Tisch Summer Fellows: India
Tisch College is excited to offer a unique Tisch Summer Fellows (TSF) experience in India, where students will be able to spend their summer at a rural school founded by a Tufts alumnus. Modeled on our TSF programs in Greater Boston, New York, and Washington, D.C., TSF: India will provide Tufts students with a full-time social impact placement as well as programmatic elements, guided reflection sessions, and support from a dedicated staff member.
The Fellowships will run from early June to mid-August. All expenses will be covered by Tisch College, including flights, accomodation, food, and a local-currency stiped for incidental expenses.
The program aims to balance student learning with organizational capacity building, asking critical questions and fostering individual growth, and strengthening cultural humility and global citizenship. Multiple fellowships are available and positions are open to undergraduate students from any Tufts school and any field of study. Activities beyond the required service can be tailored to a Fellow’s skills and background. This is an opportunity for you to collaborate with the staff of a growing school, have an impact on a community, and increase your cross-cultural global experience.
About the School
The mission of the Bodhi School is to provide high-quality, English-medium education to children from impoverished backgrounds in the rural Narayankhed region of Telangana, India.
The Bodhi School serves 297 children, from preschool to 6th grade. Most students are the children of landless laborers and marginal farmers—often from lower castes. Many students are first-generation learners, and all students receive scholarships; from full scholarships for the poorest families to partial scholarships for others. The existing education options for this population of students are typically government schools, which are typically underfunded and lack quality teachers.
The Bodhi School is on a six-acre campus in the village of Anthwar (population 800), three miles from the rural town of Narayankhed (population 15,000), which is itself a 3-hour drive from the capital city of Hyderabad, Telangana, in South India.
For more information, check out this presentation or watch the video below.
Fellowship Description and Work Environment
Students will work alongside other Tisch Summer Fellows and two Teach for India Fellows.on the six-acre Bodhi School campus from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., with an expected 1-2 hours of preparation time for the next school day. The school has basic infrastructure, such as desks, tables, and fans. There is electricity and running water, but the supply of electricity is limited because of rationing in rural areas. Fellows will work in a classroom alongside their assigned teacher. They will not have access to computers and should bring a laptop if they can. Internet connectivity is spotty and runs on a 3G cellular network. There is no wi-fi.
The school week is a 6-day week, but Fellows will not be required to work on Saturdays; instead, weekends will be spent in the nearby city of Hyderabad. Activities will include a speaker series for Fellows, who will also have free time. Accommodations and transportation to and from the city will be provided.
At the school, each Tisch Summer Fellow will have two areas of responsibility: assisting teachers and developing a secondary project.
1. Assist current teachers at the Bodhi School, who teach preschool to 6th grade:
- Help teachers prepare lessons plans and teaching materialsbefore class
- Reinforce lessons presented by teachers by reviewing material with students one-on-one or in small groups
- Teach parts of the curriculum, including complete lessons to small groups of students and portions of the lessons to the full class, under teacher supervision when required.
- Shadow and assist students during their independent work
- Help teachers with correcting and grading work and with record-keeping, such as tracking attendance
- Assist with classroom organization and behavior management, including enforcing school and class rules
- Help supervise students in class, between classes, during lunch and recess, and on field trips
2. Secondary project:
Fellows will have an opportunity to propose specific lessons or student projects that build on their individual skills and backgrounds. For example, a social science undergraduate might create and teach a lesson about American society. A veterinary student might design lessons on caring for livestock found in rural India. A fine arts student might design and teach an art class or a two-month-long collective art project, such as creating a mural or putting on a theatrical performance. An engineering student might create a design project using local materials. A student interested in agriculture might engage students in growing a vegetable garden, setting up vermicomposting, or sustainable farming on part of the school's six-acre land. Such projects will be finalized in discussions with the principal and supervisor during the Fellow’s first week at the Bodhi School. Appropriate timelines and targeted goals can be mutually established.
In addition, teachers have weekly staff meetings and periodic training sessions, and Fellows can participate in both. Fellows will also have opportunities to participate in Teach for India training and discussion sessions.
There are two options for living arrangements during the work week (Sunday evening through Friday afternoon). Both are fully covered by the Fellowship. You can see photos of both in this presentation.
- Living on the Bodhi School campus: Fellows can be housed in shared accommodations in two modest guesthouses/dormitories at the school. Teach for India Fellows also live on campus. Meals will be arranged through a local restaurant.
- A modest hotel in the city of Bidar: This involves daily travel of about one hour each way, with transportation provided. Meals will be arranged through a local restaurant.
Accommodations will be decided once Fellows have been selected.
During the weekends (Friday afternoon to Sunday afternoon) Fellows will travel to and stay in the city of Hyderabad. Fellows will be housed in a modest hotel. Weekends will include free time as well as Saturday presentations by experts in the fields of education and development. These will be open to Tisch Summer Fellows as well as the broader Teach for India community in the city of Hyderabad.
This Fellowship is not for the faint of heart. It requires grit, resilience, and openness to being immersed in a rural environment in a developing nation. The physical conditions will be challenging and the accommodations are basic. As previously mentioned, online connectivity is limited. There is no wi-fi on campus, only spotty cell-based Internet access.
No prior teaching experience is necessary, but prior epxerience working with children is preferred, and a passion for working with children is important. There are many Bodhi students who are first-generation learners, and Fellows must be comfortable working with such learners. Compassion is a must, and patience and flexibility are essential.
No foreign language knowledge is required. School is taught in English and all teachers (except some preschool teachers) speak basic English.
Skills and Experience Fellows Will Acquire
TSF: India fellows will acquire a unique exposure to and understanding of rural India and valuable experience with children from low socioeconomic backgrounds, as well as interact with a range of professionals in the field of education and development. This includes on-site teacher training through interactions with current teachers, Teach for India Fellows, supervisors, and external experts.
The Fellows' primary supervisor will be an Indian professional with nine years of experience in the field of development specializing in financial inclusion, education, and policy advocacy. He will spend one day per week at the school, facilitate weekly reflections, and lead weekend activities. The principal of the Bodhi School, who has 15 years of experience in education and development, will oversee day-to-day management.
To apply for a TSF: India Fellowship, please complete the online application accessible at the top right of this page. The application asks for basic student information, a ranking of your top 1-3 placements (if you are also applying for TSF domestic sites) and prompts you to answer short essay questions (all listed below) about your interest in the position, the skills and experiences you would bring to the work, and what you hope to gain from the experience. In addition, students will be asked to submit the following documents to TSFApplications@tufts.edu with their full name and TSF India in the subject line:
- Current resume
- Tailored cover letter
- Unofficial transcript
- Letter of recommendation from a faculty/staff member or job supervisor. The recommender does not need to be associated with Tufts University but should be able to speak to your competencies and character.
Essay Questions for TSF India Application:
1) What strengths, qualities, and experiences do you bring to the role that has been described at the Bodhi School? What do you hope to gain and/or learn from this experience? (300-600 words)
2) Please describe a class or project that you would like to propose to the Bodhi School, based on your interests, expertise, and anticipated needs as described in the program information. You may propose one or more ideas. (300-500 words)
3) This fellowship includes challenges such as living in a rural area of a developing country (no wifi during the week, basic shared living accommodations); working with children in the process of learning English; and working across cultural differences. Please discuss these, including how you will address these challenges and what has prepared you for this experience. (300-500 words)
The Tisch Summer Fellows: India program is open to all Tufts undergraduate students. Fellows are selected based on their application materials, professional demeanor throughout the application process, recommendation letter, and a placement interview. Other eligibility details:
- Graduating students may apply. If offered a fellowship, students must be fully committed to accepting and will have a short window to confirm their acceptance.
- Applicants studying abroad may apply and, if selected to move forward, schedule phone or Skype interviews with Tisch staff and the fellowship organization supervisor at the appropriate time during the process.
- If you are an undocumented or DACA student who wishes to apply, please consult with Dean Mack regarding the Tisch Summer Fellows opportunities.
- Exchange students are, unfortunately, not eligible to apply for TSF.
- India Applications are due on Tuesday, January 22nd at Noon. All materials, including letters of recommendation, must be in by the deadline - plan ahead and apply early!
- Application review will take place in late January through early February
- All applicants will be notified of next steps by mid-February
- First round interviews with Tisch College Staff will take place in mid-February through March
- Finalists will be notified by the end of March
- Mandatory on-campus orientation will take place in April (date to be announced soon)
- Fellowships begin in June (date TBD)
For more information, please contact Mindy Nierenberg, Senior Director of Tisch College Programs at email@example.com or 617-627-4159.