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Photo by Catherine Von Holt, Nepal Semester.


Dear Students,
It’s hard to believe, but in less than three weeks you’ll be touching down in Kathmandu to begin our journey together! Your arrival in Nepal will be such a special time, and it will mark an important threshold: together we will move from the familiarity of home into a brand new space of learning and transformation.

In order to prepare for this long-awaited moment of arrival, we ask that you complete a short pre-course assignment, which has two parts:
(1) Write and post a brief personal introduction.
This does not need to be a long, eloquent essay — we just want to hear a little bit about who you are and what drew you to commit to a three month gap year program in Nepal. (Pictures are wonderful!)

(2) Read Pico Iyer’s essay “Why We Travel,” and post a short response.
Pico Iyer is an acclaimed travel writer, and in his essay “Why We Travel” (attached to this Yak), he reflects about the innate human call to journey the world, and what it means to ethically and meaningfully connect with place. We would love to hear your thoughts about this essay — does Iyer’s message resonate with your personal motivation to travel? Is there anything that you disagree with? For your response, we ask that you simply post a short paragraph with either of the following: a) a quote that you found noteworthy and why it struck you, or b) a question that Iyer’s essay brought up for you and why. You’re welcome to include this reflection as a part of your personal introduction, or to post it as a separate Yak.

Thanks so much for taking the time to complete this assignment! We hope that it will help you transition to thinking about our upcoming adventure in more concrete terms, and help you to set intentions for yourself as you prepare to fly across seas and hemispheres. We can’t wait to read your introductions and reflections!

Also, if you have any questions, please feel free to post them to the Yak board, and one of us will respond as soon as possible.


Shanti, Sarah and Michael


Why We Travel