Nepal

Traditions of the Himalayas

A 4-week Summer Abroad Program

Enroll
Duration
32 Days
Description

Discover the mysticism of the Himalayas: experience life in remote mountain communities, participate in a meditation retreat, and study traditional arts with local masters.

Dates

Jun 28 - Jul 29, 2020


Suggested Ages

16-18

Number of Participants

12


Availability

Open

Begins In

41 Weeks

Land Cost

$7,300


Estimated Flight Cost

$2,070

Pokhara

Kathmandu

Patan

Program Overview

Terraced rice paddies, fluttering prayer flags, dew-drenched mornings.


Since ancient times, travelers, monks, merchants, poets, artists, and warriors have passed through Kathmandu during their journeys across the great Himalayan range. Some never left, and today, a multitude of ethnic groups from across the Himalayan region all peacefully coexist in the peaks and valleys of this dynamic country. Nepal’s rich cultural diversity provides a strong foundation for a larger conversation about the underpinnings of identity, community and spirituality.

Our program weaves a path between rural and urban environments and different religious communities as we explore how ancient traditions can survive in a rapidly developing society.  During our time in the Kathmandu valley, we meet with local activists and experts who share their insights on Nepal’s history, politics, and culture. They also offer a unique perspective on the socio-political complexities facing a newly-democratic Nepal, and challenges the 2015 earthquake posed to Nepali society.

Moving into rural…

Since ancient times, travelers, monks, merchants, poets, artists, and warriors have passed through Kathmandu during their journeys across the great Himalayan range. Some never left, and today, a multitude of ethnic groups from across the Himalayan region all peacefully coexist in the peaks and valleys of this dynamic country. Nepal’s rich cultural diversity provides a strong foundation for a larger conversation about the underpinnings of identity, community and spirituality.

Our program weaves a path between rural and urban environments and different religious communities as we explore how ancient traditions can survive in a rapidly developing society.  During our time in the Kathmandu valley, we meet with local activists and experts who share their insights on Nepal’s history, politics, and culture. They also offer a unique perspective on the socio-political complexities facing a newly-democratic Nepal, and challenges the 2015 earthquake posed to Nepali society.

Moving into rural Nepal, we trek through lush green forests and stunning valleys, before settling into a homestay with subsistence farmers in the Himalayan foothills. Here we learn the daily rhythms of agricultural life and have the chance to talk to local people about their lived experience of pressing global concerns such as climate change and foreign aid.

For the comparative religion aspect of the course, we explore the intertwined religions of Hinduism and Buddhism and also go on a short meditation retreat, where we have the chance to fully immerse ourselves in monastic life. We learn about the foundation of Buddhist philosophy from high teachers and participate in a spiritual practice that is both informative and deeply introspective.

Read More Read Less Sample Itinerary

Program Components

3/5
Development Studies

Examine environmental issues, tourism, the preservation of traditional culture, concepts of ethnicity, land management, education, gender issues and healthcare.

5/5
Independent Study Project

Choose a topic of interest and dive into a relationship with a mentor. Some options include music, dance, stone carving, jewelry making, bronze casting, religious traditions, traditional cooking, Tibetan and Ayurveda (ancient Indian medicine).

5/5
Comparative Religion

Delve into a broad introduction to the philosophy and spiritual practices of Tibetan Buddhism and Hinduism. This will include an introduction to yoga and meditation.

4/5
Focus Of Inquiry

Look at ethnic and cultural diversity, religious traditions, artistic traditions, and current development issues.

3/5
Rugged Travel

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

4/5
Homestay

15+ days of homestays with both rural and urban families.

2/5
Learning Service

Options for group and individual volunteer work during the rural home-stay.

2/5
Trekking

Dependent on weather conditions, there is an optional 2-4 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.

2/5
Language Study

Study basic Nepali through formal instruction and local immersion.