Tashi Delek! February 22, 2024

By (Geography and Environmental Studies, Gustavus Adolphus College) - abroad from 09/05/2023 to 12/18/2024 with

SIT Study Abroad: Nepal - Tibetan and Himalayan Peoples

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained confidence in myself and ability to connect with anyone, as well as in my skills as a researcher and writer.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? None

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Each assignment offered a new opportunity to think about the reality outside the classroom in an interdisciplinary way, and I never felt overwhelmed with the quantity of work. It was made clear time and time again that "rules are meant to be broken," meaning there was always space made for each student's individual interests and explorations. The ISP project allowed me and my peers to produce some of our proudest work, and while other SIT programs also have this element, there seemed to be something special about it in this particular one. Learning Tibetan was also incredible, and it opened my mind to understanding different patterns of language!

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The coordinators and language teachers of this program are some of the most impassioned, warm-hearted people I have met, and my experience would not have been the same without them. Their support never wavered.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The homestay experience was an adjustment, but one I would not trade for anything. On excursions, the staff ensured that all our needs were met.

* Food:

Delicous, nutritious... and eternal tea!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

While I began to feel integrated in the Tibetan culture and context, I did wish that I was more in touch with the overarching Nepali culture. However, becoming friends with students in the other SIT Nepal program helped me share what I was learning about Tibetan culture and gain insight on their experiences with their Nepali families and friends.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I had no troubles, but a few people in my program did. Their illnesses were easily treatable, and there was quick access to healthcare.

* Safety:

I felt safer walking the streets everywhere in Nepal and India than most places in the US.

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

I trust that I chose this program for a reason, and I felt like I was always at the right place at the right time, even when things were challenging.


* 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)

The US dollar goes far in Nepal, and the program provided all our necessities.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $10-$20 at most


* 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

Due to the homestay arrangements, there was ample time to practice using our Tibetan.

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? Beginner
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? I had never taken Tibetan.
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? Don't be shy!

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

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

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The freedom to explore our own interests.
  • The exposure to a culture sadly under- and misrepresented in the media.
  • The food!
* What could be improved?
  • A more gentle transition during the first week, especially for students that have never travelled.
  • More preparation for how to conduct interviews in the most successful way possible.
  • Different information on what to / to not pack beforehand.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? It is okay to take up space, literally and figuratively, in a place that you do not consider your own. Also-- and this point seems obvious-- the experience and culture of Tibetans in Nepal and India feels different in reality than in books or online, so you have to be more open than you might expect to the individuality of each person's experience and beliefs.

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 Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!