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India: Service Through the Lens™

India: Service Through the Lens™

Capture the stories of a great civilization, from Himalayan societies to the stunning Taj Mahal.


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  • Travel through some of India’s most brilliant landscapes
  • Participate in expert-led photo tours and journalism workshops
  • Build your skills as a visual storyteller as you volunteer with rural communities
  • Experience the vibrant colors of spice and antique markets
  • Photograph ancient Himalayan monasteries alive with Tibetan devotees
  • Travel to the Taj Mahal, the world’s most famous monument to undying love

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Visual imagery is a powerful tool for communication, with the ability to reach audiences far and wide, both emotionally and directly. In India, everyday life plays out in bright colors, a vivid juxtaposition of ancient and modern against a backdrop of intricate architecture. Full of diverse people, dramatic landscapes and spiritual energy, the village of Dharamsala— home to the Dalai Lama and today’s Tibetan refugee community—is the fascinating setting where you’ll learn everything you’ve ever wanted to know about journalistic media: the basics of documentation, what makes a good story, ethical practices and how to use modern technologies such as social media and blogging to reach a wider audience.

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Community Service

Service will remain the central component of your objective in India. As you take in Dharamsala’s diverse scenery and faces through photojournalism, give back to this community that faces challenges around education and quality of life. In the process, build a personal understanding of the community, allowing you to tell a clearer and more compelling story. You’ll spend time at a local daycare center where teachers and staff run their establishments with minimal resources. Bond with the children as you assist with tutoring and providing after-school activities that otherwise would not exist.

Hands-On Learning

Gain a wide view of India, a land of contrasts. As stories of people you meet unfold, capture them with the guidance of professional photojournalists and editors, and evaluate how the narratives can be responsibly told through photography and journalism. You’ll glimpse both modernized areas frequented by tourists, as well as those that are rural or impoverished. Visit spiritual sites, learn Bollywood dance, take an Indian cooking class and Hindu lessons. Photojournalism lectures by local experts will help you train your lens on diverse subjects—crowds, agriculture and landscape settings—with sensitivity. Complete a Capstone project, which includes crafting a cohesive story of your time in India.

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Based in Dharamsala, you’ll be located in the Indian Himalayas, one of the most visually stunning regions on Earth. Explore Norbulingka, a unique institute in Dharamsala dedicated to the preservation of arts and culture from nearby Tibet. If you’re joining us for the 21-Day Flagship Program, trek to rural Kareri village and meet its semi-nomadic Gaddi people. You’ll also get to visit the town of Amritsar and see the Golden Temple, a central religious place as well as a symbol of human brotherhood and equality. At the end of both 14-day and 21-day programs, travel south to the Taj Mahal for a glimpse of what is widely considered to be the most beautiful building in the world.


Home Base is the summer residence of the King of Kangra, located in the Himalayan foothills above Dharamsala. It is a beautiful property set in the jungle where students live together in gender-segregated rooms and enjoy home-cooked meals.

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Dates & Tuition

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More Information

Interested in Family-Friendly trips? Check out Discover Corps, our volunteer vacations for adults and families, in collaboration with the National Peace Corps Association.

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This GLA program in India taught me how to appreciate another totally different culture from a distance, not to judge it or intervene in it. During this trip, I learned how to see the unique beauty in other cultures. This ability is very important because it makes the world a more peaceful place.

India: Service in the Himalayas
Hometown: San Diego, CA

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