Primates and Predators – Western Ghats, India – Dec. 28, 2016 – Jan. 10, 2017 | Field Projects International
 

Course Description:

This field course gives you in-depth training in field techniques relevant to primate and carnivore conservation and research. Along the way you will be exposed to the amazing diversity of tropical plants and wildlife of South India. The course takes place at Fringe Ford, a privately protected valley of natural forest tucked away in one of the worlds top biodiversity hotspots, the Western Ghats.

While focusing on carnivore and primate ecology, there will also be short introductory modules on ornithology, herpetology, botany, and entomology. You will receive training in methods that are broadly applicable to field research, including but not limited to, forest navigation, biodiversity monitoring, radio telemetry, plant identification, tree-climbing and camera-trapping. At each stage of the course, instructors will stress the impacts that humans have on this habitat and why it should be conserved.

Quick Info

Dates: December 28, 2016 to January 10, 2017
Course Application Deadline: November 18, 2016
Location: Fringe Ford, Kerala, India
Instructor: Mrinalini Watsa, Gideon Erkenswick, KC Hill
Cost: USD $2250

*Reduced rates available for Indian citizens living in India



The Western Ghats of India are one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots because of high levels of endemism. Fifteen hundred flowering plants, 84 amphibian species, 16 birds, and 7 mammals occur nowhere else.”

Course Details

  • FIELD BIOLOGY FUNDAMENTALS
  • PRIMATE ECOLOGY AND CONSERVATION
  • CARNIVORE ECOLOGY AND CONSERVATION
  • COURSE READINGS
  • COURSE SYLLABUS

We aspire for all participants who complete an FPI field course to be prepared and able to conduct future research and/or conservation activities on their own or as part of a team. As such, there are fundamental skills that we expect all participants to acquire. These include:

  • Forest navigation and orienteering, on and off trail
  • Fail-proof tree climbing
  • Proper maintenance of a field notebook
  • Upkeep of detailed and accurate wildlife sightings lists
  • Creation of a trail map from scratch
  • Effective use of camera traps
  • Basic data analyses

The close evolutionary history shared by non-human primates and humans has long fascinated us, so much so that in North America, primates are exclusively studied under the guise of anthropology. However primates are much like any other mammal in being intrinsically dependent on a variety of other ecological factors – predators, prey, climate, and habitat. The interconnectedness of all these factors demands that researchers have a solid foundation in tropical biology and ecology in order to understand these complex social mammals. At Fringe Ford, you will try your hand at primate research with the highly endangered lion-tailed macaque (Macaca silenus), the generalist bonnet macaque (Macaca radiata), and the Nilgiri langur (Trachypithecus johnii). You will learn to identify, track, and collect non-invasive samples from these elusive animals while attempting to habituate multiple primate social groups. You will also explore the intersection between predators and prey by looking at carnivore hunting practices, predator avoidance behaviors in primates, and software simulations of predator-prey dynamics.

The relatively secretive nature of wild felids and mesocarnivores (civets and wild dogs), as well as their low population density, present a difficult challenge when it comes to obtaining accurate assessments of population viability and stability. You will receive an introduction to the methods and tools used to evaluate population stability of different carnivores. Topics covered will include invasive and non-invasive sampling methods, the theory behind animal trapping and collaring, camera trap placement and monitoring, the collection of track data in conjunction with camera taps, the efficacy of small animal hair snares, and an introduction to data analyses and manipulation. At Fringe Ford, we will consider such exciting mammals as the Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris tigris), the dhole (Cuon alpinus), and the Asian palm civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus).

The required texts are to be read before arriving at the field site. Once there, students will be very busy, and should primarily focus on experiencing the unique environment at Fringe Ford.

Required Texts:

TBA by September, 2016

Suggested Reading List:

See the syllabus for a complete list

Download the Primates and Predators Syllabus: HERE (pdf)

Read our Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct Policy: HERE

Fees and Logistics

  • COURSE FEE
  • ADDITIONAL COSTS
  • WHEN TO ARRIVE AND DEPART
  • CANCELLATION POLICY

This course fee is $2250 and includes the following:

  • Your stay in Mysore on the first night in India
  • Round-trip travel to the field station from Bangalore (approximately 5 hours)
  • Room and board at the field station
  • Experienced instructors and field equipment

*Reduced rates available for Indian citizens who live in India.

This course fee does NOT include:

  • Travel to and from India
  • Travel or health insurance (proof of health insurance is required)
  • Rubber boots, binoculars, flashlight (all which are required to take this course)

This course will be held December 28th, 2016 – January 10th. This means that you should plan to arrive in Bangalore, India, on the morning of December 28th before 10 am. We will arrange airport pickup for you that day and depart for Mysore that afternoon. Your return flight should depart from Bangalore on January 10th after 6 pm.

  • $100 of your deposit made during registration is nonrefundable under any circumstances.
  • If you cancel on or before the registration deadline of November 18, 2016, we will refund all course fees paid in full (except for the registration fee of $100).
  • If you cancel your reservation after the registration deadline, you will be refunded 40% of your course fee.
  • Course fees cannot be refunded for cancellations made after December 1, 2016.
  • If we cancel this course due to mitigating reasons, a full refund of all fees paid, including the registration fee, will be made available to all participants.
  • Early departures from the field site are not entitled to a refund.

The Registration Process

In order to register for a course, you must submit a course application and a down payment to hold your spot in the course. First peruse these eligibility requirements, options for taking courses for credit, and the registration process. If you have any questions, please explore our FAQ section or contact us using the form below. When ready, apply!
Register Now

Eligibility

  1. You must be at least 18 years of age at the time of the course.
  2. You must have medical insurance, and provide proof of such insurance to us to complete your registration.
  3. There are no citizenship requirements, but Peru and India require visas from citizens of some countries.
  4. Unless otherwise noted, you do not need any training in biology or related fields – our courses are structured to accommodate people from a variety of backgrounds.

Course Credit:

  1. Institution: You may request credit from your own University. Please contact us with any questions about how to do this.
  2. Credits: 2 or 3 credits (additional paper required).
  3. Cost: paid directly to your own University in addition to the FPI course fee.

Enrollment Process

  1. Submit a course application along with the specified downpayment online ($400).
  2. Your spot will now be reserved in the course.
  3. Receive a participation contract and invoice for the remaining course fee.
  4. Submit the final payment by the registration deadline.
  5. Submit travel, health, and liability forms at least 3 weeks before the course begins.

Frequently Asked Questions


If you don’t find the answers you are looking for below, you can send us a question using the form at the bottom of this page.

Course Benefits

Can I get credit for a course?

Yes, credit is available through Washington University in St. Louis. You must consult with your school BEFORE you apply for credit to make sure they will agree to transfer credits at the end of the course. You will receive a transcript at the end of the field course.

Will I receive any official acknowledgement of course completion?

Yes, upon finishing with a passing grade, you will receive a certificate that states that you attended and completed a particular course. It will list the techniques you were taught on the course. This can be very useful in the future when you require recommendation letters for summer internship programs, graduate schools, or jobs from your course instructor.

Why take this course?

Apart from the valuable skills, knowledge, and experience you will acquire, FPI encourages alumni to network, support, and collaborate with each other after the course is completed.  In addition, our staff remains available for academic and career advice. Many of our students have returned as research assistants, and later even joined us as research collaborators, field team leaders, and instructors.

Apart from specific training that will benefit those going into many fields, our courses also entail pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone and being challenged both mentally and physically. Furthermore, this is a chance to visit a remote research station in one of the most bio-diverse regions of the planet, and to learn about the incredible flora and fauna you will see at every turn. 

Financial Aid

Are scholarships available?

Yes, we have scholarships available in each course for participants from particular backgrounds. There may be residency and other eligibility requirements for each scholarship, so please read the descriptions carefully. These are competitive scholarships, and all applicants submit essays in response to specific prompts. These responses are then collected and evaluated blind by a scholarship committee. Click below to learn more.

Preparing to travel to India

What should I bring with me?

Download a packing list here. Please read the sections below for explanations for each item as well.
How do I deal with Indian money?

The currency in India is the Indian Rupee. We say 1 “rupee” and each rupee contains 100 “paisa”, the equivalent of cents. The currency exchange rate is ~ Rs. 67 to 1 USD, but this can change so be sure to check at this site closer to your travel date.  Changing US dollars in India is not a difficult thing to do; we recommend you bring brand new, high-denomination bills, without any blemishes on them, for a bank to exchange them for you. You can find currency exchanges easily in the airport in Bangalore as well as in Bangalore and Mysore cities. However, the easiest way to get money is to use an ATM via a credit or debit card. The closest ATM machine to the field station is at Talapoya village, ~11 km from camp. Mananthavadi, ~19 km from the station, has SBI and HDFC banks which will exchange currency directly as well.

Things to consider: Bring two cards, in case one doesn’t work. Test that your pins work on both of your cards before you come to India. The most you can withdraw in a single day from an ATM is Rs. 10,000 or USD $156. ATM charges can apply, including conversion fees, so check with your bank about that. Withdrawing from an ATM is convenient, and prevents you from carrying around a lot of cash, which is always a much safer way to travel.

Traveler’s checks are entirely a thing of the past – just don’t buy them!

You do not need to have cash on you while at the field station except for possibly Rs.5000 at the very most, for emergencies. There’s nothing to buy, no stores to spend it on; cash, in short, is irrelevant in the rainforest.

However, during our first two days in Mysore, you will indeed want to have money on you to pay for any extras you might buy at a market, or for extra snacks or water for the drives, for example. How much you wish to withdraw will be up to you. See below for the expenses that will be covered by the course.

What's the lowdown on footwear?

You will require gumboots or knee-high rubber boots for all activities at the field station. You should buy these from home and not count on buying them locally.  Select a natural colored or black pair – polka dots would ensure all wildlife running away from you. You will wear these boots every single day while you are in the forest, so if you’re buying them new, break them in if you can. If you have sensitive feet with arch trouble, please bring insoles for your boots.

A pair of sneakers will come in handy during your travels and for use while at camp itself. You will never wear flip-flops at camp, for your own safety. You may however prefer to bring a pair so that you can wear them to or in the shower, or in the earlier period of your stay in Mysore and Bangalore.

What kind of luggage should I use?

Pack in something you can carry on your shoulders if necessary. Suitcases are not very practical at all. We recommend bringing a big duffel bag, or a backpack with most of your things in it.  You’ll also need a small daypack when on site to take with you on all your hikes. Make sure that it is large enough to carry a field notebook, small medical kit, and a water bottle or two.

What do I need in the forest?

The most important things you need in the forest that this course will NOT be providing are your hiking backpack, a water bottle, rubber boots, a head lamp, and a pair of binoculars. Check your packing list for more details on these items. In addition, some things to consider bringing include a penknife (check it in, don’t hand carry – it will get caught), a bandana or hat, and energy bars as an extra snack.

Note: There are no mosquitoes at this site due to the elevation in altitude, so there is no need to use insect repellent while in Fringe Ford. However, it will definitely come in handy in Bangalore and Mysore. However, there are ticks you can pick up during hiking at Fringe Ford, so please bring some repellent that contains DEET for spraying on your clothes alone.

What about battery-operated equipment?

You will need to use a battery-operated headlamp with LEDs at this site. This headlamp will be your best friend and is useful since it is hands-free. If you’re interested in seeing wildlife at night, bring one that is bright and that has a red light option, as the red light doesn’t scare nocturnal animals as much. Headlamps will need batteries and we strongly suggest that you bring rechargeable batteries with you.  This means that you must also obtain a small battery charger. If you can’t and have to bring regular batteries please buy energy efficient ones so you use as few as possible, since you will have to take all batteries back with you and recycle them (you cannot leave them at the field station). Please se the see the section on electronics for how to manage voltage issues.

Do I need a watch or alarm clock?

Yes. Make sure that you have something extremely reliable as an alarm clock – whether you use your phone or watch is up to you. Please buy a digital watch with a repeat timer – this last factor is essential in allowing you to collect data while on the course. When at the store, please specifically ask if you can set a timer for a specific duration (eg. 1 minute) that will continually beep every minute. That is what we mean by a repeat timer. If in doubt, purchase this watch from Amazon, or something like it.

How do I care for my passport and papers?

Passports are valuable items that you want to protect from mold in the rainforest. There’s only one way to do this and that is to put them in small ziplock bags (double-bag them) and then leave them entirely alone.  I would do the same with any cash you bring with you also. Paper gets moldy very quickly.

What is the weather like at the field station?

The weather at the station in January is typically warm and pleasant (from 23C to 28C or 73F to 90F) during the day, but you might feel a bit chilly at night when it goes down to 9C (or 48F). So, bring a jacket or sweater and something warm to wear to sleep in as well. If you tend to feel colder than most, bring a little more warm clothing than listed above. Remember that it is better to be over prepared than under prepared in this regard – there will be no way to go out and purchase additional clothing if you are missing anything.

What medications should I bring?

The field station and the course do not provide any medications to students. As such, they must bring a small medical kit for minor issues:

– A course of broad-spectrum antibiotics (ciprofloxacin is a common and effective one)

– A course of antibiotics for digestive trouble, and a small number of pills of immodium (to be used in emergencies only)

– Electrolyte/rehydration packs (hint: the juice flavoured ones are much nicer than the medical ones)

– Anti-fungal cream/powder (effective on yeast), particularly if you are prone to these infections

– Anti-itch medication: over-the counter lotions are ok

– Antacids to comfort your stomach

– Band aids, tweezers

–  An Epi pen if you are allergic to anything at all

– Antihistamines to be taken in case of mild allergies (something like Claritin/ Zyrtec)

– A venom extraction kit: don’t worry, we don’t get snake bites, but these are useful in case of wasp or bee stings.

What vaccinations do I need?

You will have to provide proof of a normal vaccination record (as listed here by the CDC). For travel to India, we require that you also get the following vaccines: Typhoid (oral or injectable) and Hepatitis A. It is additionally recommended to speak with your doctor or a travel clinic about the Japanese encephalitis vaccine, and to follow their expert advice in this matter. If you have the current flu shot for the year as well, all the better. Find a travel clinic and get your shots EARLY.

You may consider taking malaria prophylaxis if you like, particularly for your stay in Mysore and Bangalore. There are no mosquitoes at the field station so the risk of catching malaria while there is minimal. Please follow your health care provider’s recommendations in this regard.

The CDC’s recommendations for travelers to India may be found here.

What about health and safety?

We take the health and safety of all participants very seriously at this site.  We look out for each other and take care of our team. The field site has stringent protocols on safety procedures in the case of an emergency that we are obliged to follow.  If anyone should need medical help, they can be transported by car to town in a matter of 30 minutes, where they can be treated or evacuated to Mysore or Bangalore for treatment.

It is advisable for participants to sign up for medivac insurance, as neither the field station nor PrimatesPeru will be responsible for costs associated with medical emergencies, however dire.

Before being accepted to the program, applicants must submit a medical history evaluation. This is not meant to discriminate against people, but instead to protect them from being in a situation where they are at a serious or life-threatening disadvantage. All participants must sign a participation contract, without which applicants cannot participate in our courses or research programs.

We make special references to an alcohol policy in our participation contract – we have a zero tolerance policy at this particular field station. You will also sign a sexual and gender-based misconduct contract (and so will your supervisors). This is not to suggest that this issue is a problem at this field site in particular. However, there has been a large amount of reporting on these matters in the press of late, and we want to assure you that we take any such violations extremely seriously. We want our students to be as safe and comfortable as possible.

Field Station Amenities

What are meals like at the field station?

You will be provided with three meals at the field station each day – breakfast (~8:30 am), lunch (~1:30 pm) and dinner (~ 8:30 pm). These meals are healthy and will fill you up, but this being the middle of the rainforest, don’t expect to get all your food groups represented in the same way you try to eat while you are at home. If you are concerned, take a multi-vitamin while at the field station. The field station is lucky to have an absolutely fabulous cook, who can make the most incredible dishes with basic and wholesome ingredients. The food will be traditional Indian food from the region in Kerala – this includes both vegetarian and non-vegetarian options, and specialties like appams and fish curries from the region. Vegetarians never have a problem in India, so there will be plenty of options. Being vegan or gluten free at this field site is not recommended.

You will also have access to tea and coffee during the day, as and when you wish to have some (while you are at camp). If you think you will do better with cliff bars or other snacks, please bring some for yourself. Any additional treats you bring (like energy bars or chocolate) will be fair game for a lot of small rainforest creatures. So, bring plenty of ziplock bags in which to place your food and avoid leaving wrappers in your rooms containing anything at all edible because that will attract some curiosity from miniature wildlife.

How do I care for electronics at the field station?

We strongly encourage you to bring your laptops to the field station, as well as your cell phones. They will come in handy for data entry, entertainment, and for completing assignments. Electronics have to be treated differently in the rainforest than you would anywhere else. Do not bother to bring a soft sleeve for the laptop with you, because it will suck up moisture from the air and will envelope your laptop in it, which is bad news. We find that simple plastic ziplock bags work better than sports dry bags. We recommend that you purchase at least two ziplock bags that are large enough to fit your computer. You can also purchase silicon gel packages online (Amazon or Jake’s Silica Gel are good places to try, along with local stores like REI). Put a couple of 5 gram packets inside the ziplock with your computer and bring at least 2 more packets with you.

India uses a different set of plugs than the US or England. The project will have extension cords and power strips that will accept US plugs; however, if you want to plug things in while you travel, you should consider picking up a small converter for your electronics that will fit plugs in India (see here for a full explanation). The Indian system uses 220 – 240 volts, instead of 120/140 volts as in the US. Please CHECK your electronics to make sure they are compatible before plugging them in at the station or anywhere in India. If they don’t work at both voltages, you will need to bring a step up converter such as this one.  Also note that you will not find three-pronged sockets in most places, so definitely at least bring a three to two modifier (such as this) for your electronics.

Electricity at the field station is available all day around, technically speaking. However, power failures can occur, so expect to spend some nights in candle light. You may certainly bring solar chargers if you feel the need to, but most of the day you will not be using your electronics at all.

Do not bring a hair dryer, electric razor, or electric toothbrush because those are very much considered an unnecessary luxury at this site. We will prioritize charging absolutely everything else over those items.

Is there internet at the field station?

Wireless internet is simply not available at this site, so please do not count on sending daily email updates. We will provide for a trip to town midway to the course during which you can make phone calls and check email, but please do not expect to have internet connectivity in Fringe Ford. You will have internet connectivity in Bangalore and Mysore, however.

Is there phone service at the field station?

Phone signals are available through most of India – but the field station is in a steep valley and thus, has found a blind spot. This actually really adds to the charm of the experience. In an emergency, we can drive a couple of kilometers away to catch a signal but do not count on having it at the field station itself. Also, during some of your hikes that take you up the hills nearby, you can catch cell phone signals for all the Indian providers.

In Bangalore and Mysore, you can get connected to the main network “Airtel” from anywhere.  Contact your cell service provider and make sure that you can pick up this network’s service while in India. Then, purchase an international calling plan, pre-paid minutes, or some kind of international texting plan. This will allow you to communicate with your family at home, during those first few days, or in the middle and end of the course when we return to town.

If you have a smartphone, download Viber and Whatsap – both apps will allow you to stay connected with instructors while negotiating airport pickups, etc.

How do I do laundry at the field station?

There is a small but functional washing machine on site and laundry will be done for you on site. If you have any special needs in terms of detergent, please bring something different with you but basic detergent is provided at the site. Your clothes will be dried on the line on the property.

What is the risk of disease in the Western Ghats?

This is the south Indian rainforest, and as with all tropical areas, there are disease risks. Unlike towns, however, this field station does not hold enough people to serve as constant reservoirs for many diseases.

As such, malaria is not found at this site, and no one on our team takes malaria prophylactics. Your travel doctor will most likely disagree because their information is about the region in general, and it is true that malaria can be contracted in Mananthavadi, Mysore and Bangalore. As such, the choice to take malaria prophylactics is entirely personal – if you feel better about it, take the medication.

Leeches are of slight concern at this site, only in that they make hiking somewhat more of an adventure. You will be wearing high boots during hikes, and the field station will provide you with leech socks that do not allow leeches to come into contact with your skin. You will also hike with a salt container to gently dislodge leeches from your boots if they climb too high. However unnerving this sounds remember the following facts: a) leeches are not known to carry any diseases at all, b) they form a large food source for a variety of animals and are an integral part of the ecosystem in these forests, c) if you do get bitten, you will not even notice for they are completely painless and once a leech feeds, it will drop off naturally, and d) as policy, we will not be harming leeches at this site.

Travel and Stay in Bangalore

Flying in and out of Bangalore

You will have a range of airlines available to you, but there are no direct flights from the United States into Bangalore. All will typically fly east around the world, stopping in the Middle East or Europe:

It does matter which flight you book – make sure you arrive no later than 10 am on the morning of the 28th of December. Please note that there is an ~12 hour time difference between India and the United States, so please be sure to book based on when you ARRIVE, not when you depart, and to take into account the time change as you do so.

It does not matter which flight you book to depart, so long as it leaves after 6 pm on the 10th of January. If you choose to stay on in Bangalore or Mysore, you may. We can provide hotel recommendations for you in both cities.

Please note: If you choose to fly out earlier or arrive later than the stipulated times for this course, you will be ENTIRELY responsible for traveling to or from the field station on your own. The group will travel together at a fixed time and we cannot accommodate mistakes in flight plans at all.

Visas

Visas are required for travel to India for citizens of many countries. To apply for a visa, use the following websites or contact us for more information if you can’t locate it online: Travisa or Cox and Kings

You can get an e-tourist visa as a US citizen applying for an Indian visa, which is a quick way to get a visa upon arrival in India by acquiring prior electronically generated approval in the US. The final stamp in your passport happens when you land in India, after biometrics are taken at the airport. Note: You must not apply earlier than 34 days before you travel to India, processing time is ~3 business days, and it costs $49 with Travisa. You have to provide a valid passport and confirmed round-trip flight tickets to apply. It will only allow you to enter the country once, for a total duration of 30 days. You cannot leave to visit any other neighboring country and return back to India to catch a flight to the US with this visa i.e. this is a single-entry and NOT a multiple-entry visa. You also can only have 2 such visas in a 12-month.

You can also apply for a traditional tourist visa, which can take a little longer to process and which involves sending your passport to an agency and getting it returned. You can, however, get a ten-year multiple entry tourist visa for ~$125 with a 6-10 business day turnaround, depending on where you live in the US and which consulate you approach. This visa should allow you to enter and leave the country freely during your stay, facilitating any additional travel in the region if you so desire.

If you are not a U.S. citizen, Travisa is probably a good agency to use since it does offer some global services. Otherwise, contact your local Indian consulate and ask them for help. In many countries, it’s possible to walk-in your papers to the consulate in-person and get a visa both quickly and independent of any agency. In some others, you have to go through an agency. This will vary by country.

IMPORTANT: If you are Indian by origin, or have recently switched from Indian to other citizenship, you have somewhat of a longer road ahead of you, so begin the visa process quickly for it can take ~2 months to complete.

Registration with local police at the field station

As a matter of routine, the field station will follow its own protocol to register all visiting foreigners with the local police department. In order to do this, all students must carry the following to the field station:

  1. Two photocopies of your passport
  2. Two passport sized photographs

Please note: This rule applies to people with OCI or PIO cards (equivalents of Indian green cards).

Spending time in India before or after the course

If you have arrive before the course begins, you can take a bus or train from another city in India to Bangalore. We cannot advise you on where to visit – the country is enormous and full of things to see – but we recommend purchasing a Lonely Planet guide and working from there. If you arrive in Bangalore on an earlier date or via a mode of transportation other than plane, we cannot offer you a pick up. However, given that you have been in the country already, we can assist you with arranging for a cab to bring you to your hotel.

When you leave the field station, we will provide transport back to Bangalore to the airport. We cannot change routes to drop you elsewhere, so please be considerate of this fact. If you choose to travel from Manathavadi (the nearest town to Fringe Ford) on your own, we can drop you in town before the group leaves at the end of the course. The rest of your trip will be your own responsibility.

Getting to the field station from Bangalore

Step One: You will be taken to a meeting point for the group from the airport where we will all gather and grab lunch before driving out to Mysore that afternoon. We will depart in a convoy of cars operated by your instructors. The drive will take approximately 4 hours, with a stop for a snack along the way. Please bring medication with you if you tend to get car sickness. We hope to be in Mysore by dinner time, where you will be checked in to a hotel along with the rest of the group.

Step Two: We will then spend a night in Mysore, acclimatizing to jet lag, new food, the culture, and immersing ourselves in both natural and historical sights in the city. We will visit Ranganthittu Bird Sanctuary on the morning of the 29th of December and the oldest zoo in the nation (begun in the late 1800s) later that morning.

Step Three: Next, we will drive to the field station using a slow route, on the afternoon of the 29th of December. The idea is to spend time viewing wildlife in the forests as we go, and to arrive at the field station by dinner time. Fringe Ford is located in Kerala, one state over from Karnataka, of which Bangalore is the capital. The closest town to Fringe Ford is Mananthavadi.

Our Return: At the end of the course, we will drive directly from Fringe Ford to Bangalore, leaving soon after breakfast and arriving before rush hour that evening. This is sufficiently early for you to catch a flight out back to your home that very night, but please make sure your flight leaves well after 6 pm if you can. The journey should take ~7 hours to complete.

Airport pickups and other arrival details

When all students on the course have submitted their travel information form (see above), we will collate this information and send you an Arrival Plan. This document will let you know if others are traveling on the same flight/bus as you and provide you with their email addresses so you can get in touch in advance (if you want to).  You will also receive exact instructions on what to do when you land, and an image of your instructors so you can look out for us at the airport/bus station. More importantly, we will provide you with instructions on what to do if you find out that you have been delayed. The Arrival Plan will also include local contact information for your instructors so that you can get in touch with them if needed to let them know if your travel plans were forced to change for some reason.

Please do not panic about being picked up at an airport or not knowing who will do this until you receive the Arrival Plan. That plan will contain all the information you need. Expect it to arrive electronically just before Christmas.

Food in Mysore and Bangalore

Since students have widely varying standards of what they would like to eat and can easily afford to eat in Mysore and Bangalore, we will take you to a restaurant with a lot of options where you can have your pick of foods. Breakfasts will be provided at your hotel.  However, individual lunches and dinners in Mysore and Bangalore will not be covered by the program. We do this to avoid conflict when it comes to eating, since people have very different ideas on what constitutes a good meal. Meals are very affordable; for e.g., a very fancy dinner at a very nice restaurant will cost ~$10. All other meals can be purchased for much less than that amount. You will thus be responsible for approximately 3 or 4 meals during the course. Remember that when you get to the field station, every single meal will be covered by the course.

Scholarship students – all your food will be covered by the course, including meals in Bangalore and Mysore.


Understanding your Options for Credit


Can I get credit for a course?

Yes you can, depending on the course. Some courses do not have for-credit options.

Typically course credit is only available to students in the US, or possibly countries like Canada, who can transfer credits from Washington University to your own institution to apply towards your degree.

How does the credit system work for students outside the US?

The United States university system runs on credits – typically 2 to 4 per class. A student needs a certain number of credits to eventually graduate with a bachelors’ degree. However, this system has little to no meaning outside the US itself, and thus, when we offer credits we are primarily targeting those students within the US to whom this is relevant. For all other students — and there have been plenty who have attended our courses — you receive many other benefits to taking the course, such as:

  1. A certificate from FPI showing that you attended and completed the course
  2. A detailed report of your performance and your final grade, which you can share with future employers or anyone else in any manner you wish to.

To be perfectly clear: You are not required to sign up for credits in the US university system if you come from a country in which this system is itself not recognized. Furthermore, there is no requirement for US students to take this course for credit.

Where will the credits be awarded from?

You can get credit through Washington University’s University College Program.

Undergraduate Options:

U69 Anthro 3669 – $650.00 per credit (Anthropology)
U43 IS 3667 – $650.00 per credit (International Studies)
U19 SUST 3669 – $650.00 per credit (Sustainability)

Graduate Options:

U29 Bio 4669 – $895.00 per credit (Biology)
U85 IA 5669 – $740.00 per credit (International Affairs)

The Primates and Predators course is listed as Tropical Field Biology and Primatology – India. The cost for the credits is paid separately from the FPI course fee, and goes to University College directly. The course may be taken for credit by anybody, including students who do not attend Washington University currently and individuals who are not attending any university at this time, who want credit for the course. At the end of the course these credits may be transferred to your own university and you will receive a transcript from Washington University, but you must make sure your school accepts the credits before signing up, as not all schools will do so without prior approval.

Is signing up for credit the right thing for me?

Questions to ask yourself before signing up for credit:

1. Will my university accept transfer credits from Washington University in St. Louis? Please consult your advisor and confirm this before signing up, because this is not the responsibility of either University College or Field Projects International

2. Can I afford to take the course for credit? The credit costs are paid directly to UCollege while the course fee is paid to us. Both will be necessary before you can attend the course.

Is course credit offered at the graduate or undergraduate level?

We offer course credit at undergraduate level in the anthropology department under U69 Anthro 3669. Graduate students who take this course will be subject to additional requirements for their final papers, due upon returning to campus. Graduate students must register for the course under this title: U85 IA 5669.

Where do I register for credit?

To take this course for credit, you have to submit two separate application forms – one to FPI (submit an application here) and the other to University College (please follow the detailed instructions available here).

I've changed my mind, and I don't want credit anymore. How do I drop this course?

Please follow detailed instructions on how to drop a course via University College here. You can explore options for obtaining a refund from University College on this page. If you decide not to attend the course at all, please also contact FPI.

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