India: Himalayas to the Ganges River Gap Year Semester

Video and Photos


The languid current rolls passed the burning ghats as it has for millennia. Women gather on its shores to wash clothing in the cool, misty dawn, as pilgrims congregate near the water’s edge and cows amble around the stoic holy man, motionless, rapt in spiritual expression…

India is a land of color and contrasts, so vast, diverse and singular that sensations bleed into one another and leave us considering not only what it means to be human, but what it means to be sentient. The India semester offers intrepid students and spiritual seekers a comprehensive examination of the dominant cultural and religious traditions of North India, while analyzing issues central to social justice, community development, sustainability and national identity.

This semester is designed to give students core competencies as leaders and global citizens, empowering them to continue lives of spiritual seeking and exploration.

  • Inquire deeply into Hindu mythology, philosophy and practice, Learn about Buddhist philosophy and attend a meditation retreat, and Islam in its Indian context.
  • Investigate issues of health and education, urbanization, the caste system, human rights, globalization, gender, and poverty.
  • Explore topics of pilgrimage, sacred spaces and spirituality practices, as well as social inequalities. See College Accredited curriculum for details
  • Spend six weeks in homestays in the sacred city of Varanasi and participate in a short village homestay in the Himalayas.
  • Trek for ten days in the high Himalayan mountains of Ladakh's Zanskar Range.

Questions & Answers


based on 1 review
  • Housing 9
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  • Value 9
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Yes, I recommend this program

A Great Experience

I did this Dragon's course in India for the second semester of my gap year and absolutely loved it. The course is rather structured and you are in a big group for a lot of the time, but there is also a lot of free time that they leave for you to utilize on your own. Through this structure, we all soon realized that it is really up to us to have the experience we want. Yes, the program has a strong structure and set of rules, but pretty much everything else is left up to you. If you don’t ask any questions yourself, you won't find any answers.
I took an academic course, Regional Seminar, for credit alongside the mandatory classes that are part of the regular course (i.e. Hindi, ISP). Classes for credit seemed to be more of a new, experimental part of the course and because there were only a few students taking courses them out of the group of 12, there was not a lot of opportunities to hold discussions or write papers, or really have class at all. I am glad I did it though, because taking an academic course like Regional Seminar and being able to put the readings in context really allowed me to dive deeper into my experience and connect more with what I was seeing around me.
Dragons instructors are extremely knowledgeable and helpful. They are there to facilitate your experience and help with any problems you might have. At the same time, they emphasize that they are not there to hold your hand during your travels. The course aims to teach it’s students to travel mindfully and view the world as a global citizen, and it did just that for me. Thank you, Dragons!

What would you improve about this program?
The course also relies heavily on group dynamic, and that dynamic being very good and strong. I think it is great that they put so much thought into these dynamics and their rules against excluding people, but if there is a problem in the group (or some kind of beef) it is very hard to deal with

About Where There Be Dragons

Dragons programs are authentic, rugged and profound learning adventures that expose the beautiful and complex realities of the countries in which we travel. Featuring extended itineraries, Dragons programs encourage deep immersion into strikingly...