Visiting Student Groups
SECMOL has a wing operating as a travel agency, specialising in student groups interested in cultural exchange and environmental and development issues. We host a few selected groups each year. They are mostly groups of students, and occasionally groups of adults on learning tours.
Groups stay at SECMOL Campus and share in daily
activities and discussions. Our Ladakhi students appreciate the chance to
meet young people from different countries, and to practice their English
in real communicative situations. For full-service groups, we take care of all the local travel and activities, which can include homestays in Ladakhi villages, treks,
and visits to monasteries, historical sites and social or environmental organisations.
We have extensive experience organising the following activities:
• Homestays, often in villages off the beaten path. One recent group stayed in a village that has never had a tourist group before, and helped with the barley and apricot harvests. Another group stayed in a village in Changthang, next to an important but little-visited monastery.
• Stay at SECMOL’s solar-powered Campus near
Leh together with Ladakhi students. Experience first-hand the solar-heated
buildings and solar electricity, cookers and water heaters. Have conversations
• Visit local organisations to see sustainable development, wildlife conservation, renewable energy, or women’s empowerment projects, among others. Visit ancient Buddhist monasteries and other religious sites, local festivals, museums, etc.
• Trek in the mountains or from village to village, tailoring the trek to your level of challenge. Stay in village homestays that allow you to experience authentic village life while contributing to the village economy, or camp in tents.
We attempt to bridge the gap between cities and villages, and extend the benefits of tourism to villagers, while preserving the fragile environment. The profits support SECMOL students' own stay at SECMOL and educational tour.
If you are thinking of planning a trip for a group of students, contact us.
If you are a college student in Singapore, contact us and we'll put you in touch with students who are organising YEP volunteering trips to Ladakh and SECMOL.
Some groups that visit:
National Geographic Student Expeditions sends students every year to interact with SECMOL students while learning photography and cultural geography with their own instructors.
Journeys With Meaning, based in Bombay, brings groups of young people from all over India to interact and share ideas with SECMOL students, and to experience ecological living at our solar heated campus for several days.
Julay Ladakh brings Japanese tourists and students of sustainable development for stays with discussions about education and development.
Outlook Expeditions brings groups of students from schools in the UK to volunteer at SECMOL for a week.
College students in Singapore come to volunteer with support from Youth Expedition Projects (YEP) some years in June or December.
Rønde Efterskole, Denmark, sent a group of students to stay for one week every March or April from 2010 through 2015.
Vermont Intercultural Semesters (VIS) brought foreign high school and gap year students to stay at SECMOL for 3 months, joining SECMOL's Ladakhi students for work, activities and conversation, and also to do their own independent study projects in Ladakh. Blog 2011, 2010.
2015: SECMOL provided full service experiences for groups of students from: Putney Student Travel, National Geographic Student Expeditions, St. Michael's College of USA, Rønde Efterskole of Denmark; and just-volunteering experiences for groups from Where There Be Dragons and Princeton University of USA, Bearwood College/Reddam House of UK, and Journeys with Meaning of Mumbai.
2014: SECMOL provided full service for groups from National Geographic Student Expeditions, Rønde Efterskole of Denmark, The International School of Kuala Lumpur, and Grand Valley University of USA; and hosted for volunteering: Dragons, Princeton, Explorations Society UK, Journeys With Meaning of India, Julay Ladakh of Japan, and Vidya Sanskar International School of Mumbai. We hosted an energy workshop together with Masdar Institute of the UAE. In 2014 we also hosted a group of students from Spiti, a Himalayan region just to south of Ladakh.
2013: SECMOL provided full service experiences for students from: Putney Student Travel; National Geographic Student Expeditions; Rønde Efterskole of Denmark; Lakeside School in Seattle US; Baldwin and Haverford, US. Other student groups that came in 2013 included Perse School in UK; Lady Lumley, UK; Kimbolton, UK; St. Alban, UK; and a YEP group of college students from the National University of Singapore. In 2013 the Masdar Institute in Abu Dhabi came and conducted a ten-day workshop on Energy Access, Ethics and Development for their own students (Young Future Energy Leaders) together with 25 Ladakhis.
In 2012 we also hosted a visit by Kranti, a residential program for daughters of sex workers in Mumbai that is radical and rights-based.
Comments from some SECMOL tour participants
Staying at the
SECMOL campus has opened my eyes to the sustainable lifestyle that Ladakhis
have been working hard to maintain. Spending time with the SECMOL students
during the conversation classes allowed me to better understand the way
the Ladakhis live and how they are planning to develop. This whole experience
at the SECMOL campus has been extremely fulfilling and life changing.
The trek pushed
us out of our comfort zones, but in the best possible way. Thinlas, our
guide, made our trek great, and kept our spirits up over 3 high mountain
passes. The views were amazing, and it was surreal to be hiking and staying
in the Himalayas. It's an experience we'll never forget.
SECMOL was a great
place to base our month-long program out of. They arranged exclusive interactions
between our students and Ladakhi SECMOL students, a 4-day trek and 5-day
homestay where the group got to experience life in a variety of Ladakhi
villages, and participate in the annual barley and apricot harvests. That
you to all the SECMOL staff and students for amazing hospitality and wonderful
Talking with the
SECMOL students in conversation class was really interesting. Their English
improved so much in the time I was there, and they are so dedicated! I will
never forget the time I spent at SECMOL and the friends I made.
My four-day homestay
was an experience that I will forever treasure and fondly remember. After
the four days, my hosts had really become my “Ladakhi family”.
Living with them in their home and working with them in the fields, I had
the opportunity to experience Ladakhi life in all of its beauty and simplicity.
Furthermore, I experienced the unspoken bond that unites human beings all
over the world. Thank you SECMOL!
SECMOL has created
an extremely unique and supportive environment where people from all over
the world can feel comfortable and inspired. Meal times in particular allowed
me to interact with all the students in a comfortable and laid back environment.
SECMOL is an incredible place for anyone to come learn whether you’re
a student or a volunteer.
I was amazed by
the tour of the solar energy systems on SECMOL Campus. I couldn’t
believe that it was completely off the grid, and that the buildings stay
warm in winter with no heating but solar.
Although the trek
was difficult, I loved doing it because it gave us Putney students a chance
to get to know those SECMOL students who came along with us. Not only did
they teach us things about Ladakhi culture from an invaluable viewpoint,
we also became close friends, which made the whole experience so much more