed attending events with extended family members and celebrating special occasions together, such as birthdays.

In addition, students meet twice each week with a local community member, called a language partner, for additional language practice. For beginning students, initial sessions are focused on gaining further confidence in communicating and navigating daily life in Lucknow. For students at more advanced levels, conversations can focus on personal, academic, and professional interests. Students are also welcome to explore Lucknow’s many museums, cafes, and other historical sites with their language partners. Both language partners and host families are ready to share their recommendations with students on what to see and do to make the most of the summer in India.