Travel to Vellore:

Travel arrangements:
      Please contact our course travel agent, Sita travels (Miss Nithya) at jrtsolutions@yahoo.co.in or svlr2k2@yahoo.co.in or telephone 0091-416-420-4711 or 0091-416-222-5279 or 0091-416-222-5231 or fax 0091-416-222-5279. She will arrange all flights, ground transportation and accommodation.
 
Visa:
      Please enter India on a tourist visa. Assuming your visit is for 6 months or less you do not need to register with the police on arrival.
 
Arrivals:
      Please plan to arrive in Vellore on time to be rested by January 8 when the course begins. The earliest that departures from Vellore should be planned would be January 20 at 12:00 noon.
      Vellore is located approximately halfway between Chennai and Bangalore. International and local flights will arrive at either airport and transportation can be arranged for the 3-4 hour drive to Vellore. CMC can arrange taxis to pick up visitors from either airport for a cost of Rs 1500-2000 depending on vehicle size and air conditioning. If taking an airport taxi, use a prepaid taxi booked inside the airport. Cost should be approximately Rs 2000. There are regular train and bus services. Trains should be booked in advance by travel agents because queues at the station will be long. Bus trips are not advised for first time visitors!
      If you decide to spend your first night in Chennai a couple of tried and tested moderately priced hotels are listed. An auto-rickshaw or taxi can be taken from the airport. Many others will be available including five star hotels.
      YWCA 1086 Periyar EVR High Rd/ Poonamallee High Rd, Chennai (Tel 044 5324234 it may be 044 2532 4234): 850Rs/night for a double room including breakfast. (men and women welcome)
ICSA, Pantheon Road, Chennai (Tel 044 2826 9244): This is situated opposite the Government Museum. A double room costs 500R/night with A/C and 300R/night without, 150 for single.
At the Airport:
      Change traveller’s cheques or cash in the airport before going through customs - it is much easier to do there than in Vellore and exchange will be better. Try to persuade them not to give you all Rs 500 notes, and push for as much small change as you can! There are ATM’s in Vellore, but they may not accept your international bank card. Changing cash and travellers cheques in Vellore may be a challenge.
      Approximate exchange rates (November 2006):
            1 eur = 57.5 Rs
            1 US$ = 44.7 Rs
            1 GBP = 85.4 Rs
            1 Can$ = 39.5 Rs
            1 NOK = 7.02 Rs
Arriving in Vellore:
      Vellore is a town of 400,000 built around one hospital. Not a tourist destination, most visitors are here because they are sick. Referral patients come from all over India. Plan to concentrate on learning while you are here, and do some travelling throughout India before or afterward.
      Cost of taxi from the airport does not include tip or food for the driver. It will be expected that a meal stop at a local restaurant will occur during the trip. All taxi travel involves bargaining. Pay no more than Rs 100 tip and Rs 50 food allowance for one way. Generally, bargain before getting into any taxi.
      CMC is split into two campuses, hospital and college. Hospital is the first you will encounter on the way in. With 2200 beds and 4000 outpatients per day, CMC is a big place. The Infectious Diseases Training and Research Center is located just outside the hospital gates, above the State Bank of India, 5th floor.
      College is 5 km further South, in the town of Bagayam, and houses all basic science facilities, psychiatric, community health and rehabilitation hospitals.
Accomodation:
      We will book a block of rooms in a fine local hotel. Cost will be approximately 1000 Rs per night, including breakfast. Lower cost alternatives will be available. Please contact us for arrangements.

Preparation to Come to Vellore:
      Travel insurance including health cover and repatriation are wise precautions.Most medicines are readily available BUT not all. Bring your regular medications. Buy things like antibiotics and antimalarials here.
      Prepare with appropriate vaccinations. A visit to a travel health clinic prior to departure would be strongly advised. Hepatitis A and B are essential, as well as updated tetanus, diphtheria, polio, pertussis, measles, mumps and rubella. Typhoid exposure is very common, and oral typhoid vaccine is advised. Japanese encephalitis is rare and risk will be low. Cholera, meningitis and yellow fever are not required. You will not need to carry clean injection supplies for Vellore, but for other Indian destinations it would be appropriate to bring them yourself.
      Most expatriates do not take malaria chemoprophylaxis in Vellore as risk is low. If you are travelling anywhere near Orissa, Bihar, Jharkand or Chattisgarh, strongly consider malaria prophylaxis, which can be purchased locally. Several prophylactic drugs need to be taken prior to departure to a malarious area, so consult your local travel clinic.
CMC provides world class health services which you will be able to access and pay for if you need them. Reimbursement would depend on your travel insurance policy regulations.
Venues:
      Your course lectures will be held at the Infectious Diseases Training and Research Center, in an air conditioned lecture hall. Lunches will be catered with fine Indian food. Coffee and tea are available, as are several broadband internet connected PC’s. We have a library of infectious disease and tropical medicine resources. Please bring your wireless laptop and access our local wireless network. Our staff will assist in making your time here enjoyable.
      Laboratory practicals will be held in the clinical microbiology department, 8th floor of the ASHA building, across the street in hospital.
Course Content
      Our course is designed for physicians with a background understanding of infectious diseases. The academic pace of the course will be intense. Our lectures and laboratory practicals will be taught by world leaders in tropical medicine. Small group bedside teaching will be lead by one professor with one language helper/guide. Various wards and clinics in the hospital will be used. Patients will be those available to us at the time of the course.
      There will be an exam on the last day, January 20. All students are expected to write the exam. Each student will be awarded a certificate of participation in the course.
Clothing:
      Please remember that Indian culture is very modest and proper. Hospital dress is smart and foreign visitors wearing overly casual clothes (T shirts, jeans) are not well received.
      It is very cheap to buy or tailor Indian salwar kameez (knee-length cotton dress with scarf over loose trousers). Western clothes for women will be very unusual in the hospital, so consider wearing local dress while you are here. Sandals are appropriate.
      A tailor will visit the IDTRC, take your measurements and create a beautiful Indian set of clothes for all visiting students, male and female.
      Gentlemen will wear casual trousers and short sleeved collared shirts with no tie. Dark sandals are acceptable.
Indian culture:
      India has a relational, face-saving culture in which individual rights and individual thought are not prioritized. You will be surrounded by evidence of India’s many religions. You will find efficiency to be low and conformity to be vital. Indian physicians have tremendous clinical skills. Please approach India in a humble way, without trying to force your viewpoint while you are here. Generally, there is an unrecognized and logical underlying reason for the way things are done here.
      The Indian work week includes Saturday. The course will include Saturday morning sessions. You will be expected to attend all sessions in the schedule.
Communication:
      IDTRC does not provide telephone services, but standard telephone dialing (STD) booths are available nearby. We have access to an international fax machine, in the ASHA building. Email can be accessed from here. Mail to Europe or North America will take from 4 days to 4 months.
      Local language is Tamil, but English is widely spoken by educated people. All teaching at the course will be done in English. Hindi, Bengali, Malayalam and several other Indian languages are widely spoken.
Relaxation:
      Please visit our lovely swimming pool in Bagayam, past the mental health center. There is a weight room and snackbar there. Day pass costs Rs 150.
      Come to our chapel service on college campus on Sunday at 1800. Wear mosquito repellent!
      We would like to hear your short presentation and see slides from your previous tropical medicine experiences. We will plan several evening social events for student presentations as well as a banquet for all involved at the end of the course. Plan on group games and singing entertainment in the Indian style at our banquet night on Saturday January 13.
      Vellore has several quality South Indian restaurants, and one or two serving Western or Chinese food. You may need to take an autorickshaw from your hotel. You will get more than you can eat for Rs 50-100.
       Local travel before or after the course could include the beaches, backwater boat trips and elephant rides of Kerala, the beaches of Mahabalipuram and the high-tech, western environment of Bangalore.

Climate:
      January is part of our cool winter season. Expect dry conditions with daily temperatures up to 35C.

Bring:
      · travel kettle if you like hot drinks in your room
      · small padlock and chain to lock suitcases while travelling on trains
      · you may not find all toiletries for sale here, but soap and shampoo are available
      · swimming costume for the pool (please be modest)
      · camera
      · toilet paper (carry your own everywhere you go in India)
      · plug adapters for 220V, three circular posts
      · hand sanitizer for personal use

Available locally:
      · antibiotics and other basic medicines
      · Indian plug adapters
      · camera film and batteries
      · Indian clothing
      · safe bottled water
      · laundry facilities
      · barber