Pandemic Message

COVID-19 Update: For updates on the current status of each opportunity, please contact the Advisor listed, or for courses, check the linked Class Roster page.


Minimum GPA: 2.80

Terms and Dates:

  • Summer 2021
    June 2, 2021 to July 16, 2021


Donna Ramil

Cornell Affiliations:

Industrial and Labor Relations, Global Health Program


Opportunity Description

Note: due to the global pandemic the 2021 summer India program will be offered in a virtual format.  If the situation changes, students will be notified.   

Since 2011, the ILR School has partnered with the Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement (, in Mysore, Karnataka State, to develop the India SVYM Global Service Learning (GSL) Program. SVYM is a community development, non-religious, non-political organization working for the benefit of indigenous and rural people in southern India through effective education, accessible healthcare and sustainable empowerment initiatives.

Link to video of the 2019 ILR India GSL Program:

Visit the student blog:

What is unique about this program?

Together with Cornell Global Health students, ILR students will participate in 2-weeks of courses in Mysore at the Vivekananda Institute of Indian Studies (VIIS) to prepare for work in their service-learning placements. For more information about the courses of study, visit the courses page

Following the initial 2-week learning component, students are placed in either 4-week (ILR students) or 6-week (GH students) service projects at a SVYM project site. Projects will be selected during spring semester before going to India, and an attempt will be made to match the students' top choices and interests with the needs and desires of SVYM. This unique engaged-learning opportunity gives ILR students the chance to use their classroom learning and professional skills to collaborate with SVYM to improve the community.  This cross-cultural exchange & learning and growth in global citizenship can be a life-changing and transformative experience for many students. 

A summer of the program parts:

Part 1. During the first two-weeks in India, students will take courses at VIIS, an arm of SVYM. The courses are:

  • Indian Civilization and Culture
  • Gender in India
  • Indian Labor Relations & Economics or Global Health in the Indian Context (depending on program track)
  • Kannada (official language of Karnataka State)
  • Elective course in yoga

During the second week, ILR students will assist in a debate camp for Mysore high school girls, while GH students will continue with healthcare courses and field visits. 

Part 2. After the 2 week course period, students will take part in service projects at one of SVYM’s field sites in Mysore District. Students select projects and are matched during the spring semester, prior to the students’ departure.

Sample of past projects offered by SVYM (note that the projects change year-to-year, depending on the needs of the communities):

ILR-focused projects:   law & alternative dispute resolution, organizational management, policy, governance, child labor, migrant workers, human resources management, corporate social responsibility, education policy, teaching English, palliative care, HIV study, finance and accounting, gender studies, disabilities studies, adaptive leadership project, marketing and fundraising.

Global Health-focused projects: video production on self-administration of insulin and foot care, HIV-AIDs community project, palliative care, research and creation of standard procedures for Ayurvedic (traditional) medicine, business plan for medicine production, educational material for yoga, assessment of patient flow, nutrition study, and designing labels for traditional medicines.  In addition to projects, on occasion, GH students may have the opportunity to shadow doctors in the field or the hospital setting. 

What is unique about SVYM?

In 2015, SVYM was named the #1 NGO in India.  The organization boasts several academic initiatives, including housing a grassroots policy research institute (GRAAM) in collaboration with the Cornell Institute of Public Affairs.

How do I apply?

Global Health students must apply through the India GH portal.

ILR students:

1) Review the program Requirements.

2) Meet with the program advisor (Donna Ramil, to discuss the program details and your eligibility.

3) Complete the online application by clicking on the "Apply" button on this web page. You must log in with your NetID and password to access the application.

Link to the YouTube video of the 2017 India Program