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    [post_content] => Welcome back Nepal semester students! The group flight just landed at JFK. Thanks for such a wonderful semester.

 

All the best,

The Boulder Admin Team
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SPRING: Nepal: Himalayan Studies

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Group Flight Landed at JFK!

Admissions2,SPRING: Nepal: Himalayan Studies

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Welcome back Nepal semester students! The group flight just landed at JFK. Thanks for such a wonderful semester.   All the best, The Boulder Admin Team

Posted On

05/1/16

Author

Admissions2

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    [post_content] => Screen shot 2016-04-30 at 8.30.14 AM

Namaste friends and family!

All students have safely checked in for their international flights and are on the way home. The group flight to JFK is due to arrive in New York at 9 AM EST tomorrow (Sunday, May 1st). A student leader is carrying a phone and will call the Dragons office from New York upon arrival.

Thank you again for supporting these students throughout the semester. We wish everyone safe travels and the best of luck with their transition home!
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SPRING: Nepal: Himalayan Studies

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Students on their way home

Instructor Team,SPRING: Nepal: Himalayan Studies

Description

Namaste friends and family! All students have safely checked in for their international flights and are on the way home. The group flight to JFK is due to arrive in New York at 9 AM EST tomorrow (Sunday, May 1st). A student leader is carrying a phone and will call the Dragons office from New […]

Posted On

04/30/16

Author

Instructor Team

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    [post_content] => Nobody can discover the world for somebody else. Only when we discover it for ourselves does it become common ground and a common bond and we cease to be alone. -Wendell Berry

Dear Friends and Family,

As is custom at Dragons, we are taking the last few days of the course to reflect on our experiences. For one such reflective activity, we asked the students three questions and are anonymously sharing their responses with you below.

Before that, the instructor team (Rebecca, Jason and Ing-Marie) would like to acknowledge the parents of our students and the emotional labor it takes to send your child to live on the other side of the world for three months. We would also like to thank you those of you who wrote in to the Field Note board! None of us have ever seen such an outpouring of parental love and support and think your students are lucky to have you. We also enjoyed hearing your stories, messages from home and words of wisdom. We think you are all wonderful and would love to host any of you on a Dragons course! Now without further ado:

1. What is something you learned about Nepal?

-I learned that there’s a huge water shortage in Nepal was able to experience and understand that.

-Resilience of its people, strength in community, ability to stand up after being knocked down, simplicity of joy and beauty in silence. How badass village amaas (mothers) are.

-Nepal has taught me about the genuineness and loving kindness that people have. It has taught me the joys of living simply and simply living. It has shown me the importance of having and being a part of a community.

-I accumulated technical knowledge surrounding development, culture, heritage, demographics, language etc and I also learned that none of that ultimately holds any meaning for me. I question myself as to why that is. Something very valuable for me, was noticing very distinctly the remarkable infusion of spirituality and wonder in the quotidian and the habitual. Other things such as the value of human interaction, silence, humility, various human qualities come to mind but , but they do not relate directly to the prompt -the word ‘about’ was a little challenging.

-Holi is the greatest holiday. Especially when celebrated in Kathmandu.

-The strength and kindness of the Nepali people. They have endured so much but continue to be strong, hardworking and kind. Wherever I went I was met with warmness and invitations into houses for tea.

-Kathmandu is a highly polluted city.

-The ability to form powerful and long lasting connections with people who do not speak the same language or have the same culture as I do. It was in situations where I could barely express my thoughts verbally that the strongest interpersonal connection came through. I have so much love for everyone I’ve met in Nepal in a way I didn’t think was possible.

-Resilience exists in abundance. In a place where spirit, soul and will overpower so many demons, anything is possible.

2. Who is a person who affected your experience in Nepal?

-Veda, for teaching me about myself and my world. Evoking thoughts and providing me with hours of worth of intellectual stimulation. My homestay family for showing me endless kindness by warmly welcoming me into their home and life. For the smiles and giggles and piles of delicious food. The instructors for being here and putting up with all the craziness. My mom, for supporting me endlessly. For her emails and messages and check ins and love.

-Yoga Tara had a major impact on me through her love, dedication and wisdom regarding her practice/lifestyle (yoga). Her ease of consciousness and patience will forever be qualities I try to imitate.

-My homestay families, other students, instructors, my ISP mentor, even random people I’ve met on the street. My mind constantly goes to my family at home, especially my mother and sister. They are the people who have prompted change in me even thought they’re so far away. I feel connected with them right now more than I ever have.

-The beautiful Binita, who will be my sister forever: not only a beautiful smiling soul but a startlingly profound reminder of the core values of love, a pillar of raw gentle affection that will never leave my heart.

-Bob Dylan. He helped me interrogate the culture by using his music a tool to connect with my homestay family. It was very comforting to have him in Nepal.

-My art teacher at the Ashram, Laxman, is very important. “I think art is happiness”. To see him speak about the drawing the way I think about music...that had an impact.

-How should I define “affected”? On one level I was affected by no one but myself but on another I was affected by everyone. I apologize for being annoying and indirect. I was very affected by the Rinpoche at NagiGompa monastery because at that time I had been contemplating my own deeply ingrained sense of equanimity. And thus processed our very short exchange through that kind of trans formative lens.Another person who affected me was a man that I met on a bus in Kathmandu to whom I gave a totally spurious introduction of myself. It was okay. He did not know. It made me think about what I define as myself; whether I am me or an anthropology student from Portugal or anything else that I care to invent.

-My family back home. My groupmates. My ISP mentor (Yoga Tara).

-Of any Nepali person I met our instructor Jason impacted me the most. He is very unique, his is a wealth of knowledge and has some of the most interesting and varying life experiences of anyone I’ve met.

3. What is something friends and family back home should know?

-The last two and a half months have been jam packed and so much has happened. I’m still very much processing it all. But I want people at home to know I haven’t forgot about them and as eager as I am to tell stories about this trip, I am even more eager to hear about your experiences. Please talk about yourself too.

-I’d say I’m more free with my consciousness and that I’ve regained some interest/curiosity about the world and its workings.

-I found a rock on the first day of trek and carried it to Gosaikunda Lake on the last day. Amrit and I skipped rocks and it was very heart warming and meaningful for me.

-I cannot say that I’ve underdone some immense and profound change during the time that I’ve been in Nepal. I decided about 3 months ago that I no longer wished to feel so disconnected to my surrounding, other people and myself. I sought balance, clarity and a sense of truth. Strange things come out of this intention for me. I went through a period of intense disconnection and as a result see myself in a new light. I’d like to convey to friends and family that I’m still the same person really. Only more present and aware.

-I want my friends and family that I’m not sure what I’m doing in life. I do know that it’s not the destination but the road that leads you there and I’m excited to carve my own path, leaping into this next chapter of my life.

-Please know that I intend to move to Nepal as soon as I possibly can.

-My parents and friends should know that I am still very much the same person just a little bit more open, more knowledgeable and more aware. They should also know that I am in a place of acceptance of the principle of movement, transience and flow. And I have developed a dependence on milk tea.

-I have no direction but that of the direction of love. Love for myself, my interactions with others and my interactions with this one lovely world. A direction terrifying void of tangible direction but nevertheless an infinitely worthwhile endeavour.

-I’m grateful for everything you do for me.
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In a place where spirit, soul, and will overpower so many demons, anything is possible

Instructor Team,SPRING: Nepal: Himalayan Studies

Description

Nobody can discover the world for somebody else. Only when we discover it for ourselves does it become common ground and a common bond and we cease to be alone. -Wendell Berry Dear Friends and Family, As is custom at Dragons, we are taking the last few days of the course to reflect on our […]

Posted On

04/28/16

Author

Instructor Team

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    [post_content] => I had not yet, until this meaningless moment, posted a field note. Though the idea admittedly tickled my fancy, the urge, the necessity, never clawed at me. There was too much to say, there was nothing to say; nothing really matters anyway - maybe I was just being characteristically lazy.
None of that truly bears any significance now, because I am sitting here, in my room in Ale Gaun typing this up in the hope that it be posted and that it reach avid eyes before the end of this course. I honestly shiver at this last phrase. I am once again caught in my own bewilderment at the transitory nature of time, at the ephemerality of the moment that my consciousness registers as 'the present'. Very weird.

Moving on, here is a small collection of random things. I am exercising my arbitrary will to send them out into the interweb, into space, like sound waves or electromagnetic pulses, to be picked up or not by other sentient beings. Some of these were originally written in French, so an attempt at translation was made on my part, though not fully to my satisfaction. Tant pis.

1. It is raining.
2. We are in Boudha - effectuated three quoras around the immense Boudhanath Stupa, which is still in the course of reconstruction. I am currently sitting outside a little café, on the steps, and I am fairly confident that someone will soon approach me to shoo me away; I am probably dissuading potential customers from entering. There are people walking around, the Buddhist mantra of "Ohm mani padme hun" playing on repeat in one of the tourist shops, monks shuffling in their red and yellow garments, and old man clad in orange standing barefoot among a sea of pigeons, lively old women with cloth braided into their hair cleaning the grime off of the prayer wheels. There are brightly coloured payer flags flapping in the breeze, lining the scaffolding which crawls up the full white dome of the stupa. It is sunny. Many Chinese tourists. Just many tourists in general. It is hot today. This would be a nice spot in the early morning. Chinese tourist taking a photo of me - I probably seem to be a typical hippie foreigner here to lose herself in drugs and mysticism. There is a general redolence of fried food and feces, which is not particularly pleasant, but not strong enough to be markedly unpleasant. An old Tibetan man approaches me, smiles rubbing his prayer beads; 'Namaste'. What a full smile. I need to go now.
3. On trek, we walked though a beautiful forest, densely populated with fragrant purple flowers. There was moss everywhere and the trees were gnarled and dripping with lichens. I love moss and lichens. An overwhelming feeling of elation arises. We continue through a beautiful section full of rhododendrons, the flowers floating tufts of red on green leaves and pale red-brown trunks.
4. I hear chickens squawking all over the farm, goats rustling among the leaves that they are meant to be eating, pigeons flittering and cooing about, a strange scratching noise. Ah livestock. Isabelle and I have come to a mutual agreement that the chickens look like they are wearing pants. The rooster is the national animal of France. I wonder if anyone has ever observed a chicken, and then after a while declared: 'my, what a magnificent, regal, noble creature'. To anyone who has, I politely and humbly offer my dissent. Cows, on the other hand are quite nice, apart from the glowing aura of methane that envelops them constantly (I have a sensitive nose, which is simultaneously my strength and the root of my demise). They have a certain serenity and candor about them which I quite respect. I milked a cow the other day. It is my conclusion that cows are best admired from a safe distance.
5. Also on trek. We walk through a high elevation mountain landscape, with little vegetation save the minuscule pink flowers living close to the ground, and brown, scraggly grass. There is heavy fog sweeping over the mountainside, obstructing our view. It is otherworldly and beautiful. Chilling.
6. My favourite form of water is clouds. A close second was ocean. Deserts are like sand oceans. I love their fluidity, their state of constant flux, their movement.
7. Monastery musings: (directly copied from my journal). FAITH. Is it belief? Is it continuous and unquestioning acceptance of a certain way of thinking, of cultivating knowledge, like faith in the scientific method, or faith in tools of knowledge such as deductive and inductive reasoning? It is adherence to the method that most closely allows us to catch approximate notions of truth in the reality in which we choose to exist. Questions regarding the self and the legitimacy of physical reality now arise. It is easy to accept that things exist on different levels without having to make the difficult decision to entertain them in the same dimensions and give them the same weight. Am I truly open-minded, or am I restricted by my own adherence to my primary plane or existence? The question of doubt will always surface in my contemplations. Doubt is an essential to humanity because it is the key to change, it delivers us from blind acceptance and is an elevated expression of our minds.
8. I used to sit on my roof a lot during my Kathmandu homestay. There are a few times that I distinctly remember; some bathed in a soft light from the full moon, some in the early morning, watching the rising of the sun, a big red giant urging the daily ritual to begin, for the cycle to recommence, some in the haziness of the afternoon...
9. Namaste, Batti chhaina, daal bhat khanu aunus, malaai biraloo manpar chha. Meetho chha, ramro, garmi chha, ukusmukus, tapaai laai maddat garnu sacchu, pugyo, dhanyabaad
10. L'aube et le crépuscule, l'existence cyclique.
11. There was a rainstorm the other night; there was lightening and thunder and hail and I sat on the porch with my aamaa and smiled.
12. Trek: Idyllic scenery. River. I can see why humans are so obsessed with nature, why it has inspired so much poetry, and bred such strong monopolizing urges. It is the ideal, the paradisiac.
13. Note 8 continued - Sitting on roof. Panoramic view of Kathmandu. Cow mooing loudly and obtrusively. Blossoming tree, wind in the prayer flags. Tearful happiness and heightened awareness of my place in the world at this moment. Drums beating rhythmically - puja at Kapan monastery. A raindrop on my face. Small vegetable garden below. Woman yelling wrathfully at her cow. I sit facing the city, legs dangling over the rooftops of the world. Kathmandu. Calf almost fell down the hill! He is scared and alone. Tied to a tree. I have a sudden urge to free him. Woman untying the rope now. In the haze of pollution and gradually increasing darkness, the houses look like a sea of rubble. I want to jump off and swim through it, grating myself against its rough edges. Prayer flags still billowing in the dusty, parasitic wind. I inhale swiftly and deeply. My socks are not dry yet. I am getting cold. (Journal entry entitled "25 Février 2016").
14. I went to Pashupatinath with Ben one day. We walked around, admired the trees and the Shiva shrines. We sat along the left bank of the Bagmati, and watched the beginnings of a cremation. There was a dead man, lain out, with his toes in the river. Women were lined up, pouring water over him, a cleansing ritual. One woman in green began to wail, and I watched, moved, as she collapsed onto the ground, so shaken by this death that she was unable to remain standing. Her grief was momentous to me, huge in its dignity and sincerity, and I observed her for a long time.
15. We have delicious achar for breakfast every day. Kenna can attest. Yesterday morning, Suri the demonic feline creature who is usually the physical manifestation of malicious energy, climbed into my lap, curled up into a little ball, and slept. She was so at peace, and it made me quite happy.
16. Aitabaar is a good day of the week because I like the way that it sounds. It is sharp and fine, self-sustaining. The bells at St François-Xavier would be going off to punctuate its melodious wind. Buddhabaar is also nice because it has the word 'Buddha' in it. Bihibaar is the best day because Thursday is the best day, though it really does not sound as nice as Aitabaar.
17. I summited Surya peak. I can now say that the highest elevation at which I have urinated is a little under 5140 metres.
18. I wished that I had skipped rocks at Gosaikunda. Skipping rocks is very soothing.
19. I love airplanes and airports. Closure seems to be such a clinical term. But I am in a state of detachment and drifting. I am the metaphorical fluorescent bead of the Bozeman distribution, and I am content. I have marked a progression with an indefinite trajectory. J'assume ma liberté et le baiser de l'arbitraire déposé au seuil de ma vie. Maybe that would sound too sappy in English.

There is much more to be said of course.
My apologies for not having written sooner. My family will probably have expected this.
Maman, Papa, Anaïs (si tu es là), je vous présente mes plus sincères excuses. Mimi aussi. Vous me manquez.

À très très bientôt,
Je vous aime,
Eva.
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Best Notes From The Field, SPRING: Nepal: Himalayan Studies

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Un retour à l’anachronique, à l’arbitraire et à l’inattendu

Eva Hachem,Best Notes From The Field, SPRING: Nepal: Himalayan Studies

Description

I had not yet, until this meaningless moment, posted a field note. Though the idea admittedly tickled my fancy, the urge, the necessity, never clawed at me. There was too much to say, there was nothing to say; nothing really matters anyway – maybe I was just being characteristically lazy. None of that truly bears […]

Posted On

04/27/16

Author

Eva Hachem

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    [post_content] => Namaste!

After a long day of travel from the village, the group has arrive safely at the beautiful Bhaktapur Guest House for transference. Transference is a time to slow down, breathe, and reflect on a semester's worth of learning. We will be working to process our time in Nepal and discussing how this experience can carry forward into our lives at home. More updates soon!

Screen Shot 2016-04-26 at 11.29.25 AM
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SPRING: Nepal: Himalayan Studies, Uncategorized

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Group arrived at transference site

Instructor Team,SPRING: Nepal: Himalayan Studies, Uncategorized

Description

Namaste! After a long day of travel from the village, the group has arrive safely at the beautiful Bhaktapur Guest House for transference. Transference is a time to slow down, breathe, and reflect on a semester’s worth of learning. We will be working to process our time in Nepal and discussing how this experience can carry […]

Posted On

04/26/16

Author

Instructor Team

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    [post_date] => 2016-04-25 12:26:02
    [post_date_gmt] => 2016-04-25 18:26:02
    [post_content] => Namaste Friends and Family,

Many of us in the Dragons community have Nepal in our hearts today. Last year at this time, the devastating 7.8 magnitude Gorkha earthquake hit Nepal. A year later, many people are still working to heal from trauma, loss, and hardship related to the earthquake. Today we are holding the people of Nepal in our thoughts and prayers, and are so grateful for all of the communities in Nepal who continue to welcome our students into their lives and homes.

This update finds the Himalaya semester group learning and thriving during their last week in Nepal. They'll soon be traveling from the village to Bhaktapur for some reflection time on their experiences before students get ready to travel home. It's hard to believe the semester is almost over. Thank you to all those of you at home who continue to support these students in their decision to travel and learn in Nepal.

 
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SPRING: Nepal: Himalayan Studies

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Remembering Gorkha earthquake with thoughts and prayers

Dragons Admin,SPRING: Nepal: Himalayan Studies

Description

Namaste Friends and Family, Many of us in the Dragons community have Nepal in our hearts today. Last year at this time, the devastating 7.8 magnitude Gorkha earthquake hit Nepal. A year later, many people are still working to heal from trauma, loss, and hardship related to the earthquake. Today we are holding the people of Nepal in our […]

Posted On

04/25/16

Author

Dragons Admin

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    [post_date] => 2016-04-22 09:52:00
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    [post_content] => Namaste Friends and Family of the Himalaya Semester!

Here are some photo updates from the village stay. Enjoy!

[caption id="attachment_141702" align="aligncenter" width="941"]Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 9.46.56 AM Shanti, our program assistant, teaching a class on women and gender in Nepal. Students talked about marriage/dowry, education, employment, religion, and culture.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_141698" align="aligncenter" width="942"]Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 9.45.54 AM Students working to build a chicken coop[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_141699" align="aligncenter" width="940"]Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 9.46.08 AM Instructor Jason Shah explaining the process of building a chicken coop[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_141700" align="aligncenter" width="941"]Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 9.46.25 AM Coop building[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_141701" align="aligncenter" width="942"]Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 9.46.39 AM The building process![/caption]
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SPRING: Nepal: Himalayan Studies

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Update from the Village

Instructor Team,SPRING: Nepal: Himalayan Studies

Description

Namaste Friends and Family of the Himalaya Semester! Here are some photo updates from the village stay. Enjoy!

Posted On

04/22/16

Author

Instructor Team

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    [post_date] => 2016-04-22 09:34:41
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    [post_content] => Greetings travelers!

As we await the full moon here, I learned from my yoga teacher today about Vesak. It is amazing to think of you all being in Nepal for such a special celebration. The pictures we found of Boudha (yay Google Earth) are extremely cool, those stupas are stupendous (ha!) We can smell the incense from here. Duncan: please tell me you packed some to bring home?!

Namaste to all of you
    [post_title] => Vesak
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SPRING: Nepal: Himalayan Studies, Uncategorized

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Vesak

Roddy Cole,SPRING: Nepal: Himalayan Studies, Uncategorized

Description

Greetings travelers! As we await the full moon here, I learned from my yoga teacher today about Vesak. It is amazing to think of you all being in Nepal for such a special celebration. The pictures we found of Boudha (yay Google Earth) are extremely cool, those stupas are stupendous (ha!) We can smell the […]

Posted On

04/22/16

Author

Roddy Cole

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    [post_date] => 2016-04-21 16:24:44
    [post_date_gmt] => 2016-04-21 22:24:44
    [post_content] => Dear Himalaya Semester Students & Families,

It is hard to believe that 3 months have passed since embarking on this incredible adventure! It won’t be long and students will be boarding their planes back home. We are sure you are anxiously awaiting their arrival!

Below is a reminder of the return group flight information for eagerly awaiting families:

April 30th, 2016

Etihad Airways #293

Depart: Kathmandu (KTM) 8:45 pm

Arrive: Abu Dhabi (AUH) 1:40 am (May 1st)

*Flight stops in Lucknow India for 50 minutes before continuing on to Abu Dhabi.

May 1st, 2016

Etihad Airways #103

Depart: Abu Dhabi (AUH) 3:20 am

Arrive: New York (JFK) 9:35 am

We will have a Dragons Administrator on call for the duration of the travel day.   Starting on Saturday, April 30th, should you need any assistance after regular office hours, please call our “on-call” number at 303-921-6078.

We wish all students a great trip home!

Sincerely,

Boulder Admin
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SPRING: Nepal: Himalayan Studies

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Return Flight Information

Anne Koenning,SPRING: Nepal: Himalayan Studies

Description

Dear Himalaya Semester Students & Families, It is hard to believe that 3 months have passed since embarking on this incredible adventure! It won’t be long and students will be boarding their planes back home. We are sure you are anxiously awaiting their arrival! Below is a reminder of the return group flight information for […]

Posted On

04/21/16

Author

Anne Koenning

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    [post_date] => 2016-04-19 11:16:20
    [post_date_gmt] => 2016-04-19 17:16:20
    [post_content] => Dear Friends and Family,

On April 15th, our group reunited in Boudha, a suburb of Kathmandu centered around a Buddhist. That first evening the whole group circumambulated together around the large stupa. Although on the surface the students' experiences seemed different (students who went on trek and those who stayed at the ashram), as we walked and talked many of the same lessons emerged. How to take care of each other, the importance of hard work, how to serve selflessly, how to support a community. Together again, we headed off to stay in a village for 9 days, where we hope to enjoy each other's company and continue to build on these lessons. We said goodbye to Amrit in Kathmandu, and Jason is now back with the group!

Students are already settling into their homestays: milking cows, working with their families, chopping vegetables. We are all enjoying the delicious food and peaceful pace of village life. We have asked the students to write about their experiences in the village to share with  you. Stay tuned!

Rebecca, Ing-Marie, and Jason
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SPRING: Nepal: Himalayan Studies

View post

Update from the Village

Instructor Team,SPRING: Nepal: Himalayan Studies

Description

Dear Friends and Family, On April 15th, our group reunited in Boudha, a suburb of Kathmandu centered around a Buddhist. That first evening the whole group circumambulated together around the large stupa. Although on the surface the students’ experiences seemed different (students who went on trek and those who stayed at the ashram), as we walked […]

Posted On

04/19/16

Author

Instructor Team

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