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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.

Important Note

Phase 2 (2024 January Intake) – Ph.D. Admissions Open
Last Date to Apply: 17th December 2023

Program Objectives

Program Background

“In our approach to sustainable development, we should not forget that it is by strengthening the people at the base of the pyramid that the entire edifice of society becomes healthy and strong.”

– Dr. Sri. Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, Chancellor, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham

India’s socioeconomic growth and development depends upon the sustenance of its rural communities, as 70% of its population are still living in rural villages. These communities form the backbone of the country. Despite the country’s overall progress, the rural population has been facing numerous pressing problems which need to be addressed. Some of the challenges they face include: extremely poor access to basic facilities and infrastructure, poverty, illiteracy, malnutrition, waste management, along with the unexpected impact of climate change and extreme weather conditions that result in devastating natural disasters.

At Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham (Amrita), our faculty and students have a mission and a vision to work towards our country’s progress, thereby delivering a sustainable future and creating a global impact. Under the guidance of our Chancellor, Dr. Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi (affectionately called as “AMMA”, meaning Mother), a world-renowned humanitarian and meliorist, we have pledged to the motto -“Education for living and Education for life”. Along with academic learning which is important to make a living, education must impart a culture of the heart—a culture based on enduring values, that is essential for life (E4LIFE). AMMA then suggested us to provide opportunities to students from all over the world to spend quality time in the villages that will help them experience, understand and solve the problems faced by the villagers.

To this end, Amrita adopted 100+ villages and got committed to use applied research as the foundation of socio economic progress and sustainability. Further, to make this accessible to the international academic community, the Live-in-Labs®, Amrita’s flagship program was launched in 2013. The Live-in-Labs® is a credit-based program which adopts a multidisciplinary theory–into–practice approach.

Program Overview

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 :

  • Experience first hand the reality of daily life in rural India.
  • Develop solutions that will have an actual impact in the real life of villagers.
  • Work on an applied research project and publish research articles.
  • Experience working in a project environment with a multidisciplinary and international team.
  • Develop problems solving skills.
  • Discover a new culture.

We work on the following thematic areas to make these villages self-reliant:

  1. Education
  2. Health and Well Being
  3. Energy
  4. Water & Sanitation
  5. Waste Management
  6. Agriculture
  7. Environment
  8. Livelihood
  9. Gender Equality
  10. Climate Change & Risk Management
  11. Peace, Justice, & Strong Institution

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 joint 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 village. 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. You can find some of them here:

Eligibility and application process

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 time is possible but students will have to catch up with sometime high amounts of work.

Live-in-Labs is open to international students at Bachelor and Master Level, from all academic background. All students will undergo an interview process for validating their application.

Please follow the following process for application

Step 1: Register with us online here

Step 2: Email us the following documents (as attachments) in English

  1. Statement of Purpose outlining your area of interest (1000 words) and your exact dates availability for the programme
  2. Electronic copy of your academic transcripts
  3. CV
  4. English Language Certificate
    1. IELTS overall score minimum 6.5 or equivalent (require a minimum score of 6 in each section); or
    2. TOEFL score minimum 80 or equivalent
Can I get Credit from this programme ?

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).

Funding and costs

The total cost of the program is 1000$/months. However, student 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, 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.

Health and Vaccination

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 student have to submit to the program in charge.

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.

Visa and immigration requirements

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.

What will happen when I land in India?

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:

  • Administrative paperwork and FRRO registration (Immigration),
  • Attend orientation sessions,
  • Discuss the projects,
  • Learn about the designated villages,
  • Pay the associated costs for the program.

This process takes a maximum of 1 week. Then they will be dispatched to the actual campus where their project is operated from.

Housing and logistics

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.

Course Offered

Live-in-LabsⓇ I

Live-in-LabsⓇ I                                              

Facilities at a glance

  • Central Library
  • Hostel Accommodation
  • Sports Facilities
  • Banking Facilities
  • Transport
  • Medical Services
  • Canteen
  • General Store
  • ICTS
  • Reprographic Facility
Amrita Live-in-Labs Program

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