• Nepal
    • Kathmandu
4 - 26 weeks

Program Details

City Exploring Remote Exploring Trekking
Fall Spring
Ashram Guesthouse Host Family Hotel Tent
Primary Language
Age Min.
Age Max


Starting Price
Price Details
The cost for Nepal Semester: Himalayan Studies is $16,950 for three months. Financial aid is available.
What's Included
Accommodation Activities Some Equipment Meals Park Fees Tour Guide Transportation
What's Not Included
Airfare Travel Insurance Visa
Dec 23, 2022
Dec 23, 2022
26 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

Trek in the shadows of the world's tallest mountains, study Buddhism and practice meditation at a monastery, and learn a traditional craft with Dragons!

At the heart of the Himalayas, Nepal is a melting pot of cultures, languages, and beliefs. For a month-long urban homestay we explore the cultures and traditions of the Kathmandu Valley. We will meet with local activists and scholars to learn about the remarkable country. During that time you will have a chance to mentor with a local expert of your choice, examples include: Ayurvedic medicine, cooking, comparative religion, gender issues, traditional painting. The trip will continue to the mountains for a two week trek to the remote corners of the country followed by a rural homestay where we will learn about traditional farming practices.

Dragons Himalaya students with dive deep into the cultures and religions of the region all while practicing self-awareness and reflection.

Video and Photos

Program Highlights

  • Spend a week at a Tibetan Buddhist monastery to learn about Buddhist philosophy and meditation and inquire deeply into the daily practices of Hinduism with homestay families and other local friends.
  • Embark on a challenging 2-week trek through rugged parts of the Himalayas in remote areas, with an additional mini-trek and day hikes throughout.
  • Spend 4 weeks in urban homestays in the ancient city of Patan, located in the heart of the Kathmandu Valley. Live in a rural homestay for up to 2 weeks while learning about local cultures and traditions.
  • Month longer mentorship with local experts in fields such as ayurvedic medicine, mask making, yoga, dance and singing, women’s issues, comparative religion, jewelry making and much more.
  • Examine issues of health and education, human rights, environment and land use, globalization, the caste system and poverty.


Where There Be Dragons Financial Aid & 529 Funds

Where There Be Dragons offers need-based financial aid to students that demonstrate reasonable financial need and are excited to engage with communities around the world.

Program Dates

Application Deadline
Program Dates

Program Reviews

4.92 Rating
based on 12 reviews
  • 5 rating 91.67%
  • 4 rating 8.33%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Housing 4.85
  • Support 4.95
  • Fun 4.95
  • Value 4.95
  • Safety 4.75
Showing 9 - 12 of 12 reviews
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

What would you improve about this program?
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.
57 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

What would you improve about this program?
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.
26 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

What would you improve about this program?
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.
28 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

24 people found this review helpful.

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.