This travel study course offers an opportunity for service learning. Students will gain real world experience of multiculturalism, gender and community development in Nepal, and see how their efforts in education and social change affect the lives of people in the rural and urban part of the country. The trip will be collaborated with various grass root level NGOs, government agencies and local organizations where students will have opportunity to interact with different ethnic, cultural, community groups, and work with local teachers, community leaders and social workers. In addition to the service learning opportunity, students will also attend classes on multiculturalism, education policies, environment, human rights, gender and sustainable development, and social change efforts in Nepal.
Locations and Trip Highlights:
After arrival in Kathmandu, Nepal we will visit some of the popular historic sites, ancient temples, shires and beautiful locations around the city. We will meet with some vibrant and wonderful local people. We will explore Nepalese history, culture, traditions and learn different aspects of ancient architecture. Kathmandu is the capital city of Nepal which stands at an elevation of around 4,300 feet and inhabited by 1.3 million people.
Our second destination will be Dhading Besi which is about 3 hours’ drive west of Kathmandu. We will spend most of our time in Dhading Besi visiting many community projects and schools, and working together with the local people and NGO representatives. It is the head quarter of Dhading district where most of the government agencies and other offices are located. Most of the people in this small town and surrounding hills depend on agriculture as their main lively hood, and grow corn, rice, potatoes, wheat and millet. Dhading Besi is also popular as starting point of Manaslu and Ganesh Himal trek, very popular trekking destinations in Nepal.
We will visit Pokhara, the gateway to Annapurna region, and celebrate New Year’s Eve with local people at the weekend. We will learn about Thakali and Gurung cultures, and enjoy the beautiful views of ancient lakes, waterfalls, gorges and majestic Himalaya Mountains.
We will visit Chitwan Notational Park (CNP) during another weekend and say hello to Nepalese tigers. Chitwan National Park is the home of a varied and sizable wildlife population in Asia. Students will have excellent chance to see one-horned rhinos, elephants, deer, monkeys and up to 544 species of birds. Chitwan is also a popular destination to learn about Tharu culture, an indigenous ethnic groups of Nepal. This will be an ideal time to witness the extensive biodiversity of Nepal as we travel from some of the highest mountains in the world to the plains of the Terai that eventually stretch into India.
All of our plans will remain flexible based on the local political climate and opportunities that may present themselves as we travel. We may go trekking in the hills, enjoy views of the Himalayas, meet local people and learn about local culture and traditions at the weekend in case any of our program changes due to unavoidable situations.
The Nepal program will have three broad objectives:
- To provide general understanding of history, culture, education, gender and development in the social change process of Nepal.
- To offer service learning opportunity to the students so that they can apply their skills and knowledge into practice in rural and urban settings.
- To provide specific knowledge on multi-culture, education, sustainable development and social change process, and see the implication of such efforts to poor and minority women, men and children in the rural Nepal.
At the completion of the study abroad program students will be able to:
- Express their understanding of rich, historical, cultural, social, educational, gender and sustainable economic development process of Nepal
- Explain the challenges and interventions of government and non-government organizations in social, educational, gender and economic development efforts
- Demonstrate cultural awareness and sensitivity to work effectively with people from multicultural backgrounds
- Respect for cultural diversity and be able to promote inclusive culture at their workplace
- Explain how culture plays role in education, gender and social change process
- Compare and contrast cultures, gender roles, education systems, economic and social change efforts between the US and the host country Nepal.
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