Sikkim

Himalayan Studies

A 4-week Summer Abroad Program

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Duration
30 Days
Description

Explore the rich traditions of the Himalayas through a study of comparative religion, artisan apprenticeships and current environmental challenges. Engage with local culture through home-stays and mentorships.

Dates

Jun 28 - Jul 28, 2018


Suggested Ages

15-17

Number of Participants

12


Availability

open

Begins In

41 Weeks

Land Cost

$7,265


Estimated Flight Cost

$2,070

Kanchenjunga

Langtang

Kathmandu

Delhi

Leh

Gangtok

Darjeeling

Program Overview

Nestled deep in the eastern end of the great Himalayan mountain range,


Sikkim is a restricted Indian province that sits snugly between Nepal and Bhutan. Referred to as the last “Shangri-La,” this ancient kingdom was the final state to become part of India in 1975 and only in the 1980’s did it open to tourism. The tension between modern influences and traditional values is strikingly apparent in Sikkim, as various ethnic groups, including Bhutias, Tibetans, Indians, Gurkhas, Sherpas, Lepchas, and Magars, work to safeguard their heritage amidst the draw of globalization. Dragons students engage with local communities and explore ancient Buddhist and Hindu temples, gaining insight into the age-old wisdom that has held these Himalayan tribes together for centuries.

Our course begins in Darjeeling, a hill station – renowned for its fine tea – that serves as an introduction to the cultures and traditions of the region. In Kalimpong, we live with home-stay families and work with local ISP mentors, taking up apprenticeships with artists, musicians, healers,…

Sikkim is a restricted Indian province that sits snugly between Nepal and Bhutan. Referred to as the last “Shangri-La,” this ancient kingdom was the final state to become part of India in 1975 and only in the 1980’s did it open to tourism. The tension between modern influences and traditional values is strikingly apparent in Sikkim, as various ethnic groups, including Bhutias, Tibetans, Indians, Gurkhas, Sherpas, Lepchas, and Magars, work to safeguard their heritage amidst the draw of globalization. Dragons students engage with local communities and explore ancient Buddhist and Hindu temples, gaining insight into the age-old wisdom that has held these Himalayan tribes together for centuries.

Our course begins in Darjeeling, a hill station – renowned for its fine tea – that serves as an introduction to the cultures and traditions of the region. In Kalimpong, we live with home-stay families and work with local ISP mentors, taking up apprenticeships with artists, musicians, healers, cultivators, and practitioners of Hinduism, Buddhism, and local versions of shamanism. We delve more deeply into Buddhism by sitting for a three-day retreat at a local monastery. Heading further into the Himalayas, students witness Sikkim’s incredible biodiversity, trekking through lush forests and looking up at the shadows of Mount Kanchendzonga, the world’s third highest peak. Students who are willing to embrace challenge, grit, and adventure, while asking deeper questions about their own spirituality will be moved and inspired by the diversity of Sikkim’s natural landscape and myriad cultural fabric.

Read More Read Less Sample Itinerary

Program Components

5/5
Comparative Religion

Explore the philosophy and spiritual practices of Tibetan Buddhism and Hinduism through an investigation of yoga, meditation, iconography and symbolism.

5/5
Development Studies

Examine the impact of environmental issues, tourism, ethnicity, land management, education, gender issues and healthcare.

5/5
Focus Of Inquiry

Take a look at ethnic and cultural diversity, religious traditions, and Sikkim’s rich artistic traditions.

3/5
Home Stay

Spend 14 + days in home-stays with both rural and urban families.

5/5
Independent Study Project (ISP)

Choose a topic of interest and dive into a relationship with a mentor in Kalimpong. Options include music, dance, wood carving, jewelry making, bronze casting, religious traditions, traditional cooking, or Tibetan and Ayurveda medicine.

1/5
Language Study

Learn Nepali language through daily classes and language immersion throughout.

2/5
Learning Service

Volunteer on community projects during rural homestay or pursue learning service activities during ISP time.

3/5
Rugged Travel

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

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.

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