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Practical Learning

Practical Learning and Internships


Some of the opportunities listed here may be eligible for a Smith College Praxis stipend. To learn more about this funding possibility, visit Praxis Internships.

Himalayan Health Exchange

Terms: Summer
Location: North India
Language of Instruction: English
Program overview: This program is very comprehensive and provides an unforgettable and highly productive learning experience for students of Anthropology as well as other disciplines.

Kumara Residential Work Study

Terms: Summer
Location: California, USA
Language of Instruction: English
Program overview: In exchange for their service, participants in Rangjung Yeshe Gomde’s Kumara Program engage in a comprehensive course of study and meditation at the remote Northern California center. Gomde hosts a number of eminent Tibetan Lamas who offer teachings on the essentials of the Buddhist path.

Nalanda Program, Barre Centre for Buddhist Studies

Terms: Interterm
Location: Massachusetts, USA
Language of Instruction: English
Program overview: This program designed for college-aged students is both academic and experiential, offering rigorous study of Buddhist texts and traditions in a contemplative environment that also places emphasis upon the importance of meditation as a tool for Buddhist studies and as a means of nurturing one's own personal growth and well-being.

What students have to say

Smith students who have participated: Catherine Mattimore '12, Karen Jensen '12, Annee Berman '15, Hannah Trumbo '14, Sarah Hoops '13, Sofia Gambuto 13J, Shiqian Mao '13, Sophia Brotherton '15, Corynn Stoltenberg '14

Annee writes: "I'm grateful to have had the opportunity to spend my J-term intensively studying Buddhism and learning to meditate with brilliant, passionate and wise instructors and classmates (I'm a first year, and most of the other students were sophisticated, kind, articulate, extraordinary upperclassmen). It changed my life because I discovered the joy of focusing my mind and finding peace (the two-day silent meditation retreat was illuminating and painful at times but so wonderful to have experienced), and am so fascinated and compelled by Buddhist thought. I feel so blessed to attend a college that would make this opportunity possible for me, and hope the program will be offered again so other students can have as amazing a Jterm as I did!"

Sacred Earth Trust

Terms: Variable
Location: Bodh Gaya, India
Language: English
Program overview: Sacred Earth Trust is a not-for-profit organization set up to support and to encourage the sustainable development and environmental protection of sacred sites and UNESCO world heritage sites around the world, through working in co-operation with the local, indigenous people and international groups.

What students have to say

Smith students who have participated: Maia Nikitovich '12.

Maia writes: "Volunteering at Sacred Earth Trust was an invaluable experience. It provided me the opportunity to protect the sacred site of Bodh Gaya through environmental activism yet I also felt I was making a difference on a micro level with the local and tourist community. I am confident my work was integral to fostering the seeds for positive change in various areas of life in Bodh Gaya, not only environmentally, but economically and personally as well. There are many ways to help; one can work with children in school, with the local women's project, with the various monasteries through clean up programs, or by creating and advertising green information through pamphlets, flyers, and posters. Because Bodh Gaya is one of the most important pilgrimage spots for Buddhists, it's a great place to volunteer for interested religion majors. It also helps out a lot with the local community, doing educational work in schools, and supplying local women with means of income and independence. I highly recommend this opportunity for anyone interested in building a relationship with India, in protecting the earth, and in embarking on a spiritual journey, Buddhist or otherwise."

South Asia Summer Language Institute

Terms: Summer
Location: Madison, WI, U.S.A
Language of Instruction: Choose from 13 South Asian languages
Program overview: SASLI is dedicated to training students, faculty, and professionals in the languages of South Asia.

Summer Language Institute

Terms: Summer
Location: Charlottesville, VA, U.S.A
Language of Instruction: Tibetan or Chinese
Program overview: The Summer Language Institute of the University of Virginia offers language instruction in Tibetan and Chinese.

Summer Language Study in India

Terms: Fall/Year/Summer
Location: Varies depending on language
Language of Instruction: N.A.
Program overview: AILS language programs provide rich immersion experiences, including classroom study, field trips and visits to cultural events.

Woodenfish Project

Terms: July or August
Locations: Mount Tiantai, Zhejiang, China or Guanyin Temple, Baoding, Hebei, China
Language of Instruction: English
Program overview: Woodenfish Project offers students a chance for direct and intensive engagement with important historical centers of Chinese Buddhism and culture.