Experience The Tibetan Diaspora and Himalayan family lifestyles: India/Nepal June 30, 2016

By (University of Hartford) - abroad from 01/26/2016 to 05/09/2016 with

SIT Study Abroad: Nepal - Tibetan and Himalayan Peoples

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
A Mustangi Buddhist philosopher named Jimpa once told me; "If you look back, you will be depressed, if you worry about the future then you will be anxious. If you choose to live in the present then you can find peace"

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Nepal was an amazing and life-changing experience! Professors gave engaging lectures in between tours to historical sites such as the Mysuru palace, Swayambunath Stupa in Nepal, and Muktinath Temple in Lower Mustang, Nepal. Fieldwork allowed the students to become emotionally invested in their work, adding to their overall experience. Meeting the residents of Tibetan refugee settlements allowed students to put a face to the articles and stories about the Tibetan cause. Tibetan language class is half working with a language partner and half bench-learning style in a classroom setting. The work load varies depending on the travel schedules. Readings for a unit are usually given out up to a week in advance of the excursion so that students have to time to prepare. Tibetan classes go quickly. Learn the alphabet before flying to Kathmandu because classes start the next day.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

My host family experience was absolutely amazing. They quickly become your best friends giving you advice, cooking and shopping with you, and giving you a window into their everyday lives. My host family treated me like family and the short homestays I had in India and along my journeys were also open and friendly. Losar, Tibetan New Year, was made special by wearing a chupa, or traditional Tibetan dress, drinking homemade chang, which is wheat or barley fermented for a few months, and then boiled and served hot, at five in the morning, and having large dinners and playing cards with friends and family. The more time my Boudha host family and I spent together the more we realized we had in common, and the Boudha apartment began to feel like home.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The Housing was always great. There were always plenty of blankets, and comfy places to sleep, and lots of food. Too much food. The Tibetan people are very generous! They will keep feeding you until you cover the bowl with your hands. The food will be delicious but be warned that they will keep asking if you want more, so do not be shy.

* Food:

Go to the Momo place behind the stupa for the best buffalo momos in town. They place is family-owned and they will make you veg. momos if you ask. Best chicken momos and french friends the color of gold go to the Gold Eye Cafe. Go to Dragon guesthouse and walk past there down the alley to get really good Tibetan-style home-cooking if you're missing your home-stay's cooking. Also, try chow mein and or moms with ketchup and chili .. it's very good :)

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes

Finances

* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

5

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $5-10
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? If you're looking for good food for good prices, go to the cafes near the Dragon guesthouse. The food is very delicious, cheap, and homemade.

Language

* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

5

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Intermediate
How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Learn the alphabet before the program starts. students jump right into their classes at a fast pace. Make your life easier.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with? 10+

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • People
  • Food
  • Locations
* What could be improved?
  • A single day upon arrival to relax and study before classes
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? That freedom can be found only by choosing consciously to live in the present. That my actions now are the sum total of all my experiences so I can choose to have a better present because I can control my own actions.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Nearly Native or Trail Blazer
Craving the most authentic experience possible, perhaps you lived with a host family or really got in good with the locals. You may have felt confined by your program requirements and group excursions. Instead, you'd have preferred to plan your own trips, even skipping class to conduct your own 'field work.'