Nepal: Traditions of the Himalayas High School Summer Program

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Discover the beauty of the Himalayas: experience life in remote mountain communities, participate in a meditation retreat, and study traditional arts with local masters.
Since ancient times, travelers, monks, merchants, poets, artists, and warriors have passed through Kathmandu during their journeys across the great Himalayan range. Some never left, and today, a multitude of ethnic groups from across the Himalayan region all peacefully co-exist in the peaks and valley of this dynamic country. Nepal’s rich cultural diversity provides a strong foundation for a larger conversation about the underpinnings of identity, community and spirituality. Our program weaves a path between rural and urban environments and different religious communities as we explore how ancient traditions can survive in a rapidly developing society.

  • Students choose a topic of interest and dive into a relationship with a mentor. Some options include music, dance, stone carving, jewelry making, bronze casting, religious traditions, traditional cooking, Tibetan and Ayurveda (ancient Indian) Medicine.
  • Delve into a broad introduction to the philosophy and spiritual practices of Tibetan Buddhism and Hinduism. This will include an investigation of yoga, meditation, iconography and symbolism.
  • Look at ethnic and cultural diversity, religious traditions, artistic traditions, and current development issues.
  • Experience renowned Nepali hospitality Nepali in both rural and urban homestays
  • Gain insight into Buddhist teachings and learn basic meditation techniques at a monastery retreat

Questions & Answers


10 Rating
based on 6 reviews
  • Growth 10
  • Support 9.7
  • Fun 9.3
  • Housing 9.5
  • Safety 9.3
Showing 1 - 6 of 6
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Yes, I recommend this program

Great program

I attended Where There Be Dragon's Nepal summer trip in 2017. Before that, I had traveled more than 15 countries. However, this trip was by far the best I've ever had. It really taught me how to be more of a traveler instead of a tourist. There's a great portion of education on a trip like this while kids got to have fun. The trip was involved in a lot of finding your true self and a spiritual cleansing from the poisonous Western society. We got to enjoys incredible things on the trip with Dragons that we would never get a chance to experience if we took the trip by ourselves. For example, my trip got to spend a week and live with a family in the rural Himalayas village, and then we spent a week in the urban homestay in Patan, Nepal. We entirely emerged in their culture for 4 weeks (the length of my trip).

What would you improve about this program?
This program is hands-down very well done in general. The only way it could improve is just to have more countries available on top of the great variety of countries they already have.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Best Experience of My Life!

The experience I had in Nepal lead to so much personal growth. When you are on this program you are far from a tourist, you are a traveler. From the moment your feet hit the soil you become immersed in the culture. The trip is filled with humbling experiences and great discussions with your group. My favorite memory from my trip would have to be when we were in our village homestay. I sat in the fire lit room with my Homestay mom and we exchanged language lessons by writing on the stone floor with charcoal. I would definitely reccomend this trip to anyone wanting a great life experience!

What would you improve about this program?
It was such a great experience, I can’t think of anything that would have made the trip any better than it already was!
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Yes, I recommend this program


The first night my rural homestay was absolutely amazing. I didn't realize the family I was staying with knew little English and I spent the entire night laughing at myself and point and acting out different things to learn the local dialect. To this day, I remember this night and the lesson and power it had in my life. The simplicity of human connection and companionship with the communication of laughter speaks way more sometimes words do. This rawness of expression is something I take and cherish everyday.

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Yes, I recommend this program

Experience of a Lifetime

In short, my month in Nepal was the best month of my life thus far.

Ever since I was 8 years old and got my hands on National Geographic Kids, I knew I needed to get to the Himalaya. As I read more about Nepal, I couldn't help but fall in love from afar. As I was approaching my high school graduation, I was intent on exploring the country before starting college. After a friend of mine recommended Where There Be Dragons, I looked into the program and requested a home visit by a staff member. As soon as he finished his presentation to my family, I knew Dragons was the right program for me--someone intellectually curious, adventurous, creative, open-minded, and looking to gain a deeper understanding of the way people live.

To say that my experience with Dragons in Nepal was phenomenal is an understatement. My instructors were nurturing, knowledgable on a wide range of topics, always willing to have personal discussions, open to student comments and suggestions for improvement, seemingly knew how to address every situation relating to health and safety, optimistic, and FUN!

The experiences I had, support I received from my instructors, conversations and laughs shared with my peers, knowledge gained, situations I encountered, and people I met are all aspects that contribute to the massive impact my program had on me and the way in which I view the world. Throughout my time in Nepal I always felt safe, but was challenged to grow, think and experience in ways I never thought were possible.

If you are a student looking to immerse yourself in a new culture, learn a foreign language, spend time acquainting yourself with Tibetan Buddhism, familiarize yourself with the breathtaking landscape that is the Himalaya, experience living with a family in a country thousands of miles from your home, or merely embark on a new adventure, I couldn't recommend this program more. If you are a parent looking to send your teenager on their dream trip- but also one that is safe and "worth the money," as my parents were, send them with Dragons.

When asked the question "How could your program have been better?", I stutter, as I honestly cannot imagine a better program. Though my program was only one month long, I forged lasting relationships with instructors and peers that now--five months after returning from Nepal--are still very strong. I can't imagine a program that does it better than Dragons.

Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Best Month Of My Life

I cannot stress enough how much I reccomend WTBD programs, especially the Nepal summer program. To begin, the staff was amazing. Thyoughout the application process, the administartion was accessible, responsive and very friendly. My three instructors on the trip were also AMAZING!! They were so supportive, knowledgable, fun and really made my expirience so great. The itinarary was also great. We visited many different cities and villages so we got a nice overview of the entire country. The language study, trekking, ISP's, guest speakers and activities were all above my expectations. The highlight, by far, was the two honestays. It was the part of the trip in which I was the most challenged but also learned the most. While it may seem scary being in a foreign country with a family you dont know at all, before you know it that family becomes your family and you become so close! The group of students was also amazing, truly life long friends.

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Yes, I recommend this program

Take me back!!!

On this trip, I met beautiful people from both Nepal and around the US. I couldn't ask for a better experience. I felt connected to the staff, the students, and the local culture in the Kathmandu valley! This was the most beneficial learning experience of my life. Before leaving I knew very little about Nepal and after my very short stay there I would say I feel confident about navigating the streets there alone. Students are given freedom to express themselves and see the parts of the country that THEY want to see due to dragon's adjustable itineraries. I lived with two families, one from a village, one from the city, and also stayed in a monastery in order to get a fuller view of the culture. The people in in the foothills of the Himalaya, and their religious acceptance and practice has had such an impact on me even after returning. I know on most other teen travel programs I could not have had these experiences, and urge anyone considering the trip to take a leap. I was pushed very far while in Nepal: there was a language barrier, a difference in social norms. I am so proud of the personal growth within every person in my group and am grateful for the sacred experience this course was.