North India

Identity in Exile, 6 week

A 6-week Summer Abroad Program

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Duration
41 Days
Description

Examine diverse Himalayan cultures, explore Tibetan Buddhist traditions, and trek into the awe-inspiring mountains of Ladakh.

Dates

Jun 28 - Aug 8, 2018


Suggested Ages

17-20

Number of Participants

12


Availability

open

Begins In

23 Weeks

Land Cost

$8,080


Estimated Flight Cost

$2,070

Delhi

Manali

Leh

Dharamsala

Program Overview

Explore India's ethnic pluralism, Tibetan identity and community development on the roof of the world.


Following the Dalai Lama’s escape from Tibet, thousands of devout followers traced their leader’s path seeking refuge in India, Nepal and Bhutan. Nestled along the western edge of India’s Himachal Pradesh, Dharmsala was established as the seat of His Holiness’ exiled government. Today, it is a place where the traditions of Tibetan language, traditional medicine, art, and spirituality are studied and preserved. It is a place that inspires the world community with stories of struggle and perseverance, and with its message of hope and compassion.

Our exploration of culture begins in Tso Pema, a sacred lake to Hundus, Buddhists and Sikhs in the foothills of the Himalaya where we interact with pilgrims and learn about the tapestry of India’s belief systems. We stay in a Buddhist monastery nearby to better understand the basic tenets of Buddhism before moving onto Dharamsala to live with Tibetan refugee families,…

Following the Dalai Lama’s escape from Tibet, thousands of devout followers traced their leader’s path seeking refuge in India, Nepal and Bhutan. Nestled along the western edge of India’s Himachal Pradesh, Dharmsala was established as the seat of His Holiness’ exiled government. Today, it is a place where the traditions of Tibetan language, traditional medicine, art, and spirituality are studied and preserved. It is a place that inspires the world community with stories of struggle and perseverance, and with its message of hope and compassion.

Our exploration of culture begins in Tso Pema, a sacred lake to Hundus, Buddhists and Sikhs in the foothills of the Himalaya where we interact with pilgrims and learn about the tapestry of India’s belief systems. We stay in a Buddhist monastery nearby to better understand the basic tenets of Buddhism before moving onto Dharamsala to live with Tibetan refugee families, work in the fields and attend classes at the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts.

The next stage takes us to the windswept valleys Ladakh, also known as Little Tibet. In Leh, we immerse ourselves in the local culture by 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 the capital, we trek into the remote valleys of the Changthang Plateau, a land of herders and nomads and an among the most well-preserved examples of Tibetan culture.

The course ends in the gorgeous valley of Likir, where we engage in a service learning project and assist with apricot harvesting before the harsh winter months set in. The six-week course is a window into Tibetan culture as it struggles to survive in both challenging environmental and political climates.

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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 on foot over rough, high-altitude terrain.

4/5
Trekking

A 6-8 day high-altitude village trek in the awe-inspiring Ladakhi Trans-Himalaya.

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