Nepal Semester: Himalayan Studies
98% Rating
(6 Reviews)

Nepal Semester: Himalayan Studies

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.

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.

  • Spend a week at a Tibetan monastery to learn about Buddhism and inquire deeply into Hinduism, Buddhism, and Shamanism.
  • Embark on a challenging trek through rugged parts of the Himalayas in remote wilderness areas.
  • Spend 4-6 weeks in home-stays in Kathmandu or Patan and participate in a short village home-stay in a Himalayan village.
  • Mentor with stone carvers and mask makers; Nepali cuisine, dance and vocals, women’s issues, comparative religion, ayurvedic medicine, stone carving and jewelry making.
  • Examine issues of health and education, human rights, environment and land use, globalization and poverty.
Asia » Nepal » Kathmandu
Program Tags
Adventure Travel
Language Immersion
Study Abroad
Volunteer Abroad
1-3 Months
3-6 Months
Host Family
Primary Language
Age Min.
Starting Price
Price Details
The land cost for Nepal Semester: Himalayan Studies is $14,900 for three months. Flight costs are estimated at $1,975. Need-based scholarships are available.
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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 on involved creating ceremonies to acknowledge endings or beginnings of phases of the trip, which is helpful in processing experiences.

Program Reviews

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Program Reviews (6)


My Semester in Nepal


My Himalayan semester was one of the best experiences I have ever had. From rural homestays to trekking in the Himalayas, it was full to the brim of adventure, community, culture and collaboration. My instructors were absolutely amazing as were my fellow Dragons students. The space that Dragons creates for self reflection and growth along with building an incredible group environment was something unique and awesome. On a trip like this it is expected that at one point or another you are pushed outside of your comfort zone. This was incredible because you end up watching your comfort zone expand and grow with you. Going from being a complete stranger and foreigner, lost in Kathmandu, to a confident traveler catching crowded busses and chatting to the person next to you in Nepali was incredible.

One of the countless stunning moments on this trip was when I was sitting on a rock on a mountainside. It was near sunset we were at 13,000 feet of elevation, and the pinkish orange light of the setting sun began to creep across the massive peaks of the Himalayas in the Lang Tang region. I sat there, watching the sun dip down below the cloud layer, and was struck by the silence. No sound whatsoever penetrated that beautiful serene mountain silence. It was almost like the world had frozen briefly. Stuck in that dusky state between day and night. The giant peaks only adding to the splendor, putting the size of humanity in its place yet again.

How can this program be improved?

I thought that it was fantastic as is.

24 years old
Durango, Colorado

Nepal Semester in the Himalayas with Where There Be Dragons


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.

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21 years old
Lexington, MA

Authentic Travel, Transformative Experience


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.

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24 years old
Boulder, CO
University of Southern Maine

Dragons is the best!


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.

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24 years old
Boulder, Co
Naropa University

Dragons will change your world!


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.

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19 years old
Boulder, Colorado

My experience in Nepal was life-changing


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,