I have a dream, too. And the first hurdle along the track is cleared.
I have 27 more hours of classwork to do for my masters, plus my master's project hours. For from 2 to 4 of those hours, I can do a practicum of from 100 to 200 hours. In order to do this while working full-time, day-time job, I will have to take leave from work. So, rather and x-number of hours per week, I thought that perhaps I could take a three-week vacation to go and do the practicum some where really special.
My first thought was to try to arrange something in coordintation with USM's British Studies Program (in London during the summer term), or back to Universidad de las Americas in Pueblo, Mexico (where I was last summer for Spanish classes) -- these are still on the list. Then inspiration struck: perhaps there is a university with a Tibetan Studies program and/or special collections or digitization programs within their library system where I could go for the practicum.
While I was googling for the latter, I found a link to the Library of Tibetan Works & Archives, which just happens to be located in Dharamsala, India -- location of the Tibetan government-in-exile... and thus was born the dream.
I read and read and read... everything I could find about LTWA. Turns out there are places to stay, and beginning Tibetan language classes in the mornings, and provisions for going to do research -- my tenative master's project topic is the library's role in cultural preservation -- and many English-speaking Tibetans, and many English volumes. (I tried to convert the Rbs. pricing to U.S. dollars, but I can't be doing it right; it is just too inexpensive for the classes and accommodations as I am doing it.) Excitedly, I drafted an e-mail to the director of LTWA.
There was a fly in the ointment, however.
According to the practicum guidelines, one can only accumulate 20 hours of practicum work per week! No way could I take 5 weeks of vacation from my job! So, I wrote my advisor to ask if it would be possible to get a waiver of that limitation given my full-time job and desire to find a specialized library or do something internationally.
Everyone was leaving for ALA convention in Washington, D.C., that day, and so, I knew I would be waiting at least a week, but my expecation was inflexibility that I have encountered previously with the SLIS. In the meantime, I wrote the professor who took us to Tibet for suggestions of universities here in the U.S. with Tibetan Studies programs.
Yesterday, I finally received the anxiously awaited email from my advisor:
I am shocked, but thrilled. With butterflies in my stomach, I reviewed, revised and sent off the email to LTWA. Now I wait again, with my course work for the next two semesters dedicated to the two prerequisite courses for practicum (Library Management and Information Libraries and Society).
Perhaps the best part is that last night when I told Rodger the news (he'd seemed a bit uninterested or perhaps just doubtful when I told him of my plan earlier in the week), he indicated he wanted to go, too! My little country boy has certainly turned into a world traveler! Guess I'll be saving money and leave once I get home from Chicago and the EGA national seminar!
And I am even more anxious to see/talk to Lisa (a young woman on our Tibet trip who stayed to spend the summer traveling through India) when she returns.