Pandemic Message

Pandemic Update: For updates on the current status of each opportunity, please contact the Advisor listed, or for courses, check the linked Class Roster page.


Minimum GPA: 2.50

Terms and Dates:

  • Fall 2019
  • Spring 2020
  • Fall 2020
  • Spring 2021


Kristen Grace

Cornell Affiliations:

Global Learning

Off-campus partner:

SIT - School for International Training


Opportunity Description

Learn about Tibetan and Himalayan politics and religion and the issues faced by communities in exile.

What is unique about this program?

  • Learn about the schools of Tibetan Buddhism, Newar and Theravadin Buddhist traditions in Nepal, religious tourism and pilgrimage, and meditation and retreat.
  • Go on a high-altitude trek in the Himalayas to visit isolated Tibetan communities.  Travel to India, Bhutan, and/or the Tibetan Autonomous Region in China (conditions permitting).
  • Explore varieties of beliefs and practices amongst different groups of Himalayan people
  • Develop an understanding of the politics inherent in processes of everyday life in an exile community
  • Explore cultural transformation and preservation, identity and social change, religious revival, and regional geopolitics.
  • Discover contemporary Tibetan and Himalayan society, sciences, and arts.
  • Do independent research in Nepal; Dharamsala, India; Bhutan; or another approved location.
  • Learn the Tibetan language and, if you choose, Nepali.
  • Travel and conduct fieldwork with Tibetan and/or Himalayan students. Choose to do an Independent Study Project (ISP) or an internship in the last four weeks of the program.

Why go to Nepal to study Tibetan people and culture?

Through SIT’s well-established regional networks, you will enjoy unique access to restricted regions. This access has already created remarkable firsts for SIT students. They’ve brought back what appear to be the first-ever photos of saint, yogi, and poet Milarepa’s birthplace, Kya-nak-tsa in Gungthang, and photos from the tower he built for his guru, Marpa the Translator. Other students photographed a snow leopard in western Nepal.

Nepal is the site of the birthplace of Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha.  Lumbini in the southern Terai region is one of the holiest places of one of the world's great religions, and its remains contain important evidence about the nature of Buddhist pilgrimage centers from as early as the 3rd century BC. It is now a UNESCO world heritage site.

How do I choose among programs?

  • See the Office of Global Learning’s “Selecting a Program” page for information on program types and considerations
  • Use the search features on the Experience Cornell  Opportunities page to filter for programs approved by your college, and by particular subject areas
  • Go to the “Get Advice” page for information on drop-in advising hours, scheduling an advising appointment, returned student contacts, and college advisors for study abroad
  • Find out about upcoming events, check out FAQs, and read stories from returned study abroad students

How do I apply?

Applying to study abroad is a two-step process. You may complete both steps simultaneously, but the Cornell approval process must be complete before your program advisor in the Office of Global Learning can submit any approval or nomination to the program.

  1. For Cornell Approval, click on the "Apply" button on this webpage. Applications are approved by the Office of Global Learning on a rolling basis until the application deadline listed on this page.
  2. For Program Admission, complete an external application directly on the program’s webpage, using the link in the “Snapshot” section. (Note: This deadline may be in advance of the general Cornell deadline for approval. Many programs fill by rolling admission.)