Isabelle Onians, PhD

Isabelle received her doctorate in oriental studies from the University of Oxford (2002). She came to Kathmandu in 1990 as a volunteer teacher in a Tibetan monastery school and returned in 1992–1993 to study Tibetan and Sanskrit at Tribhuvan University.

Isabelle’s research and experience have focused on classical philosophical, religious, and literary texts. She has studied those texts in the context of exposure to and interaction with contemporary cultures, people, politics, and landscapes, principally along the Himalayas, in the Tibetan regions and neighboring areas, and in South Asia. Her dissertation examined an apparent paradox in Tantric Buddhism, using Indian and Tibetan sources. Isabelle was a founding member of the Clay Sanskrit Library team, preparing bilingual editions and translations of Sanskrit literature. In addition to managing and co-editing the whole series, her own volume is a 7th-century coming-of-age novel, a Sanskrit narrative of 10 young men’s experiential education and study abroad.

Isabelle has taught graduate and undergraduate courses in Indo-Tibetan Buddhist studies at the Universities of Oxford and London and at Mahidol University in Bangkok. She has researched and lectured at institutions across the world and led a Royal Geographical Society Oxford University expedition to the Tibetan plateau.


  • PhD, University of Oxford, Oriental Studies
Isabelle Onians, PhD

SIT Study Abroad

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