Wild, rugged and beautiful are just a few of the words to describe Nepal. Students who are passionate about nature and love the outdoors will find themselves entranced by their Himalayan surroundings, thousands of feet high. Those who are interested in volunteering will find many programs that help build up Nepalese communities. Adventure programs are also a large industry in Nepal, with many tours available for high school students.
Nepal is great for students who are interested in nature, adventure, volunteering, experiencing delicious food and a unique culture.
Photo credit: Sharada Prasad.
Students interested in studying in Nepal can choose from:
- A volunteer program
- A cultural immersion program
- A travel tour
Nepal is a developing country, and after the difficult 2015 earthquake, there are many opportunities for volunteers. Students can help by teaching English to children, assisting with rebuilding communities, and providing healthcare services. These projects are often organized by NGOs and are well-planned to give students a rewarding and enriching experience.
Cultural Immersion Program
High schoolers are able to experience the lifestyle of a Nepalese community by participating in a cultural immersion course. These types of programs usually include living with a host family, experiencing traditional Nepalese cooking and rituals, and learning some of the local language.
Travel tours are a great option for high school students with a small amount of time to spend in Nepal. These tours are usually adventure focused and are scheduled to ensure students experience a lot in the amount of time they have. High schoolers on adventure tours often participate in kayaking, climbing, swimming and, of course, short hikes or day-long treks. More often than not, students will stay at one or several homestays throughout the country as well.
Some nationalities may be able to receive a tourist visa upon entry at the airport in Kathmandu, but it is highly recommended you obtain a Nepalese visa before arriving in the country. Generally speaking, to obtain a Nepalese tourist visa, students will need to provide: a passport valid for six months, one passport photo, and evidence of a return flight. Travelers who have visited a country with Yellow Fever will need to provide proof of vaccination upon arrival at the airport. Be sure to check the Nepalese embassy’s visa regulations for your country online. Generally, volunteer organizations and tour programs will assist students with their visa applications.
Homestays are the most common type of housing provided for volunteers, cultural immersion participants, and teens on travel tours. If students are partaking in longer treks, they may stay in tea houses or guest house huts for some portions of their journey.
If you’re flying from North America to Kathmandu, flights can cost around $1,000 USD, while students traveling from Europe can pay as little as $650.
Nepal is an incredibly inexpensive country once you get there. Kathmandu is more costly than smaller mountain villages, and prices have been on the rise in recent years, but it is still considered a budget destination. Students budgeting for food, transportation, nights out and additional expenses can estimate spending around $15 USD a day in the city and perhaps only a few dollars while on mountain treks.
Program costs in Nepal vary depending on type of on the type of excursions included, length of stay and amenities. A month-long adventure program is priced at around $7,000 USD, while a week-long volunteer program may cost $2,000. Generally speaking, the longer a program is, the lower the cost is per week.
Nepal experiences all four seasons, so it’s important to pack according to the time of year and where you’ll be in the country. Spring is from March through May and has mild temperatures ranging from 61-73 Fahrenheit (16-23 Celsius). Summer is a rainy monsoon season lasting from June through August with temperatures between 73-77 Fahrenheit (23-25 Celsius). Fall lasts from September to November is considered the best time of year to go trekking with clear skies and weather between 59-75 Fahrenheit (15-24 Celsius).
Spring and Fall Seasons
- Wind jacket
- A rain jacket
- Waterproof shoes
- Insect repellent
- UPF (sun resistant) clothing
- A hat
- Solid walking shoes for outdoor adventures
- A power and voltage converter
Before visiting Nepal, it is recommended that students receive vaccinations for typhoid, Hepatitis A and B, rabies and obtain preventative medication for malaria. Additionally, if you are staying for a month or longer, talk with your health care provider about potentially receiving a vaccination for Japanese Encephalitis.
Wash your hands before all meals and only drink bottled water. Make sure to avoid ice in beverages, as it may be made from unclean water. In case of a medical emergency, be sure to invest in travelers' insurance, as medical facilities in Nepal are basic, overtaxed, and generally not up to Western standards.
Students visiting Nepal should maintain a heightened level of awareness to have a safe and fun time in the country. Avoid strikes, or bandhs, which can cause disruptions to transportation services and have the potential to turn violent.
Take the usual safety precautions when you visit. It's best to not carry large sums of money or walk alone at night. In Kathmandu, pickpocketing and bag snatching has been reported in more touristy locations such as the Thamel district. Females should be especially careful in these districts, so be sure to travel in groups and keep a close eye on your drink. ATM skimming is also on the rise, so only use trusted ATMs within banks. Don’t carry your actual passport with you in case of theft. Instead, leave your passport wherever you’re staying and only keep a copy with you.