China Travel Abroad Program

Ashrams & Artisans For Educators

Our Nepal Educator course itinerary is designed to provide participants an experiential training in global education leadership, from student group facilitation through cross-cultural experiences, to general strategies for curriculum design and pedagogy. We have minimized transitions, appropriating ample time to not only experience place, but also to engage in meta-level conversations and workshops about best practices in global education. Based in the Kathmandu Valley, we move from orientation and framing, to a several-day urban home-stay where we engage local community members and organizations, exploring topics of comparative religion and development. From Kathmandu valley, we depart on a three-day rugged village expedition and community stay. Returning to our entry-point we focus on guided reflection, transference and course wrap up.

Days 1-3 After landing in Kathmandu airport we travel to the medieval city of Bhaktapur, "city of devotees." This is a UNESCO Living World Heritage site and thriving Newari community. In these first few days we orient ourselves to this magical Himalayan country, to ourselves in this new location and to our group of fellow travelers. In addition, we explore the cobblestoned streets, surrounding hillside and nearby shrines as we investigate the cultural and spiritual significance of this sacred landscape. On the busy streets, we begin to observe how the ancient and modern are intertwined and inseparable.
Days 4-7 We relocate to the medieval town of Patan, where ancient temples and stunning courtyards are nestled between winding cobbled paths. Each participant is welcomed into a homestay with a local Newari family. Here we pass our days delving into our key question: How to balance development and the survival of cultural heritage? We explore this through visits to sites of cultural significance, lectures from local experts about Nepal’s ethnic diversity and the challenges for development, and workshops with traditional musicians. Each participant also has the opportunity to undertake an apprenticeship with a master artisan or spiritual practitioner. Stone-carving, thangka-painting, jewelry-making, or traditional medicine are just some of the topics you can explore one-on-one with an expert mentor.
Days 8-10 Saying farewell to our homestay families, we head out of the bustling city for a spiritual retreat at a Buddhist monastery. Nestled in the Himalayan foothills to the east of Kathmandu valley, the monastery is home to a thriving monastic community. We participate in the daily spiritual life, including teachings on buddhist philosophy, meditation, and chanting, as well as exploring the surrounding hillsides and nearby villages.
Days 11-for 12 We finish the course in the Tibetan Buddhist area of Boudha. Centered around an enormous sacred monument, this area is a hub of spiritual activity that draws pilgrims from all over the world. These final days are spent reflecting on what we’ve learned and how we can bring it forward in our future lives.