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Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2008


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Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2008

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Himalayan Studies College Accreditation

Dragons Admin,Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2008

Description

Click link to the right for information regarding college accreditation.

Posted On

02/26/09

Author

Dragons Admin

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We said our first goodbyes toJack, Cori andJackiein the sweltering heat of Dehli. An then again yesterday, the rest of group began the long journey home from Kathmandu. Our final dinner was full of laughter as we remembered all of the crazy adventures we went through together, becoming a family as we travelled through the Himalayas. Like any family we had our ups and downs. What's amazingis we came out the other side truly appreciating one another and valuing our differences.

Ithas been an adventure and I know I have said this to you all already but you allknow how I like to be repetitive (ha,ha), so here it goes again. It was a pleasure to work with each an everyone of you and I truly valuethe expereinces that weshared. I hope this finds everyone well,resting in the comforts of home. Enjoy thenew form of learning that begins now that you areback statesideand know that you areall in my thoughts.

Much love,

Germaine (aka Gimi, thanks Abbey!)

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Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2008

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Goodbyes

Germaine Bartlett-Graff,Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2008

Description

We said our first goodbyes toJack, Cori andJackiein the sweltering heat of Dehli. An then again yesterday, the rest of group began the long journey home from Kathmandu. Our final dinner was full of laughter as we remembered all of the crazy adventures we went through together, becoming a family as we travelled through the […]

Posted On

05/13/08

Author

Germaine Bartlett-Graff

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So, as hard as it is to believe, we are nearing the end of the spring '08 semester! In case anyone has misplaced it, here is the group flight itinerary for their return back to Los Angeles:

May 12th, 2008
Air China Flight # CA 983
PEK (Beijing)– LAX
8:30pm – 5:45pm

Please contact the office if you have any concerns regarding international or domestic travel. If you are calling outside of business hours, please leave a message on extension 13; we will be checking these messages periodically during the upcoming travel days.

Best wishes and safe travels home!

Dragons Boulder Admin

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Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2008

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International Flight Itinerary

Dragons Admin,Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2008

Description

So, as hard as it is to believe, we are nearing the end of the spring ’08 semester! In case anyone has misplaced it, here is the group flight itinerary for their return back to Los Angeles: May 12th, 2008 Air China Flight # CA 983 PEK (Beijing)– LAX 8:30pm – 5:45pm Please contact the […]

Posted On

05/9/08

Author

Dragons Admin

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We are quickly coming to the end of our Himalayan adventure together, and it is a surreal process. We have spent the last few days writing, reading and grading wonderful papers, completing our ISP presentations, and finalizing all end-of-course paperwork. Our ten days in McLeod Ganj are coming to a close.

After our final ISP presentation this afternoon, we had the good fortune to have a last-minute audience with the Nechung Oracle, the state medium of Tibet. Those of you who have seen the Scorcese film Kundun will recall the oracle - a monk who, while being possessed by the deity Dorje Drakden in a ritual trance performance, gives predictions and advice to the Dalai Lama and members of the Kashag, the Tibetan Cabinet.

Dorje Drakden, or Pehar, is a protector spirit originally from Mongolia, imported from the court of the Great Khans into Tibet in the 8th century. Pehar made a vow before Padmasambhava to protect the new religion of Tibet, and over the centuries became the protective spirit of Lhasa in general, and the Dalai Lamas in particular. Since the time of the 5th Dalai Lama, Pehar ritually embodies a monk of the Geluk order, and serves the Tibetan Government as a state oracle.

The Nechung Oracle (his common title, although he tells us he prefers the term medium rather than oracle) was 29 years old when Pehar first took hold of him, in March 1987. Since then he has embarked on seversl world tours, become a public figure, and even donated a replica of his ritual costumes and headdress to a Swiss museum. It was a great honor for him to take the time to meet with us, particularly since the Dalai Lama is currently holding a Guhyasamaja Empowerment open to the public. During our interview, we discussed with Kuten-la the unusual circumstances of his life. He was wonderfully candid, and we closed with a group blessing and photograph, soon to be posted on our Yak board.

Tomorrow, half of the group will travel to Amritsar in the Punjab for an afternoon visit to the Golden Temple, the primary holy site for the Sikh tradition. The rest of us will take the nightbus back to Delhi, and we will all reuinte on Saturday afternoon, in time for a group dinner. Hard to believe our goodbyes are so forthcoming ...

Jackie

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Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2008

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The Nechung Oracle, and goodbye McLeod …

Jackie Dennis,Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2008

Description

We are quickly coming to the end of our Himalayan adventure together, and it is a surreal process. We have spent the last few days writing, reading and grading wonderful papers, completing our ISP presentations, and finalizing all end-of-course paperwork. Our ten days in McLeod Ganj are coming to a close. After our final ISP […]

Posted On

05/8/08

Author

Jackie Dennis

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After three beautiful weeks in Ladakh, our group of travelers packed our bags once again and have landed in McLeod Ganj, a small town in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh. Better known by the district name of Dharamsala, McLeod Ganj is a former British hill station, abandoned by the Raj in the early twentieth century after an earthquake devasted the area. In 1959, when the Dalai Lama sought asylum in India during the Communist Invasion of Tibet, Indian Prime Minster Nehru offered the hill station to His Holiness and the tens of thousands of Tibetan refugees who began pouring across the Indo-Tibetan border.

Overlooking the verdant Kandra Valley to the south and theDhauludar mountain range inthe north, McLeod Ganj is covered in pine trees, prayer flags and jasmine flowers, with the constant hum of Tibetan mantra in the air. It is an extraordinary place to be, and to end the program.

Still today, McLeod Ganj is the seat of the Tibetan Exile Government, and hosts a dynamic Tibetan community charged with the electricity of political activity. Thereis a heightened energy and awarenessthese days, due the the current political instability and uprisings in Tibet. Posters depicting startling images of Chinese police brutality line the streets, begging visitors to rally for the Tibetan cause. Foreigners walk the streets with Tibetan flags pinned to their backpacks and wearing Free Tibet t-shirts. There is an overwhelming cry for freedom echoing from this place.

Yesterday our group met for the final itinerary planning meeting of our program. We will spend our final ten days together volunteering as English-language conversation partners with Tibetan refugees; hiking waterfalls; visiting the Tibetan Holocaust Museum; touring the temple and monastery of the Dalai Lama; meeting with the president of the Tibetan Youth Congress; and presenting our Independent Study Projects to the group. This Saturday, we have the great honor of a private audience with His Holiness Karmapa, the spiritual head of the Karma Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism.

It finally feels like summer - warm sunny days, blue skies, and late afternoon thunder showers. There is a beautiful feeling in the group, as we recognize with sadness and anticipation that this journey will soon come to a close. We plan to go out in style, however. More soon!

Tashi Delek, Jackie

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Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2008

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McLeod Ganj, Dharamsala

Jackie Dennis,Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2008

Description

After three beautiful weeks in Ladakh, our group of travelers packed our bags once again and have landed in McLeod Ganj, a small town in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh. Better known by the district name of Dharamsala, McLeod Ganj is a former British hill station, abandoned by the Raj in the early twentieth […]

Posted On

05/1/08

Author

Jackie Dennis

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Hello all!

Leh, our homebase for our time in Ladakh, has become our belovedsecond home, indeed. We are all getting more and more familiar with Leh, and it has proven to be the place for some much neededrest and relaxationat this point, as well as a great time to conitnue research and begin writing papers.It also reminds us that the program is coming toa rapid close andwe are trying to fully appreciatethe last few weeks of our adventure.

After homestay in Saboo, we continued our projecton globalisation, a discussion thatpermeates our day to day life here, and appears everywhere around us inunexpected ways.The group, as always, amazed me with their insight, and made me think of the whole globalisation issue from entirely new angles. (Charlie, thanks for yourexcellent Yak!) I love how much I learn from these students everyday!

We spent a day at Hemis Monastery, one of the oldest and largest monasteries in all of Ladakh, which is concealed in a gorge just above the Indus River. Above the monastery itself isa cement staircase thatclimbs to theGyatso meditationcaves, set inarocky side drainage. It was here, in this surreal setting, with a backdrop of blue sky and glacier formed gorges, that we had a lesson on Mahayana Buddhism - an inspiring setting for a conversation on this topic.

Another change of plans (suprise, suprise!) has also occurred. Our original plan to trek for this week took an unexpected turn. Because of illness and paper writing, it was decided that some of our group would stay in Leh to recover and write. Jackie took the other half of the group to Lamayuru Monastery, perched high above the valley,andcurrently they are camping near the town of Likirabout 75km from Leh. I am sure they will have lots of stories, and hopefully photos, when they return!

Our time in Ladakh is coming to a close and after the much anticipated camelride through local villages, we will fly to Dehli and shortly afterwards to Dharamsala to wrap up the program. The end is sneaking up on all of us and I am personally trying to savour all of these truly magical places that we have been so fortunate to experience.

For now, blessings to all of you!

Germaine Bartlett-Graff

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Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2008

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Hemis Monastery and Beyond

Germaine Bartlett-Graff,Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2008

Description

Hello all! Leh, our homebase for our time in Ladakh, has become our belovedsecond home, indeed. We are all getting more and more familiar with Leh, and it has proven to be the place for some much neededrest and relaxationat this point, as well as a great time to conitnue research and begin writing papers.It […]

Posted On

04/26/08

Author

Germaine Bartlett-Graff

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Jullay to all!

We are back in Leh after a beautiful stay in the village of Saboo, about 7 km from Leh. Staying with local families and eating local food and sampling the local butter tea and living beatiful two story white washed houses, we had a full, yet restful week. Surrounded on all sides by snowcapped peaks contrasted with the barren, rugged terrain of the lower hills was the perfect backdrop to begin our week long project on globalization and its impacts on the village of Saboo as well in Ladakh in general. Living with local families provided great insight into these issues and today we will have our debate on the benefits and downfalls of globalization and development.

Our stay in Saboo was restful and rewarding. (We even woke up to snow one morning!!) Waking up in the village of Saboo was a great way to start the day. The rest of the morning consisted of a service project at the local government school. Many of the students came together and after speaking with the headmaster and assessing what he thought the school needed most, the students began painting the classrooms, installing carpet and fixing broken windows. After a week long project, there was significant change and I think it felt good for the students to give back to the community that was our home for the last week. In addition to the repairs, Tara and Devin both taught. Tara discovered that there was no science teacher and decided she would focus on the science curriculm, while Devin tackled English and grammar. They both stepped up to the challenge and took initiative to develop their own lesson plans.

Tomorrow will be a rest day in Leh, followed by a day trip to Hemis, a famous monastery about 55km from Leh, where we will hike up the valley to meditation caves that tower above the monastery itself. We will also celebrate Jack's 22nd birthday!

The adventures never stop and being in a place so different from anywhere else we have been previously has infused the trip with a new kind of magic!

I hope this finds everyone well! More stories to come.

Jullay(its hello and goodbye here!),

Germaine Bartlett-Graff

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Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2008

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Village of Saboo

Germaine Bartlett-Graff,Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2008

Description

Jullay to all! We are back in Leh after a beautiful stay in the village of Saboo, about 7 km from Leh. Staying with local families and eating local food and sampling the local butter tea and living beatiful two story white washed houses, we had a full, yet restful week. Surrounded on all sides […]

Posted On

04/19/08

Author

Germaine Bartlett-Graff

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its pretty crazy how much we have traveled, and living this life is pretty awesome but also very strange, we just completed our third and last homestay of the trip and its so weird to get to know people, feel at home, become attached to your siblings and then bid farewell..back on the road..again. when i think back on how much we have done and all the places that we have been its hard to believe we are at the ending point..anyways its pretty cool, i gotta go...gezmos is calling

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Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2008

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homestay in saboo

Sonia Gloss,Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2008

Description

its pretty crazy how much we have traveled, and living this life is pretty awesome but also very strange, we just completed our third and last homestay of the trip and its so weird to get to know people, feel at home, become attached to your siblings and then bid farewell..back on the road..again. when […]

Posted On

04/19/08

Author

Sonia Gloss

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Sometimes, being in a group is incredibly challenging. Its hard to determine what kind of experience you are going to have when travelling in a group. A while ago, someone in our group said that it is more difficult to have a personal experience when travelling in a group. At first I agreed, but I have to say, though, that group travel is the ultimate, in depth personal experience, as you are notjust learning so much about the culture and area you are visiting but also things about yourself you may have never been able to see before.

I believe that the environment is a reflection of yourself, and experiencing 14 different personalities and having whatever actions or causes I make reflect off of those individuals is causing me to look much more deeply at myself. It's extremely valuable. Being in a group is teaching me what my needs are, my strengths and weaknesses, and is also teaching me what I can provide for other people. Whereas travelling alone, I may think I am a good listener, when it's really because I don't have anybody to listen to, and here I can actively improve my own attributes and learn so much from people who are all so completely different from one another.

This group is so interesting. There is not one person that is like the other, leaders included. It can be a cause for frustration at times, but when looked at more closely, its a microcosm for ourselves just generally in life. This group travel experience is teaching me to let go of preconceived expectations of what I think people should or shouldn't be and instead to freely accept them for what they are, and moreover, to appreciate and learn from that.Of course, it is important to take care of your personal needs. I am the type of person that needssome personal spaceandI am learning thatnot only is independance one of my needs, but that there is also a lot of value in group travel and that we are all here together for so many reasons.

In the past few days we have packed in a lot. We left the frantic but beautiful Kathmandu, flew to Delhi, took a day trip to Agra to see the Taj Mahal, spent another night in Delhi and flew to Leh, Ladakh, where we arrived yesterday early morning. Our day trip to Agra was exaughsting but absolutely worth it. The trip there came sooner thanwe expected it to so I don't think our group totally internalized that we were going. Walking through the gate and seeing the Taj was something I will never forget. It's a completely majestic structure, the most feminine piece of architecture I have ever seen. It's beautiful and stately from a distance but up close, when you go inside and see the tombs, the carving around it is so immaculate and delicate the tombs looked like they were framed in lace. I could have sat there all day in front of that building, just watching the sun turn it different colors throughout the day.

Our bus got us back to Delhi at about 10pm, and we had to be up by 3am to get to the airport by 4 and catch our flight to Ladakh. The flight to Ladakh was your standard flight, except when were approaching Leh (the main city in Ladakh) all around us, on both sides of the plane were the Himalayas. We weren't above or below them, but on the same level. Ladakh sits at about 12,000 feet, so as we were landing, we literally landed with snow capped mountains on all sides of us. The landscape is somewhat similar to the moon, and the mountains look like caramel icecream with whipped cream on top.

Last night we were all having dinner, it was Andrew's birthday and we got him an apple pie. The altitude was getting to all of our heads and we had a serious case of the giggles, especially Jackie (one of our leaders) who was just being straight up crazy and it was hilarious. For now we are resting and exploring Leh before homestays. Thanks for reading

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Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2008

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Sonia Gloss,Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2008

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Sometimes, being in a group is incredibly challenging. Its hard to determine what kind of experience you are going to have when travelling in a group. A while ago, someone in our group said that it is more difficult to have a personal experience when travelling in a group. At first I agreed, but I […]

Posted On

04/10/08

Author

Sonia Gloss

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Jullay (Greetings) from Ladakh!

After a whirlwind stop in Delhi and a daytrip to the magnificent Taj Mahal, we have arrived in Leh.A few days of downtime to acclimatize to the altitude (11975 ft) and learn a little Ladakhi, and then we will be heading into rural Ladakh to begin a weeklong homestay in the village of Sabu, just in time for the spring crop planting.

Nestled in the western valleys of the state of Jammu-Kashmir and bordered by Himalayan massifs, Ladakh was opened to foreigners only in 1975 and still remains largely undeveloped outside of the capital of Leh. Ladakh's landscapeis better described asa moonscape, due to its vast desert mountain starkness, naked except for its extraordinary snowcapped peaks. Far and away, the vista from Leh is the most startling, withan almost 360 degree snow mountain panorama. Ourproximityto the Tibetan plateau is tangible, for the first time.

Over the next few days, we have several lectures planned with local scholars and NGOs: a meeting with a representation from the Snow Leopard Conservancy; a documentary screening on development in Ladakh by Helena Norberg-Hodge, a leading expert in Ladakhi culture; and a lecture with the local Muslim Imam, who will give us a tour of the Leh Mosque and teach us about the history of Islam in Jammu-Kashmir.

In between lectures, we will have time toclimb up tothe spectacular Leh fortress and the Japanese Peace Pagoda, as well as hunt down the infamous Ladakhi apricot lassis and local fresh seabuckthorn juice ... as a matter of fact, that's where I'm heading right now.

More to come, soon.

Until then, jullay to all ...

Jackie

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Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2008

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Jullay!

Jackie Dennis,Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2008

Description

Jullay (Greetings) from Ladakh! After a whirlwind stop in Delhi and a daytrip to the magnificent Taj Mahal, we have arrived in Leh.A few days of downtime to acclimatize to the altitude (11975 ft) and learn a little Ladakhi, and then we will be heading into rural Ladakh to begin a weeklong homestay in the […]

Posted On

04/9/08

Author

Jackie Dennis

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