Location
  • Nepal
    • Kathmandu
Length
2 - 12 weeks
Need-based funding, General grants/scholarships, 529 Plan eligibility, BIPOC funding
Health & Safety

Program Details

Program Type
Provider
Timeframe
Summer
Housing
Host Family
Language
Nepali
Age Min.
16
Age Max
18

Pricing

Starting Price
7950
Price Details
The land cost for Nepal: Traditions of the Himalayas is $7,950 for four weeks. Financial aid is available.
What's Included
Accommodation Activities Meals Transportation
What's Not Included
Airfare
Sep 27, 2023
Nov 21, 2023
18 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

Experience the magic and natural beauty of the Himalayas. Participate in homestays in remote mountain villages and in urban and ancient Kathmandu, attend a meditation retreat, and learn a traditional Nepali art or trade from local masters.

For centuries, travelers, monks, merchants, poets, artists, and warriors have traveled through Kathmandu during their journeys across the great Himalayan range. Some folks never left, and today, a variety of ethnic groups from across the Himalayan region all peacefully co-exist in the peaks and valley of Nepal. The rich cultural diversity provides a strong foundation for exploring topics of identity, community, and spirituality. Our program takes students through rural and urban environments and different religious communities to explore how ancient traditions can survive in a rapidly developing society.

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.

Impact

Sustainability

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

  • 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

Program Dates

Application Deadline
Program Dates
-

Program Reviews

4.91 Rating
based on 11 reviews
  • 5 rating 90.91%
  • 4 rating 9.09%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Growth 4.75
  • Support 5
  • Fun 4.75
  • Housing 4.55
  • Safety 4.85
Showing 1 - 8 of 11 reviews
Default avatar
Eitan
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

A New Type of Travel

I love the way Dragons travels. The instructors taught us about travel awareness. Most importantly, that we are not here to change or help the people we are meeting but to learn and observe their culture and lifestyle. This perspective guided me through the course. It helped me be more open to new experiences. And these experiences have continued to have a lasting impact on my life. For instance, during a homestay in Rural Nepal I sat on the floor of my host families hut watching my host mother make dinner. I could only communicate my needs so I sat in silence watching my mother cook from a fire in the ground. It's hard to explain how these experiences directly impacted me. Simply put, a feeling from those moments still last inside me and continue to shape the way I look at the world.
Each day, an experience from Nepal guides me throughout my life.

37 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Emily
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Month in Nepal

This trip changed my life. I had not idea what to expect going into this program, but I was blown away by who I was at the beginning and who I was at the end. It’s been five months since I returned, and I still think of Nepal everyday. The impact of my summer spent has not diminished.
This is a really good opportunity to discover what it is like to disconnect from technology and the familiar, and really learn to connect with different forms of communication and communities.
I made many life long connections and memories within the four weeks in Nepal with eleven strangers around my age. If you’re not sure whether this is worth it, I’m telling you it is. There was never a moment where I wasn’t learning, growing, or having fun.

Pros
  • Connecting with nature
  • Made genuine connections
  • Challenged my self
70 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Kashish
4/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Community

As a Nepali-American, this program allowed me to understand the cultures and peoples of Nepal to a much deeper extent than what I have been exposed to in the United States. I made so many amazing friendships during this program, both with my peers and the different communities we lived with during our stay. I am beyond grateful for this amazing opportunity to have learned from the local people in the various places we stayed. I also trekked for my first time ever and now feel a much stronger connection to the Himalayas. Our stay in the Kathmandu Valley was so enriching for me because we learned of the history of these ancient cities and kingdoms. I will never forget the many things I was able to learn from this trip.

Pros
  • History education
  • Community-building
  • Environmental education
70 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Lily
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Revealing of myself and of the world

I took this trip (2.5 month semester program) between graduating high school and starting college to explore and discover a different way of life away from the American standard. What I did not realize about this trip is that it provided me a place and space (with our fabulous group and instructors) to dive into the essence of myself and rediscover the passions I'd lost in the busyness of school. I was always slightly homesick for most of the trip but once I came home I experienced reverse culture shock which was fascinating to me. I was able to see my own family life, culture, and old habits in a new light. I look back on my trip very fondly, even if it was challenging at times. The instructor team was absolutely stacked. You could tell that this wasn't just a job for them but a passion and a lifestyle. This was easily seen in their relationships with students and their knowledge and dedication to their environment and work. From my impression the Where There Be Dragons program was very well connected and close with communities in which we stayed or explored in. There seemed to be authentic relationships between our instructors, the overall program, and locals. We had extensive briefing on Nepali culture, customs, and language as a group before we went out in the open. We also had classes whilst in our city homestay that were taught by guest speakers, the instructor team, our even fellow peers that ranged from gentrification, food privilege, Honey hunting in Nepal, Learning Service (voluntourism), What Happens to Our trash, Compost, etc.. Our group of 13 students and 3 instructors still keep in touch over a WhatsApp group chat sharing memories from the trip.

Words of advice:
-Journal everyday, even little things. It is so worth it and will be so fun to share with loved ones back home
-Bring a lot of hiking socks (5-8 pairs)
-don't get wrapped up in checking your personal email--it definitely makes you more homesick
-bring the vitamins they recommend and just take them everyday as a precaution
-leave behind pre conceived notions of yourself and "who you are". Challenge your beliefs!
-bring a big travel duffel to store your pack in (one kid's backpack broke through TSA)

Cons:
-not a racially diverse group of students
-the food was toooooooo good but a tad hard on my tummy with all the rice (big bloat)

79 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Theo
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing Trip to Nepal with Dragons

The Where There Be Dragons trip to Nepal is incredible. The instructors were highly qualified, adaptive, and most importantly, knowledgeable and passionate about Nepali culture. They were able to share once in a lifetime experiences with us through their extensive knowledge of Nepal and vast network of connections throughout the area. The other participants on the trip were very kind, but also gritty and ready to take on challenges. The trip attracted a very diverse and interesting group of people that I am so grateful to have shared this experience with. There were some challenges on the trip related to living conditions and food, but all the participants were prepared and the instructors supported us through any hardship. Overall, it was a truly a positively life changing experience.

Pros
  • Very experienced guides that were able to share very special parts of the country with us
  • The trip attracted very cool and nice people
  • Really able to experience authentic parts of Nepali culture
Cons
  • Low variety in diet
75 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Meicheng
5/5
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.
102 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Tate
5/5
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!
110 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Nycgirl
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Charades

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.

105 people found this review helpful.

Questions & Answers