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Himalayan Studies Semester, Kathmandu, Fall 2011


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Namaste my soon to befellow travelers.! My name is Sweta and I am very excited to be a part of this Himalayan Semester this Fall!




I am Nepali and callKathmandu Valleymy hometown. Born and raised in the Valley, I worked for one of the oldestadventure sport companiesin the country as an International Trip Coordinator after college. The work involved extensive travel within the country, which cultivated within me a strong desire to continue exploring the rural areas of Nepal and learn more about my own people and their lifestyles.

Traveling can puts us into many situations where we cannot find answers to our questions instantly. It is a great test of letting go and embracing what is in front of us for what it really is. This allows us to let the answers to our curiosities manifest in the future. It is a physical journey that we take to come closer to our spiritual-self and become empowered. The tricky part, however, for people from this part of the world, is maintaining the fine balance of independent, self-discovery and keeping family and community values intact. It is this complexity that many people in this part of the world aspire to gracefully conquer and what you all, my courageous fellow travelers, will get to experience and witness in the days to come. I feel honored to be a translator of this beautiful complexity for you.


I will be looking forward to seeing you all in Nepal in September and beginning our journey together. In the meantime, please do take advantage of the Yak board to post your questions, concerns, interest etc., which will hugely benefit our Himalayan Semester Fall ’11 community. And before I sign off for now, I would like to welcome everyone aboard on the Dragon’s adventure boat and congratulate each one of you for choosing to come and travel with us. You are one of the very few lucky ones to have such a special opportunity to explore Nepal the way we are going to. So, get excited!!! Thank your friends and family for making this happen, and also thank them for encouraging and supporting you in this brave endeavor. Enjoy the remainder of your summer and have a safe journey over toNepal.

Namaste!

Sweta Gurung

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Himalayan Studies Semester, Kathmandu, Fall 2011

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Instructor Introduction – Sweta

admin,Himalayan Studies Semester, Kathmandu, Fall 2011

Description

Namaste my soon to befellow travelers.! My name is Sweta and I am very excited to be a part of this Himalayan Semester this Fall! 
 I am Nepali and callKathmandu Valleymy hometown. Born and raised in the Valley, I worked for one of the oldestadventure sport companiesin the country as an International Trip Coordinator […]

Posted On

08/4/11

Author

admin

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Hi again!

Just so you know, I usually go by my first and middle name- Anna Lee. Anna's okay too though.

Sarah- for a camera I’m bringing a superzoom, I’m not that good at explaining it but if you google it you could see what I mean. It’s kind of a cross between a DSLR and a little handheld camera. I don’t know tons about photography yet but I’m trying to learn about it to get ready this summer so I can take lots of pictures in Nepal.

Emily- I will definitely have pictures to share with you if you prefer not to take a camera!

Rob- that’s great you’re bringing Siddhartha, I’ve been wanting to read that for a while but haven’t gotten the chance yet.

Books- for book recommendations for those of you who are interested, here are a few of my favorite Himalayan-type books:

-The Soul of the Rhino by Hemanta Mishra (about rhino conservation in Chitwan National Park, Nepal, talks a lot about bridging the Western and traditional gap when working in conservation).

-Ancient Futures: Learning from Ladakh by Helena Norberg-Hodge (about Ladakh, India- not where we’re going, but a very interesting place. Has a different than usual perspective on development).

-Little Princes by Conor Grennan (about a man volunteering in an orphanage in Nepal, funny, fairly quick/easy read)

-of course, anything by the Dalai Lama- I love his book Ethics for the New Millennium

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Himalayan Studies Semester, Kathmandu, Fall 2011

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Response

Anna Lee White,Himalayan Studies Semester, Kathmandu, Fall 2011

Description

Hi again! Just so you know, I usually go by my first and middle name- Anna Lee. Anna’s okay too though. Sarah- for a camera I’m bringing a superzoom, I’m not that good at explaining it but if you google it you could see what I mean. It’s kind of a cross between a DSLR […]

Posted On

08/3/11

Author

Anna Lee White

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Namaste Himalayan Semester Folks,

The time to travel east is approaching and with it perhaps many thoughts on how to best prepare. We want to offer any assistance that we can.

At this point in your planning process, we recommend that you have a look at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s website (http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/nepal.aspx). They offer clear guidelines for immunizations that are recommended for travel in Nepal.

Currently your instructor teams and the Dragon’s administration are enthusiastically collaborating and planning out the exciting itinerary for your semester. You can expect to see these posted by mid August. Please rest assured that wherever your itinerary moves to, the guidelines that are outlined on the CDC’s page for Nepal are all that you will need to follow.

We would, however, like to specifically address the issue of malaria. Dragons has no specific stipulations or requirements regarding malaria and you should know that it is up to your discretion. We hope the following information from us can supplement information you’ve already received.



Before we dive in any further, please consult your travel doctor for ALL medical recommendations. Also note that many malaria prophylactics have side effects that should be considered and tested before committing to 13 weeks of travel in a foreign country. We always do our best to provide clear information, but also recognize that we at Dragons are not medical professionals and cannot give specific medical advice. This is to be worked out with your doctor, but we encourage you to come to them with questions because it is not uncommon for many doctors to offer blanket-proscriptions while not considering the specific details of their client’s travels. 



What WE can do is give you a very clear breakdown of the regions and altitudes where we will be, which are the two determining factors in coming up with a plan for malaria prophylaxis. And we can also provide informative references, and ultimately, we are in full support of whatever regimen your travel doctor has prescribed! 


As you will note on the CDC page under the malaria section, “Areas of Nepal with Malaria: Present throughout country at altitudes <1,200 m (<3,937 ft). None in Kathmandu or on typical Himalayan treks.” Both groups will be starting their program in Kathmandu Valley for a semester orientation. The remainder of the course will be a combination of trekking, rural village stay, and a urban village stay in Kathmandu Valley and remaining here for the first 5-6 weeks of the semester. All of these activities will be at altitudes about 1200 meters. However, travel to and from the trek and potentially the rural village stay starting point could drop into altitudes below 1,200. There would be minimal time spent here.

These exciting itinerary details are still be worked out, but we wanted to let you know that this is the only time that we foresee travel below 1,200 meters during the semester. We will make special note on the itineraries when they are posted if locations are below this highlighted elevation.

We hope that this is helpful. We know that preparing for a trip can feel overwhelming at times. Please feel free to direct any further questions to us in an email and we will be happy to get back to you with whatever support and guidance we can offer.

Be well,

Shannon Harriman and Dragons’ Admin

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Himalayan Studies Semester, Kathmandu, Fall 2011

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Immunizations for Nepal

Shannon Harriman,Himalayan Studies Semester, Kathmandu, Fall 2011

Description

Namaste Himalayan Semester Folks, The time to travel east is approaching and with it perhaps many thoughts on how to best prepare. We want to offer any assistance that we can. At this point in your planning process, we recommend that you have a look at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s website (http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/nepal.aspx). […]

Posted On

07/28/11

Author

Shannon Harriman

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    [post_content] => Hey guys!

My name is Hannah Norman, I’m 18, and my hometown is Woodside, CA (just outside of San Francisco). I have spent my last four years, however, at Thacher, which is a boarding school in Southern California. I guess you could say I have a third place of residence, because I am currently writing you from Cape Town, South Africa where I have been interning at a newspaper for the summer. It’s been an incredible experience living in a different country and learning about a completely different part of the world. It’s absolutely crazy to me that I’ll get to do it all over again this fall. I love the outdoors, photography, music, history, soccer, skiing, traveling, and having a good laugh. Next fall I will be parting ways with the sunshine state and hitting up Wesleyan University in Connecticut. In the mean time, I’m stoked to climb some mountains and have a splendid time with all of you.

-Hannah
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Himalayan Studies Semester, Kathmandu, Fall 2011

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intro

Hannah Norman,Himalayan Studies Semester, Kathmandu, Fall 2011

Description

Hey guys! My name is Hannah Norman, I’m 18, and my hometown is Woodside, CA (just outside of San Francisco). I have spent my last four years, however, at Thacher, which is a boarding school in Southern California. I guess you could say I have a third place of residence, because I am currently writing […]

Posted On

07/28/11

Author

Hannah Norman

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    [post_content] => Hi all!

My name is Emily Baker and I first have to say, I can't wait for September!!!! Like Sarah, I don't think it's really sunk in yet that I'm actually going, it still seems like it’s so far in the future... but so exciting! You all sound like such interesting people, I can’t wait to meet you in person.

Anyhow. I'm 18 years old, from Portland, Oregon (where I live on a houseboat), and I go to school at Bard College At Simon's Rock in Massachusetts. My school is actually an "early college," which means that students go there and start college after only their sophomore or junior year of high school. So instead of having just graduated high school, I actually just finished my sophomore year of college. Weird, huh? But it worked for me.

At school I'm studying theater - stage management. I love Shakespeare and will be bringing two of his plays to read - and exchange if anyone's interested. I love reading (and writing) so I may have to exchange and reread Siddhartha, Rob! But I know, seems like a weird combination to go on this course and also be majoring in theater, but no matter!

Another of my passions is the outdoors. I love adventures and doing things that take me out of my comfort zone, and I love making adventures out of things that are maybe difficult or uncomfortable. I'm thrilled that we need to pack so that we can carry everything that we need with us. I think it's really freeing to be able to have all of your possessions (at least for a time) in something that you can carry. In that vein, the component of this program that I’m most looking forward to is the trekking :). I suppose I’m most nervous for the homestays – while I have been to Europe twice (England and Hungary when I was younger) I’ve never been in a place where I didn’t know the language and had to fend for myself. I’m not too worried though… it will be an adventure! That’s really another reason why I wanted to go on this particular course – I want to experience what peoples’ lives are like in a totally different part of the world, find out about the person that I will be in a place I’m not used to, learn about Buddhism… this is a life-changing opportunity. I’m so thankful that I get to do this, that I’ll be able to go and live this totally unexpected, totally different-than-I’m-used-to life for a while, and see what happens.

For my independent study project I’m hoping that I’ll be able to do something that could tie in with theater or management (?)… I looked online and apparently there’s a theater school in Kathmandu! The Gurukul School of Theatre. Which brings me to question: Is there something that I should be doing regarding my ISP, besides just saying what I’m interested in?

Another question: I’m a little confused about the comments about things to bring “for trek”… but versus what other things? Isn’t everything we bring sort of “for trek,” that we have to be able to carry everything we bring in our packs? Or will we be leaving some of our stuff at these program houses when we go? Perhaps I’m thinking of it the wrong way?

Like Sarah, I’d love to hear any book recommendations that you have, Anna! Also a note: As of this point, I’m not bringing a camera. My thinking was, I don’t want to view the trip through the lens of a camera instead of being present, and I also don’t want to lose a camera… however, I also don’t want to have no pictures! Are other people bringing cameras (Sarah, I assume that you are?) and on other trips in the past, are there usually some photos?

Well, I think I’ve written a sufficient novella for you all. I can’t wait to meet you on September 6th! I arrive in Los Angeles in early afternoon, so hopefully we’ll be able to meet up.

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Himalayan Studies Semester, Kathmandu, Fall 2011

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Student Intro

Emily Baker,Himalayan Studies Semester, Kathmandu, Fall 2011

Description

Hi all! My name is Emily Baker and I first have to say, I can’t wait for September!!!! Like Sarah, I don’t think it’s really sunk in yet that I’m actually going, it still seems like it’s so far in the future… but so exciting! You all sound like such interesting people, I can’t wait […]

Posted On

07/28/11

Author

Emily Baker

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HI GUYS!

My name's Meredith McCormick, and I have to say I felt awkward being the first one to post my intro. So thanks to Anna! I can't wait to read everyone else's...and I'm so excited to get to know all of you.

I'm from Louisville, Colorado, I'm 18, and I'll be starting at CU Boulder in January. I love the mountains and snowboarding, hiking, camping, etc! I'm really looking forward to the backpacking aspect of this trip as I'm starting to get into that here at home. I'm big into rock music and I stay out of trouble by going to as many shows as I possibly can. Horseback riding has been a huge part of my life since I was really young, and I'll definitely be missing my horse while I'm away. Yoga is also very important to me; it's helped me through a lot and I'm excited to get to continue my practice on this trip.

I must say I haven't done much traveling. My first time out of the US was to Belgium a couple weeks ago! It was fun to get out and explore...nothing compared to what we are about to experience but definitely a teaser! I feel like I've been looking at the world from the bottom of a well and I can't wait for a real adventure.Learning about the culture and religions will be so fascinating...I just want to soak up as much as I can!

I'm most nervous for the language barrier. I'm not exactly a genius with languages although I've never been immersed in one before...is there any vocabulary I should go over before we head out? How quickly do most people pick up on it?

That's all I can think to ask about for the moment. Again, I can't wait to read about all of you...and meet you! I'm so thankful for this opportunity. I think it's going to be interesting not only to learn about this foreign place, but also to observe ourselves and who we are completely out of context, away from many of the influences we are surrounded by at home.

See you in September! I will be flying into LA the same day we fly to Hong Kong, to answer Anna's question.

Thanks for reading,

Meredith :)

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Himalayan Studies Semester, Kathmandu, Fall 2011

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Student Intro

Meredith McCormick,Himalayan Studies Semester, Kathmandu, Fall 2011

Description

HI GUYS! My name’s Meredith McCormick, and I have to say I felt awkward being the first one to post my intro. So thanks to Anna! I can’t wait to read everyone else’s…and I’m so excited to get to know all of you. I’m from Louisville, Colorado, I’m 18, and I’ll be starting at CU […]

Posted On

07/20/11

Author

Meredith McCormick

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Namaste Everyone,

I wanted to quickly respond to Anna's questions.

1. You could bring a set of pajamas to wear at your home-stays. We recommend packing SUPER light for trek, as you will be required to carry what you pack, so sleeping in just your warm layers works best.

2. All the photo shops and internet cafes will have ways of plugging your camera into their computers and uploading your photos either onto a disc or a flashdrive. You can either bring a flashdrive with you or purchase one in Kathmandu.

Thank you Anna Lee for posting an introduction. We look forward to hearing from other students soon!

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Himalayan Studies Semester, Kathmandu, Fall 2011

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Question Response

Shannon Harriman,Himalayan Studies Semester, Kathmandu, Fall 2011

Description

Namaste Everyone, I wanted to quickly respond to Anna’s questions. 1. You could bring a set of pajamas to wear at your home-stays. We recommend packing SUPER light for trek, as you will be required to carry what you pack, so sleeping in just your warm layers works best. 2. All the photo shops and […]

Posted On

07/20/11

Author

Shannon Harriman

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Namaste Fellow Travelers,



We hope that you have all been enjoying your summer. It is hard to believe that the time is quickly approaching when you will all meet in the LA airport and begin a sojourn that will change your lives. This journey will present challenges and rewards far beyond your imagination. It is an exciting prospect and one that I’m sure you are all a bit nervous about. It takes a tremendous amount of courage to leave behind what is familiar and to venture out into the unknown. For that, you already have the respect of the instructors and the communities you will be living amongst and working with. 



I wanted to take some time to share a bit about your course and about myself.

Because the Himalaya semester is gaining more and more popularity, we run two courses in the fall. Both are based out of the Kathmandu Valley and spend the entire course in Nepal focused on Dragon’s core values and program components. The courses do, however, have different itineraries, which allows for us to better cater to individual student interests. Here in the Boulder office, we are actively in the process of reviewing applications and appropriately dividing students between the two programs, known as Himalaya Kathmandu and Himalaya Patan.

There will also be two separate instructor teams. We know that you must be eager to know which group you will be a part of and who your instructors will be, but we need to ask for a bit of patience as we continue to gather information that will allow us to better delineate these groups. For example, we will not have an idea of the registration for our accredited courses until the beginning of August. For this reason, we will wait to divide the yak board, introduce instructor teams and the student groups, as well as post tentative itineraries and pre-course assignments until the middle of August. We do, however, encourage you to begin introducing yourselves on the yak board and to post any questions you may have. You will soon discover that the yak board is a great way to share, connect and build enthusiasm for the adventure that lies ahead.

My personal sojourn in Asia began over a decade ago. While studying at Middlebury College, I found myself drawn to Eastern religion and philosophy. I decided that I needed to journey to the East and follow in the footsteps of so many seekers before me. I have not been disappointed with the decision I made to enroll with the School for International Training in Nepal. It changed my life so dramatically that I have made my home in Asia for over a decade. My role with Dragons is as the Himalayan Semester Director. I have been working in this role since the program’s inception 3 years ago and have additionally instructed four semesters. My role as Program Director this fall is in many ways an administrative and logistical one. I will be helping in pre-course planning and prep with both of the instructor teams and also be 100% available to help all participants and families in their planning for the course. I will also have the opportunity to meet you all in Kathmandu in two months and travel with you during the first couple weeks of the program. So, we’ll get to know each other along the way and hopefully teach each other many new things.

Nepal too will share many things with you. Among the many lessons that I have learned, perhaps the most potent has been learning to live in the present. Asia can demand your full attention in any given moment and challenge the ways in which you view yourself and the world. You will all have experiences of intense presence, some that you might like to be forewarned of. Past students have expressed an appreciation for, shall we say, a heads up! So, with that said, be prepared for the potentiality of the following: dramatic changes in schedule, a lack of personal space, phases of too little or too much free time, being hungry, being intensely full, being more tired than you’ve ever been in your life, having to wait for transportation, being asked to do things you’re not totally psyched about, not having clean laundry, not having a toilet or having to use a dirty toilet, having to speak a different language, being laughed at, having sloppy diarrhea, once again, not having a toilet!, having to take a cold, bucket shower or having no shower (for days), hiking until your thighs burn and your lungs are ready to burst, eating unappetizing food, having to drop your expectations. . . and more than anything and perhaps implicit in all stated above, having to be uncomfortable and hopefully learning to extract a valuable lesson in being so!

With that said, however, you can also be prepared for the inevitability of the following: feeling your heart spontaneously open to virtual strangers, seeing more smiles in a day than you can count, experiencing acts of kindness and generosity from people who have seemingly nothing, being moved to tears and laughter unexpectedly, hearing words of insight and wisdom from respected members of the community, being accepted into a family as if you were their biological child, playing silly games with the most enthusiastic and curious kids you’ve ever met, holding farm animals, stuttering through a new language, saying “Malaai kushi laagyo!”, being spellbound by chanting monks, feasting your eyes on high, snowy peaks, filling your belly with copious amounts of daal bhat, meeting dreadlocked, ash covered yogis, watching monkeys play, and avoiding cows lounging in the city streets.





What lies ahead is hard to find words for. What is even more difficult is to be prepared for the journey. I imagine this note may find all of you at some stage of preparation. All I can say by way of advice goes beyond anything you can fit in your backpack. It’s important to start this sojourn with your loose ends tied up at home so that you can slip into the presence that awaits you. What we ask for you to all bring is an open heart and mind. Be ready to give up some control and let yourself flow. Your leaders are here to provide a safe raft and a paddle to get you through the rapids.







Here in Boulder, we will be checking the yak board regularly and encourage you to do the same. We are happy to answer any of your questions. We look forward to hearing from all of you by way of an introduction. Throughout the semester, you will be posting yaks regularly to share your adventures with friends and family. For now, use it as a great place to get to know each other. 

I hope that this note finds you all healthy, happy and enjoying the summer. Until we meet, be well. 



Shannon Harriman

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Himalayan Studies Semester, Kathmandu, Fall 2011

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A Warm Welcome from the Semester Director

Shannon Harriman,Himalayan Studies Semester, Kathmandu, Fall 2011

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Namaste Fellow Travelers,

 We hope that you have all been enjoying your summer. It is hard to believe that the time is quickly approaching when you will all meet in the LA airport and begin a sojourn that will change your lives. This journey will present challenges and rewards far beyond your imagination. It is […]

Posted On

07/11/11

Author

Shannon Harriman