The Boudhanath Stupa in Kathmandu. Photo by Catherine Von Holt, Nepal Semester.

Study Abroad Nepal

Passages and Peaks of the Himalaya

A 15-Week College Study Abroad Program

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Duration
106 Days
Description

In the shadow of the Himalayas, explore the intersection of rich cultural heritage and deeply embedded religious traditions with complex themes of urbanization, economic development, and nation building.

Spring Dates

Jan 24 - May 9, 2020


Spring Availability

open

Fall Dates

Aug 29 - Dec 12, 2019


Fall Availability

open

Number of Participants

12


Suggested Ages

College students

Spring Begins In

36 Weeks

Fall Begins In

15 Weeks

Land Cost

$16,400


Patan

POKHARA

Chitwan

Program Overview

Have the diverse cultures and dramatic landscapes of Nepal write the next chapter in your college education.


Over time Nepal has drawn the most intrepid of travelers, mountaineers, anthropologists, linguists, and spiritual aspirants.  The Kathmandu Valley was once only accessible by those brave enough to cross the jungles in the south or the snowy passes of the Himalaya. In a land of deep traditions, this study abroad program explores the diversity of Nepal while also delving into themes of social justice, development, and leadership in an intercultural context. Academic courses, as well as program travel experiences, provide depth and breadth to this program.

The backdrop for this program in Nepal is the medieval town of Patan, one of the three original kingdoms of the Kathmandu Valley. Our time in this community of cobble-stoned streets and brightly adorned shops is characterized by homestays, intensive Nepali language instruction, and exposure to local scholars.

Beyond the urban, our journey takes us to the surrounding hills where we explore the regional topics and traditions of a rural…

Over time Nepal has drawn the most intrepid of travelers, mountaineers, anthropologists, linguists, and spiritual aspirants.  The Kathmandu Valley was once only accessible by those brave enough to cross the jungles in the south or the snowy passes of the Himalaya. In a land of deep traditions, this study abroad program explores the diversity of Nepal while also delving into themes of social justice, development, and leadership in an intercultural context. Academic courses, as well as program travel experiences, provide depth and breadth to this program.

The backdrop for this program in Nepal is the medieval town of Patan, one of the three original kingdoms of the Kathmandu Valley. Our time in this community of cobble-stoned streets and brightly adorned shops is characterized by homestays, intensive Nepali language instruction, and exposure to local scholars.

Beyond the urban, our journey takes us to the surrounding hills where we explore the regional topics and traditions of a rural community nestled in the shade of the Annapurna Mountains. As we settle into the slower pace of agrarian life, students work the land with local farmers and engage in conversations focused on development, sustainability and religious belief, while witnessing the impact of modernization on a traditional village. While camped below snow-capped peaks, students continue to explore the indigenous cultures that inhabit these extreme environs, guided by new academic frameworks and reflective tools received during a visit to a Buddhist meditation and education center. Other excursions bring us through the terraced fields, dense jungles, and rhododendron forests of the central belt of Nepal, to the high hills and snowy passes of the Himalayas, and to the bio-diverse lowlands of the country. During this time we engage deeply with regional studies and development of our independent topics of investigation and research.

Study abroad students in Nepal engage deeply with the people and communities they live with and travel through. All along the way, our integrated academic curriculum guides students as they learn about pressing local issues, develop skills in leadership and cultural competency, and become proficient in spoken and written Nepali.

Read More Read Less Sample Itinerary

Eligibility

Students who participate on a Dragons Study Abroad Program come from all different backgrounds, universities/colleges, and areas of interest. Eligible participants should have completed at least one semester of post-secondary study, be 18 years or older, have a minimum GPA of 2.5 (on a 4.0 scale), and be interested in taking part in an experiential semester abroad.  For more information please see our Frequently Asked Questions.


Costs

Tuition and Fees

Type                        Tuition/Fee
Tuition $12,800
Room & Board                   $3,600
TOTAL $16,400
Tuition and Fees Include:

  • 12-16 credits and other educational costs
  • All program-organized travel and excursions
  • Pre-departure preparation and in-country orientation
  • All accommodations and meals (excluding personal travel)
  • Supplementary lectures and special events

Note: Tuition and fees are based on current circumstances and are subject to change.

Personal Expenses (Estimated)

Expenses that are not accounted for in tuition and fees may include flight costs, personal local transportation, immunizations, academic books and supplies (e.g. for ISP), some meals, visa, ISOS evacuation insurance, medical insurance and expenses, and other personal expenses. Included below are some estimated personal expenses. Some expenses are discretionary and vary based on individual student preferences.

Personal Expense       Type
$800 Transcript Fee (School of Record Transcript)*
$465 ISOS Evacuation Insurance*
$50/month Medical Insurance*
$75 Academic Books and Supplies (Varies)
$1,300 Flight Cost (Varies)
$750 Personal Expenses (Varies)

*These expenses will be included on your Program Invoice and are not optional.

Scholarships

Dragons is committed to making College Study Abroad programs financially accessible through the offering of scholarships. For more information on scholarships, please visit our Scholarships page.


Faculty & Instructors

College Study Abroad Programs are staffed by both instructors and faculty. All share one similar quality: the desire to provide students with the most complete and exceptional educational experience possible.

Instructors are hired for their in-depth knowledge of a country’s customs and traditions. We strive to have a 4 to 1 student to instructor ratio. As a result, no other study abroad program approaches the level of personal attention and mentorship available on a Dragons program. Our instructors challenge students academically and physically, draw them into an unsurpassed community of curious peers, and carefully guide participants through experiences that enliven and inform academic pursuits.

College Study Abroad Programs are also staffed with faculty who teach for-credit college courses. These faculty are either Dragons instructors who are present throughout the term or a visiting faculty member who teaches intensive courses. Dragons faculty possess a rich blend of academic training, instructional experience, and field-based skills. Most of our faculty possess a PhD, or in some cases a MA combined with extensive experience – both practical and instructional. In addition to faculty, we also work with local experts such as experienced language teachers, Independent Study Project mentors, and local guest lecturers.

Academics

On this College Study Abroad program in Nepal, students have the opportunity to enroll in 12-16 semester credits. This program offers four college-level courses (4 credits each). In addition to work done in the classroom, Dragons College Study Abroad semesters are designed to provide students with the experiential opportunities to develop language competence, regional knowledge, intercultural leadership abilities, and research skills.Naropa University Logo

Dragons has partnered with Naropa University to offer courses for credit which focus on building important skills, fostering a concern for global issues, expanding self-awareness and gaining an understanding of pertinent issues in each program area. Our approach is both experiential and conventional, using local resources, expert guest lecturers, excursions, pertinent readings, multi-media, and immersion to provide an intimate, well-rounded and powerful learning experience.

Final academic offerings will be announced to accepted students during the pre-departure process. Possible course options include:

  • Regional Seminar – Diversity in the Himalayas (ASIA/GLOS 330; 4 credits) 
    (Asian Studies 330 / Global Studies 330; 4 credits) This course explores the myriad communities of people and religious traditions that constitute Nepal and the surrounding Tibeto-Himalayan region, one of the most ethnically diverse of the world. Students begin their study in this course through an overview of the country’s geographic, historical, cultural, social, and political background. Using lectures, readings, and discussion, this course surveys social issues and vulnerable populations in Nepal related to development, environment, agriculture, public health, education, disaster recovery, human rights, religion, caste, ethnicity, gender, and others. Students also receive an extensive introduction to Hinduism and to Mahayana Buddhism, in particular to the Tibeto-Himalayan tradition. Opportunities are provided for students to engage local experts in discussion through guest lecturers and field trips. In addition, program travels in Nepal take students to communities which are engaged in addressing these issues, providing experiential learning opportunities.
  • Intercultural Communication (COMM 301; 4 credits) 
    (Communications 301; 4 credits) This course is designed to provide study abroad students with an in-depth understanding of essential intercultural communication theories as well as the key skills needed to apply theories in interactions with host country nationals. Throughout the course, students learn relevant concepts and terminology in order to develop skills to interpret and analyze their intercultural interactions. The first half of the course focuses on positivistic and interpretive frameworks of intercultural communication as well as self-reflexivity. The second half of the course focuses on critical intercultural communication scholarship and applications, challenging the student to question default thinking patterns and recognize nuances of human interaction. Course assignments, reflection, structured activities, and direct experience emphasize the development of further intercultural competence among students. Foundational courses in communication theory are recommended, but not required.
  • 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.
  • Intercultural Development and Global Citizenship (GLOS 211; 4 credits) 
    (Global Studies 211; 4 credits) Drawing from culturally diverse models of leadership and epistemology, this course examines topics such as interpersonal and intercultural communication skills, leadership styles, contextualizes human development issues, ethnorelativism, and the roles and responsibilities of global citizenship. Through a variety of instructional methods, assignments, and experiential participation, students explore the factors which influence human relationships to self, community, society, and the natural world. This course is meant to engender students engaging with big questions of values, ethics, purpose and questions of engagement, contentment, and community and social organization.
  • 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.

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Program Components

4/5
Comparative Religion

Visit a Tibetan monastery outside of Kathmandu to learn about Buddhism and inquire deeply into Hinduism, Buddhism, and Shamanism.

3/5
Development Studies

Examine issues of health and education, human rights, land use, globalization, and poverty.

5/5
Focus of Inquiry: Regional Seminar

Explore the ethnicities and religious traditions of Nepal and the greater region. Engage in academic discussions on issues such as environment, public health, religious practices, the status of women, and caste.

4/5
Homestay

Spend 5 weeks in homestays in Patan and participate in a shorter village homestay in a Himalayan village or in the Terai lowlands in the south.

5/5
Independent Study Project (ISP)

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. This academic course also includes a semi-independent, two week period for students to deepen their Independent Study topic.

5/5
Language Study

Study the Nepali language intensively while in an extended homestay environment. In addition to the 60 contact hours, students have additional opportunities for language immersion throughout the program.

2/5
Learning Service

Volunteer to assist village homestay families with farm work and the harvest, learn more about service through visits to NGO's and schools, and engage in possible community work at an ashram.

4/5
Rugged Travel

Split time between the urban settings and the rugged mountain landscapes of Nepal and travel on bus and van through various terrain.

4/5
Trekking

Embark on a trek through rugged parts of the Himalayas in remote wilderness areas and a possible visit to Chitwan National Park in the south.