Summer Colloquial Tibetan Language Study

Join us for an exciting summer, learning colloquial Tibetan at RYI, a five-minute walk from the great stupa of Boudha in Kathmandu, Nepal. Practice your Tibetan with the community of Tibetan speakers that’s grown up around the stupa, where you can try out what you learn in your classes in real-world situations.

Your classes will include one-on-one conversation classes with native Tibetan speakers, and you’ll be surrounded by the rich world of Tibetan Buddhist culture, language, and practice.

We offer three levels of Colloquial Tibetan: Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced. Homestays are available too, providing you with another opportunity to practice your language skills outside of class and immerse yourself in the language and culture you are studying.

Visit our admissions page for application details and program-specific dates

Beginning Colloquial Tibetan (TLAN 120) 6 credits

Like all of the summer language courses, the Beginning Colloquial Tibetan course is rigorous, enabling students to progress quickly. This intensive course allows students to complete the equivalent of two semesters of coursework in eight weeks, setting students on the path toward proficiency in colloquial Tibetan in both its spoken and written forms. There are no prerequisites, other than learning the Tibetan alphabet. After you enroll you will receive links to an online Tibetan alphabet course. There are additional alphabet classes during the summer program orientation program, so you will be prepared to start learning the language on the first day of class.

If your interest is in reading Buddhist texts, we suggest you look into our Summer courses in Classical Tibetan, which focus on the written language used in Buddhist literature.
Class Structure

All classes meet Monday through Friday for four hours per day and include a master class, plus two daily sessions with a native speaker for conversation practice. In order to progress students are expected to attend daily classes for the duration of the course. The level of intensity of the courses is high and students are expected to invest considerable time and effort in order to meet class requirements and academic expectations. However, any student who successfully completes these courses will derive a facility and comfort in discussing a variety of both worldly and dharma topics in spoken Tibetan.

*In addition, to live classes, prerecorded videos may also be available for study and review at a time of your own choosing. Plus, virtual office hours to provide one-to-one support.

Class Schedule

On-campus

Master classMon-Fri 9:15 am – 10:15 am and 11:45 am – 12:45 pm
ALI classMon-Fri 10:30 am – 11:30 am and 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Boost classFri 3:15 pm – 4:15 pm

All times are NPT Nepal Time UTC +5:45

Class Materials

The course uses RYI’s own handbook for Beginning Colloquial Tibetan to continue students’ grammar, usage, and vocabulary learning. Additional handouts will be given in class, and there are pre-recorded videos that you can watch in our Teams classroom environment to help you prepare in advance for your daily classes and to review difficult points as often as you need.

To make use of the online resources included with the course it’s best to have access to a PC, Mac or Linux computer capable of running Microsoft Teams, which you can download free of charge. However, Teams will also run on smartphones (iOS or Android), albeit on a smaller screen.

Accreditation

Beginning Colloquial Tibetan is a university-level course and can be taken for academic credit through Kathmandu University’s Centre for Buddhist Studies, earning 6 credits (12 ECTS). The course may also be taken on a non-credit basis. Expect to spend at least 2 hours outside of class each day for homework and study.

Intermediate Colloquial Tibetan (TLAN 220) 6 credits

Intermediate Colloquial Tibetan takes off where the Beginning course ends and builds on the grammar, vocabulary, and conversation skills you learned there. This course is for students with at least two semesters of Colloquial Tibetan or the equivalent. Like all of the summer language courses, the Intermediate Colloquial Tibetan course is rigorous, enabling students to progress quickly. This intensive course allows students to complete the equivalent of two semesters of coursework in eight weeks, guiding students along the path toward proficiency in colloquial Tibetan in both its spoken and written forms.

Class Structure

Classes run Monday through Friday. Each day you will have two master grammar classes, co-taught by a native Tibetan speaker and a Western instructor. You’ll also have two classes per day with our Assistant Language Instructors (ALIs). These are one-on-one conversation practice classes where you can use what you’ve just learned in the master grammar class, helping you to consolidate your learning quickly by applying and reinforcing it using the newly learned vocabulary and grammar structures.

Class Schedule

On-campus

Master classMon-Fri 8:00 am – 9:00 am and 10:30 am – 11:30 am
ALI classMon-Fri 9:15 am – 10:15 am and 11:45 am – 12:45 pm
Boost classFri 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm

All times are NPT Nepal Time UTC +5:45

Class Materials

The course uses RYI’s own handbook for Intermediate Colloquial Tibetan to continue students’ grammar, usage, and vocabulary learning. Additional handouts will be given in class, and there are pre-recorded videos that you can watch in our Teams classroom environment to help you prepare in advance for your daily classes and to review difficult points as often as you need.

To make use of the online resources included with the course it’s best to have access to a PC, Mac or Linux computer capable of running Microsoft Teams, which you can download free of charge. However, Teams will also run on smartphones (iOS or Android), albeit on a smaller screen.

Accreditation

Intermediate Colloquial Tibetan is a university-level course and can be taken for academic credit through Kathmandu University’s Centre for Buddhist Studies, earning 6 credits (12 ECTS). The course may also be taken on a non-credit basis. Expect to spend at least 2 hours outside of class each day for homework and study.

Advanced Colloquial and Dharma Tibetan (TLAN 320) 6 credits

Advanced Colloquial Tibetan is for students who wish to continue learning the modern spoken language while also learning to understand and use the Tibetan spoken by those giving Dharma teachings.

Admission into the course requires the equivalent of four semesters or more of prior colloquial Tibetan study and an interest in developing an understanding of Dharma Tibetan. The advanced program is taught entirely in Tibetan. The program’s unique strengths are twofold: first, to guide students to improve their spoken colloquial fluency, and second, to teach the language of Buddhist philosophy, as heard directly in a class taught by a monastic professor. This design enables students to further pursue the study of philosophy in a classical Tibetan setting, and prepares them to begin a course of oral interpretation from Tibetan to English.

Like all of the summer language courses, the Advanced Colloquial Tibetan course is rigorous, enabling students to progress quickly. This intensive course allows students to complete the equivalent of two semesters of coursework in eight weeks, establishing students on the path toward proficiency in spoken Tibetan in both its ordinary and Dharma forms.

Class Structure

Classes run Monday through Friday. Each day you will have one Master grammar class, co-taught by a native Tibetan speaker and a Western instructor. You’ll also have one class per day with our Assistant Language Instructors (ALIs) that focuses on what is learned in the grammar class. These are one-on-one conversation practice classes where you can use what you’ve just learned, helping you to consolidate your learning through quickly applying and reinforcing it using the newly learned vocabulary and grammar structures.

In addition, each day you will have a class with a monastic professor who is teaching a philosophical text. To help with that class, the western instructor will provide vocabulary lists and other aids for understanding what is taught. You’ll also have one conversation class per day with an ALI who is trained in Dharma Tibetan, to review what you learned in class that day.

Class Schedule

On-campus

Master classMon-Fri 3:15 pm – 4:15 pm
Text classMon-Fri 9:15 am – 10:15 am
ALI classMon-Fri 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm
Dharma conversation class Mon-Fri 10:30 am – 11:30 am

All times are NPT Nepal Time UTC +5:45

Class Materials

The course uses a variety of topic-centric materials to teach colloquial Tibetan, available in different printed and recorded media, to help you expand your vocabulary and learn to discuss more complicated topics. For the Dharma Tibetan portion of the class, the text taught by the monastic professor is available to the students, as are related vocabulary lists and handouts.

To make use of the online resources included with the course it’s best to have access to a PC, Mac or Linux computer capable of running Microsoft Teams, which you can download free of charge. However, Teams will also run on smartphones (iOS or Android), albeit on a smaller screen.

Accreditation

Advanced Colloquial Tibetan is a university-level course and can be taken for academic credit through Kathmandu University’s Centre for Buddhist Studies, earning 6 credits (12 ECTS). The course may also be taken on a non-credit basis.


Tibetan Homestay

As an integral part of the Tibetan programs, participants may choose to live with local Tibetan families who have been carefully selected by the Centre for Buddhist Studies. Homestays provide students with intensive exposure to the Tibetan language and a chance to experience life among people in the local community. Families provide breakfast and dinner to the students. Students who do not wish to stay with a Tibetan family may choose to opt-out of this service and arrange for accommodation and meals on their own.

If you are NOT interested in a homestay with a local family, please make sure to tick-mark the box “I book the course WITHOUT homestay” on your application form.

Admission Criteria

The Tibetan programs each have a maximum enrollment of twenty students and all applications are subject to approval by the Centre for Buddhist Studies.

Students applying to the intermediate and advanced programs must present documentation of prior colloquial Tibetan studies at a university or from a similarly recognized program. In addition, if there is a concern about a student’s level, the student may be asked to participate in an interview via Skype to verify their course level.

For more information, please refer to the Eligibility Requirements and Admissions Process for the summer program.

Fee Request

In accordance with University guidelines, RYI course fees are determined by each student’s home base and nationality. A three-tier system is in effect which covers (i) Nepali students, (ii) SAARC students and (iii) other international students. Please select below to find out the fees structure for your particular circumstances.

You will find the Tuition Fee List for all programs linked on the right-hand side of the admissions page.

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