Bringing smiles and new skills to disadvantaged Nepali children
through a student service learning program at Bal Sarathi, Kathmandu

American and Nepali students enjoy a
volleyball game after a day of painting an earthquake-damaged school in Sermathang.

Virginia Tech students in Sikkim

University of Puget Sound
PacRim, Sikkim, India

Specialized travel: botanical groups

Women bring eye glasses
to Laotian women weavers
Women textile artisans in Bhuj,
India with KarmaQuest donated eye glasses

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 are proud to have worked 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 has designed and operated service learning trips for SAGE and No Barriers Youth. On one such trip, 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 went to Thailand. Students learned from local leaders about the risks and approaches to stemming child trafficking and stayed in village homestays set up to provide alternative income to vulnerable families. 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.

On another trip, 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 organized and operated several trips for the Stanford GSB over the years, including:
-- Design, Delivery, and Scaling of Health Services to Underserved Populations, in India
-- Economic Growth, Climate Change and the Environment in China

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

Virginia Tech
-- Non-Timber Forest Products and Community Resource Management in the Himalaya (Sikkim, India)

“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

Principia College
-- Himalayan Kingdoms Abroad (Sikkim, India and Nepal) 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
-- Ecotourism as a Tool for Conservation and Development, instructed by KarmaQuest Ecotourism Specialist Wendy Brewer Lama; Sikkim, India)

Universities of Idaho and West Virginia (with The Mountain Institute’s School for Mountain Studies)
-- Landscape Change in the Himalaya (Nepal)

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.