Iowa Winterim Program
By Kaitlin McVey for SPAN Magazine
Rodney Maiden exited the Madurai airport at 3:30 a.m. gripped by excitement and anticipation. Given that his only experience traveling outside the United States had been a cruise to the Bahamas, he wasn’t sure what to expect. But he soon found out, and was “amazed at how alive the city was so early in the morning.” Having arrived with a group of 25 students from the University of Iowa, Maiden quickly realized that he was not in Iowa anymore.
Maiden and the other students were in India as part of the India Winterim study aboard program. It was started in the winter of 2006-2007 by Professor R. Rajagopal. He was seeking to create a program in which “participating students and faculty shared, learned and taught by directly interacting with the staff of leading entrepreneurial organizations within the cultural, socioeconomic, geographic and environmental diversity that is India.” Over three weeks, students and faculty collaborate, participate with, and learn directly from many dynamic social, educational and research organizations and entrepreneurs...
In recent years, the program has seen an exponential growth in student and faculty interest. Rajagopal hopes that in the next three years, with significant endowment support, they will be able “to cultivate, enrich and enhance the opportunities for the participation of 30 to 40 faculty/research scholars from the university’s various colleges and divisions and over 500 UI undergraduate, graduate students and alumni.” He is focusing on securing more funding for student scholarships, as these have always been a challenge. “If we could support all deserving students with a modest $1,500 to $2,000 winter scholarship, we would see an exponential growth in student interests to explore a different culture, especially exploring a vast country like India.”
Visit here for more information on Iowa's India Winterim program.