North India

Identity in Exile

A 6-week Summer Abroad Program

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Duration
41 Days
Description

Examine the roots of Tibetan identity: join refugee communities for a learning service project, discuss the impacts of climate change in the Himalayas, and trek into the sacred Changtang Plateau.

Dates

Jun 28 - Aug 8, 2018


Suggested Ages

17-20

Number of Participants

12


Availability

open

Begins In

32 Weeks

Land Cost

$8,080


Estimated Flight Cost

$2,070

Agra

Delhi

Manali

Leh

Dharamsala

Program Overview

Years ago, the Dalai Lama escaped political violence in Tibet and fled to Dharamsala.


Thousands of religious practitioners traced their leader’s path, seeking refuge in India, Nepal, and Bhutan. Dharamsala, nestled along the western edge of India’s Himachal Pradesh, was eventually established as the seat of His Holiness’ exiled government. To this day, it is a place where the traditions of Tibetan language, traditional medicine, art, and spirituality are studied, preserved, and upheld. It is a place that inspires the world community with its stories of struggle and perseverance, and with its hopeful and compassionate identity.

Our exploration of Tibetan culture begins in Ladakh, North India, often known as “Little Tibet”. We immerse ourselves in the local culture by engaging in a learning service project and sitting before Buddhist philosophers, climate-scientists, and scholars who present on their traditions, as well as the shifting cultural, ecological, and economic patterns within the region.

Leaving the oasis of Ladakh, we venture to the remote Changthang…

Thousands of religious practitioners traced their leader’s path, seeking refuge in India, Nepal, and Bhutan. Dharamsala, nestled along the western edge of India’s Himachal Pradesh, was eventually established as the seat of His Holiness’ exiled government. To this day, it is a place where the traditions of Tibetan language, traditional medicine, art, and spirituality are studied, preserved, and upheld. It is a place that inspires the world community with its stories of struggle and perseverance, and with its hopeful and compassionate identity.

Our exploration of Tibetan culture begins in Ladakh, North India, often known as “Little Tibet”. We immerse ourselves in the local culture by engaging in a learning service project and sitting before Buddhist philosophers, climate-scientists, and scholars who present on their traditions, as well as the shifting cultural, ecological, and economic patterns within the region.

Leaving the oasis of Ladakh, we venture to the remote Changthang Plateau, a land of herders and nomads and the symbolic end of many Tibetans’ safe pilgrimage east. At the alpine reserve of Lake Tso Moriri, we visit herding encampments, volunteer with an ecological preservation project, and prepare for a challenging 9-day trek into Himachal Pradesh.

Eventually, we return to Dharamsala to live with families of Tibetan refugees, volunteer with Gu Chu Sum’s ex-political prisoner’s organization, and attend classes at the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts. At course-end, we consider everything we’ve learned about identity and political justice, always remembering the heart and character of the Tibetan people.

Read More Read Less Sample Itinerary

Program Components

5/5
Comparative Religion

Extensive discourse on both Hinduism and Tibetan Buddhism and the role that religion plays in Indian culture, frequent meditation and yoga practice. Broad introduction in Sikhism and Islam.

5/5
Development Studies

Look at resource management, creative responses to climate change, human rights, political economics, cultural preservation, democracy and communal conflict in India.

5/5
Focus Of Inquiry

Indian/Tibetan comparative religion, minority and resettlement issues, climate change and environmental issues, political and cultural history of India.

2/5
Home Stay

A 6 day homestay with Tibetan refugee families in Dharamsala, a 5 day homestay in a remote Ladakhi village.

2/5
Independent Study Project (ISP)

Work with instructors and group mates to develop a focus on a particular subject that interests you, supported by guest speakers and frequent discussions. Past subjects have included: Hinduism, Education in India, Yoga, Environmental Issues, Hindi language, Minority Issues.

2/5
Language Study

Introduction to Hindi and Ladakhi languages, learn a few Tibetan phrases.

3/5
Learning Service

Help Buddhist monks and nuns in Dharamsala practice their English conversations skills at LHA, a Tibetan right organization. Work with environmental educators in Ladakh with the option to visit local schools.

3/5
Rugged Travel

Travel by train, jeep, and foot over rough, high-altitude terrain.

3/5
Trekking

A 6 day high altitude village trek in the awe-inspiring Ladakh Trans-Himalaya.

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