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21 August 2013

Studying abroad in India -- Indic Experiences ~~ Two Points of View

CNN PRODUCER NOTE: Please note that CNN cannot independently verify the events described in this post.

RoseChasm says she shared her account of studying abroad in India and experiencing repeated sexual harassment in hopes of spreading 'international exposure about what women travelers and residents experience in India.'

The South Asian Studies student says she is currently on a mental leave of absence from the University of Chicago, but expects to return to classes in the fall.

The University of Chicago issued the following statement: 'Nothing is more important to us at the University of Chicago than caring for the safety and well-being of our students, here in Chicago and wherever they go around the world in the course of their studies. The University offers extensive support and advice to students before, during and after their trips abroad, and we are constantly assessing and updating that preparation in light of events and our students' experiences. We also place extremely high value on the knowledge our students seek by traveling and studying other civilizations and cultures, and we are committed to ensuring they can do so in safety while enriching their intellectual lives.'

Dipesh Chakrabarty, a University of Chicago professor who was in India for the first three weeks of the session, told CNN that he was unaware of RoseChasm’s situation. He noted, though, that the university tries to prepare students for what they might encounter while abroad.

'Both faculty and staff in Chicago and our local Indian staff counsel students before and during the trip about precautions they need to take in a place like India,' Chakrabarty said in an e-mail. 'Ensuring student safety and well-being is the top priority of both the College and staff and faculty associated with the program.'

'Every year about 25 students enroll in it and several have gone on to become India-specialists by doing PhDs on the country and its past and present. This is the first time that I personally have come across such a serious problem,' he said. You can read more about this story on CNN.com.
- katie, CNN iReport producer
  • India: A different view, By meeravijayan @ Cable News Network

  • CNN PRODUCER NOTE meeravijayan told me, 'I was inspired to respond because I am an Indian girl who has faced similar experiences that Michaela Cross describes on her ireport. Sexual harassment is common in India. And this can be frightening and traumatic for anyone who travels here. The air of hopelessness for women here is frustrating and I wish that things change. However, I know that although I have faced sexual harassment, there is a side to India that one can truly enjoy and appreciate. And given the heavy air of cynicism about the Indian mindset (which truly is deeply chauvinist), I wanted to point out, on a positive note, that one can also have a beautiful experience here.' - hhanks, CNN iReport producer

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