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Adventures Through Nepal: My Journey With National Geographic Student Expeditions

16 Aug 2016 | Claudia Reid

Tagged: Collaborators & Supporters, Possibilities, Aspire,

This summer, DIRECTV, now part of the AT&T family, and FOX Networks (parent company of National Geographic) sent 4 amazing high school students from across the United States and Latin America on a National Geographic Student Expedition through the Nat Geo Mundo Explorer competition. These once-in-a-lifetime adventures took the 4 students on immersive learning trips, where they explored exciting destinations with National Geographic photographers, scientists and writers from all over the world. Over the next several weeks, we will be sharing their trip stories, beginning with Claudia Reid, a rising senior from Southside High School in Alabama. 

Claudia with child v2

Namaste! My name is Claudia Reid and this summer I was given the life-changing opportunity to travel to Nepal with National Geographic Student Expeditions. I spent 18 days in this beautiful country learning the history of Kathmandu, serving in a children’s home in the Talamarang village and seeing firsthand the damages from the 2015 earthquake. I even had the chance to ride an elephant through the jungle in Chitwan! Through it all, I was given an incredible new perspective on a country 8,000 miles away from my own, and a newfound respect and admiration for its people.

The trip began with 2 days in Kathmandu, where we visited museums, met the “Living Goddess” Kumari, and spent time exploring the holy Monkey Temple. We then made our way to a Children’s Home in Talamarang to engage in our community service projects, which included building irrigation systems and a meditation sanctuary, cementing a goat pen, clearing gardens, teaching English to the children and educating them on the importance of hygiene. Spending time with these children and working with this community was one of the highlights of my trip, enabling me to answer the calling I have long felt to serve others. While I felt I could have stayed forever, we were quickly off on our next adventure... the Namo-Buddha Monastery in the Kavrepalanchok District.

While visiting the Namo-Buddha Monastery we were given the opportunity to dine with monks and nuns and even engage them in a game of soccer. We participated in a traditional Buddhist ceremony where we observed the religious practices of the people and learned the rich roots of Buddhism. After a 7-hour bus ride through the “humpy bumpy roads” as Kollyan, our guider from Nepal would say, we finally arrived at our next destination of Chitwan National Park. 

elephant ride v2

Chitwan is a beautiful place full of exotic wildlife. While there, we went on a crocodile expedition, visited an elephant reserve and engaged with and learned from the people who work there, including participating in a local cultural dance. Our visit was topped off with the previously mentioned ride on an elephant through the jungle and a tour of the city on an ox cart.

The final leg of our trip took us back to Kathmandu for a formal goodbye dinner at a traditional Nepalese restaurant with singing and dancing. While each destination we visited offered exciting and new things for me to see and do, one thing I will keep with me forever was the opportunity to truly be immersed in a different culture. I will forever keep in my heart this special place and am honored to take with me many new friendships, including the students in my group, the Nepali people and especially all the children we met in Talamarang.

I am so thankful for AT&T, Nat Geo Mundo and National Geographic for making this trip happen and for this opportunity. It provided me the chance to experience so much and the trip has opened my eyes and changed my perspective on many things. I came back home more thankful for my family, friends, indoor plumbing, my bed and so much more. I love Nepal and cannot wait to hopefully visit the breathtaking country again one day. 

About the Author

Claudia Reid

NatGeo Author

Claudia Reid, a rising senior from Southside High School in Alabama, was 1 of the 4 amazing high school students from across the United States and Latin America that was sent on a National Geographic Student Expedition through the Nat Geo Mundo Explorer competition by DIRECTV and FOX Networks. 

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