Experience Nepal Program
This is a five – seven week cross-cultural apprenticeship program in experiential learning designed primarily for university students wanting to take a break from the classroom and learn directly from life experience in different world, and to promote a better understanding between cultures. Much of our emphasis is on independent exploration and apprenticeship. Our program is designed for students taking a break from busy lives in their home countries who have a sincere desire to experience and learn from a foreign culture. It is vital that students come to Nepal sensitive to others’ beliefs and with a willingness to temporarily live by Asian ways. Our guiding credo is “comprehension of the self through detour of the other”. The most important luggage you can bring is an open heart, open to learning from new experiences. We believe there is an enormous amount that one can learn by immersing oneself in an unfamiliar culture.
Most of the program activities will be in Kathmandu where the participants gain an understanding and appreciation of the social, cultural, and political experience and of a non-Western culture. Along with the development of Nepali language skills, the program will provide the students with an in-depth overview through coursework, lectures, discussion, and field experience of Nepali culture, history, and society. Part of the program includes a home-stay with a Nepali family during language and culture training. While living with host families and studying Nepali language, students will have the opportunity to meet with local scholars and activists and learn about Nepal’s history, politics and culture while pursuing a wide range of possible independent study and service learning projects. The program also includes a trekking in the Himalayan Mountain to address the ecological diversity of Nepal.
During the first week of the program, cross-cultural, health and safety, and program orientations are conducted by the program director and other professionals. Through group discussions, readings and other methods, you are introduced to your host country and develop skills for successful cross-cultural communication.
Group Involvement & Independent Emphasis
Many of the activities that take place during the program will call for the entire group, usually 10-15 students to be together. During these times a strong emphasis is placed on group process. As a balance to this, students are given a great deal of unstructured time in which to experience Nepal on their own. We believe that the best way for us to help students to come to know Nepal is by providing opportunities for direct contact and close interaction with Nepalis while allowing participants the freedom to pursue their personal interests. We work closely with each student to identify his or her goals, and we integrate student needs and interests into each itinerary.
Intensive Language Study
Nepali language instruction is a crucial component of the program. Intensive language classes will be conducted to help the participants develop practical skills and immerse students in the daily life of people. CLCT delivers language instruction through qualified and experienced teachers.
Through three to four hours of daily formal classroom instruction and discussion as well as field exercises, you develop conversation skills. With its focus on oral communication, CLCT language learning enriches the academic experience and enhances cultural immersion.
During the homestay period, language classes will continue. Do not let past experiences with language training discourage you; Nepali is very easy to learn. Unlike most other languages, in a short time you will be able to communicate with Nepalis in their own language if you choose to apply yourself.
Living with families, often in both urban and rural settings, deepens your appreciation of another culture and helps you build friendships and confidence to adapt to new environments.
Students will live with Nepali families for approximately two weeks. The character and structure of these families vary considerably. Homestay families arranged by CLCT screened and approved each family’s suitability. These families represent a variety of occupational, educational and economic levels and live in diverse neighborhoods, towns and rural settings. Families include one or more adults and may or may not include children.
During homestay, in addition to sleeping in your family’s home, you become a member of a family and share in its daily life. This opportunity facilitates cultural immersion, helps develop further language skills and provides a context for your academic learning. By adapting to the lifestyle of a family, you will be able to see and experience the essential nature of Nepali life and also learn about the cultural differences between American and Nepali ways. Students frequently cite the homestay as an excellent way of learning about the people and culture.
The success of the homestay experience depends largely on your willingness to adapt as an active family member.
Thematic Seminar and Orientation visits
The program offers lectures, discussions and field trips concerning the history, culture and development, peace and conflict studies, gender issues, environmental and development issues, ecology and conservation, arts and architecture, healing, government and politics, religion within the context of the Nepali culture.
In many cases, this seminar is taught in cooperation with a university or other local academic institutions. Lecturers and instructors from these and other professional local resources are carefully selected to provide a variety of informed perspectives.
Field trips may include community based NGOs, museums, important religious and historical sites and many other tourists attractions.
From academic to hands on study, students find areas of personal interest to explore in depth during your time in Kathmandu. Carpet weaving, jewelry making, wood carving, thangka (Buddhist iconography) painting, music, yoga, meditation are just a few of the apprenticeship opportunities available. Students interested in traditional medicine can work with a Tibetan doctor, or with Ayurvedic practitioners or shamanic healers. With a wide range of NGOs, Kathmandu also offers unparalleled opportunities to learn about the challenges and potential Nepal’s traditional society faces with rapid modernization. For those interested in community service projects, teaching English, volunteering in local orphanages, and participating in environmental awareness programs are just a few of the volunteer opportunities available.
Following the homestay and apprenticeship period, students will be given the opportunity to trek from five to seven days, exploring the plains, hills, and mountains of this remote Himalayan country. This time away from roads, electricity, and modern convenience is a rare and unforgettable experience, offering students time for reflection and decision-making.
Camping in tents or local village lodges, you will trek through areas frequented by foreign trekkers as well as areas relatively unexposed to Western influence. Trekking requires some adjustments in lifestyle, but in exchange for giving up a few luxuries you can have the experience of a lifetime. While trekking the students will share in the traditional lifestyle of the Nepalese people and enjoy fascinating views of snow-capped peaks and lush green valleys with diverse flora and fauna. You will share trails with Nepali porters, water buffaloes, and yaks in the shadows of the world’s highest peaks. You will encounter rural Nepali life far from the city. Trekking in Nepal, unlike hiking in other parts of the world, is more a cultural experience than a wilderness experience. For maximum enjoyment of the trek, we recommend that students come to Nepal physically fit for strenuous walking.