Minimum GPA: 2.50

Terms and Dates:

  • Fall 2019
  • Spring 2020


Kristen Grace

Housing Options:

Homestay, Hostel/Hotel/Guest House

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 apply?

Applying to study abroad is a 2-Step process.  You may complete both steps simultaneously, but Cornell Approval must be obtained before your program advisor in Global Learning can complete any approval or nomination forms for the program itself. 

  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 webpage.
  2. For Program Admission, complete an external application directly on the program’s webpage, using the link in the “Snapshot” section. Note that this deadline may be in advance of the general Cornell deadline for approval.  Many programs fill by rolling admission.

Only 1st and 2nd choice programs will be considered for Cornell approval.  Cornell Approval is required for credit from Cornell.


Returning Applicants