Nepal Semester

Himalayan Studies

A 3-Month Gap Year Program

Enroll
Duration
84 Days
Description

Experience the mysticism of the Himalayas: trek on the roof of the world, study traditional arts with local masters. Live in a farming village and sit for a Buddhist meditation retreat.

Spring Dates

Feb 7 - May 1, 2020


Spring Availability

open

Fall Dates

Sep 15 - Dec 6, 2019


Fall Availability

three spaces

Number of Participants

12


Suggested Ages

17-22

Spring Begins In

37 Weeks

Fall Begins In

17 Weeks

Land Cost

$15,960


Estimated Flight Cost

$1,975

Kathmandu

Langtang

Annapurna Conservation Area

Chokati

Program Overview

The Himalayas. Since time immemorial, these colossal peaks with their vast web of rugged, isolated valleys and distinct ethnic groups have drawn only the most intrepid travelers from distant lands.


Through rural and urban homestays, a retreat in a Buddhist monastery, high mountain trekking, service learning, and independent study, Dragons Himalaya students explore this remarkable region and its people, encountering ancient spiritual traditions with deep roots in a mystical land.

Our Himalaya Semester is based in the Kathmandu Valley, an ancient crossroads and melting pot of Himalayan peoples. While living with host families and studying Nepali language, students meet with local scholars and activists and learn about Nepal’s history, politics and culture while pursuing a wide range of independent study and learning service projects.

The study of spiritual traditions is a central component of our Himalaya semester, introducing students to a range of concepts in Buddhism, Hinduism and Shamanism. From academic discourse to hands on study, students find areas of personal interest to explore in depth during our time in Kathmandu. Bronze casting, jewelry making, stone carving, thangka…

Through rural and urban homestays, a retreat in a Buddhist monastery, high mountain trekking, service learning, and independent study, Dragons Himalaya students explore this remarkable region and its people, encountering ancient spiritual traditions with deep roots in a mystical land.

Our Himalaya Semester is based in the Kathmandu Valley, an ancient crossroads and melting pot of Himalayan peoples. While living with host families and studying Nepali language, students meet with local scholars and activists and learn about Nepal’s history, politics and culture while pursuing a wide range of independent study and learning service projects.

The study of spiritual traditions is a central component of our Himalaya semester, introducing students to a range of concepts in Buddhism, Hinduism and Shamanism. From academic discourse to hands on study, students find areas of personal interest to explore in depth during our time in Kathmandu. Bronze casting, jewelry making, stone carving, thangka (Buddhist iconography) painting, and music are just a few of the apprenticeship opportunities available. Students interested in traditional medicine can work with a Tibetan doctor or an Ayurvedic practitioner.  Students critically reflect on their place in the world through exploring concepts of service and development, visiting grassroots projects, and participating in local farming activities.

From Kathmandu we hike into the foothills of the Himalaya to explore rural Nepali village life. We settle into a calmer pace of agrarian life, living without electricity and learning about subsistence living. We also venture high into the Himalayas for an unforgettable trek amid some of the world’s tallest mountains. Hiking at high elevations, we enjoy several weeks of active exploration through one of the most ruggedly beautiful and dramatic areas on earth.

Read More Read Less Sample Itinerary

For-Credit Course Option

In order to deepen your experience abroad, you may elect to enroll in a college-level language course while participating on the Nepal Gap semester program. Those who enroll in an optional course will be invoiced additional fees on top of the land cost, as noted below. 

For-Credit Course Fees (1 course)                        Type
$800 Transcript Fee 
$400 For-Credit Academic Fee
$1,200 TOTAL COST 

 

Students who take a course for-credit will receive a transcript from Dragons School of Record after successful completion of the program. To read more about the for-credit courses visit our FAQ Page.

Academics

The optional for-credit language course is worth 4 semester credits and is offered at a variety of levels. Included below are course descriptions for the language courses available:

Nepali Language Study Level I, II & III (NPL 150/250/350; 4 credits)

  • NPL: 150 Nepali I
    (Nepali Language 150; 4 credits) This course introduces students to the Nepali language and is designed for students with no or minimal previous background in spoken or written Nepali. Students in this course focus on learning essential vocabulary, practicing pronunciation, and understanding simple grammatical structures. This knowledge prepares students to effectively communicate in Nepali on a limited range of topics related to everyday situations. Students practice listening and speaking in real-life situations, learn to read and write Nepali script (Devanagari script), and examine how culture and language interact in Nepal. In-class activities and course assignments aim to assist students as they develop the oral proficiency and confidence necessary to initiate simple conversations. Out-of-classroom experiences such a field trips and guided interactions with native speakers supplement formal classroom instruction and provide ample opportunities for practical engagement. In addition, language skills gained in this course support students to deepen participation in other program and academic activities such as homestays and the Independent Study Project.
  • NPL: 250 Nepali II 
    (Nepali Language 250; 4 credits) This course introduces students to more challenging linguistic Nepali language material in order to establish a solid foundation for the use of the language. Students in this course focus on building on past language exposure to improve speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills. Students expand their oral expression abilities by increasing vocabulary, improving understanding of grammar concepts, strengthening pronunciation abilities, focusing on listening comprehension, and building on previously studied Nepali script (Devanagari script). This course introduces new language concepts to allow students to speak about topics pertaining to their daily lives and also focuses on deepening knowledge of Nepali culture and customs. By the end of the semester, students are expected to be able to engage in basic daily conversations, read simple texts, and write for daily needs. In-class activities and course assignments aim to assist students as they develop the ability to appropriately use language and improve proficiency. Out-of-classroom experiences such a field trips and guided interactions with native speakers supplement formal classroom instruction and provide ample opportunities for practical engagement. In addition, language skills gained in this course support students to deepen participation in other program and academic activities such as homestays and the Independent Study Project.
  • NPL: 350 Nepali III 
    (Nepali Language 350; 4 credits) This course is designed to develop advanced skills in the Nepali language and is intended for students with extensive prior exposure to the language. This course focuses on consolidating linguistic knowledge and development of speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills. Students in this course will develop advanced comprehension of and competence in using spoken Nepali in a wide-variety of experiences. Grammatical functions will be reviewed and incorporated as they relate to particular communication needs. A mix of communicative and interactive methods are used to develop advanced proficiency and materials are drawn from a variety of media sources and texts. In addition, students develop their understanding of the relationship between the Nepali language and culture. By the end of the semester, students are expected to be able to express sophisticated and nuanced ideas both orally and in writing.  Out-of-classroom experiences such a field trips and guided interactions with native speakers supplement formal classroom instruction and provide ample opportunities for practical engagement. In addition, language skills gained in this course support students to deepen participation in other program and academic activities such as homestays and the Independent Study Project.

In addition, you may petition to take an additional for-credit course in order to earn a total of 8 semester credits. Other for-credit courses which may be available upon petition, include Regional Seminar, Independent Study Project (ISP): Methods and Application, or Intercultural Development and Global Citizenship. Contact us with questions about for-credit course options, to learn about registration deadlines, or for copies of sample syllabi.

Program Components

5/5
Comparative Religion

Spend a week at a Tibetan monastery to learn about Buddhism and inquire deeply into the daily practice of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Shamanism.

4/5
Development Studies

Examine issues of health and education, human rights, environment and land use, globalization and poverty.

4/5
Focus Of Inquiry

Explore topics of sacred spaces and spirituality, religious practices, examination of development, current events, language and cultural anthropology. See college accredited curriculum for details.

5/5
Homestay

Spend 4 weeks in urban homestays in Kathmandu or Patan and 1-2 weeks in a homestay in a rural Himalayan village.

5/5
Independent Study Project (ISP)

Mentor with local experts in topics such as stone carving and mask making, Nepali cuisine, dance and vocals, women’s issues, comparative religion, ayurvedic medicine, and jewelry making.

4/5
Language Study

Learn and practice Nepali language through intensive daily classes and language immersion throughout.

2/5
Learning Service

Volunteer to assist village home-stays with farm work and the harvest and learn more about service through visits to NGOs and schools.

4/5
Rugged Travel

Split time between urban settings and the rugged mountain landscapes, traveling by bus, tempo, and on foot.

5/5
Trekking

Embark on a challenging 2-week trek through rugged parts of the Himalayas in remote wilderness areas.