Nepal, unrivaled in its scenic beauty perched high above earth in the Himalayas, is a developing country which high school students from everywhere can learn much from. Though many Nepalese citizens live in poor rural areas, especially after the devastating earthquakes in 2015, there is a deep spirituality and wisdom engrained in the country’s culture which transcends their physical limitations. High school programs abroad in Nepal will be the personal adventure of a lifetime, and the opportunity to interact with a people who truly know how to live simply.
Nepal is a relatively small country by landmass, but is densely populated for its size; it is one of the top 50 most populated countries in the world. Most cities and villages in Nepal are thousands of feet above sea level, and the country is also home to eight of the ten largest mountains in the world, including Mt. Everest.
Kathmandu is Nepal’s capital and its largest city, with a population exceeding 1 million people. It is a main transportation hub and cultural center of the country, boasting everything from ancient temples to crowded, vibrantly colorful marketplaces. Many high school programs in Nepal are located in Kathmandu, which provides a great opportunity because the city is truly something special. Although, many structures and buildings were destroyed during the earthquakes in 2015, and the city has a long road to recovery ahead.
Pokhara, which is only a short bus ride away from Kathmandu, is another popular city for high school programs in Nepal. Pokhara is significantly smaller than Kathmandu and is a popular launching point for trekkers looking to tackle some of the country’s tallest peaks. Sitting on the banks of the stunning Lake Phewa, Pokhara is a great alternative destination for nature lovers.
It is also possible for you to be placed in a rural area away from Nepal through certain types of programs, working closely with villagers in a variety of projects. Students living in a village in Nepal will likely have very basic conditions, which makes it an even more valuable experience. Living simply high up in the Himalayas will be quite the breath of fresh air!
High School Programs in Nepal
Most high school programs in Nepal combine elements of cultural immersion, adventure travel, and volunteer work to support local communities. Programs typically run from two to six weeks, giving students time to learn about and appreciate many nuances of the Nepalese culture while building relationships with locals.
Cultural immersion programs in Nepal usually include things like attending festivals, learning about local rituals, and visiting temples and marketplaces throughout the countryside. Language learning is also often combined with cultural programs, although students will almost always be with a guide and/or translator, so language knowledge is not required.
Adventure travel programs in Nepal can include day long treks or shorter hikes, kayaking, swimming, and even paragliding. Nepal is becoming a more and more popular destination for adventure travelers and there are many opportunities to seek out an adrenaline rush amid its beautiful landscape (of course, you will not be required to do any of these things).
Lastly, the high school volunteer programs in Nepal are your chance to give back to the local communities, who are in especially great need after the earthquakes in 2015. Building houses, teaching, and taking part in a variety of other projects spearheaded by NGOs and community leaders can improve the living conditions of locals who are most stricken by poverty or who have experienced great loss. Though any high school program in Nepal will be fun, it is likely that volunteer work will be your most valued experience in Nepal.
Scholarships & Costs
Nepal is a very inexpensive country to travel to, but the costs of high school programs in Nepal can mount up nonetheless, because of airfare and general program fees. Usually high school programs abroad will cover the costs of housing, meals, and in-country transportation for participants in upfront program costs, so you won’t have many additional on-the-ground expenses to worry about.
If program affordability is a concern, there are many ways you can generate revenue for your high school program in Nepal. For instance there are several scholarships available for high school students who want to complete an international program in Nepal.
Accommodation & Visas
Living conditions are usually quite basic, so do not expect to be bathing in luxury during any high school program in Nepal. Those who have never traveled to a third world country should come prepared; amenities such as internet, running water, and even electricity are often sparse, especially in the rural areas. Many high school students live with host families, if their program is based in one area, while others might cycle through several accommodations if they are enrolled in a high school program in Nepal which entails travel throughout the country.
Usually, students can get the proper visa upon arrival at a Nepalese airport. Students should inquire with program providers ahead of time what type of visa is needed (often it will be nothing at all), or consult GoAbroad’s Embassy Directory to learn more from the Nepalese consulate.
Benefits & Challenges
A Landscape Like No Other. High school programs in Nepal will introduce you to the majesty of the Himalayas, one of the largest mountain ranges on earth and a place of immense biodiversity. If you are a nature lover, Nepal is the place to be.
A Culture Like No Other. Many things about Nepalese culture will surprise you and challenge you to adapt. It is a deeply spiritual country, and at times may feel very far off from the rest of the world. Yet the people here make the trip worthwhile, and will show you the true meaning of friendliness and hospitality.
An Experience Like No Other. How many high school students can say that they spent a month in Nepal returning for the first day of school? It may make home feel quite small afterwards, but any high school program in Nepal will open your eyes to the larger world, and the experience is something you will carry with you forever.