Hello and welcome to your tentative itinerary! Over the past few weeks, we’ve begun planning our semester together and we want to share this with you. Please remember that some things might change due to the flexible nature of Dragon’s programming. 🙂 Let’s have a look as the itinerary!
Week 1 Orientation and Mini Trek – After you all arrive in the country on September 17 morning at the Tribhuwan International airport , we will begin our adventure in Nagarkot a beautiful village located in the rim of the Kathmandu Valley. This place is known for the most scenic view of the mountains of the Eastern region and offers panoramic view of Kathmandu Valley. We will settle into the a guesthouse where we will spend about five days. Orientation is a time for us all to prepare for the journey ahead: we will begin getting to know each other and Nepal, establish the group culture, talk about our goals and start learning Nepali Language and of course we will definitely be doing some exploring.
Following our time at orientation we shall venture into the surrounding mountains of Kathmandu for trek through sprawling forests graced with wonderful view of the Himalayas. A time to stretch our vision and our physical limits, we hike from morning to evenings with periodic quick rests.
Week 2 Monastery Stay –.After we come off from the mini trek, we will do our retreat at a monastery in the Kathmandu Valley, where a khenpo, a title used for those who have achieved the highest levels of monastic education, will talk to us about Buddhist history, philosophy, practices and community. We will definitely talk a lot about the retreat before we embark on it- the retreat often challenges our ideas and identities and we want you to be able to dive into new concepts with as much support as we can provide!!
Week 3 – Gundu and Trek prep – After the monastery stay, we plan to spend a couple of days at a nearby permaculture farm where we will learn about agriculture, sustainability and get our hands dirty! Then we will head to the town called Boudha a religiously significant place where pilgrims come from all over the world will be the place where we will spend two days for getting prepared for the trek.
Week 4-5-Trek – We know this is a part of the semester many of you are looking forward to! Although, we haven’t decided yet for which trekking route we will be doing, we will finalise about it when we all meet at the Instructor orientation. While the trek will definitely challenge us all, both physically and mentally, it will also bring us all together as a group. We will learn about and practice our expedition behaviour, continue to discuss issues of development and dive deep into questions about conservation and sustainability. The views also promise to be grand. 🙂
Weeks 6 & 7 Mid-course and Rural Homestay – 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.
Following midcourse, brimming with questions and calm, we will travel to our 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, playing with our Homestay siblings etc. We will also discuss issues of service, development, rural identity, and spirituality. The language skills that we have acquired over the semester will be very useful during this time as we interact with our home-stay families and members of the community. Nested on the laps of majestic green hills expect sipping tasty Nepal tea with some sweet views of the village while you are in awe with where you have arrived.
Here, we’ll work with families in their homes and fields, discuss issues surrounding development, service and progress, to name a few. You will also get the chance to use your newly acquired language skills to communicate with and get to know the community.
Weeks 8 – X phase #1, – One of the most exciting opportunities you will have on your semester will be to plan and execute something called an Expedition or X-Phase. You’ll book tickets, plan activities, lead discussions. This is a time when instructors take a step back so that you all can begin to cultivate important travel and leadership skills.
Week 9,10 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 awesome 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 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 homestays we will take occasional getaways to interesting places nearby. In our final week in Kathmandu, we will wrap up our ISP’s, prepare for our ISP presentations, and host a big gratitude party for our homestay families and ISP mentors.
Week 11- X phase 2 – While we are in Patan Homestay, you will be able to do able to use some of this time to continue planning and put the final touches on your second X-phase. We want you all to be able to have two occasions on which you have autonomy and responsibility. You will have to do some planning ahead of time, but we have no doubt that you’ll manage to create an excellent little adventure for us. 🙂
Week 12- Transference – Before we come to the end of our time together, we like to take time to reflect on the months we’ve spent together, but also think about how we can carry this trip forward into the next phase of our lives. At Dragons, we call this Transference. This intentional, often emotional and important time together will mark the end of our semester, but the beginning of something new and just as special.
As we say our (tearful) goodbyes, we’ll be sad this time is over, but so excited to see what awaits us all.
We hope this itinerary is helpful to you and that it gets you excited about our semester!
And!! … Please post your introductions on the Yak board. It’s a wonderful way to know the community. We at Dragons LOVE the Yak board.
Tell us a little about yourself – What are you excited about? What are you passionate about in life? How are you spending these final weeks prior to our departure?
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.
Your Instructor Team