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Photo by Catherine Von Holt, Nepal Semester.

Instructor Introduction: Shanti Magar

“We are all connected by a love for travel!”

Namaste Everyone!!

I hope you all are doing well and getting geared for your travels. I would like to introduce myself to you a bit. I was born and raised in Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal, which celebrates its modernity in the backdrop of ritualism. The place I grew up is a melting pot of many ethnic groups where people come from all over Nepal for many reasons like education, work, marriage etc. My parents came for work and slowly they had a big family here and now we all have many reasons to live here.  I live with my family in Kathmandu where I am the eldest sister of the four siblings. I started my journey with dragons in 2013 as a program assistant while I was in College. Now I am working as a full instructor and very excited for this summer course to begin.

As I am writing this note to you, the window of my room opens into the view of Bhagwati temple with big open squared courtyard, which hosts long lines of devotees every morning. Just behind the temple, there are a number of  old grocery stores that sit next to new super markets; small, rustic tea shops are alongside new, glamorous cafes. Things seem different, but they are not necessarily in contrast. As people navigate their cultural landscape each day, there is continuity in how they share affections between heritages of the past and ambitions of the future.

I am very excited to showcase to you how Nepal lives through its vernacular. Most tourists pass through expressions of the Nepali culture that depict monumental achievements – temple plazas, popular festivals, important sites, etc. But, there is more to learn from the vernacular – expressions of art, music, cuisine, and economy that hide in the subtleties of daily lives. You will live among the people, in villages and in cities, and experience their habits. You will endeavor to learn Nepali and break words with people who cannot help but smile at your humble beginnings. You will look wondrously at people who will be just as curious when you walk past them. Some people will come forward and address you; some people will sit back and wait for you to approach. Regardless, you will experience not just the sights and the sounds of Nepal but also the emotions that are so freely expressed in this small country.

I am grateful to get the chance to meet each one of you and assist you on this journey that has the power to change lives and direction. I want to let you know how proud I am of you, that you dared yourself to get out of your comfort zone to embark on this adventure. There is really no way one could prepare for what this trip might bring but I suggest that you be open to whatever comes your way. Keeping in mind that it is only us that creates our own limits. The team of instructors- Me, Sarah and Michael are here to assist you on your journey.

Please take some time to to introduce yourself here on they yak board.  We are all excited to get to know you!