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Photo by Kendall Marianacci, Nepal Semester.

A Tentative Itinerary

Greetings Everyone, Welcome to Himalayan Studies B Spring 2019

In a few weeks you shall be in one of the most blessed and majestic lands that is going to put an indelible mark on your life, consciousness and memories. We the I-team and the admin have been working to design a course that is profoundly meaningful, full of wisdom, challenging and fun!

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.

Please do keep in mind that this a tentative itinerary and will involve change in plans. A meaningful journey is abundant in spontaneity, surprises and challenges. We trust that you will come with an open mind and an open heart to embrace the change. 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 – Orientation in Dhulikhel : As you arrive your Instructor team will be welcoming you in Nepal and we will then drive to Dhulikhel, a historical hill station town in the east of Kathmandu. Here at the Dhulikhel resort, we’ll recover from our long journey, start to learn about Nepal (including some language lessons and cultural introductions), and get to know one another through orientation activities, discussions and time together to explore and play. Dhulikhel with its serene surroundings, thriving nature and vibrant culture will give us plenty of chance to witness the diversity of culture and its powerful expression.

Week 2 – 3 Welcome to the Rural Homestay where we will live with our host families experiencing authentic rural village culture and being a part of a village life! We will spend hours each day engaging with our families from harvesting crops to feeding cattle to carrying firewood, sipping tea on the porch, playing with our Homestay siblings etc.We will also discuss issues of conservation, development, rural identity, and spirituality. We will start learning Nepali language skills with a language teacher so that we can have conversations with our families. At the end of our rural homestay, we will embark on a trek to surrounding nature for a couple days.

Week 4 : Following our rural homestay we will spend some time in one of the most renowned Buddhist Monasteries in Nepal. Here you will get to see full fledged practice of Tibetan Buddhism in daily life. From the chants going in the shrine room with hundreds of monks to the peaceful surroundings and crisp air blowing through this immaculate monastery complex you will be thoroughly inspired. During our time here, we will get to learn about fundamentals of Buddhist meditation and teachings from a master (Khenpo) and learn how we can cultivate what we’ve learnt there in life onwards.

Week 5-6 Following our monastery stay, we will head out to the majestic Himalayas trekking through the terrains carved by rivers and graced by mountains. From sprawling villages to cold mountain camps we will do it expedition style, working as a team. The trek will challenge us on many levels but will be a wonderful tool to understand ourselves and others to create a compassionate and responsible unit of travellers to move these lands with humility and grace.

Week 7 – 10 Patan Homestay : Welcome to Patan!! A medieval city with breathtakingly intricate heritage and history that has been in practice through centuries. You will be living with families indigenous to Patan whose members are inseparable parts of its heritage. Patan is a city of artisans, a city of devotees, a city of ancient spirit in modern world. A cultural capital of Nepal, we will spend our time here diving into our independent study Projects with mentors, honing/practicing our Nepali language skills and exploring different pertinent topics with the group and with expert guest presenters.

Our schedule at Patan roughly shall look like follows.

Monday through Friday, you will arrive in the morning to our Program House for optional yoga and/or meditation, breakfast, Nepali language lessons, a guest speaker or an instructor or student-led discussion, followed by lunch together. Afternoons will be dedicated to your ISPs, a project where each of you will delve into an aspect of the culture that most interests you. Past students have done projects ranging from artisanal handicrafts, traditional paintings, religious practices, music, and dance. If you want, you can choose a research-based internship. We’re here to help you find a mentor and resources according to your interests and passions to make this learning experience come alive!In the weekends you will be spending time with your homestay families and exploring the surrounding places through student led excursion trips which provide incredible tools to sharpen your leadership and navigation skills.Over the course of our Patan home-stays we will take occasional getaways to interesting places nearby.

Week 11 : X phase – The penultimate week of our course will be dedicated to let you all apply all the learning that you have done to design a week full of learning, adventure and fun. The instructors will work as guides and take a step back while you take the reins of logistics, planning and curriculum.

Week 12 : Transference – The last week of our course will be dedicated in celebrating our journey, our accomplishments, the bonds and the moments that we shared as we prepare ourselves for the journey back home. We head to Kathmandu to say our final goodbyes and hugs.

Please do not worry, we will go through the itinerary in detail when we meet here in Nepal. Our aim here is to give you a general idea on the itinerary which can inform your preparation for the course.

Over the next two couple weeks, one of your instructors will try to schedule a Skype or a phone call to hear from you and answer any queries about this course and preparation. Please do check your emails and let them know the time that suits best for you.

Please keep checking the Yak board for updates and additional information. If you have any questions please feel free to reach out to us anytime.