Truly Traveling While Abroad in Nepal September 26, 2019

By (Earth and Space Science: Physics Focus, University of Washington) - abroad from 06/16/2019 to 08/05/2019 with

SIT Study Abroad: Nepal - Geoscience in the Himalaya (Summer)

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
You will definitely gain some form of awareness about global relations and interactions. For me, I became far more aware of how my actions in the US actually have effects for people all over the world.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The course is demanding, not because it requires hours of extra studying, but because you will be spending long days doing field research. The course work itself is pretty manageable because it is taken at one course at a time, rather than the usual college system of multiple classes at once. That being said, you will be spending a lot of time each day on that course because it is literally traveling by foot from one place to another.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The staff there were incredibly helpful and fun. They are really there for you because the group tends to be smaller and is isolated while trekking.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I may be a bit weird on this one. In terms of our typical US style, the living arrangements are poor. However, to me it added to the experience, particularly as we traveled into more rural Nepal. My favorite nights were the home-stays, which I did as part of my personal project. You will not have to do a home-stay if you do not want to.

* Food:

Holy moly it's delicious. The only downside is that you will have similar meals frequently while traveling due to pricing and what's in season. Despite this I never really got bored of the food and there is still enough variety in the meals so that you can constantly enjoy something offered.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I'm not saying that anyone who does this program will become a Nepali expert or anything of the sort, but the program made a real effort to relate everything you learn back to how it impacts the people living there. Additionally, you start off with more lessons on the cultural side of Nepal rather than going straight into the geology of it.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Bring pepto bismal, you will likely get some form of diarrhea. Aside from that, the only injury was from someone falling in a town by tripping on the way to a hot spring. That was dealt with more carefully than typical diarrhea and the staff made sure he was okay, even allowing him to not trek on the days following.

* Safety:

The program itself is safety oriented. You are given a bright vest, helmets and other equipment. The program does what it can, the rest is up to you.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes

The way I describe how I feel about Nepal is this; of all the places I've been able to travel to, Nepal is one of only two that I would go back to in order to do the exact same thing because of where we were and what we did.

Finances

* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

You will not need to spend a single penny if you don't want to. The financial burden is all in the initial payments.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Nearly nothing.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? As long as you don't want to spend money, you won't. Plus, things are very cheap. I could have very filling meal for just over a dollar.

Language

* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

It was just the first couple of days where you learn some of the basics. You pick up other vocabulary through experience with the Nepali students and people you meet.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Beginner
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? High school spanish
How many hours per day did you use the language? 0
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Once again, it is up to you to determine how much you use the language. Some people learned entire songs while others didn't use the language much at all. I would recommend trying to use it as often as possible as you will talk with locals at some point.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
  • Hotel
  • Hostel
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The locations
  • The people
  • The course material
* What could be improved?
  • Some workload scheduling
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? That if you are willing to ask, people will usually do what they can to help you out. This happens a lot in Nepal, where we got help or extra information from local people as we traveled.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Nearly Native or Trail Blazer
Craving the most authentic experience possible, perhaps you lived with a host family or really got in good with the locals. You may have felt confined by your program requirements and group excursions. Instead, you'd have preferred to plan your own trips, even skipping class to conduct your own 'field work.'