Program & Schedule
During this week, you will learn about Nepalese culture through a series of introductory culture classes which are designed to help you develop your Nepalese language skills and deepen your understanding of the Nepalese way of life complete with details on rituals and customs. You will learn about Nepal's history and the religious inﬂuences which have shaped it. Moreover, we will pay a visit the local shops and markets that will get you learning as you go with the local culture and how to become a part of it. As part of your city tour and orientation, you will also visit some amazing sites such as the temple of Boudhanath: one of the most sacred Buddhist sites in Kathmandu whose ancient spherical stupa dominates the skyline and is one of the largest in the world.
Aims & Objectives
Introduce you to Nepal's diverse geographical and cultural environment by fostering a deeper understanding of cultural similarities and differences through experiential learning in Nepal and to help you develop awareness and deeper understanding of the country.
- Puja to the gods & goddess and name-giving ceremony
- Go over the week’s schedule and handling of documents
- Introduction game to get to know fellow participants
- Cultural seminar on social behavioral norms, dos & don’ts in Nepalese culture. Intercultural eating and drinking habits, bathing and clothings customs in Nepalese culture.
- A little assignment for you to explore your neighbourhood and find local civic places such as banks (ATM), temples, schools, restaurants etc.
- A social interactive session to know each other and an opportunity to bring out concerns about your health etc so that we will be aware.
- Nepali language training
- Shopping to the local market
- Orientation tour of the city of Nepal with an interesting game called “Scavenger Hunt”, we will tell you more about this when you are here
- A talk on schooling and education system in Nepal and placement sites
- A cultural as well as historical orientation tour to the famous Boudhanath temple
- Nepali cooking session
- Yoga and meditation
- A Buddhist religious tour
- A local tour to the Hindu Temple
- It’s all about hiking today! We will go on a nature trail into the mountains to get a view of Kathmandu valley.
- Feedback sharing (evaluation)
Participant Criteria & Requirements
Minimum age: -
Maximum age: -
Minimum English level: Basic
CRB required: On Signup
Passport copy required: On Signup
Resume copy required: No
Required qualification: None
- Parental consent needed for participants below the age of 18.
- Participants above the age of 65 should get a fitness certificate from their respective doctors.
Living & Location
Kathmandu, the capital and largest city in Nepal, is like no other city in the world. The decaying buildings in the heart of the city are a contrast to the lively atmosphere that permeates the streets. The smell of incense wafts from the stores while street sellers push their wares, and people go about their daily lives, all against a backdrop of historic temples and carved statues.
For several hundred years, Kathmandu was one of three rival royal cities, along with Bhaktapur and Patan. Situated in close proximity to each other, today these three almost run together. The highlight of Kathmandu has long been Durbar Square, the largest of the palace squares in the three royal cities and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Temples and monuments of varying shapes, sizes, styles, and faiths can be found here.
Kathmandu's Durbar Square was severely damaged in the 2015 earthquake, with many buildings destroyed beyond repair.
For most visitors to Nepal, Kathmandu Valley is the arrival point and the primary focus of the visit. This small, mountain-sheltered valley is the historical centre of Nepal, a place where kingdoms rose and fell, where palaces and temples were built and rebuilt, and where Nepali art and culture was developed and refined. Rivers and streams interlace with the landscape, the brick-red villages cling to ridges to preserve precious land and even from the bustling centres of each of the cities, it is possible to catch a glimpse of the snow-capped peaks of the majestic Himalayas against the intense blue skies.
There is a mini library where you can read, a beautiful garden to relax in and dining and lounge areas where you can hang out with fellow participants. Furthermore, there is a refrigerator which you are welcome to use to store food and beverages.
You will be provided with three meals a day on weekdays and two meals per day on weekends. The meals are a mix of Western and Nepalese food, consisting mainly of vegetarian dishes including rice and vegetables. You can expect to have a chicken dish about once per week. You can chose to eat out at any of the local restaurants.
Our house is located five kilometers away from the city center, where you can find anything you might need. The nearest ATM and supermarket are located a 15 minute walk away from our accommodation.
Activities & Events
No scheduled activities outside the program.
Sights & Surroundings
Shopping in Kathmandu is an experience in itself. Thamel, Kathmandu tourist hotspot, is where shoppers can find Nepalese, Tibetan and Indian artifacts, wood carvings, handicraft and an assortments of unique clothing and apparel. There are also several malls where you can find fashionable clothing and grocery stores offering everything from wine to breakfast cereals. There are numerous dining options available throughout the city, including Italian, Indian, Thai, Korean and Chinese in addition to a variety of local cuisine.
From this location we provide free transport to your next program at the following location(s):
- Buddhist Monastery
Name: Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal
Population: 26 million
Currency: Nepalese rupee (NPR)
Time zone: UTC +5:45
Namaste and welcome to Nepal, a country of high Himalayan Mountains, artistic monuments, exotic wildlife, and diverse cultures. Located between 80 12' east longitude and between 26 22' and 30 27' north latitude, the kingdom of Nepal extends along the south slopes of the Himalayas in central Asia.
Although Nepal is small, it has the greatest latitudinal variation of any country. The land rises from the southern plains of the Terai, barely above sea level at 70 meters, to the top of the Mt. Everest, the highest peak on Earth at 8848 meters above sea level, in a distance of less than 200 km.
Weather conditions in Nepal vary from region to region. Summer and late spring temperatures range from about 28C in the hill region of the country to more than 40C in the Terai. In the winter, average maximum and minimum temperatures in the Terai range from a brisk 7C to mild 23C. The central valleys experience a minimum temperature often falling below the freezing point and a chilly 12C maximum. Much colder temperatures prevail at higher elevations. The Kathmandu Valley has a mild climate, ranging from 19 to 27C in the summer and 2 to 20C in the winter. In the winter, it only snows in the high elevations, around 9,000 feet. In the highest elevations, it snows year-round. The monsoon can last from mid-June to mid-August although the majority of the rain arrives in July.
Winter: From December to February, the mornings and evenings will be cold; in the daytime, you will be fine with a sweater or thin jacket.
Spring: From March to May is the best time to be in Nepal as it is neither hot nor cold. However, it does get quite windy.
Summer: June to August. Hot, humid and monsoon season.
Fall: Very pleasant and mild weather. It gets a bit windy but you will be fine with a sweater or a jacket.
Nepal's many ethnic groups are as varied as its land with their own languages and cultures. A wide variety of ethnic groups occupy the mid-hills. In the Kathmandu Valley the major population that we find is Newars, whose culture and artistry have earned them an international reputation. The Sherpas are known as tough mountain climbers. Brahmins and Chhetris are scattered over the hills and valleys, and Tamangs are found in the districts around the Kathmandu Valley. The Rais, Limbu, Gurung, Magars of the mid-hills have earned fame as Gurkha soldiers. Lowland ethnic groups such as Maithili, Bhojpuri, and Tharu enhance the colorful mosaic. The population of Nepal is about 23 million.
Do’s & Dont’s
- Namaste to those older than you in age, rank or position. Only once on the first meeting each day. You may also shake hands with people of same sex. Don't shake hands with a person of the opposite sex.
At the table
- If someone offers you something to eat, do not say “no” directly. If you do not want to eat, you can say, "I have just had….." or "I do not feel like eating now " or "I never eat/drink…."
- Brush your teeth, wash your face before eating breakfast.
- Wash and rinse your hands before and after eating food
Public displays of affection
- Affection between men and women is seldom expressed. Public kissing, hugging, or hand holding (different sex) is offensive to Nepalese.
- However, you will often see men holding hands with other men, and women holding hands with other women. This is acceptable and is not indication of homosexuality.
Shoes, feet & legs
The Nepalese believe the feet are the most polluted, profane part of the body. That is why
- Before entering a temple always take your shoes off
- Most Nepalese take off their shoes before entering the inner rooms of the house
- Don't point the soles of your feet at another person
- Don't step over any portion of another person, food, utensils, books, stationary, etc
- Accidentally touching someone else with your feet should be apologized for immediately by touching your hand (or making a motion) to the other person’s feet and then touching your head while repeating Vishnu's name, in essence saying "Your feet are higher than my head"
- Crossing your legs in front of someone senior to you is considered offensive
Left hand - right hand
Your right hand is your more sacred and pure hand, and your left hand is the less sacred and pure. That is why..
- Don't give or receive things with your left hand
- Eat with your right hand only. If you are left handed its considerable
- Your left hand is generally reserved for cleaning yourself in the toilet
The head is the most sacred and pure part of the body. That is why..
- Avoid patting people, even children, on the head.
- Don't ever take a man's hat from his head, even in jest.
- The Nepalese are conservative people; try to respect their local dress, even if many tourists do not. Women should not wear short-cut shorts, halter-tops, or tank tops. Knee length shorts and T-shirts are acceptable.
- Women: Long skirts and conservative pants are best. Anything that is not tight or revealing is acceptable. Men: Long pants and shirts are most preferable. Shorts can be all right if they are relatively conservative. Going bare-chested is unacceptable.
- Wearing traditional clothes is greatly encouraged by Nepalese. It shows that your respect and are interested in their culture.
Much of Nepali cuisine is a variation of Asian themes, with a lot of roots from Tibet, India and Thai food. The national dish is daal bhaat tarkaari, which is spiced lentils over rice served with tarkari and cooked with spices.
Cow meat is forbidden because Hindus consider cattle to be sacred. In fact, many tribes and communities in Nepal are strict vegetarians.