By Where There Be Dragons   Reviews (5)   98% Rating

Nepal Semester: Himalayan Studies

By Where There Be Dragons   Reviews (5)   98% Rating

The Himalayas. Since time immemorial, these colossal peaks with their vast web of rugged, isolated valleys and distinct ethnic groups have drawn only the most intrepid travelers from distant lands. Through rural and urban home-stays, ten days in a Buddhist monastery, high mountain trekking, service learning, and independent study, Dragons’ Himalaya students explore this remarkable region and its people, encountering ancient spiritual traditions with deep roots in a mystical land.

Our Himalaya Semester is based in the Kathmandu Valley, an ancient crossroads and melting pot of Himalayan peoples. While living with host families and studying Nepali language, students meet with local scholars and activists and learn about Nepal’s history, politics and culture while pursuing a wide range of independent study and service learning projects.

We offer comprehensive, personal home visits so that we can answer your questions in person. One of our expert staff members will present on our program options and share stories from their own formative Where There Be Dragons program. To request a home visit in less than 2 minutes, fill out this form.

Locations
Asia › Nepal
Program Tags
Adventure Travel
Language Immersion
Study Abroad
Volunteer Abroad
Length
1-3 Months
Accommodation
Tented Camp
Guesthouse
Host Family
Hostel
Age Max
17
Cost
Nepal Semester: Himalayan Studies' land cost is $14,900 for three months. Flight costs for this program are estimated at $1,975. Need-based scholarships are available.
Other Locations
Kathmandu
Starting Price
10000.00

Questions & Answers

The programs can be very intense but risk is managed very well and space is created to talk through any experiences that are overwhelming. There is always time for reflection and both programs I went...
Nepal Semester: Himalayan Studies

Rating Values

  • Housing
    100%
  • Support
    100%
  • Fun
    100%
  • Value
    94%
  • Safety
    94%

Program Reviews (5)

Meredith
Female
23 years old
Durango, Colorado

Nepal Semester in the Himalayas with Where There Be Dragons

Overall 10

Nostalgia, humility, and gratitude flood my consciousness as I think back on my three months spent in Nepal with Where There Be Dragons. I think about standing among hundreds of prayer flags at 17,000 feet and never wanting to come down. I think about carbo-loading dal bhaat by candlelight and drinking dudh chia with my host family. I miss my Dragon siblings who went through it all with me. I think about the tears I shed from exhaustion and laughing too hard, of all the lessons learned in between. I think about how far I came; not just over miles of mountain passes and through villages, but over miles of awareness, understanding, perspective, and growth. As I reflect on the person I was before embarking on my journey with Dragons, I recognize the dramatic and positive transformation Dragons guided me through.
Ultimately, this journey allowed me to find magic and growth in myself and within every single moment of our experience in Nepal while also opening my eyes to what it really means to be a global citizen.

Lyla
Female
20 years old
Lexington, MA

Authentic Travel, Transformative Experience

Overall 10

Each morning in Ale Gau, a small agricultural village in the foothills of the Himalayas, I woke up to the sound of crowing roosters and cool mountain mist. My Aama and I would huddle around the open fire, sipping fresh, warm bison milk and preparing breakfast. Aama would knead rice flour and water to make roti, and I would stir the vegetables in a large pot, naming the spices in Nepali as she added them to our dish. "Besar" I would say, as she sprinkled tumeric into the sizzling pot. "Ramro (very good)!" she would reply with a hearty laugh and toothy grin. Through cooking and sharing meals, Aama and I forged a new kind of family, built on love, trust, and openness rather than blood.

How can this program be improved?

Honestly, I loved every minute in Nepal. It was a deeply transformative experience for me-- I learned a lot about myself and about the world. I really appreciated being in certain places for long-periods of time. For example, the 5 week homestay in Kathmandu and the 3 week trek. I found that the places I spent the longest time in I felt more like a traveler, and less like a tourist. So, I would say minimize the amount of places and maximize the amount of time spent in certain places to facilitate deep connections.

Nick
Male
23 years old
Boulder, CO
University of Southern Maine

Dragons is the best!

Overall 10

The Dragons experience isn't a vacation; it's engaging, challenging, mentally and physically exhausting, and I would do it again in a heartbeat. The program skillfully includes a dose of healthy stress by insisting on using public transportation and often going places where nobody spoke English, but always while avoiding any real danger. Through this intense immersion, I have a working knowledge of the Nepali language after a mere three months of practice. I found this experience to provide a greater wealth of learning than any other semester during my undergraduate education.

We traveled around quite a bit, but our 'home-base' was in Kathmandu. On the average day there, I would wake up and eat breakfast with my home-stay family, walk to our Program House and attend classes on language and various other topics (religion, history, culture, etc.), then take a bus to Boudhanath, the Tibetan neighborhood, where I spent my afternoons learning with a Tibetan doctor.

Two years later, I still think about these experiences every day. Much of what I learned has been very useful during my graduate studies, and will most certainly help me get my career off the ground. I recommend Dragons to everyone.

How can this program be improved?

Some people might be disappointed to find a lack of the "partying" type of fun, but I think this is more of a problem with the participant than with the program.

Amalya
Female
23 years old
Boulder, Co
Naropa University

Dragons will change your world!

Overall 10

I signed up for Where There Be Dragons sort of on a whim,only knowing that I wanted an immersive and independent travel experience. I chose to go to Nepal with Dragons because of the Kapan monastery stay and the trekking experience. Dubious of anything group oriented or heavily guided, I was a bit tentative about Dragons at first. But once I realized the immense amount of wisdom and insight my instructors and peers and the whole program of experiences had to offer me, and let myself be open to them, I fell in love. With the country, with the program, with the people I was traveling with and the people I met along the way. I had such an amazing experience abroad. It was one challenging and eye-opening experience after the other. There were so many times I felt like crying and going home, like taking the easier option would have been better, but I am 100x more proud of myself than I ever have been before for rising to the countless challenges and overcoming them. For instance, climbing a 13,000 ft pass in the Himalayas, and learning a 6 minute traditional Nepali Folk Dance and performing it for hundreds of family members and friends. My sense of self-worth increased immensely from my experience with Dragons, and despite moments of regression, I truly feel like I can do anything now. The amount of roughness, the things you learn to live without (and live happier without), and the unexpected connections you make with people are life-changing. I feel like I am a better, more competent and confident, more self-aware and culturally sensitive, and interesting human being since my experience abroad, and I feel empowered both physically and intellectually.

How can this program be improved?

While it's true that no program is perfect, I do firmly believe that some of Dragon's imperfections are also a major part of the experience. This is not some cookie-cutter, air-conditioned bus tour where you get your experience handed to you on a silver platter with instructions included. This is very much a do-it-yourself kind of experience. While you have instructors on the trip and a whole office at home working to make sure you get the experience you want, there are bumps and potholes along the way. Learning to deal with the imperfections, with these forks in the road and plan changes, etc, are a major part of your own learning experience. I traveled for a month on my own after my Dragons semester, and if I hadn't had the chance to be independent and involved in planning, in figuring things out with Dragons, I couldnt have traveled by myself so easily.

Meredith
Female
18 years old
Boulder, Colorado

My experience in Nepal was life-changing

Overall 9

With Where There Be Dragons, I was able to experience life in an urban setting in Nepal, as well as life in a rural setting. My instructors had great in-country connections, and were able to find every single student a mentor for their specific Independent Study Projects. The home-stay families were all extremely generous and kind, and I always felt safe staying with my family in Kathmandu. Trekking in the Himalayas was intense but so beautiful, and gave us all a real understanding of why development in Nepal is so difficult. I have come home with a new perspective on my own life, and with a better idea of who I am and what I want to do with my life.

About The Provider

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 different physical and cultural landscapes, combining the best in experiential education, travel, service learning, and physically and intellectually challenging experiences.

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