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Photo by Catherine Von Holt, Nepal Semester.

Preparation and Packing

Dear Friends,

It has been wonderful to read the introductions that have been posted so far – it has gotten me so excited for our upcoming adventure! As your departure date draws near, we know that many of your thoughts will turn to how to best prepare for the experience ahead. As well as all the information you have been sent by Dragons, we thought we would highlight a few bits of key information.


Our trip will take place during the winter season in Nepal. It is a wonderful time of year to visit as we will hopefully be treated to clear skies, sunny days, and (with any luck) spectacular views of the snow-capped Himalayas!

On the other hand, we will need to be prepared for cold weather. I should clarify that when we say “cold” in Kathmandu we don’t mean the dramatic kinds of temperatures that you have been seeing over in the US these last few months! Kathmandu does not get below freezing (although it sometimes gets close) and highs will be around 60. The main time that we will need to stay wrapped up and warm will be the evenings and early mornings, as Kathmandu houses don’t have central heating. We’ll be doing whatever we can to keep you warm!

In terms of clothing – layers are best as you are likely to be peeling them off in the afternoon sunshine.


This is not a trekking intensive program so hiking boots are not essential. However, we do plan to take one day to walk up into the Chandragiri foothills near the ashram, and may also participate in some farming work, so sturdy closed-toed shoes that are comfortable for walking and working in are important. For me this will be my hiking boots, but sneakers will also be fine. Sandals are optional – they may be the most comfortable footwear for navigating the city, but you might want to consider pairing them up with some thick socks.


Staying healthy in Nepal requires a little more vigilance than in the US, so we would like to provide you with some thoughts on staying healthy for the trip. We will be discussing these issues in much more depth when we are all together, but there are a few preventative medicines/supplements you may want to consider bringing with you to give your system a boost and to reduce the chances of getting sick.

Here are a few ideas…
Pro-Biotics (A solid probiotic option is Nutrition Now PB 8 non-refrigerated pills)
Echinacea or Airborne to fight off colds
Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE) – acts like a natural antibiotic (nutribiotic)
Activated Charcoal – acts to absorb bacteria and toxins in the intestines

No part of the program will take place in malarial areas and it is not the season for mosquitoes.

Homestay gifts

As part of our program, you will be staying with artisan families in the old Newari town of Patan. These families have been working with Dragons for many years and usually host students on our summer and gap year programs. The families love this work and the cultural exchange that comes with it, and they are intrigued about what the differences of hosting adult participants will be!

There is no program expectation to provide gifts to the families. However, small gifts can often be a way for bonding and breaking down cultural barriers, so bringing things from your hometown or tokens for the families to remember you by are welcomed. Ideas include: photos and posters, a locally-made candy or craft, a printed tea-towel or other souvenir from your town. Please keep gifts inexpensive so as to not raise expectations for future guests.

Your Yak Board!

This board belongs to us, and we hope to cultivate some lively discussion here. This starts NOW! For those of you who haven’t already introduced yourself, please do that whenever you can. I will be posting some suggested reading and a tentative itinerary in the next few days. Also, as you make your preparations, please direct any questions about packing or final logistics here and myself or Rishi will get back to you as soon as we can.

Namaste, friends!

Claire & Rishi