This trip is part of the international community engagement and interreligious learning offered at Bellarmine. We will be visiting various sites in India and getting to know a culture much older than our own.
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. Private rooms are available. Food is plentiful and well-prepared. Travel (including guides, bus and driver) are provided. Previous groups have commented that the welcome of the friars was the essential ingredient of making this a trip to remember. Our donation to the friars covers our expenses and helps fund 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) 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 half 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 you leave.
“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. 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 $1,700.00 and $2,800.00. 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. One recommended handler is: travisa.com
- 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
Assisi Shanti Kendra
Karakutty – 683 576
While you are in India, in the case of emergency, you may be contacted through Fr. Leo Payyappilly. He is reachable on his cell phone. Dialed from America, that number is 011 919447529257. E-mail access is available most of the time.