The Land of the Dalai Lama
Tibet offers the Westerner one of the most alluring visions of Asia. Much of the culture is shrouded in a deep and sometimes mystical spirituality as the region rises dramatically into the mysterious Himalayas. The country, for the most part, is staunch in its own ideals regardless of the rigid control foisted on it from China.
Revered as a pacifist, Buddhist kingdom, Tibet is growing in modernity; its tourism industry is on the rise, playing host to mostly, and ironically, Chinese visitors. Still, international students can pursue a range of studies in Tibet, including culture, language, humanitarianism, health and wellness, and sociopolitical engagement.
The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarships may help students wishing to study in Tibet. Only offered to disadvantaged undergraduate students, Gilman Scholarships are a huge asset to the corps of scholarship programs. More than 2,000 scholarships are awarded to outstanding college students whose programs will take them to places they could not afford to venture on their own. Funded by the federal government, the program was established as a means to diversify the next generation of global leaders. Candidates must be Pell Grant recipients to qualify. Awards are up to $5,000.
Study Abroad Organizations
The School for International Training offers the “Nepal: Tibetan and Himalayan Peoples” program, allows students to gain access to a rich array of interdisciplinary resources throughout the Kathmandu Valley and beyond, learning with prominent Buddhist teachers, as well as regional, ethnic groups, such as Sherpa, community political players and experts.
SIT helpings students gain an advantage in education by providing innovative and discipline-specific programs mixed with homestays with local families. Each year, the organization awards approximately $750,000 in scholarships and grants, ranging from $500 to $5,000, which are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Here are some of the several awards:
- The Sally Bragg Baker Memorial Scholarships go to a female participant who demonstrates a desire to create a more peaceful world through international exchange.
- SIT Pell Grant Match Award matches federal Pell Grant funding for all study abroad programs.
- The Compton Fund is for students enrolled with environmental, peace studies, or sustainable development themes.
- The Workum Fund is designed to support the education of students wishing to study in Indian subcontinent (India and Nepal), including Tibetan and Himalayan studies.
- HBCU Scholarships are for students enrolled at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
The University of Virginia annually awards more than a dozen Center for Global Health – University Scholar Awards for students in all disciplines who design and carry out interdisciplinary research projects related to global health. The health-related projects cn be located in Asia, including Tibet. Students are chosen based on the proposed topic of study or humanitarian activity. Up to $5,000 helps to cover student travel, living, and project expenses.
Check with your university, department of study, or study abroad program leader if you are pursuing intensive studies in international relations, peace studies, world theologies or a similar field; you may be able to craft your own research project or they can help you find a suitable immersion program in Tibet.