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

A note on Technology

Dear comrades,

As you gear up (literally and figuratively) to head out on our upcoming adventure, we wanted to speak on a very important aspect of our non-packing list: smart phones.

Dragons as an organization has a blanket policy that strongly suggests all students leave smartphones at home. You can read more about that in your materials, but in short, we’ve found phones detract from the experience and create risk management issues for the group. Please carefully read and consider what Dragons has written about smartphones.

Specifically for our Nepal program; we are asking you to leave devices at home. It is amazing how dependent we’ve all become on technology and your time in Nepal will provide a rare opportunity to truly “unplug” from the constant distraction of social media and electronics. It can be truly liberating.

That said, we also know that no matter how much we emphasize it, sometimes one or two students still show up with their device. And heck, we get it… we aren’t “anti-tech” (we even have to carry our phones for work communication).

Instructors will collect any devices (smartphones, tablets, e-Readers etc) from all students once landed in Kathmandu, so please be ready to turn them in if you have them during your travel period to Nepal.

What we don’t want is for you to enter a home-stay, pop in your ear buds, and tune out of the experience around you. We’ve seen electronic devices tear students away from their present surroundings, increase homesickness, keep one foot in Asia and one-foot longing for the feed on what is happening back home. Even our longest and most arduous travel days, precisely when you want to listen to your favourite tune to pass time, can hold the most amazing and unexpected cultural interactions. We need to keep our eyes and ears open (i.e., not looking at a screen or listening to music) to engage in those unplanned moments.

Do not come with an international calling/data plan and do not plan to get a local plan. If your smartphone is your only camera, please bring a separate camera. Smart phones are not practical or ideal as a primary camera, as we will often be in dirty, wet, humid or other conditions.

Though electronics are widely available in Kathmandu, because tariffs are high and items are infrequently warrantied, duplicate, or difficult to find exactly what you may want, we recommend bringing your camera/audio recorder from the States

We also would like you leave all Kindle-type e-Readers and tablets at home. Even if they don’t have WiFi, they are still a real distraction from what’s happening around you, sucking you into them and missing important moments! If you want, use your Intro Post on the Yak Board to tell the group what book(s) you’re bringing – this way we can avoid carrying multiple copies of the same book, to plan on sharing books among the group!