GENERAL INFORMATION FOR VISITING FOREIGN STUDENTS


The Christian Medical College Vellore Association is a private inter-denominational Christian organization. The object of the Association is the establishment, maintenance and development of a Christian Medical College in India where women and men shall receive an education of the highest grade in the art and science of Medicine and Nursing or in one or other of the related professions, to equip them in the spirit of Christ, for service in the relief of suffering and the promotion of health. The medical college is affiliated to the Tamil Nadu Dr.M.G.R.Medical University, Chennai, India.

The Christian Medical College & Hospital community is made up of an interesting and diverse group of people - students and faculty come from all over India and a number of other countries, such as Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Singapore. Elective students and volunteer workers come from Australia, Britain, USA, Germany, France, Sweden, Denmark and New Zealand. This interchange between varied people and cultures has been found to be mutually beneficial. It is hoped that you too will find it so and that your time in Vellore will be enjoyable and satisfying.

LOCATION AND CLIMATE

Vellore is 60 metres above sea level, situated 140km. south west of Chennai and 200km. east of Bangalore. Vellore is on the plains surrounded by low, rocky hills. The temperature ranges from 20o C in the winter months of Dec.-Feb to 43o C in the summer months of Apr. - June. The climate is essentially dry, being rainy and humid only at the times of the two monsoons: June – August and October - December.

GETTING TO VELLORE

The airport closest to Vellore is in Chennai. An airport bus will take you from the airport into the city from where you can take a taxi to the Central Railway station. Alternatively you can go from the airport to the bus stand at Koyambedu. Train and bus services to Vellore are frequent, cheap and quite satisfactory. Either journey takes about 3 hours. If you choose to travel by train you should buy your ticket to Katpadi, which is the railway station that serves Vellore. Autorickshaws, buses and taxis are available at Katpadi station for the 7km journey to the Christian Medical College Hospital. Buses from Chennai will bring you right into the centre of the town of Vellore, within walking distance of the hospital.

The most convenient, but expensive (about Rs1800) mode of transport from the airport at Chennai to Vellore is by taxi. If you require a taxi to pick you up at Chennai airport and bring you to Vellore kindly indicate so. Please inform us of your travel plans well in advance, giving your date and time of arrival and other flight details. Alternatively, you can pay for the taxi in Indian currency when you get to your destination in Vellore. If you choose to do this, please ensure that you change your foreign currency into Indian rupees at Chennai airport itself.

If you would like to stay on in Chennai before coming to Vellore, please make your own arrangements. The Inter-Church Service Agency, 107 Pantheon Road, Egmore,Chennai-600008, phone no: +91-44-28261905 or The YWCA International Guest House, EVR Salai, Egmore, Chennai (+91 44 25324234) are possible options.

VELLORE TOWN

Vellore town is the head quarters of Vellore District. Its population is about 200,000. It is a marketing centre for a fairly prosperous agricultural area. The streets are lined with small shops and crowded with people, cyclists, cars, buses, lorries and livestock. There is an interesting large Hindu temple and a 13th Century fort in the centre of town. The fort has played a well-known part in Indian history.

THE CHRISTIAN MEDICAL COLLEGE AND HOSPITAL CAMPUSES

The hospital campus is situated in the middle of Vellore town while the college campus is situated at Bagayam, 7 km away from the hospital. All medical students live in hostels on the college campus in Bagayam. The pre-clinical subjects are taught at the college campus. In addition, on the college campus, there are 3 patient care units - the Community Health Department which runs the 80-bed CHAD hospital, the Rehabilitation Institute for physically handicapped persons and the Mental Health Centre, which is CMC's Department of Psychiatry, and which includes a training centre for mentally challenged children

All other clinical departments and th College of Nursing are on the hospital campus in Vellore town, except for the Ophthalmology Department which is located at the Schell Eye Hospital on a separate campus 2km south of the main hospital, and RUHSA (Rural Unit for Health and Social Affairs), a comprehensive integrated rural health and development project, located 20 miles northwest of Vellore.

LANGUAGE

Tamil is the language spoken by most of the people in the state of Tamil Nadu where Vellore is located. The national language, Hindi, is also spoken. However, many South Indians, including shopkeepers, know English, so most visitors who speak English, do not have too much trouble making themselves understood. Elective students may need to ask someone to help translate when talking to patients. However, English is the medium of instruction in the college.

TELEPHONE/TELEGRAMS/INTERNET ACCESS

CMC HOSPITAL: Exchange +91-416-2222102
Telegraphic address      MISSIONHOS
MEDICAL COLLEGE: Exchange +91-416-2222102 
Telegraphic address      MEDCOL
FAX +91-416-2262788 (College)
  +91-416-2232268,2232035  (Hospital)   

Principal’s office(Med college) +91-416-2284202

Dean’s Office (Col of Nursing) +91-416-2282068

Long distance telephone calls within India and overseas can be made directly from telephone kiosks situated on the hospital and college campuses. Mobile phone networks are freely available and various service providers are on the market.

Internet access is available as part of the library services in the institution or at internet cafes in the town.

POSTAL SERVICE

There are post offices on both the hospital and college campuses. These are open every day, except Sundays and national holidays. The main post office in the centre of Vellore provides 24 hour service. Mail delivery is, by and large, reliable.

It is advisable to register all letters that are of special importance, such as those with exposed film, cheques and all packets and parcels.

BANKING

The Central Bank of India and the State Bank of India have branches within the campuses and across the road near the hospital. Travellers’ cheques can be cashed in these and other banks in Vellore. ATMs are available within the campuses and in the vicinity.

ACCOMMODATION

Accommodation arrangements will be made for you after your application gets processed. There are various options for accomodation including the Modale Hostel for International Students in the campus, and the Vice Principal or Dean will get in touch with you about your accomodation. It is sensible to wait for that, however, in case of an urgency, you may contact the Deputy Director, International Relations at dir.fvv@cmcvellore.ac.in There is also ample hotel accommodation available in Vellore in case there is a need. [Click for partial list of lodgings in Vellore]

FOOD

There various canteens inside the hospital and college campuses where safe food is available at reasonable rates. There are a number of vegetarian and non-vegetarian restaurants near the hospital with food at reasonable prices - a vegetarian meal costs about Rs.60 and a non-vegetarian meal about Rs.100. It may be best to avoid uncooked food and any food cooled to room temperature. It is also better to avoid drinking water outside the hospital and college campuses unless you are sure it has been boiled or comes from a safe source. Bottled beverages in the market are safe except for those with a glass marble seal. In India, coffee and tea are traditionally made with boiled milk and sugar. Shop-keepers will provide these drinks without milk and/or sugar if you give specific instructions. There are several bakeries close to the hospital where bread, biscuits, cakes, pastries, butter, jam, peanut butter, tinned cheese, sardines, sausages, tuna fish, etc, can be purchased. A variety of fruits are readily available. Fried snacks sold in street stalls are mainly vegetarian and can be very spicy. Consumption of alcoholic beverages on both the hospital and college campuses is not permitted.

CLOTHING

The dress code for work is formal. Suits and ties are not worn. Generally, men wear short-sleeved shirts, trousers and sandals/shoes. For women, sleeved dresses, long skirts/trousers and modest blouses, punjabi pants and tunic or sarees with sandals are appropriate. T- shirts are not advised. White coats are not usually worn by doctors or medical students. Cotton is cooler than synthetic fabrics. Shoes and sandals are quite cheap and can be bought ready-made or made to order. Cloth shops and tailoring shops abound, and it is comparatively inexpensive and quick to have clothes stitched to size. Ready-made clothes are also easily available. We advise you to be well dressed at work.

IMMUNIZATIONS AND POSTEXPOSURE PROPHYLAXIS

Please contact your travel clinic to obtain information on prophylactic measures to be taken for your visit to India.

Universal precautions are implemented throughout Christian Medical College. Since elective students are not performing procedures the likelihood of blood borne exposures are extremely low. However in case of exposure, post-exposure prophylaxis for Hepatitis B and HIV are available at Christian Medical College.

HEALTH PROBLEMS

If you need help with any health problems, please contact the Staff Student Health Clinic in the Hospital, during working hours and Accident and Emergency department out of working hours, which will arrange for the necessary care. Elective students will have to pay for their health care.

WHAT TO BRING

It is advisable to have a good torch/flashlight for walking about the campuses at night and for unannounced power cuts which may occur. All toilet articles such as soap, powder, shaving cream and blades, toilet paper, shampoos, sanitary napkins, tampons, etc are readily obtainable in local shops. Black and white film and colour photographic film are also easily available but if you are used to a particular type of film, it may be advisable to bring your own.

In general, the only medical instrument that needs to be brought is a stethoscope. Reflex hammers can be borrowed and ophthalmoscopes are available in the hospital. Electricity supply is 220 volt,AC, 50Hz. Please bring a few copies of your passport sized photographs, copies of the pages of your passport with visa and your photograph for police verification.

MEDICAL BOOKS

Most of the commonly used medical text books are available in the institutional libraries. These books can be referred to in the libraries but will not be loaned out. Library timings on week days are as follows:

College : 8.00 a.m. to 11 p.m.  Hospital: 7.30 a.m. to 12 midnight.

There are small book stores in Vellore which sell standard medical text books. Many Asian editions of medical text books are subsidized and as such will often be cheaper than the same books in developed countries.

TRANSPORTATION IN VELLORE

Institutional buses ply between the hospital and college campuses at specific times. Timings can be ascertained from the Hospital Transport Department. Town buses ply between the 2 campuses every 5-10 minutes, from 5AM to 10PM. These buses can be boarded from a bus stop one block west of the hospital. Auto-rickshaws and taxis are easily available, but are not metered.

RECREATION

To a large degree, the medical students and staff provide their own entertainment. There are facilities for basketball, tennis, badminton, volleyball, hockey, cricket, football (soccer) and athletics at the college. In addition, there are tennis courts on the hospital and college campuses. Apart from the medical libraries at the hospital and college, there are libraries maintained by the Chaplaincy Department where anyone is welcome to borrow religious and general reading books and magazines. There are a number of movie theatres in town, most of which show films in various Indian languages. Only one or two show English movies at any given time. Bicycles are readily available for hire. There is a swimming pool next to the college campus available for use. The beach at Mahabalipuram on the east coast, 60km south of Chennai and a 4hr. bus ride from Vellore, is a good weekend recreation spot. Vellore has clubs such as the Rotary, Lions, Round Table and a Ladies' Recreation Club. The medical college has a regular schedule of extra-curricular activities, which visitors are welcome to attend.

CHRISTIAN WORSHIP AND FELLOWSHIP

Beautiful chapels are located in the heart of both the hospital and college campuses. These are always open for prayer and meditation. Regular services are held here and you are welcome to participate. See also http://home.cmcvellore.ac.in

There are choirs that sing in English at the chapel services at both the hospital and college. Visiting students are welcome to join. Just go along to choir practice at 4p.m. each Sunday at the chapels.

Students are welcome to see the chaplains in their offices at the hospital any time during the working days.

There are many churches in Vellore, most of which have services only in the local language. Services in English are regularly held at the St.John's Church in the Fort at 7.30a.m. and 9.30a.m. each Sunday. There are institutional buses operating from the hospital and college to these services. St.John's Church is part of the largest Protestant denomination in this area, called the Church of South India (CSI).

NOTICES AND NEWS

Notices regarding all special academic programmes and other activities will be put up on various notice boards in the hospital. Elective students are welcome to attend all of these programmes. A weekly news sheet, the CMC & H Weekly News, containing items of interest in the institution, is circulated every Monday and put up on various bulletin boards.

LIVING EXPENSES

Living expenditure per day would amount to approximately Rs.500 which includes room rent, food and other expenses.

The Foreign Exchange Regulations Act in India prevents the institution from payment of any money by way of refund, etc. for any payment made in foreign currency.

MISCELLANEOUS INFORMATION

The Christian Medical College is a Christian institution which aims to impart to women and men an education of the highest grade in the art and science of medicine and to equip them in the spirit of Christ, for service in the relief of suffering and the promotion of health. This is a residential college in which interest lies not only in providing training in professional skills, but also in cultivating a sense of community and of commitment, a growth of character and a sensitivity to the needs of others. This is expressed in the College motto, which is based on Christian scripture, “Not to be ministered unto, but to minister.

When you come to C.M.C. for an elective period, you come not just to attend classes and clinics, see patients in the out-patient clinics and wards, and to take part in other academic activities, but you also come to live in the community. The cultural expectations and norms of behaviour of a community here in India, and especially of a Christian community, may be different from that in your own college and to which you are accustomed. Foreign students coming here must be aware of and sensitive to these differences, and while here, consciously try to accept the norms of this community for the period of their stay. The C.M.C. community is diverse, and there is no uniformity of values but there are some patterns and practices, common in student communities in some other countries, which are alien to the norms here. These specifically include the use of alcoholic beverages on the hospital and college campuses and distribution or use of marijuana (ganja), LSD or other addictive or psychotropic drugs. In addition, you may be used to living in mixed dormitories, but in this institution single men and women are not allowed to stay together.

We would welcome you to participate in as many institutional community activities as possible to enable you to understand the traditions and ethics of the place. We would specially invite you to attend worship programmes in English on all Sundays in either the College or Hospital Chapels. Members of the Evangelical Union of India meet in the College campus every Sunday. You can find the place of meeting with the help of the staff of the Principal’s Office.

Apart from the specific departments to which you would like to be posted, you may find it useful to attend some of the teaching programmes arranged for the final year clinical students, details of which may be obtained from the Curriculum Office situated on the hospital campus.

It is hoped that your experience here will be profitable to you. The members of the community here, in turn, will try to make your time here enjoyable and rewarding.