Nepal Semester

Himalayan Studies

A 3-Month Gap Year Program

Enroll
Duration
83 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, 2019


Spring Availability

accepting waitlist

Fall Dates

Sep 15 - Dec 6, 2019


Fall Availability

open

Number of Participants

12


Suggested Ages

17-22

Spring Begins In

8 Weeks

Fall Begins In

40 Weeks

Land Cost

$15,495


Estimated Flight Cost

$1,975

Kathmandu

Langtang

Annapurna Conservation Area

Chokati Village

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

Student Profile

if taking Courses for-credit

Students participating on the Nepal Gap semester may choose to take courses for-credit. Those who enroll in these optional courses will be invoiced additional fees on top of the land cost, as noted below. Students who take one or more courses for-credit will receive a transcript from Dragons School of Record after successful completion of the program.

For-Credit Course Fees                         Type
$800 Flat Transcript Fee 
$400 For-Credit Academic Fee (per course)
$1,200 TOTAL COST (1 course)
$1,600 TOTAL COST (2 courses)

 

To read more about the for-credit courses visit our FAQ Page.

Academics

Two college-level courses are available for-credit, although students are not required to take any courses for-credit while participating on the Gap Semester program. Students who do not take courses for-credit will still complete an ISP and participate in language study. Available for-credit courses on the Nepal semester include:

  • Independent Study Project (ISP): Methods and Application (ANTH/ISP 325; 4 credits) 
    (Anthropology 325 / Independent Study Project 325; 4 credits) This course is focused on providing students with a basic understanding of ethnographic research methods and skills, while also giving students the opportunity to develop specialized knowledge in a topic of study. During the first half of the course, a series of thematic seminars focus on research methodologies, the importance of ethics in research, best practices in working in cross-cultural partnerships in the host country, and skills training related to designing a study proposal.  Students develop an understanding of how to refine research question(s), determine appropriate research and learning methods, and address ethical issues related to their projects. During the second half of this course, students use the plan outlined in their approved study proposal to carry out an individualized and in-depth study on a subject of their choice using primary sources. With the support of an academic advisor and/or a local mentor, students select a topic which relates to the program’s scope, design an approach to study this subject, and conduct an individual project.  The chosen topic of independent study may involve either an academic inquiry or the learning of a traditional skill through an apprenticeship. Typical ISP projects include: research on environmental issues facing Kathmandu valley, Tibetan or Ayurvedic medicine, the yogic tradition, or an intensive focus on the arts: jewelry, mask carving, traditional folk dance, sitar, or thanka painting.
  • 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.

    Click on the download button below to view course syllabi.

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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.