Nepal: Tibetan and Himalayan Peoples
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Time outside the program base exploring different Tibetan communities in diverse geographical and cultural contexts is a major component of the Tibetan and Himalayan Peoples program. Excursions vary from semester to semester but may include visiting some of the following locations:
- The Tibetan Autonomous Region in the People's Republic of China (conditions permitting)
- Tibetan (-oid/-ish) communities in Nepal outside the Kathmandu Valley such as Pokhara or Solu Khumbu
- Tibetan settlements in India such as Bir, Darjeeling, Dharamsala, Kalimpong, Ladakh, or Mussorie
A high altitude trek is usually included in the program, which allows students to visit relatively isolated Tibetan (-oid/-ish) rural communities in the mountains. Comfortable hiking shoes and appropriate clothing is strongly recommended on this physically strenuous trek. Top-quality, high-altitude sleeping bags can be rented or purchased at affordable prices in local trekking shops in Kathmandu.
Through SIT's well-established regional networks, students enjoy unique access to restricted regions during excursions. This access, in turn, allows for assignments which are "absolute firsts" in their own right.
Past achievements include:
- Following a visit to Kya-nak-tsa in the Gungthang area, an SIT student group returned with photographs of Milarepa's birthplace (including the ruins of the “eight pillars, four beams" mansion and the triangular field saved from the hailstorm); these photographs appear to have been the first ever.
- During a visit to the Protector Room (Gön-khang), SIT students obtained photographs depicting the wrathful protectors on the groundfloor of the tower which Tibet's most famous saint built for his severe Guru, Marpa the Translator. When copies were offered to the several hierarchs of the Kagyü order, they were delighted. No one had ever seen photographs of these holy spots.
Duration: 15 weeks
Program Base: Kathmandu
Language Study: Nepali, Tibetan
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