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The Amrita Live-in-Labs® program aims to expose youth to problems faced by rural communities in India. Through experiential learning opportunities, participants put theory into practice by generating innovative solutions, thereby facilitating critical and collaborative problem-solving abilities of participants.
Established in 2013, Amrita Live-in-Labs® is a multidisciplinary experiential learning program that facilitates the research, development, and deployment of sustainable solutions for current challenges faced by rural communities in India. The program is designed to engage participants in a mutual learning and sharing experience by breaking classroom and lab barriers to implement theoretical knowledge to address real-world problems. The program allows participants to study, observe, and interact with rural populations while living in rural communities to gain a better understanding of challenges in the areas of:
Education, Health and Wellbeing, Energy, Water & Sanitation, Waste Management, Agriculture, Environment, Livelihood, Gender Equality, Climate Change & Risk Management, Peace, Justice, & Strong Institution
The program brings together Amrita students and faculty – in conjunction with students and faculty from international universities – to form multidisciplinary teams that will spend two weeks to six months in Indian villages.
Before heading to a village, students will receive an orientation about village life and culture. Following the orientation, students will either join an existing on-going project or identify a new project that addresses a challenge in a particular village. Subsequently, students will design, test, and implement an affordable, comprehensive, and sustainable solution to the specified challenge.
After students complete their time in the field, they will submit a report about the village, the challenge they addressed, and the subsequent solution that was applied. Students will also make an oral presentation to Amrita faculty about their work and their overall experience in the village.
Ph. D. in Sustainable Development (2019-2020)
Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham invites candidates for Full-time admissions to pursue a fully funded Ph.D. in Sustainable Development.
Since the emphasis of the program is on mutual sharing and learning, Amrita Live-in-Labs® strongly believes in taking an inclusive approach to addressing challenges and thereby encouraging participants to work with rural populations to come up with sustainable solutions. As a result, the program is designed as a two-way model of sharing and learning and encourages participants to be open to “other ways of thinking”.
Please Note: As the program primarily revolves around field work, projects and project locations may change due to unforeseen circumstances. Therefore, all participants are requested to be flexible while confirming projects and locations.
Our Chancellor’s exemplary vision and untainted intent of care for people in real need, has laid the foundation for the Live-in-Labs® programme. It is offered as an elective in the Curriculum of Amrita Students from all departments and campuses. Amrita students work on their village project for 1,5 year (3 continuous semesters). International students have the possibility to join those projects, for a duration of 1 up to 6 months depending on their availability, and work with them towards developing sustainable solutions for the adopted villages.
For international students it is an unique opportunity to :
A detailed study of each of these areas in every community gives rise to a combination of problem statements intertwined with dynamic challenges such as the psychosocial beliefs, language barriers, cognitive behaviour, social issues prevalent based on caste, gender, politics etc. that are very unique to every community. These problem statements and challenges are being analysed meticulously by interdisciplinary teams of students and expert researchers in order to address them
International students can join a team of Amrita students already working on a project in a village. Each project team addresses a specific challenge in one of the adopted villages. Each team is mentored by an Amrita faculty, who will act as project guide for the international students as well.
Depending on the projects there will be different deliverables expected from the students. At the minimum, students have to submit a project report and a final presentation. This is also a mandatory Immigration requirement (see Visa and Immigration requirement part below). Since 2014 Live-in-Labs® projects have been implemented in all thematic areas.
The programme is open for international participants all year long. However, it is preferable to start in June and December, which are the times when project teams initiate the work in villages. Joining at other times is possible but students will have to catch up with sometimes high amounts of work.
Live-in-Labs® is open to international students at Bachelor and Master Level, from all academic backgrounds. All students will undergo an interview process for validating their application.
Please follow the following process for application
The English language level for this programme is: Standard
It is theoretically possible to transfer credits of your Live-in-Labs® project back to your home university. However, since India follows a different type of credit system than the US and European Universities, the feasibility has to be assessed on a case-by-case basis. There is no guarantee.
If you require credit transfer, we recommend you first inform your home university’s international office so they can initiate discussions with our Administration and see if this is feasible.
Please note that students can only earn credits for their project work if they come on a Student or Research visa (see below for Visa and immigration requirements).
The total cost of the program is 1000$/months. However, students from universities with which Amrita has already signed a partnership agreement can avail a scholarship. In that case 70% of the costs will be waived, and participants will have to pay only for their essential course materials, food accommodation and transportation.
Participants have to pay $315 per month for essential course materials, food, and accommodation. The fee is calculated on a monthly basis (not weekly basis) and every month that is started is to be paid fully. Payment has to be made at the beginning of the project.
Project related transportation costs have to be covered by participants separately. On average they account for approximately $100 to $200 for the whole duration of the project (Rs 7,000 – 12,000 ) depending on the location of the rural community and frequency of travels. That cost can be paid at the end of the project.
It is mandatory for all program participants to obtain medical insurance before arriving in India. The insurance should cover the entire duration of the stay in India and the dates should be clearly stated on the insurance certificate that students have to submit to the program in charge. The insurance certificate must be written in english.
It is imperative that program participants provide official documentation, preferably a Medical Certificate, citing their fitness and ability to live and work in rural India. We also recommend getting vaccinated for Covid-19, typhoid, cholera and measles. As there is no vaccine for malaria, we highly recommend program participants to ask their doctors about malaria tablets.
Live-in-Labs® is an academic program. International students need to come under Student visa or Research visa, delivered by the India authorities of their country of residence.
Both visas require endorsement letters provided by the hosting Indian University. These letters will be provided once the international students have cleared the interview process. Then it is up to the international students to apply at the competent authorities and complete the visa process. Delivery of the visa in entirely dependant on the Indian authorities, and can be different from country to country and times to times. Student have to inform themselves on the process and requirements.
Please note that as per the regulations of student visa, students are required to stay at the programme sites until completion of the project/study. Vacations/site seeing are not part of the programme. These can happen after completion of the programme, if the visa is still valid for some time. Therefore, students must be flexible with dates and expectations.
It is mandatory by the Government of India that all foreign nationals who enter the country on a Student or Research Visa and plan to stay more than 2 months (60 days) must register themselves with the local Foreigners Regional Registration Officer (FRRO) within 14 days of arrival. Registration facilities are not provided at the airport but in the office of FRROs or District Superintendents of Police. The Amrita Center for International Programs may assist the students in doing this registration. However, it is the individual responsibility of all foreign passport holders to complete the process, the University is only facilitating and cannot be hold responsible of any mistake in that process.
It is mandatory that all Live-in-Labs® participants submit a report regarding their completed project either on or prior to their last day at Amrita University. The format for the report will be given to participants before commencing their project work in the designated village.
NOTE: This is a requirement from the Government of India for those entering India on a Student or Research Visa. Students failing to complete this requirement may face problems at immigration when exiting the country.
The Live-in-Labs® is administered from our Amritapuri campus, Kerala. International students have to land at Kochi International airport, or Trivandrum International Airport.
Upon arriving in India, all program participants will come to Amrita University’s Amritapuri campus in Kerala to complete:
This process takes a maximum of 1 week. Then they will be dispatched to the actual campus where their project is operated from.
International students will be working with project teams that can be located in any of Amrita campuses, and accordingly this will be the base location for the international students. The Amrita project guide will be the main point of contact for International students in the campus. International students will be given a separate accommodation in one of Amrita campuses. They will have access to all campus facilities (canteen, library, clinic, gym etc.) but will also have to follow all the campus rules and regulations.
In the villages, accommodation will be arranged either in Amrita educational institution facilities if there is one near the village, or in a designated house in the village. Most sites will have a cook and a kitchen who will prepare fresh food specially for the project team; however, this may vary from site to site. Some sites may even have general and convenient stores so participants can cook their own meals.
All arrangements and logistics will be made by the Live-in-Labs® project team to ensure safety of the students. However please note that depending on the situation of the village, participants will have to adapt to very basic facilities available : lack of electricity, no Wi-Fi, unreliable phone network, Indian style sanitation etc.
All students, Indians and International, will travel together to the village. As part of the experiential learning standpoint of the programme, the policy is to use public transportation only (train, bus). All transportation logistics will be arranged by the Live-in-Labs® project team.