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, 2017


Suggested Ages

17-20

Number of Participants

12


Availability

closed

Begins In

4 Weeks

Land Cost

$7,845


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 Indo-Tibetan Buddhism and the role that religion plays in Tibetan and Ladakhi culture, daily meditation and yoga practice, 5-day meditation retreat at a Ladakhi monastery, and a broad introduction to Hinduism 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

Political and cultural history, healing, artistic, literary, and musical traditions of Tibetans; resettlement issues, environmental and economic issues of mountain dwellers, comparative religion and philosophy.

2/5
Home Stay

10 day home-stay with Tibetan Refugee families in Dharamsala, 5 day home-stay in a remote Ladakhi village at over 13,000 ft.

3/5
Independent Study Project (ISP)

6-day internship with a grassroots aid organization in Dharamsala.

2/5
Language Study

Introduction to both the Tibetan and Ladakhi languages.

3/5
Learning Service

Opportunities to volunteer with and learn from organizations in Dharamsala that support Tibetan refugees, and working with local students in Leh at SECMOL.

3/5
Rugged Travel

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

3/5
Trekking

Rigorous 7-day high altitude trek in Ladakh, 2-day trek in the Dhauladhar Range, Himachal Pradesh.

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