Twelve Georgia Tech students trek towards the top of the world.
When their plane touched down in Nepal, the twelve Georgia Tech students could hardly believe they had finally arrived.
“I thought, is this really happening? Are we really in Nepal right now?’” recalls sophomore Chandler Barre. After eight months of rigorous training and extensive planning, it was almost surreal that the trip, entirely organized and led by Georgia Tech students, was finally beginning.
This expedition through Nepal to Mount Everest Base Camp, funded by Outdoor Recreation Georgia Tech (ORGT), took place at the beginning of August. Though Base Camp was the end goal, the students were able to encounter a wide variety of Nepalese culture.
“Up until coming to Georgia Tech, I never thought I could experience it,” explains Kaley Parchinski, who has dreamed of going to Nepal since her high school mentor gave her a book about the nation tucked in the Himalayas.
Parchinski and her 11 travel mates were given the opportunity to encounter a new culture in an incredibly unique way.
En route to Everest, the students found advenure. Riding Asian elephants in Chitwan National Park, visiting the famous “Monkey Temple” in Kathmandu, and mountain biking through the rice paddies of Nepal were just a few of their excursions. They were able to sit down and interact with Nepalese natives and their children and all welcomed them with open arms.
When asked if they knew any Nepalese language coming out of the trip, the students could only come up with one word: "namaste."
“It was so cute, the little children would just run down the street, looking at us and saying ‘namaste, namaste!’” explains Barre.
Namaste is the customary greeting in Nepal, and translates to “I bow to the divine in you.”
While they certainly had an incredible time, the completely student-led trip was a difficult trek for all. The hikers faced 12,000-14,000 feet of altitude, three-hour uphill hikes, and other physical and mental challenges.
The group of 12, after 5 grueling days, was ultimately unable to reach their intended destination, Mount Everest’s Base Camp. However, as senior Dillon Roseen pointed out, “It was the journey that mattered, not the final destination.”
But when a return trip was suggested, his answer was obvious: “At some point, I’ll definitely be back.”
The group ended the trip with new experiences, stories, and a completely altered global perspective. Different from even a study abroad or work abroad, going to Nepal allowed them cultural immersion, incredible scenery, and an overall life-changing adventure.
“This trip changed my view of the world,” explains Parchinski.