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Party Club and the Third Jewel 

-Katherine Ciecko, MA-PREP student from United States

I’m a first-year MA student in my second year in Nepal and my third year at RYI. One of the best ways I’ve been able to serve my fellow students is through Party Club. When I came to RYI to study Dharma, I knew how important it would be to nurture connections among the student body. I have found that strong relationships are key in getting through classes, navigating life in a new culture, and finding mutual support and encouragement on the Dharma path. By sharing our gifts and helping each other with our struggles, we can all walk the path much more easily. That’s why the Sangha is the Third Jewel! 

I have a background in entertainment and event production, and I really enjoy being of service by hosting parties. So, I rented a house in Boudhanath with the goal of hosting student events. I started having parties, inviting everyone from school. The Student Society soon asked me to host the Halloween Party, and it was a great success! Students came by for a few scary movie nights while we made decorations for the big event. At the party, we had Halloween games, a costume contest, an open mic, and a scary movie. Soon after that, my husband made it to Nepal, and we have continued to host parties for birthdays, as well as the start and end of semesters.  

We also welcomed the Film Club under our roof, showing a wide variety of international films, until we could help launch it into Rokpa Cinema this year. That has been a smashing success, showcasing narrative documentaries about the Himalayas, and garnering 75-100 attendees in each of the first couple events! Another fun outlet has been the Talent Show, which I emceed last year; this year, I produced and emceed it at a new wonderful venue on our compound, the Ivy Café. A fun fact is that the compost from the student parties even feeds the organic greenhouse which supplies Ivy Café’s menu, meaning our events have come full circle to feed us yet again!  
 
Overall, through my efforts in holding Party Club, I can’t describe how rewarding it is to give a platform for students to shine, share their talents, and connect with each other, as well as to let go of some of the stress of striving at work, study, and practice. Strengthening relationships with our local community is also very important to root our time at RYI, it brings immediate benefit, abundance, and joy. I think everyone should feel welcome at RYI, and I feel so fortunate to be able to help bring people together to have fun and find community, as we walk this road together. 

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