This trip is an option as part of the International Service Learning courses offered at Bellarmine. We will be visiting various service sites in India and getting to know a culture much older than our own. Depending on how long the participants can stay, we will also be visiting other sites in one of the most beautiful parts of the world.
We will be hosted by the Conventual Franciscan friars of India who welcome us into their world and take care of us as family. Accommodations are clean. Some private rooms are available. Food is plentiful and well-prepared. Travel (including guides, bus and driver) are provided for. Previous groups have commented that the welcome of the friars was the essential ingredient of making this a trip to remember. Our donation to them covers our expenses and gives them some money to help them with expenses in their work with the poor in India. We will determine the amount at the end of the trip but in previous trips it has come to around $70 a day to include everything on the ground. Some of that will depend on the cost of air conditioning. The friars rent a generator for our use.
Purified water, juices, coffee, and tea are provided. Western drinks (alcohol and soda) are also available but, because their price is in the range of the western world’s costs, these would come with an extra charge—one bottle of beer would be more than a day’s wages for most Indians.
In other words, you will be taken care of from the time you arrive at the airport in Cochin until the time that you leave it.
“Getting there” is YOUR responsibility. To the extent possible, we will work with Kaelin Rybak at the Travel Authority (firstname.lastname@example.org) to work toward traveling together. This will be possible only if we can come to the same dates of arrival and departure. You may also make your own travel arrangements. The arrival and departure airport is Cochin (Kochi) in Kerala, India.
The current cost for a ticket from Louisville to Cochin returning to Louisville fluctuates between $1700.00 and $2800.00. I trust you know that this price can fluctuate until the flight is actually booked and paid for.
In short, we will take care of you in India; but you have the primary responsibility of doing what is needed to get there. We will work with you as far as possible but it is your responsibility to obtain passport, visa, and a flight! To that end, the following can be helpful:
- IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A PASSPORT, GET THE FORMS ONLINE OR FROM THE POST OFFICE AND APPLY IMMEDIATELY.
- YOU WILL NEED A TOURIST VISA FOR INDIA BEFORE YOU DEPART. You can go directly through the Indian consulate or through a visa “handler.” Both are available through the internet but you will have to send off your passport to one or the other with the monies they request. Two recommended handlers are: Visas and Passports 2 Go (www.vp2go.com) and India Visa Center (indiavisa.travisaoutsourcing.com). If possible, we can send these in together.
- MEDICAL PREPARATION. You may want to consult your physician concerning any immunizations you might want to get. The area we are traveling is safe and secure but many want to be “extra prepared.” There is an international travel clinic in Louisville that can provide both information and the desired vaccinations. It is located at 250 East Liberty, Suite 604 and their phone number is 502 852 3691.
Bellarmine also has a mandatory release form and insurance policy whose cost is $50. Click here for more information.
Where We Will Stay
The place where we will be staying is:
Assisi Shanti Kendra
Karakutty – 683 576
While you are in India, in the case of emergency, you may be contacted through Fr. George Munjanattu. He is reachable on his cell phone. Dialed from America, that number is 011 91 944 740 3504. E-mail access is available most of the time.