Taj Mahal (Photo by Shin-Han Kwan)

The Department of Criminal Justice Sciences conducted its India study abroad program from June 10–27. The student group consisted of seven criminal justice students, one special education student, one international student, and one sociology student, all from Illinois State University, and one student from a community college in Chicago.

The trip included five days of classroom lectures by the faculty from the University of Madras, India, and field trips to juvenile institutions, the Tamil Nadu Police Academy, police stations, and the High Court of Madras. In addition, the students were exposed to a variety of educational and cultural experiences such as sharing of ideas with the students and faculty from the criminology department at University of Madras, and presenting papers.

“The students spent the early portion of the trip familiarizing themselves with the city of Chennai, their home base,” said Sesha Kethineni, professor of criminal justice sciences and trip leader. The group visited Mahabalipuram, a group of monuments built during the seventh and eighth centuries; Madras Crocodile Bank, managed by an nongovernmental organization, with many crocodiles, alligators, and snakes; and the world  famous Marina Beach, the second longest beach in the world.

In addition, the students took a two-day trip to the neighboring state of Kerala. “With the Arabian Sea in the west, the Western Ghats in the east, and over 44 rivers, with beautiful backwaters, students were able to enjoy the beauty of the area and also experienced the rural surroundings of India,” Kethineni said.

The latter part of the trip allowed time for the students to travel to New Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, and Udaipur. In New Delhi, students got to see the crowded shopping areas while traveling in an auto rickshaw (a three-wheeler). “One of the highlights of the trip was an early morning visit to the Taj Mahal, one of the greatest architectural monuments in the world,” Kethineni said. “It really brightened everyone’s face.”

In Jaipur, the students visited the palace on an elephant. The final two days were spent in Udaipur, the city of lakes. The students were able to enjoy the Lake Palace, located in the middle of Pichola Lake.

The trip to India is conducted every four years for students in the Department of Criminal Justice Sciences as well as students in other areas of study. Students looking to participate can contact their departmental academic advisor.