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Trek View on Nepal: Himalayan Studies Gap Year Semester with Where There Be Dragons

Pre-Course Assignment

Dear Students and Fellow Adventurers,

We are about two weeks away from meeting each other in Nepal! You are all most likely in a stage of preparation, whether you are gathering items to pack, reading up on Nepali culture and history, warming up your legs with long walks, or enjoying the last days of summer with family and friends. You are probably busy and perhaps feeling a mixture of nerves and excitement, anticipation for new experiences but also perhaps sadness at leaving home.

As part of the preparation for your Himalaya course, we would like to remind you to take some time for yourself, whatever that looks like, during these next few weeks so you can arrive rested and ready for our time together.

We would also like to request that you begin reflecting on how to make the most of the learning opportunities presented by the adventure that lies ahead. We believe you will benefit the most by setting intentional goals for yourself, even if those goals change once we start our journey! It is almost too easy to become preoccupied with packing lists, weight limits, and the logistics of travel and sometimes we must actively turn our minds toward thinking about why we are headed somewhere in the first place.

With this in mind, we would like to ask you to complete an important (but short!) pre-course assignment that is outlined below.

  1. Post your first Field Note! We, your instructor team aka Charis, Aditya, Ben and Tsheten, have each posted an introduction note so you can learn a little more about us. Please introduce yourself to the group as we are all excited to get to know you.
  2. Please read “Why We Travel” by Pico Iyer. It’s a classic, stimulating read that covers our own travel motivations and philosophy pretty eloquently. You can find this reading on your Himalaya Course Reader, found on your MyDragons account. Select 2 – 3 quotes that you find interesting, agree with, disagree with, or just resonate in some way with you and write these down in your notebook. We plan to discuss this article and our quotes further during Orientation. If you haven’t acquired one already, we highly suggest bringing a notebook with you to record your experiences, make reflections, and take notes on discussions. It will be useful throughout our course and, regardless of how much you write in it, will be a nice memento at the end of your journey.
  3. In that notebook, or on a loose sheet of paper, after reading Pico Iyer’s article, we ask that you take some time to write a letter. This letter should be addressed to your future self–the self that you’ll meet, and become, after our time together in Nepal. What hopes do you have for that future self? What fears are you feeling that you want that future self, post-Nepal trip, to reflect on and learn from? What goals do hold that you hope your future self has attained through the Nepal trip? Feel free to also share some love, gratitude and all your excitement with your future self. When you arrive at Orientation, the I-Team will give you envelopes to seal these letters in for future reading. To clarify–this letter is for your eyes only, so write whatever you need to!

Please let us know if you have any questions! Post questions to the Field Notes board and we will answer you – this is a useful group tool because even if one of you is asking a question potentially many of you have been wondering the same thing!

Looking forward to hearing from you and speaking with you soon!

Ben, Charis, Tsheten, and Aditya