• India
2 - 4 weeks
Need-based funding, General grants/scholarships, 529 Plan eligibility, BIPOC funding
Health & Safety

Program Details

Program Type
Host Family
Age Min.
Age Max


Starting Price
Price Details
The land cost for North India: Roof of the World is $7,950 for 4 weeks. Need-based scholarships are available.
What's Included
Accommodation Activities Meals Transportation
What's Not Included
Airfare Travel Insurance Visa
Nov 02, 2023
Nov 21, 2023
4 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

Clinging to the far western flank of the Tibetan plateau, Ladakh is among the least populated, wildest and most remote regions within the Himalaya. Ladakh, or Little Tibet, is a land where jagged peaks and desolate windswept expanses have preserved cultural traditions while buttressing the Ladakhi people from the economic boom and rapid development occurring throughout the Indian subcontinent.

The North India course is a window into diverse Himalayan cultures and landscapes, as the region adapts to both challenging environmental and political climates.

Video and Photos

Diversity & Inclusion

BIPOC Support

Unfortunately, discrimination based on race, ethnicity, national origin, and skin tone exists in different forms all over the world. In some destinations, especially rural or ethnically homogenous areas, people may not have had much exposure to racial diversity. As such, people with certain physical characteristics may experience unwanted attention. Most commonly, this might include staring, insensitive comments, people taking your photo (with or without asking), or attempts to touch your skin or hair. Black students traveling in parts of Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and North Africa have often reported higher levels of unwanted attention than their peers. White students traveling in parts of Asia and Africa have also reported receiving unwanted attention. Students are encouraged to communicate with staff if they feel their personal boundaries are being violated or if they feel unsafe or uncomfortable in any situation. We encourage you to believe your peers if/when they share experiences like this with you.

LGBTQIA+ Support

Social, cultural, religious, political, and legal attitudes toward the LGBTQ+ community vary around the world. According to the Global Acceptance Index, average levels of acceptance for LGBTQ+ people around the world have been increasing since 1981. However, many countries where Dragons operates programs may have social discrimination or even laws against being LGBTQ+. We have safely supported LGBTQ+ students in all of our program areas, and provide specific cultural and geographic advice to help students stay safe on course.

In some cases, students may be advised not to speak about their sexual orientations and/or gender identities with local contacts (such as homestay families, ISP mentors, language teachers, and guest speakers) due to safety concerns. Likewise, transgender and non-binary students may have to choose to present outwardly as male or female in certain contexts during the program. In other cases, “coming out” to some or all host community members may be a safe choice.

Neurodivergent Support

For students with neuro-differences (such as dyslexia, ADHD, ASD, TS, and dyspraxia), it is important to be aware that neurodiversity is likely viewed differently abroad than at home. People might not be familiar with labels or terms that are very common where you come from. If you struggle with lots of external stimuli, you should be prepared that you will be in some environments that are louder and busier than what you are used to.

Accessibility Support

If you are a student with a physical disability, you might encounter challenges around accessibility than you have at home. Many of the places we travel at Dragons don’t have building codes or other regulations in place to support people with visual, hearing, or mobility impairments. You may need accommodations or support that you don’t usually require in your life at home.



Dragons defines responsible travel as travel that is culturally conscious, environmentally responsible, and focused on developing meaningful connections and mutual respect in the communities to which we travel. Over the course of Dragons 25+ year history, we have cultivated long-standing relationships with respected community leaders, academics, social entrepreneurs and professionals involved in environmental and cultural preservation. In the more than 20 countries in which Dragons has operated, we have steadfastly adhered to minimum impact travel, an accurate and informed understanding of place, and the realization of maximum benefit for the communities we visit.

Ethical Impact

Dragons believes that we need to shift the way we think of volunteer travel. Instead of focusing on “service work”—on the idea that short-term volunteers can contribute to communities abroad—we advocate a paradigm shift: we choose, instead, to focus on “learning service.”

Learning Service is a holistic experience that combines an intimate and authentic engagement with the local community, the study of effective development, and the contribution to an established community-driven project. It is the process of living, working alongside, and humbly absorbing the culture of those being served while coordinating closely with project managers to understand the trajectory of the project, from inception to completion and beyond. It is an acknowledgment that often it is the volunteer who stands to gain as much or more from the work. And it is a commitment to making contributions that create positive impacts in the communities coupled with the humility to always listen and learn first.

Program Highlights

  • Multi-day high-altitude treks over rough terrain and high passes (trekking peaks and passes are non-technical).
  • Examine issues of resource management and witness innovative responses to climate change, tourism, health, and globalization.
  • Spend time on a campus with Ladakhi youth helping to facilitate their English classes, and participate in the daily campus work hour tending their fields, caring for livestock, and working on building projects.
  • Introduction to Buddhist philosophy and visits to monasteries across Ladakh.
  • 3-5 days of homestays in a Ladakhi village, and one homestay trek

Program Dates

Application Deadline
Program Dates

Program Reviews

5.00 Rating
based on 6 reviews
  • 5 rating 100%
  • 4 rating 0%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Growth 4.7
  • Support 5
  • Fun 4.85
  • Housing 4.85
  • Safety 4.85
Showing 1 - 6 of 6 reviews
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

India Gap Semester

This program was easily the most incredible experience I’ve had abroad. Dragons allows its students to intensely immerse themselves in their host country through home stays, independent studies, language learning, outdoor adventures, and so much more. Dragons also employs incredibly inspiring instructors who strike the perfect balance between acting as a support system, and pushing students out of their comfort zones. I made deep connections on this program, both with my fellow travellers and with people we met along the way. After Dragons, I feel I can create deep, immersive travel experiences for myself anywhere in the world.

30 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Northern India WTBD

Pure magic! An ineffable experience that changed how I see myself, others, and the world we live in. I contribute much of my experience to my instructors- Alena, Uttura, and Hemant. Their place based insight and understanding of the region was immensely helpful as we navigated new environments. The program wonderfully balanced group instruction, independent exploration, and local homestays. I strongly recommended this program to those who are pursuing about an active travel experience with a large trekking component.

35 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Northern India Dragons Thoughts

I loved my trip to India. I went in highschool and still think about it almost every day. I grew in ways I never imagined and my eyes were opened to new cultures and experiences. Some of my my favorite memories were climbing up to 17,000 ft, visiting villages only accessible by foot, and interacting with Ladakhis. My instructors were incredibly knowledgeable and they helped us through this incredible experience. During our homestay, we were able to truly experience living in a very different culture. The whole thing was amazing!

32 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Summer in Ladakh

This program was even more amazing than I could ever imagine. My instructors were all incredible, and they were very well equipped to handle any situation. They helped foster a great environment which made the trip 10x better. Every aspect of the trip was well planned, fun and very interesting. The way the program was structured helped me become immersed with the culture and feel a connection to the things and people around me. We were introduced to so many amazing people that gave us insight on the land and it’s rich history. One of my favorite moments from the trip was our Markha Valley, an experience I will never forget.

  • Make lifelong connections
  • Amazing food and people
  • Learn about North Indian culture
  • Would not recommend to people who have had previous issues with altitude sickness
33 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Incredible Experience In Ladakh

This was my second Dragons trip, and I had high expectations after a fantastic summer in Nepal the year before, but Ladakh did not disappoint.

The trip was fast-paced which had us moving around a lot. All the moving meant lots of bus rides, but spending time in the bus allowed for a unique view of the beautiful ladakhi landscape and countless views of the powerful Himalays.

We spent time in Leh, the capital of Ladakh, exploring the markets and the Leh Palace. We completed two different treks, one that reached 17,000 feet at the top of our pass! We also did a rural homestay, often a highlight of Dragons trips. Getting to build connections with the local people, often with a heavy language barrier, is one of the most fulfilling and challenging parts of a course.

Another core piece was visiting different monasteries and learning about Tibetan Buddhism. Our instructors helped us understand Buddhist philosophy and practice as we got these new experiences, and it was really interesting to get a ley perspective on Buddhism.

Dragons fosters a very open, caring community, which has allowed me to grow spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually over these last two summers. I am forever grateful for the wonderful relationship with instructors and other students I have built. I have developed a true love for Himalayan culture, and there is no doubt that this course has changed the trajectory of my life.

  • Pushes you in all the best ways for growth
  • Allows for really unique experiences in an authentic and safe way
  • I can't stress enough from both trips the safe, loving environment created by the instructors and students
49 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Summer North India

This was my second Where There Be Dragons summer course in the Himalaya--and I was far from disappointed. Having previously spent a summer in Nepal, I thought the two trips may be too similar, and feared being bored on the trip. This was not the case, as both courses were uniquely led and approached from vastly different angles.

Similar to every Dragons instructor I've met, my three instructors were a dynamic force to be reckoned with, and offered unconditional support, prompted intellectual/physical challenges, and had an astute ability to gauge safety of the group throughout our month in North India.

If you are a student looking to immerse yourself in a new culture, spend time exploring the most breathtaking landscape, familiarize yourself with Tibetan Buddhism, gain outdoor skills (camping/mountaineering/trekking), experience living with a family in a country thousands of miles from home, or simply embark on an amazing adventure, I couldn't recommend this course more.

Full disclosure: This course is trekking-intensive, which should not be overlooked by prospective students. Though this was a major draw to me, some found it challenging--but all got through with smiles! :)

117 people found this review helpful.
Read my full story

Questions & Answers

Hey Christopher! I am glad you are interested in this program. This course begins on June 28th and ends on July 28th. Students must be able to commit to the entire 4 weeks of the course. Let me know if you have any other questions! You can call our office at 303.413.0822 or email info@wheretherebedragons.com Best, Dragons Admin