Graduate Stories

Rebeca Cuan

Rebeca Cuan, ( right, with H.H. the Dalaï Lama ) LRZTP5 youngest graduate shares her experience and advice :
“During the first two years of the program, one needs to generate a strong determination to study. At the beginning of the course, when I was studying, most of my classmates had studied Tibetan before and I was a complete beginner. I felt that I had to study really hard to be able to get to the same level as them. During the first few months I had many difficulties learning, but once one gets used to the class and studies, everything goes better and one can improve more and more every day.
Interpretation is a very noble profession, but is challenging too and most of the time, one has to face different obstacles, but if one tries to do it with a good heart and effort you will have good results.
While you study, it is very important to listen well to the teachers, Gen Sherab and Gen Teresa are very good and qualified teachers, I would love to study again with them. They grant us the methods enabling us to become an interpreter in two years. Those two years of classroom studies are very short and passed by very fast, so one needs to really use it very well.
Now I’m studying the second part of the LRZTP5, I’m interpreting in two Dharma centers in Mexico for a very kind and wise Geshe. Actually, he is the first resident Geshe in Mexico and all this was possible through the kindness of our Tibetan teachers and Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche.
Interpreting is a wonderful experience because it is an amazing opportunity to study Dharma teachings all the time and the most important is that you are able to serve others, giving Dharma. The best present one can give to others.
I’m very happy and feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to study with both Gen-las and to serve Rinpoche in the Center. It is a great experience to discover how much we learn in those two years spent in the classroom in Dharamsala and how now I can be able to say directly into Spanish the words of the Lama and I feel very happy when I can notice that the teachings are very beneficial to others. Also doing this we have the opportunity to follow His Holiness Dalai Lama’s advices about study; we also can contribute to preserve Buddha’s teachings and Tibetan language.”

Ven. Jamyang Khedrup

Ven. Jamyang Khedrup, graduate of LRZTP5, now training as an apprentice interpreter for Geshe Sonam in Nalanda monastery, France, is sharing his inspiring story:
“The two first years of LRZTP5 were some of the most challenging of my life, both from an academic and emotional standpoint. But the tools this experience provides its students are the key to a whole different level of learning Buddhism and interacting with teachers.
Each word that our teachers Gen Sherab and Gen Theresa had us memorize, each grammatical concept that they explained act as the individual bricks of the bridge that allows me to deliver the message of the Geshe to the students.
Although I would never call myself an interpreter in the full sense of the word (I am still in training, with a long way to go!) I am at least able to function as some sort of conduit allowing people here to have access to the teachings!
For me part of what made the experience and all the challenges it involves worthwile is the daily interaction that I am able to have with our precious teacher, Geshe Sonam. Initially I entered the course with a vague wish to serve the Dharma through learning Tibetan, but I had no idea that as a result I would be able to meet and establish a teacher-student relationship with a qualified virtuous friend. In addition, I have the honor of being able to help others connect to a qualified teacher who can help them purify their minds and achieve happiness.”

Yaki Platt

Yaki Platt, graduate of LRZTP4, now training as an apprentice interpreter at Chenrezig Institute, Australia, is sharing his inspiring story:
“I did the 4th LRZTP, graduated in 2005 and have been working at Chenrezig Institute for the last 7.5 years, interpreting for Geshe Jamyang all along.
The study program at Chenrezig Institute is quite full on – ranging from beginner courses to the BP and the MP. The first few years were a real struggle to be able to cope with the level of study and I’m still challenged almost on a daily basis.
We’re currently studying the Madhyamaka component of the Master Program. It can be stressful at times but I love it nonetheless – I guess that second to debating this material, interpreting for it is one of the best ways to have a crack at it.
When I came to Chenrezig Institute, I thought that I’ll stay here for 2-3 years and then go back to India. But I found out is that living and interpreting at a Buddhist centre like CI offers a incomparable opportunity to study, so 7.5 years later – I’m still here.
Born in Israel, Hebrew is my native tongue, I now interpret mainly into English but I’ve been invited to Israel a few times in the last few years, where I interpreted into Hebrew. I did most of my Dharma studies in Tibetan and English so interpreting in Hebrew is more difficult than English – the first time was like learning a new language. Oddly enough – sometimes when I think of Dharma in Hebrew terms, it shades a new light and gives a different angle to some of the terms.

An advice for the the new LRZTP students: for me the key was to hang out with Tibetans off class and to drill what we recently studied. Use whatever time you have to hang out with Tibetans and drill their spoken Tibetan.
At some point, during the second year, I started to interpret for the daily classes on Bodhisattvacharyavattara. It was a great daily training, and I’d suggest looking for such opportunities when you are ready.”