Dear Team Himalayan–C in just a few weeks we will be together on this journey in an amazing land. As we are in the final stages of preparation for our trip, we are posting this tentative itinerary for you to get even more excited and for families and friends to be able to follow along a bit more closely.
Our journey will be strung in three core values we strive to incorporate in each of our courses here at WTBD : Global Citizenship, Awareness of Self and Leadership. These three core values work as anchors and sails to guide the course towards the most meaningful experience for us all. Additionally our semester in Nepal will move through a progression of three phases:
Preparation and Skill Acquisition, where we set intentions for our course, develop skills so we can learn and thrive in Nepal, and build a strong, cohesive group; Experience and Practice, where we continue to develop these skills and put them into action, enabling us to connect deeper with the local community and continue to reflect on our personal and group intentions, and Expedition and Transference, where the students (you!) take more ownership for your learning experience, have increased leadership responsibilities, and put your skills into practice.
We want you to keep in mind that this is a tentative itinerary and can be subject to change. We would like you to come with an open heart and mind and embrace any change that might come. In these courses we intentionally leave some room for efforts to incorporate your aspirations, abilities and goals to the highest level without straying away from our core values. As much as we give our best in planning, it is intentionally a work in progress.
So without further adieu, here’s the tentative outline for our time in Nepal.
Week 1: On the 17th of September Aditya, Micah and Sharon your instructor team will receive you at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu. A 45 minute bus ride will take us to our orientation program site in Dhulikhel, a hill station east of Kathmandu. Here we will spend time getting familiar with one another, the country and its customs. We will be learning Nepali and gaining tools and insight to adapt to an amazing new country and community.
After our orientation we head to Patalakhet, 11 kms east of Dhulikhel to a permaculture farm to explore the idea of permaculture and sustainable organic farming.
Week 2-3: Time for our rural homestay! Yayy!! We will be living with homestay families and experiencing authentic rural life here. We will be waking up early and engaging with our families doing household chores from carrying water from the nearby spring, collecting firewood, feeding cattle to playing with our homestay siblings. The language classes will continue here and will come to great use while communicating with the community and homestay families in the village.
Week 4-5: Time to get in those hiking boots and breathe in the Himalayas! Where we will get to witness sights that one usually never forgets. We will be passing through rugged terrain and beautiful views as a team and learning about expedition behavior, teamwork and the Himalayas. While we overcome different challenges together it gives us great opportunity for personal growth; to understand oneself better, to be caring and compassionate to others and to travel with humility, integrity and grace.
Week 6– It is hard to believe that by this time we will have come midway through the course. This calls for a time to celebrate, reflect and re-invigorate ourselves, individually and as a group for the rest of our journey. Boudha a religiously significant place where pilgrims come from all over the world will be the place where we will have our mid-course retreat. This place will also be the gateway for our experience for the monastery stay during our Buddhist retreat later in the course. Towards the latter half of this week we will head to Patan the old Nepali kingdom and get introduced to our urban homestay families.
7-9: During these weeks we will continue to spend our time with our urban homestay families. The city of Patan is filled with religious art and architecture. This is the most structured phase of the program. You can expect your schedule to be as follows, in the mornings Monday through Friday you will come to the program house. We will have breakfast followed by Nepali lessons, a lecture by a guest speaker, instructor or student led discussions and then lunch. After lunch we dedicate our time to our ISP’s a project where each of you will delve into an aspect of the culture that most interests you. Weekends will be spent with your homestay families and student led excursion trips which provide incredible tools and opportunities to sharpen your leadership and navigation skills. While in Patan you will also get to observe the biggest Hindu festival ‘Tihar’ and participate in it with our families.
Week 10: Monastery Retreat begins!! While at the monastery we will dive into the world of Buddhism where we will spend our days in meditation and learning about the Dharma from respected Buddhist scholars. The serene atmosphere of the monastery is the perfect place to sow the seeds of reflection. We will be eating, praying with the monks and observing them closely while practicing dharma teachings in our own lives.
Week 11: This is the last week of our course it is time for all of us to celebrate our journey. We will reflect on the past three months, the things that we have learned, the relationships that we have forged and the moments that we have shared together. It is time now to look ahead and prepare for our journey back home!!