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2 posts from August 2013


U of Hyderabad: A Vast Sanctuary

According to its website, the University of Hyderabad has over 5,000 students and 400 faculty on its 2,300-acre campus. Another common name for UoH is Hyderabad Central University, or HCU (‘Central’ means [federal, as opposed to state] government initiated and funded). The University grants Masters and Doctorate degrees. Students here have already attained the equivalent of a Bachelors degree at a college (three years) and are completing their fourth and fifth years. This degree plan is why courses here are comparable with our courses back home.

Unlike many places in Hyderabad, the campus is situated in natural area—dense forest containing massive rock formations, two lakes, walking paths, peacocks, cows, dogs, birds, fuzzy caterpillars, monkeys, and wild mushrooms. It’s a sharp contrast from the streets just outside the gates, which are noisy, crowded, and polluted with automobile exhaust (though much more vibrant and exhilarating).

The buildings on campus are sparse, and it takes a while to get from one end to the other. There also isn’t a central location on campus (imagine the brochure cover of any college in the US), which is something I had been searching for before coming here. This is also why a Google search returns so few images of the University of Hyderabad campus. Instead, the campus has many popular spots—the student canteen, the shopping complex, the library courtyard—where students spend time between classes.

I’m studying here through a program called Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) and its office is located in the Study in India Program (SIP) building. This building, like many others on campus, has an open courtyard with plants right in the middle—which means it also has no roof. The weather is so nice here that doors and windows are always open, even when it rains. The CIEE staff are a great resource and we have a great group of thirteen studying through the program this semester.

- An except from F13 student Jennie's blog at

 Campus 1

Campus 12 Campus 11
Campus 4
Lunch at gops


Fall 2013, Issue I

Group photo

Meet the New Batch!

One of the most exciting parts of studying abroad is discovering the elasticity of identity. In an exercise designed to play with that concept, we found that our group is a whole lot more than a list of schools and majors. I present the fall 2013 batch in all of their brilliant and quirky glory:

Head shot collage comp

Jennie, textile weaver; Rhia, a capella singer; Romi, ultimate frisbee player; Michael, woodworker; Selena, ukulele player; Kate, writer and listener; Lizzie, silver jewelry maker; Shannon, mallet percussionist; Marielle, musician and country mouse; Leah, actress; Shweta, dancer; Ellen, humanitarian scientist and future Radiolab contributor; Max, cyclist and bike mechanic

Orientation Highlight: Celebrating the Goddess

At CIEE Hyderabad we spend a lot of time educating our predominantly female group about how to stay safe as a woman in India. For us that means cultivating feelings of strength, not fear, and what better way to do that than to spend a day in the presence of Shakti (the divine force of feminine strength in Hinduism). To start the day, we woke early on a Sunday morning and piled into a bus to Sri Peddama Temple to witness Bonalu, a folk festival celebrated in Telangana where devotees bring decorated pots of rice and animals (primarily goats and chickens) to sacrifice for Maha Kali, Goddess of Power. 

Students Having Turmeric Applied to their Feet at Bonalu FestivalIMG_3458

A Family Making an Offering to Goddess Maha KaliGoat sacrifice

After the temple visit we came back to campus for a Q&A about all the sights and sounds they had experienced that day, followed by a roundtable discussion with local feminist activists about how to be a strong woman in the Indian context. After this meeting five students decided to volunteer for a new local NGO, Sankalp for Women, who helps provide safe pathways for victims of sexual violence to report theirs crimes and receive justice. 

Q&A about Bonalu Festival with Resident Director Kavitha G.V.IMG_3470

Roundtable Discussion with Local Feminist ActivistsIMG_7117a

Development in Action: Witnessing the Birth of India’s 29th State

 “I am here for one of the most exciting moments in its history! The day after the announcement, campus was full of celebrations and large groups of students went from building to building cheering, banging drums, and throwing hot pink powder, the color of the Telangana movement. Without taking sides on an issue that I know far too little about, I am interested to watch the makings of a new state."

-An excerpt from current student Rhiannon Bell's blog at:


Many of our students come to India because of their fascination with development, and how the world’s largest democracy manages to maintain peace in the face of so much diversity and transition. Since CIEE Hyderabad’s inception in 2001, our students have had the privilege of watching the Indian democratic process in motion in the form of the Telangana movement. A little background: The state of Andhra Pradesh was established in 1956, and encompassed three regions: Telangana (where Hyderabad is situated), Rayala Seema, and Andhra. For the 56 years that followed, a largely nonviolent grass roots movement of Telangana natives organized strikes, protests, political parties, and even self-sacrifice to convince the central government to separate Telangana from the rest of AP. On July 30th their dream was realized when Congress voted to make Telangana India’s 29th state, and by being in Hyderabad at this time our students get to be part of forming the collective memory of this historic event.