I want to start off by saying how excited I am to be an instructor on this program. Although this will be my first time working for Where There Be Dragons, it will be the start of the 6th year I have been living and working in Nepal.
I first arrived in Nepal in 2012 and quickly became fascinated with the linguistic, ethnic, and geographic diversity of the country and its people. For nine months I lived with a host family in Gorkha district and taught English at a local government school. From there, my passion for the country only expanded and I strived to find a way to stay after my grant ended.
Luckily, I was able to find a job that not only allowed me to live in Nepal full-time, but also combined three of my passions. For that past four years, I taught Anthropology (my college major) at a Nepali high school in Kathmandu Valley. Additionally, I was an academic counselor, helping my students with the international college application process. On the weekends, I would also lead hiking, climbing, and camping trips.
For the past six months, I have taken some time off. In that time I have been able to explore the Sierra in my home state of California, catch up with friends and family, and spend two months cycle touring through Patagonia.
One of the reasons why I was drawn to work for Dragons and why I am so excited to be an instructor is because of the core values. They have been core to a lot of the ways in which I have traveled and lived my life. Although I could go in-depth on all of them I will list off three and briefly describe their importance to me, especially in Nepal:
Language Study: This is the best way to gain insight and perspective into a culture. Although it may seem daunting to learn a new language, especially one so geographically specific, you can do it! Nepali is a language that is forgiving with its flexibility and really can open doors for you if you put yourself out there and are willing to make mistakes as you learn it. Even as I was in my early stages of learning the language I found most Nepalis to be patient if not grateful that I was making the effort to speak in (one of) their mother tongue(s).
Home-stays: I believe that language study and home-stays go hand in hand and will be the best way for you to practice and apply the language skills which you are learning. Your host families will also be your guides into everyday life, and I wouldn’t be surprised if you learn more from them then you do from many other activities. My host family was vital in solidifying my appreciation for the culture (and love of Nepali food).
Trekking: Nepal in one of the best, if not the best place in the world for this. I have spent over 5 months trekking in Nepal and I still cannot wait to get back to the mountains. I enjoy doing this not only because I like hiking and appreciating the scenery, but also because these treks tend to take you to more remote parts of Nepal with diverse cultures and languages. Although we will be going to a remote location for trekking, I want to reiterate Dragons emphasis on safety, which was one of the reasons I chose to work for Dragons. There are many resources and local connections set up in place.
I know you all must be a mixture of nervous and excited and that’s ok. That is exactly how I was when I first came to Nepal. I ask though that you come with an open mind and be ready to challenge yourself.
I look forward to meeting you very soon and please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns that you may have.