Nepal: Passages of the Himalaya College Study Abroad Semester

This program has been paused and is currently not being offered. View more programs from Where There Be Dragons.

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Have the diverse cultures and dramatic landscapes of Nepal write the next chapter in your college education.

Over time Nepal has drawn the most intrepid of travelers, mountaineers, anthropologists, linguists, and spiritual aspirants. The Kathmandu Valley was once only accessible by those brave enough to cross the jungles in the south or the snowy passes of the Himalaya. In a land of deep traditions, this College Study Abroad program explores the diversity of Nepal while also delving into themes of social justice, development, and leadership in an intercultural context. Academic courses, as well as a deliberate skills progression throughout the semester, provide depth and breadth to this program.

Eligible participants should have completed at least one semester of post-secondary study, be 18 years or older, have a minimum GPA of 2.5 (on a 4.0 scale), and be interested in taking part in an experiential semester abroad.

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.

  • Visit a Tibetan monastery outside of Kathmandu to learn about Buddhism and inquire deeply into Hinduism, Buddhism, and Shamanism.
  • Examine issues of health and education, human rights, environment and land use, globalization and poverty. Engage in academic discussions on issues such as environment, public health, religious practices, the status of women, and caste.
  • Embark on a trek through rugged parts of the Himalayas in remote wilderness areas and a possible visit to Chitwan National Park in the south.
  • Opportunity for independent study. Typical topics include regional environmental issues, Tibetan or Ayurvedic medicine, the yogic tradition, or the arts: jewelry, mask carving, traditional folk dance, sitar, or thanka painting.
  • Spend 5 weeks in homestays in Patan and participate in a shorter village homestay in a Himalayan village or in the Terai lowlands in the south.

New: Fall and Spring Domestic Gap Semesters

We are excited to announce two North American Gap Semesters - the Rio Grande Semester: Stories of Culture, Identity, & Environment Along the Southern Border and the Colorado River Basin Semester: Sustainable Relationships with Land and Water in the Western United States.

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Yes, I recommend this program


Where do I even begin? The Dragons programs are absolutely incomparable, in every sense. I have so many stories swirling around my thoughts that encapsulate just how incredible, enriching and magical my experience was in Nepal. From waking at 5 in the morning with the sun and meditating with the monks at a buddhism retreat to strolling through the bustling and colorful streets of Kathmandu at dusk. One moment (out of many) that has remained with me occurred on the three week trek that we did through the Himalayas. It was eleven o' clock at night, my two tent mates and I were nestled into our sleeping bags, our bodies ached from the eight hour day and we were ready to fall into a deep and well earned sleep. It was flurrying outside but it was expected to stop by midnight or so. However just as our eyes were fluttering closed, the wind began to pick up. Our tent began to shake and our rain flaps blew open, exposing us to what had transpired into an incredible snow storm. Chaos had erupted. Boisterous laughter and shouts could be heard from tent to tent, we were all delighting in the pandemonium.
It was the next morning that ended up being the moment of pure glory. The sun peaked its way through our tent and our watches alerted us of the time; it was 5 am and it was no longer snowing. I slipped on my shoes and mittens and carefully unzipped the tent. The fresh snow on the ground made the unmistakable gratifying crunch underneath my boots.I pushed back the rain flap and there in front of me were the snow capped Himalayas. The morning beams of light casting an absolutely brilliant orange and red glow onto the peaks. I felt as if I was looking at a piece of heaven. As if Shiva was reaching his hands through the clouds and touching the earth, as if it was a preserved sanctuary that no human had ever touched. My entire being filled with the most gratifying and extraordinary feeling. I wanted to stand in that very place for the rest of my days. I breathed in the crisp Nepali air and my eyes feasted upon the unequivocal beauty of the world. I felt so grateful to be where I was.

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