Nepal

Traditions of the Himalayas

A 4-week Summer Abroad Program

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Duration
30 Days
Description

Discover the mysticism of the Himalayas: trek into remote mountain communities, participate in a meditation retreat, and witness post-Earthquake reconstruction efforts.

Dates

Jun 28 - Jul 28, 2017


Suggested Ages

16-18

Number of Participants

12


Availability

closed

Begins In

4 Weeks

Land Cost

$6,875


Estimated Flight Cost

$2,070

Pokhara

Kathmandu

Patan

Program Overview

First ascents, storied trade routes, snow-hushed mornings.


Since ancient times, travelers, monks, merchants, poets, artists, and warriors have passed through Kathmandu during their journeys across the great Himalayan range. Some never left, and today, Newaris, Sherpas, Gurungs, Tamangs, Magars, Thar, Limbus, and ethnic Tibetans all peacefully co-exist in the peaks and valleys of this dynamic country. Nepal’s rich cultural diversity provides a strong foundation for a larger conversation about the underpinnings of identity, community, and spirituality.

Our journey begins in the hilltop Newari trading village of Bandipur. After a short orientation, we venture into the Himalayan foothills, where we settle in for home-stays with a community of subsistence farmers in Ale Gau. Local leaders teach us about the values and challenges of learning service within their cultural context. We experience what it means to give and to receive, emphasizing in particular the importance of exchange.

Saying good-bye to our gracious hosts, we head to a Buddhist…

Since ancient times, travelers, monks, merchants, poets, artists, and warriors have passed through Kathmandu during their journeys across the great Himalayan range. Some never left, and today, Newaris, Sherpas, Gurungs, Tamangs, Magars, Thar, Limbus, and ethnic Tibetans all peacefully co-exist in the peaks and valleys of this dynamic country. Nepal’s rich cultural diversity provides a strong foundation for a larger conversation about the underpinnings of identity, community, and spirituality.

Our journey begins in the hilltop Newari trading village of Bandipur. After a short orientation, we venture into the Himalayan foothills, where we settle in for home-stays with a community of subsistence farmers in Ale Gau. Local leaders teach us about the values and challenges of learning service within their cultural context. We experience what it means to give and to receive, emphasizing in particular the importance of exchange.

Saying good-bye to our gracious hosts, we head to a Buddhist meditation retreat in Pharping, where we learn about the foundations of Buddhist philosophy and participate in a spiritual practice that is both personal and deeply introspective. Back in Kathmandu, students begin independent study projects (ISPs), delving deeper into Ayurvedic medicine, Thangka painting, sarangi lessons, or a topic of their choosing. Local scholars come to our Program House to share their insights on Nepal’s history, politics and culture; they also offer a unique perspective on the socio-political complexities facing a newly-Democratic Nepal, and about the challenges that the 2015 earthquake posed to Nepali society.

This course is both an outer and inner journey, focused on forming connections with the local community and within oneself.

Read More Read Less Sample Itinerary

Program Components

3/5
Development Studies

Examine environmental issues, tourism, the preservation of traditional culture, concepts of ethnicity, land management, education, gender issues and healthcare.

5/5
Independent Study Project

Students choose a topic of interest and dive into a relationship with a mentor. Some options include music, dance, stone carving, jewelry making, bronze casting, religious traditions, traditional cooking, Tibetan and Ayurveda (ancient Indian) Medicine.

5/5
Comparative Religion

Delve into a broad introduction to the philosophy and spiritual practices of Tibetan Buddhism and Hinduism. This will include an investigation of yoga, meditation, iconography and symbolism.

5/5
Focus Of Inquiry

Look at ethnic and cultural diversity, religious traditions, artistic traditions, and current development issues.

3/5
Rugged Travel

Travel by bus and van through mountainous terrain with our time split between urban and rural areas.

4/5
Home Stay

15 + days of home-stays with both rural and urban families

2/5
Learning Service

Options for group and individual volunteer work during the rural home-stay and independent study projects. Approximately 20 hours of service credit earned.

2/5
Trekking

Dependent on weather conditions, there is an optional 3-5 day hike with extremely rugged conditions in the middle hills. During summer months the southern slope of the Himalayas is blanketed in monsoon rains, making trekking more challenging.

2/5
Language Study

Study basic Nepali through formal instruction and local immersion. Instructors will provide group language classes 3-4 mornings a week; extended home-stays and independent study projects offer students additional opportunities to practice new vocabulary and build confidence in their linguistic fluency.

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