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Tentative Itinerary

Dear students,

We hope you are getting excited for our time of shared learning in India! We have enjoyed planning for our adventure and the places it will move through, and are happy to share with you this tentative itinerary.

This itinerary is designed to address the essential program components that make up every Dragons experience – Comparative Religion, Survey of Development, Focus of Inquiry, Homestay, Independent Study Project, Language Study, Learning Service, Rugged Travel, and Trekking – in the unique context of North India. Please note that we say “tentative” because we wish to leave space to seize spontaneous opportunities and to respond to unforeseeable challenges that may arise while on course in our dynamic and complex setting.

September 16th, late PM: Your instructors will be there to meet you upon arrival at Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi. Transfer to guesthouse near the airport where we will spend the night.

September 17th: We will catch an early flight to Leh, Ladakh. You will want to stay awake for the spectacular show of the sun rising above the Himalaya, as we ascend from the Gangetic plain to the high-altitude desert region of Ladakh, in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. We will spend the first month on course in Ladakh, the land of high passes and rolling hills, where the green of tall poplar trees is beautifully offset against the bluest skies, and the horizon rimmed by glaciated peaks.

Week 1 is dedicated to coming together as a group and orienting ourselves to place and to the course. We will spend the first half in the village of Phyang, getting acclimatized and getting to know one another, before moving to the bustling city of Leh, to begin our exploration of Ladakhi culture, history, and development.

Week 2 is when we move into our rural homestay in Tar, to stay with local families, and tune into the rhythm of village life along a small Indus river tributary.

Week 3 We will then spend time on the campus of the Students’ Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh (SECMOL), a progressive educational organization devoted to cultural and ecological preservation.

Week 4, our last week in Ladakh, is when we set off on a trek, taking us over one or more high passes as we move from valley to valley in the shadows of majestic Himalayan peaks.

October 18th: Morning flight to Delhi, where we will spend the day before boarding an overnight train to Varanasi, the City of Light.

October 19th: Upon arrival in Varanasi, we will settle into our month-long homestays in and around Assi Ghat, on the banks of the holy river Ganga, and begin to immerse ourselves in the daily life in the new city.

Weeks 5-9 In the weeks that we will be based out of Varanasi, students will be participating in group workshops, learning Hindi and studying with local artisans, musicians, and mentors in their Independent Study Projects. We may take weekend trips to explore other cities along the Ganga. It is our intention to base as much of student learning on your own interests and to provide some space for student-initiated and student-led activities.

During this time we will also set aside a few days for our mid-course process of reflection and offering feedback, in order to reorient and recommit for the latter half of our time together.

In addition, we will devote about one week to a meditation retreat, taking time to delve more deeply into one of India’s traditions of spiritual practice and more deeply into ourselves and our own minds. Taking a physical and mental step away from the excitement of life in Varanasi into one of North India’s many quieter holy sites, this will serve as an ideal time for self-reflection and digesting our experience thus far.

The last week of November is when we launch into Expedition Phase! This is when instructors step back, and students take responsibility of course design, learning outcomes, planning, and execution. This will be explained in more detail later on in the course, but we are already excited to see what you will put together for us all!

December 2nd-6th: This is our Transference Phase, when we will settle into a relaxed and space to spend a few days preparing for the transition home and reflecting on our journey.

December 6th, late PM: Departures from Indira Gandhi International Airport.

We have really enjoyed reading your introductions! If you have not yet had a chance to tell us a little (or a lot!) about yourself, please take some time to post an introduction in the next few days.

Affectionately,
Your iTeam