Educational Travel and
Service Learning Trips
“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.” Oliver Wendell Holmes
We travel to learn and to enrich our understanding of the world around us. With a ‘teacher’ at our side, we can understand so much more.
KarmaQuest Ecotourism and Adventure Travel organizes educational travel and service learning trips that build upon its owners Wendy and Karma Lama’s combined 40 years of experience working and living in Asia. Drawing upon their vast network of international and local development and conservation experts, and working with community, private and government ecotourism partners, KarmaQuest designs and operates experiential and academic study tours to Asia, combining classroom instruction with outdoor learning, field research and participation in service projects.
KarmaQuest helps plan the course curricula, arranges for speakers and instructors, organizes hands-on service learning activities, provides travel logistics and field study support, and assists in any other ways required.
We proudly work with the following universities, colleges, global educational non-profits and high school academic programs:
Studies Abroad for Global Education (SAGE) and
No Barriers Youth
Sharing core values of rooting one's place in the world based upon first hand experiences, while understanding and aiding the disadvantaged, KarmaQuest designs and operates service learning trips for SAGE and No Barriers Youth. In 2014, KarmaQuest arranged for sixteen high school students from Colorado to spend time with extremely impoverished and largely homeless youth at Bal Sarathi school in Kathmandu, partnering with
Virtues Children Nepal (VCN). Together the young people planted seeds in a small vegetable garden "to prepare food for our children of the future...The (US) students taught our children to paint, write, read, and do different craft works with paper and beads. This was a completely new experience for our children. They loved spending time with the students. Thank you Wendy for everything." Mrs Mala Kharel, Bal Sarathi.
Another SAGE trip was planned to Nepal at the time of the 2015 earthquake. Unfortunately the trip could not operate due to massive destruction in the village to be visited. Not to disppoint the students, KarmaQuest quickly put together a trip to Thailand with expert-led discussions and homestay visits to trafficking-vulnerable communities. We were "very happy with the entire experience. Great communication, especially under the circumstances." Todd Newcomer, SAGE Marketing Manager. To make up for the cancelled trip to Nepal, the students from San Diego, California organized a fund raising drive, and together with SAGE sent a very generous donation to Nepal for earthquake relief, and t- and sweatshirts to their counterpart Nepali students.
In April 2017, students of Catlin Gabel and Oregon Episcopal Schools in Portland, Oregon spent five days helping to paint a school in one of the worst earthquake-damaged areas on Nepal, Sindhupalchowk District. The US and Nepali students of Yangrima School in Sermathang bonded over volleyball games, making traditional foods, and painting side by side. By all accounts it was an unforgettable experience for all involved.
Stanford University Graduate School of Business Service Learning Program
KarmaQuest has organized and operated several trips for the Stanford GSB over the years, including:
-- Design, Delivery, and Scaling of Health Services to Underserved Populations (India 2008, 2009, 2010)
-- Economic Growth, Climate Change and the Environment in China (2010, 2011, 2012)
Here is what the Stanford program coordinator says about KarmaQuest’s planning and servicing arrangements:
“KarmaQuest did an excellent job getting me to all of my meetings - which was no easy feat! I made full use of my time in India and would not have been able to visit so many organizations without their guidance and help in developing the itinerary.
“I think it was a good value for the money… (The) highlights (of the student trip) were sitting with a group of village health workers on the floor of the SEWA office in Ahmedabad one day, then visiting the women-run pharmacies and the Gandhi ashram, and finishing the night with a great thali meal and a light show at the lake.”
Would you travel with KarmaQuest again?
“Yes. I'd love to look for a snow leopard! Sikkim, Tibet, you name it!”
Amanda Greco, Assistant Director of the Stanford University Service Learning Program
-- Non-Timber Forest Products and Community Resource Management in the Himalaya (Sikkim, India 2005)
“I led a class of twelve undergraduate students and two faculty members on a trip to Sikkim. No effort was spared to make the arrangements for all our needs. I highly recommend the home stay visit. Secondly, the trekking crew's arrangements were extraordinary and well coordinated. And thirdly, the cultural stops were well planned. KarmaQuest greatly assisted in arranging guest speakers on a number of subjects. In short, if I was planning a group trip in the region, KarmaQuest would be my first stop.”
A. L. Hammett, Ph.D., College of Natural Resources, Virginia Tech
-- Himalayan Kingdoms Abroad (Sikkim, India 2005; Nepal 2001 & 2003) focusing on the natural and environmental history, religion, and cultures of the Himalaya.
University of Puget Sound Pacific Rim Asia Study Travel
-- National Park Management and Tourism in Nepal (1999, 2002)
-- Ecotourism as a Tool for Conservation and Development, instructed by KarmaQuest Ecotourism Specialist Wendy Brewer Lama; Sikkim, India 2009 and 2012)
Universities of Idaho and West Virginia (with The Mountain Institute’s School for Mountain Studies)
-- Landscape Change in the Himalaya (Nepal 1997, 1998)
Customized Member Organization and Nature Conservation Tours
KarmaQuest also develops specialized trips for professional and member organizations including the Snow Leopard Conservancy, The Mountain Institute, the National Tropical Botanical Gardens, and others. These fully customized trips bring together experts from around the world to exchange ideas and resources on a selected topic.
KarmaQuest contributes a portion of its profits to community-based conservation and community development programs in host countries, where it has close ties with partner organizations that Wendy Lama advised while developing ecotourism on behalf of UNESCO, WWF, The Mountain Institute and other international organizations. Please see Information about our partners and conservation programs.