Summer in South Asia Fellowships

Talia Rothman on the Ganga

Talia Rothman | Summer in South Asia 2015
Talia is an LSA Sophmore interning with Guria, an NGO in Varanasi, the Indian city famously situated on the banks of the river Ganges.

Ariana Paredes-Vincent

Ariana Paredes-Vincent | Summer in South Asia 2015
Ariana is an international studies major and a 2015 SISA fellow. She is volunteering with SETCO Foundation in Kalol, Gujarat.

Jamie Lutz in Kolkata--2015

Jamie Lutz | Summer in South Asia 2015
Jamie is a junior majoring in Architecture and a 2015 SISA fellow. Here she poses with one of her students in Kolkata.

Jacob Anderson in Murudeshwara

Jacob Anderson | Summer in South Asia 2015
Jacob wears the maize and blue in Murudeshwara, with Lord Shiva looking over his shoulder, not far from his post at the Vivekananda Memorial Hospital in Karnataka.

Morgan Fitzgerald in Rishikesh

Morgan Fitzgerald | Summer in South Asia 2015
Morgan takes a break from her sustainable farming project to visit Rishikesh and the abandoned ashram of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who once inspired the Beatles.

Up In The Mountains (Dharamsala, India)
Photo by Man Kuan Lei, SISA 2014

Elisa Warner, Summer in South Asia 2014 Fellow

Elisa Warner, Summer in South Asia 2014 Fellow

SISA Image 1
Courtney Green--SISA 2013

Photo courtesy of Courtney Green, 2013 SISA Fellow

Up In The Mountains (Dharamsala, India)
Photo by Man Kuan Lei, SISA 2014

SISA Image 2
Rory Crook

Photo courtesy of SISA Fellow Rory Crook

Independent. Funded. Life Changing.


Now accepting applications for the
Summer in South Asia Fellowship


Thanks to a generous donation to the Center for South Asian Studies, undergraduate
students at U-M have an opportunity to design and carry out their own fellowship programs in India during the summer. This fellowship is intended for non-graduating students who have not already spent significant amounts of time in India. The program is designed to be flexible: you research and choose the NGO or business you'd like to be affiliated with, tell us what you want to study, design a program to accomplish your goals, and we will fund the best and most unique proposals to cover most of your costs.

We strongly encourage students to affiliate with a non-governmental organization or a business as part of your research project, but researching independently may also be acceptable. Paid internships will not be funded.

Learn more about SISA by reading about programs our alumni have designed for themselves and watch the video of the 2015 fellows discussing their projects.

Want to make an appointment with our advisor? Just say Advise me!

EligibilityWhat sort of students are you looking for?

  • Non-graduating undergraduate students are eligible to apply (freshman, sophomores, and juniors).
  • Applicants should have no (or little) previous experience travelling to India.
  • Students of all academic disciplines and majors at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor campus are welcome to apply.
  • Students must initiate and implement individualized research projects; joint projects by multiple fellows will not be permitted.
  • There is no GPA requirement, although it is considered during the application process.
  • Paid internships cannot be funded.
  • Only available to students who have not previously been selected Summer in South Asia fellows.

Requirements for the ProgramWhat am I getting myself into?

Summer in South Asia fellows are required to complete the requirements of the fellowship.  If the student does not participate or successfully complete the requirements listed below, all or a portion of the funded must be returned.

  • A minimum of four weeks must be spent in India
  • Weekly blog posts are required while in India
  • A final research report will be due at the end of the summer
  • Students must share their experiences and present their research at a Colloquium open to the University community.

Application ProcessHow do I do this and when is it due?

There are two phases of applications for the Summer in South Asia Fellowship.  Both phases of the application are due on February 12, 2016.  Once the first phase of the application is completed, notify Janelle Fosler by emailing or calling 734-647-7342.  The first phase of your application will then be reviewed and select fellows will be invited to complete the second phase of the application.

In the M-Compass application, students will submit the following application materials as part of their stage 1 application:

  • Program Abstract: In 150 words, outline your proposed research topic in India, including your over-arching research question, an overview about why this research topic is important and how you intend to carry out the project.
  • Collaborations in India: If you plan to affiliate with an organization, describe what type of NGO or company you would like to volunteer with during your time in India. If you intend to conduct independent research, you will be required to identify a person or organization that will aid you with this topic.
  • Personal Statement: A one page statement that explains what motivates you to become a Summer in South Asia fellow.
  • Transcripts: A copy of your unofficial transcript must be uploaded.
  • Recommendations:  Two recommendation forms must be completed.
  • Other: The remaining questions ask about relevant coursework, academic concentrations/minors, prior travel, and anticipated graduation date.

Select stage one applicants will be invited to advance to phase 2 of the application process. The second phase of the application includes:

  • Program Proposal:  In 300 words, discuss your final program proposal.
  • NGO/Organizational Affiliation: Describe your role as a volunteer with the organization that has provided you with a letter of invitation to volunteer with their organization.
  • Independent Research:  If you will not be affiliated with an NGO or organization, explain the resources the resources you will utilize to conduct research independently in India.
  • Logistical Research: Provide a summary of the research and planning you have done regarding flights, transportation, accommodations, health/safety, etc.

Final award decisions will be issued by mid-February and fellowship recipients will receive additional

Examples of Possible Programs What do you mean by "self-directed research projects?"


Figment from 2014 SISA Fellow--and Waste Warriors intern-- Man Kuan Lei.
This video for the sole use of the CSAS Summer in South Asia program.

All projects MUST be self-directed research projects and cannot be paid internships or jobs. 

  • Fellows have worked in a variety of different capacities for NGOs, educational institutions, hospitals, and with independent scholars. If there is an independent research element it qualifies as a proposal for this program.
  • In the past, Fellows have also done preliminary work for an honor’s thesis. We hope that this experience will be beneficial for each Fellow in the future. Doing preliminary research for a thesis is a great way to make that happen.
  • The proposals do not have to be involved in civil society, medicine, environment, and so on. One could seek out an apprenticeship that complements one’s academic work. For instance, an art or art history student might apprentice with a master Indian artist or artisan.
  • To find the NGO, organization, institution, or individual that’s right for you, first find a topic that you’re passionate about and then try doing a basic internet search for a place to start.


Summary of Important DatesDo I still have time for everything?


     September, 2015   
Application Cycle Begins
     February 12, 2016
Final Application Deadline
     Mid-February, 2016
Final Award Decisions Announced


ContactWhat if I still have questions?

Book an advising appointment.

For more information about the Summer in South Asia Fellowship please contact:

Janelle Fosler, Fellowships Coordinator
Center for South Asian Studies
1080 S. University Ave., Ste. 3624
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Telephone: 734-647-7342