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As you prepare to begin your journey to Nepal, here are few questions to help you start learning about the country that will be your home away from home for a semester. We hope this works to spark your curiosity and that you have fun thinking of creative ways to find answers to these questions. We will share the knowledge and stories when we all finally meet in Kathmandu. HAVE FUN!!!           

 

Who is Nandi?

 

What is Nepal’s staple food?

 

Who is Siddhartha Gautama?

 

What is a stupa?

 

Who is the current Prime Minister of Nepal?

 

Who are Gurkhas?

 

How high is Mount Everest? What is its Nepali name?

 

What is the population of Nepal?

 

What are the 5 largest cities in Nepal?

 

Who are the Sherpas?

 

How many ethnic groups are in Nepal?

 

Who is Prithvi Narayan Shah?

 

Which countries border Nepal?

 

What is the political system in Nepal?

 

Who is Kumari?

 

What festivals will occur during your semester?

 

What gods are in the Hindu trinity?

 

What is the national flower of Nepal?

 

Draw a Nepali flag.

 

What is a sadhu or a baba-ji?

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Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2013

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Nepal Knowledge Hunt

Sweta, Adrian and Claire,Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2013

Description

As you prepare to begin your journey to Nepal, here are few questions to help you start learning about the country that will be your home away from home for a semester. We hope this works to spark your curiosity and that you have fun thinking of creative ways to find answers to these questions. […]

Posted On

05/15/13

Author

Sweta, Adrian and Claire

WP_Post Object
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    [post_date] => 2013-05-15 08:47:13
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    [post_content] => 

 The only real voyage of discovery consists not only in seeing new landscapes, but in having new eyes, in seeing the universe with the eyes of another, in hundreds of others, in seeing the hundreds of other universes that each of them sees.’   Marcel Proust

 

Namaste and warmest wishes from your Instructor Team

 

The time of your departure for the Himalayas is drawing near, and we hope you are enjoying the time at home with family and friends and looking forward to your upcoming journey. Whilst all the logistical preparations such as packing and vaccinations are important, we know that at this point they can be exhausting and seem to engulf your whole life. In this post, we request that you take some time out to reflect on how to make the most of the learning opportunities presented by the adventure that lies ahead.

 

As we are sure you’re familiar with, Dragons programs are structured around our core curriculum: ‘GAL’ (Global Citizenship, Awareness of Self, and Leadership and Skill-Building). We will be exploring these multilayered and interconnected areas in some depth, and they will be woven into the fabric of the course and itinerary. Although not all students are taking these courses for credit, you will all be involved in all the educational components as they unfold; from fieldtrips, to lectures, to discussions, to reflections, to the general sharing of your enthusiasm, struggles and insights with the group as you settle deeper into the culture.

 

As a way to embark upon this journey we invite you to familiarise yourself with and reflect upon articles in the Himalayan Studies Semester Reader, which you should have all received. This is an amazing resource that provides a great introduction to the topics we will be covering over the duration of the course. We also request that you complete the following assignment, handwritten or typed, to be submitted upon your arrival to Kathmandu.

 

Please choose one of the prompts below and write at least 500 words: 

 


1.    What does ‘Quality of Life’ mean to you? What factors are important in having a high quality of life? Is it possible to have a high quality of life without having many material possessions? Is it possible to have a high quality of life without some basic needs being met or if you lack certain human rights? Is global development contributing to a higher quality of life for all, and who defines that? Do you feel you have a high quality of life? Why/why not?

 


2.      We all come from very different backgrounds with different belief systems, adding color and diverse viewpoints to our group experience. Before encountering the "unknown", first take the opportunity to understand where you, as an individual, are coming from. This is a chance to reflect on, examine and explore your personal values and beliefs as the first step to cultivating a truly open mind. Reflect upon the following prompts:

o   To what extent am I aware of my values and motivations?

o   What are the larger contexts of which I am part (family, community, ethnicity, class, language, religion, gender) and how does this influence me?

o   What are my gifts?

o   What are my challenges?

o   What gives meaning and lasting happiness to myself and others?

 


3.      Think of someone who has been an inspiration or rolemodel in your life. This could be someone famous or someone who you know personally. What particular qualities have they demonstrated that you admire? Throughout our course, envision how you will deal with embracing challenge and exploring the spaces beyond your comfort zone. What qualities will you need and how will you cultivate them? How do you want to be remembered by your peers, your instructors, and your new friends in Nepal at the end of the course?

 

 

As this is a reflective exercise, there are no right or wrong answers. We only ask that you take some space to think deeply and truly explore your own values, thoughts and reactions. Have fun with it!

 

Looking forward to speaking with you in the next few days, and remember to use the yak board to introduce yourself and post up any last minute questions.

 

With blessings

 

Adrian, Sweta and Claire, your Himalayan I-team

 

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Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2013

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Pre-course assignment

Adrian, Sweta and Claire,Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2013

Description

 ‘The only real voyage of discovery consists not only in seeing new landscapes, but in having new eyes, in seeing the universe with the eyes of another, in hundreds of others, in seeing the hundreds of other universes that each of them sees.’   –  Marcel Proust   Namaste and warmest wishes from your Instructor Team […]

Posted On

05/15/13

Author

Adrian, Sweta and Claire

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Regarding Arrival in Los Angeles

 

If you haven’t done so already, please submit your connecting flight itinerary via your My Dragons account, fax or email.  My Dragons: my.wheretherebedragons.com/my.php / Fax: 303-413-0857 / e-mail: info@wheretherebedragons.com. It is important that we know your airline, flight number, arrival date and arrival time.  If unable to e-mail or fax a copy of the itinerary, please phone in this information.

 

Please review the following airport arrival instructions and ensure that they are packed along with you.  For your convenience we have printed this same information on wallet-sized cards (included in your final mailer) that we recommend you carry with you:

 

1. LAX Airport Arrival Card – To be carried by the student

2. Emergency Contact Information Card – To be carried by parent(s)

 

Mekong Students flying to Los Angeles on Feb 8th 2013

When students arrive in Los Angeles, they are asked to proceed to baggage claim, gather their bags and then exit the terminal and wait under the RED SIGN FOR COURTESY SHUTTLES TO HOTELS.  Students will board the Hacienda Shuttle Bus to the Hacienda Hotel. The Hacienda Shuttle travels back and forth between the hotel and airport twice an hour, 24 hours a day.  If you are arriving a day prior, please note an email sent to you by Dragons Admissions for your reservation number and room assignments. Please meet Dragons staff in the Hacienda hotel lobby by 5:00pm.

 

Mekong Students driving to Los Angeles on Feb 8th 2013

Go directly to the Hacienda Hotel, at 525 N. Sepulveda Blvd, just south of the airport. The easiest route to the hotel is via I-405, taking I-105 West toward El Segundo, then exiting at Sepulveda South.  Heading south on Sepulveda, the hotel is four blocks from I-105, on the right. If you have any problems, please call the Hacienda at 310-615-0015.  Please arrive at the Hacienda Hotel by 5:00pm.

 

Himalaya Students flying to Los Angeles on Feb 10th 2013

When students arrive in Los Angeles, they are asked to proceed to baggage claim, gather their bags and then exit the terminal and wait under the RED SIGN FOR COURTESY SHUTTLES TO HOTELS.  Students will board the Hacienda Shuttle Bus to the Hacienda Hotel. The Hacienda Shuttle travels back and forth between the hotel and airport twice an hour, 24 hours a day.  If you are arriving a day prior, please note an email sent to you by Dragons Admissions for your reservation number and room assignments. Please meet Dragons staff in the Hacienda hotel lobby by 5:00pm.

 

Himalaya Students driving to Los Angeles on Feb 10th 2013

Go directly to the Hacienda Hotel, at 525 N. Sepulveda Blvd, just south of the airport. The easiest route to the hotel is via I-405, taking I-105 West toward El Segundo, then exiting at Sepulveda South.  Heading south on Sepulveda, the hotel is four blocks from I-105, on the right. If you have any problems, please call the Hacienda at 310-615-0015.  Please arrive at the Hacienda Hotel by 5:00pm.

 

Dragons staff members will be waiting in the Hacienda Hotel lobby and can be identified by their Dragons t-shirts.  In case the group is no longer in the lobby, students should proceed to the check-in desk and ask to be directed to the Where There Be Dragons Group. 

 

If there are any problems on the day of travel - delays, missed flights, etc., please call the Dragons office: 800-982-9203. Dragons admin will be on-call and will help with any complications.  This information is printed on the enclosed Airport Arrival Card and students should call these numbers if they encounter any difficulties while en route to the Hacienda Hotel.

 

Please wear your Dragons shirt for easy identification!  Dragons staff can also be identified by their Dragons t-shirts. 

 

IMPORTANT VISA INFO:

 

Cambodia: Life Along the Mekong Semester: Please make sure to bring a total of $100 USD cash and 3 passport photos to obtain a tourist visa upon arrival in Cambodia and Laos.

 

Himalayan Studies Semester: Please make sure to bring a total of $120 USD cash and 2 passport photos to obtain a tourist visa upon arrival in Nepal. (This amount includes a visa extension during the program and airport departure tax fee).

 

Regarding Passports:

 

If Dragons has processed a visa for you, we will return your passport when you arrive in Los Angeles.  If we don’t have your passport, be sure to bring it with you!   Normally, children under the age of 18 will be let onto a domestic flight if a parent with an I.D. is present at check-in.  However, if your passport is your only form of ID and Dragons has your passport, we advise you to call your specific airline and check their policy.  If necessary, we can send your passport back to you.

 

Regarding Communication with Students:

 

Throughout the course of the program, each group will continue to post notes on their “Yak Yak” bulletin board located on our website. Often communication can be tough because of travel days, time trekking, and the fickle nature of the developing world’s telecommunication infrastructure. Instructors and Boulder Administration will work to post yaks as often as possible.  To read group updates, click the “Yak Yak” icon on our web page:

 

http://my.wheretherebedragons.com/yakyak.php

 

During different parts of their course, students will have fairly regular access to telephones and to e-mail, but their days are long and rich and it’s tough to find time to go to an internet café to write an email. Per the notes in your Course Preparation Manual and Parent Support Kit, we remind students that Gmail, Yahoo and Hotmail accounts can be among the most easily accessed accounts while traveling overseas.

 

Parents: Please read the Parent Support Kit sent to you with earlier material as it has many more detailed notes on the nature of communication while your child is traveling abroad, your role and relationship to Dragons, and an overview of your student’s experience as well as advice from past parents and answers to parents’ most common questions.

 

Regarding Itinerary:

 

A basic part of Dragons pedagogy is to maintain flexible and dynamic itineraries so that students and instructors can take advantage of special opportunities that come along, and when necessary, respond to varying levels of group fitness and health.  Program itineraries, though fairly well mapped out, will change throughout the course of the program. Course instructors communicate changes in the itinerary with our office.  Instructors on all programs will contact us if there is an emergency, which the office admin will, in turn, promptly report to you. 

 

Regarding Parent Vacation Details:

 

If parents intend to travel during the program, please submit a copy of the itinerary and contact numbers via your My Dragons account, email or fax. My Dragons:

my.wheretherebedragons.com/my.php;

email: info@wheretherebedragons.com; fax: 303-413-0857.

 

Regarding Emergency Response Protocol:

 

Over the course of the program, field staff will be able to contact Dragons’ Emergency Response Team in the USA at all hours. Dragons’ ER team will be on-call 24/7 to respond to emergencies in the field or evacuation needs. Parents needing any emergency assistance are asked to contact our office. If no one is available when parents call our office, please leave a message on extension 30, and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

 

To Call Dragons Office: 303-413-0822 / 800-982-9203 x 30

 

To E-mail Dragons Office: info@wheretherebedragons.com

 

Regarding Packing:

 

Please pack your Lonely Planet guide book, Phrase Book and Program Reader (unless otherwise directed by your instructors).  Some groups of students will receive these course materials when they meet the group.

 

Be sure to visit your Yak Yak board where instructors have posted introduction letters and will use this message board to post additional advice regarding clothing and equipment.

 

All students are reminded to bring some photos from home to share with home-stay families and friends they make along the way.

 

Regarding Dragons Red Rules and the use of Alcohol and Drugs:

 

The use of alcohol and drugs is strictly prohibited on all Dragons programs. Dragons’ insurance policies, including our evacuation and medical coverage, will not honor claims if drugs and/or alcohol are involved. We cannot accept risks presented by students’ consumption of drugs and/or alcohol. Taking part in these activities are grounds for dismissal if drugs and/or alcohol are consumed at any time during the program, from arrival to LAX through the return to LAX at the end of the program. If a student is asked to return home under these circumstances, the student and his/her family will not receive a refund on the program and will absorb all costs of early departure which will likely include a new plane ticket, all costs incurred by the instructor team in safely returning the student home.

 

 

Best wishes, 

Dragons Boulder Admin

 

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Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2013

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Final Airport Instructions

Dragons Administration,Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2013

Description

  Regarding Arrival in Los Angeles   If you haven’t done so already, please submit your connecting flight itinerary via your My Dragons account, fax or email.  My Dragons: my.wheretherebedragons.com/my.php / Fax: 303-413-0857 / e-mail: info@wheretherebedragons.com. It is important that we know your airline, flight number, arrival date and arrival time.  If unable to e-mail […]

Posted On

05/15/13

Author

Dragons Administration

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    [post_content] => 

Whether or not you realize it, you guys are the luckiest people in the world. I would give anything to be where you are at this moment; you are about to embark on the most incredible adventure.

 

I would give anything to be able to see the mountains again, for the first time. To realize what it means to be in awe of nature, shocked that our world can be so physically beautiful and powerful at the same time. I guess that’s what you call majesty. 

 

I would give anything to sit with my amaa (mother), rolling out roti by candlelight, sipping chia and discovering that language far surpasses simply words.

 

I would give anything to trace the streets down to my ISP, and feel hard silver in my hand; to begin the art of turning a figment of imagination into a piece of jewelry.

 

I would give anything to wander down rocky hillsides with my bhaini (sister), tired and dusty, ready to swim in the river with friends.

 

You will feel happiness greater than you could ever imagine. But there are also moments of great pain and struggle ahead of you. Each of you will have challenges: for some, trekking will be the hardest weeks of your life; for others, meditating silently may drive you crazy. But there is also great sweetness in every trial. Nepal taught me to embrace the beauty in life – beauty that appears as pain and as joy. Both sides of life shape us into the person we will become.

 

I wish you all strength and joy. Be excited – the next three months are yours, yours to grow and live and learn. Your families and friends will be waiting when you return, so try and embrace every moment in Nepal with 100% of yourselves; the time will fly by and you only have three months!

 

And, just in case you were wondering (I know I was): Yes. It is possible to find ice-cream in Nepal!

 

Xoxo. Namaste.

 

Claire Wright

Himalayan Semester student, Spring 2012

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Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2013

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A note from a previous student

Claire Wright,Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2013

Description

Whether or not you realize it, you guys are the luckiest people in the world. I would give anything to be where you are at this moment; you are about to embark on the most incredible adventure.   I would give anything to be able to see the mountains again, for the first time. To […]

Posted On

05/15/13

Author

Claire Wright

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    [post_author] => 30
    [post_date] => 2013-05-15 08:47:13
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-05-15 14:47:13
    [post_content] => 

Hello there group, 

 

Now that I have wrapped up a number of responsibilities, finally, I feel able to focus on this upcoming Himalayan adventure. So greetings; I am looking forward to connecting with all of you! 

 

To introduce myself, I am Andi (Andrea) Job. I just finished with my last semester of high school in my hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan. That would make me seventeen years old. I am especially excited for the active, immersed approach to learning that Dragons continually emphasizes; I think that this approach will positively contrast with my experience in education thus far. 

 

Speaking of education, I have applied to ten small liberal arts colleges as possibilities for the Fall. We shall see what I choose; honestly, I am quite uncertain at the moment. My subject interests lie mainly in psychology, anthropology/sociology, environmental studies and educational studies, so wherever I go, I hope to find some sort of integration of these. 

 

Due to or outside of these subject areas, my interests have brought me to inquiring reading, vibrant discussing, cat loving, soccer coaching, holistic health pondering and yoga practicing and teaching (among other activities). I crave the opportunities that allow me to immerse myself in these passions. 

 

I am indeed passionate about traveling and trekking, but my experience with foreign travel is close enough to zero to call it zero, and my experience with backpacking is slight at best. Where I lack in experience, I hope my enthusiasm, open-mindedness and flexibility will prove helpful. Where inexperience cannot be effectively supplemented with positive attitude, well, I guess that is where the transformative aspect of the adventure comes into play!

 

The aspect of this trip for which I am most nervous is the difficulty of communication. This is due to the fact that I value being able to (relatively) fully communicate my ideas with others and yet will find this much less possible as I struggle with the utterly new language. In saying this, I think having to rely more on limited conversation may be good for me. 

 

Altogether, I am so glad that I have this opportunity to experience Nepal and to experience it with all of you! Best wishes to you in your preparation process; I know mine seems a bit chaotic. 

 

peace friends

-andi job


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Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2013

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See you Soon

Andi Job,Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2013

Description

Hello there group,    Now that I have wrapped up a number of responsibilities, finally, I feel able to focus on this upcoming Himalayan adventure. So greetings; I am looking forward to connecting with all of you!    To introduce myself, I am Andi (Andrea) Job. I just finished with my last semester of high […]

Posted On

05/15/13

Author

Andi Job

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    [post_date] => 2013-05-15 08:47:13
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-05-15 14:47:13
    [post_content] => 

Hello!

 

Wow, it's hard to believe how fast this trip is approaching! I am unbelievably excited and anxious to get going.

 

My name is Sarah Ramirez. I am 18 years old and from Hanover, New Hampshire. I grew up in the United States, though my entire paternal side of the family is from Heredia, Costa Rica (my father came here, so I am first generation American). I mainly grew up in New England and developed a huge passion for backpacking, hiking, and spending time outdoors. I have never travelled so far in my life (I've only been to Europe outside of the US), but I have backpacked for several weeks at a time in New England and Colorado. I am super excited for trekking in the Himalayas!

I just graduated from my boarding school this past december, and I knew that I would want a life-changing adventure before i head off to college in the fall. I chose this program mainly for the content. I am very interested in Eastern religion and philosophy, and have wanted to travel to Asia for some time. I also wanted to experience the difference in cultures to put my own life in perspective. As someone who has grown up in a mix of cultures, I really value how such experiences can teach you about yourself and the world around you. I am most excited about trekking and going to the monastery.

 

I am nervous about the homestay (I have stayed with families in other countries, but usually we shared a common language, and Nepali seems incredibly difficult!). However, I am up for the challenge! Mostly, I am excited to really learn from my experience.  

 

A little bit more about my interests: I love to be phsically active. In the past, I was really into crew (rowing) and basketball. Now, I run and take part in several races per year and am currently taking a Bikram Yoga class. My other main passion is music. I have been playing guitar and alto saxophone since I was a kid, and I sing as well. I usually enjoy most types of music, though I have more of an affinity to rock, metal, and alternative music. 

 

I am very excited to get to know all of you, and to meet you all! I am so excited for this journey and grateful for the opportunity!

 

See you all before too long!

Sarah Mayela Ramirez 

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Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2013

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Hey Everyone!

Sarah M. Ramirez,Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2013

Description

Hello!   Wow, it’s hard to believe how fast this trip is approaching! I am unbelievably excited and anxious to get going.   My name is Sarah Ramirez. I am 18 years old and from Hanover, New Hampshire. I grew up in the United States, though my entire paternal side of the family is from […]

Posted On

05/15/13

Author

Sarah M. Ramirez

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Namaste fellow travelers!

 

In just a few short weeks, we'll all be here together in the heart of the ancient Kathmandu valley, setting out on a journey into the life, culture and landscape of the Himalayas. Your instructor team has been working hard to put together a transformative, challenging and fun course, and we wanted to give you an idea of some of the experiences we’ll be engaged in and what you can expect as we move through our 13 weeks together.

 

What we have outlined below is the general flow that we anticipate, but of course the very nature of the adventure on which we are embarking is flexible and subject to exciting changes!

 

 

Week 1:

 

Welcome to Nepal! Your I-Team will meet you at Tribhuwan International Airport in Kathmandu in the late evening of your arrival day, and we will all head to Bhaktapur for the first part of our course: Orientation. Bhaktapur is a medieval Newari city in Kathmandu Valley where we will encounter the traditional arts and architecture and the unique blend of Buddhist and Hindu iconography and religious beliefs. Here we will take the time to get to know each other as a group and set our own hopes and expectations for the experience. It is here we begin our first Nepali language lessons and receive tools to settle into this unique and fascinating culture with confidence and respect.

 

Weeks 2 through 7:

 

Leaving orientation fully prepared to seize every opportunity this magical country has to offer, we will begin our urban home-stay in Kathmandu. There are few cities on earth as dynamic, multi-layered and steeped in history and myth as Kathmandu. It is also home to one of the highest concentrations of UNESCO sites anywhere in the world. You will be individually paired up with an adopted family that will quickly become like your own.

 

Settling into our daily routine, you will come in the mornings Monday through Friday to our beautiful program house, where the agenda will include such things as yoga, meditation, language lessons, lectures and discussions about contemporary issues facing Nepal, structured assignments and lunch. Afternoons will be your own time to pursue your Independent Study Projects (ISPs), and we’ll help you find a mentor and resources according to your interests and passions. Families always want more time with their home-stay son or daughter, so weekends will be spent with them so that they can indulge in more cultural experiences separate from the group activities. Some weekend days we will go for student-organized group excursions, to visit sacred sites and celebrate local festivities. A short trek of 3 -5 days will be incorporated sometime during our Kathmandu stay to get into the wilderness and recharge. We will wrap-up our urban home-stay experience with a student organized family bhoj (party) where students will share their ISP experiences and thank our Kathmandu community for welcoming us into their lives.

 

This portion of the course, which involves a structured and rigorous academic as well as experiential curriculum, requires a healthy balance between time with your group, your gurus (teachers/instructors), your home-stay families, and your own personal space.

 

Students in past programs have noted the following things about the urban time in Kathmandu: jeans, t-shirts and cotton clothing are appropriate for the urban home-stay; mornings are structured until lunch; students will use public transportation to move around the city on their own; you will have the opportunity to buy traditional tailor-made clothes; language is a major component of the course; the city is polluted, congested and challenging, but students frequently comment that Kathmandu provides some of the most rewarding experiences on the course.

  

Week 8:

 

Next we will begin a ten-day meditation retreat and introduction to Tibetan Buddhism at Kopan monastery (www.kopanmonastery.com). Aside from trekking in the Himalayas, this unique and powerful portion of the course may be one of the most challenging things you have ever done in your life thus far: sitting with your mind and looking inward. 

 

Kopan is a lively and flourishing monastery in the Gelukpa tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, where several hundred monks and nuns live and study. Kopan also has a long history of teaching the Dharma (Buddhist teachings) to a western audience and we are privileged to attend one of their wonderful retreats, where we will be introduced to the world of Tibetan Mahayana Buddhism. Living and studying amongst Tibetan monks, our daily routine will be simple: we rise early, meditate, study the principles of Tibetan Buddhism, eat simple meals, engage in discussions and spend lots of time reflecting on the nature of our minds, reality and life.  Set on a beautiful hilltop on the outer perimeter of the Kathmandu Valley, the Kopan retreat often proves to be a richly rewarding experience. 

 

Weeks 9 & 10:

 

We depart Kathmandu valley for a rural home-stay in a village situated in the Himalayan foothills. Our days in the village will be spent sharing in family life in this traditional agricultural community.  We'll participate in the everyday tasks of our home-stay families: waking up early, collecting water at the communal taps, working in the fields, learning local crafts, or spending hours hunched over a fire preparing meals. Participating in village life also allows us a rich first-hand perspective to discuss issues of development, ethnicity, and spirituality. Language lessons will take place every day during our village-stay and there will no be shortage of opportunities to practice your new skills with your home-stay families! A highlight of our time in rural Nepal will also be a community-exchange service project, where we collaborate with locals and learn about sewa, or the cultural practice of service/giving. 

 

Week 11 through 13:

 

We will wrap up the program by embarking on a Himalayan trek. We will journey through remote mountain villages carrying everything we need on our backs, all against the backdrop of majestic snow-capped peaks. Our days will be simple here. We will wake up early, go to sleep early, walk long hours, gain elevation slowly and enjoy simple meals like we have never before. Our evenings will be filled with hot tea, laughter and sharing stories about what Nepal has taught us about the world, spirituality and life. Most importantly, on this trek, we will expect each student to step up and lead the group through our daily activities. Your leadership and communication skills, along with maintaining a positive group culture and teamwork, will prove to be essential in order for us to succeed.  

 

And thus we will begin our final stage of transference, alongside the high alpine terrain of the Himalayas – home to snow leopards, blue sheep, many species of birds and the elusive yeti!  We will reflect back on our 13 weeks in Nepal and start dialogues around our fears and expectations of returning to the culture which for most of us was the only one we knew before. Your I-team will give you tools to settle back into the country you are returning to and discuss ways of continuing such support. The group will then travel back to Kathmandu for repacking and to say goodbyes to their families and mentors.

 

 

We hope this sounds as exciting to you as it does to us!  Please now take the time to introduce yourself on this yak-yak board, and keep checking it regularly for introductions from your fellow adventurers and preparatory updates from your I-team. We will be posting some pre-course assignments to get you thinking about the journey ahead soon!

 

We also plan to schedule a phonecall with you in the coming few days and weeks to have a chance to get excited, share your concerns and answer any questions you have about any part of this itinerary, the curriculum, packing and preparation.

 

And so, we begin our journey.

 

Your Himalayan Instructor-team,

Sweta, Adrian and Claire 

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Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2013

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Our journey into the Himalayas – a tentative itinerary

Sweta, Adrian and Claire,Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2013

Description

Namaste fellow travelers!   In just a few short weeks, we’ll all be here together in the heart of the ancient Kathmandu valley, setting out on a journey into the life, culture and landscape of the Himalayas. Your instructor team has been working hard to put together a transformative, challenging and fun course, and we […]

Posted On

05/15/13

Author

Sweta, Adrian and Claire

WP_Post Object
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    [post_date] => 2013-05-15 08:47:12
    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-05-15 14:47:12
    [post_content] => 
Namaste, dragons! 
I feel like I have a connection to you all even though I have no idea who you are or where you come from. Where you are headed is one of my absolute favorite places. I remember it like yesterday. How strange to think it has already been a year! I’m still not sure I have the words to describe my experience. But I can tell you I still dream of Nepal. 
My advice to you:
Embrace. Everything. 
And forget your expectations. 
There is absolutely no telling what will happen to you when you are traveling, and that is the best part. Every day—every hour—is an adventure. Keep your mind and heart wide open. Let yourself become Nepalese. They will welcome you into their culture and love hearing you speak Nepali and seeing you dress like them. I cannot tell you the number of times I forgot I was a “foreigner”. 
Become a part of all of your homestay families. They love you and want you to be happy. Lives are meant to be shared. I still talk to my families and have plans to go to one of my brothers’ wedding. Also, you will be offered the biggest meal portions of your life. Don’t be afraid to not eat everything. They truly do not want you to be uncomfortable.   
Find your inner peace, whether that comes from summiting your first peak, meditating, or navigating the beautiful craziness of the Kathmandu transportation system. 
Journal, take pictures, send postcards and letters back to yourself or to friends and family. (If you’re sending letters, though, take pictures of them before you mail them. Needless to say, things get lost. Embrace that, too.) Looking at them later is a blast. You may think you won’t forget, but some of those small, special interactions fade almost as fast as they occur. 

Not everything will be easy, but would you want it any other way? Just remember there is ALWAYS a light somewhere. Turn around and one lost opportunity will transform into a brand new chance for your to define yourself.

Ellis Johnston

Himalayan Semester Student, Spring 2012

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Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2013

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Experience every moment

Ellis Aasha Johnston,Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2013

Description

Namaste, dragons!  I feel like I have a connection to you all even though I have no idea who you are or where you come from. Where you are headed is one of my absolute favorite places. I remember it like yesterday. How strange to think it has already been a year! I’m still not […]

Posted On

05/15/13

Author

Ellis Aasha Johnston

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    [post_date] => 2013-05-15 08:47:12
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A language barrier is no match for the penetrating kindness that this village and my Nepali home stay family exude. The children call me "dai" (older brother) here. In an area so devoid of wealth and what us Westerners call comfort, the notion of close kinship is first nature. Though my weak American stomach has made several attempts to dampen my appreciation for this place, it's subdued every time I look out over this expansive valley; terraced by centuries of a hard, humble lifestyle.

 

*Update*

 

As I was writing, my baa (father) pulled down his set of five goatskin drums from the rafters of our rural home. "Bajas" they call them. 

 

"Do you have these in America?" he asks in informal Nepali. 

With my limited vocabulary I answer

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Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2013

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Feb 23: Chaukati

Nick King,Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2013

Description

A language barrier is no match for the penetrating kindness that this village and my Nepali home stay family exude. The children call me "dai" (older brother) here. In an area so devoid of wealth and what us Westerners call comfort, the notion of close kinship is first nature. Though my weak American stomach has […]

Posted On

05/15/13

Author

Nick King

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    [post_date_gmt] => 2013-05-15 14:47:12
    [post_content] => 

Hi everyone!

 

I know I'm a little late with posting on here but I thought that I would introduce myself before I get to meet all of you in a week.

 

My name is Max Hawla. I am from Barrington, Rhode Island and I am 20 years old. I consider myself to have grown up in somewhat of an international environment. While my mother is a Rhode Island native herself, she comes from a very strong French-Canadian background, while my father on the other hand, was born and raised in South Africa and is of German and English decent. My family has also been the host family for two German foreign exchange students, and I have visited them in Germany many times.

 

Having been part of a host family in the past, I am excited for the home stays that are part of the Dragons program. I am looking forward to being on the other side of that relationship with a family.

 

I graduated high school in May and attended Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston this past fall, but I eventually decided to leave and travel abroad this spring instead. I have spent the last couple of months preparing for this trip and going through the college application process again. My top choices are American University, University of Denver and University of Vermont. I am considering studying environmental science and I definitely want to study German alongside whatever major I end up choosing. 

 

I'm a pretty musical person. I've played guitar and bass for about five years and I listen to a wide variety of genres. I spend a lot of my free time playing music with friends and listening to new music I've discovered. I hope to learn a bit about the music of Nepal while we are there.

 

Travelling to Nepal and the Himalayas has been a dream of mine since I was only 5 years old, so it is completely surreal that I am now actually going to have the pleasure of travelling there! I am incredibly excited for this trip and I am looking forward to sharing the experience with all of you.

 

See you all in a week!

Regards,

Max 

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Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2013

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Hello everyone

Maxwell Hawla,Himalayan Studies Semester, Spring 2013

Description

Hi everyone!   I know I’m a little late with posting on here but I thought that I would introduce myself before I get to meet all of you in a week.   My name is Max Hawla. I am from Barrington, Rhode Island and I am 20 years old. I consider myself to have […]

Posted On

05/15/13

Author

Maxwell Hawla

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