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Exploration Through Expedition
The program is modeled around cultural, spiritual, and environmental exploration. Throughout the experience, students have the opportunity to reside in homestays, interact with local guides and visit cultural and religious sites to provide situations ripe for gaining unique cultural perspectives and personal growth. Special teachings on Buddhism, Hinduism, and Tibetan practices in Nepal will be used to prepare students for their pilgrimages to spiritually significant sites, such as Serang Gompa, Devi Ghat, Boudhanath, and Pashupatinath. Students will learn about personal strength through physical and mental growth, and by opening themselves to new ways of thinking and learning as they participate in the pilgrimages.
The expeditions will take place in two world-class environments that provide a unique opportunity to compare self-support backpacking and teahouse trekking on the same expedition: the Manaslu Circuit (with special emphasis on the Nubri Valley) and the Great Upper Himalayan Trail. The rafting takes place on the stunning Class III Lower Kaligandhaki River. With exciting white water rapids, spectacular mountain views, traditional villages, waterfalls, jungle corridor rich in wildlife, deep gorges, temples, and beautiful white sandy beaches for camp, we consider this to be one of the best all-round river adventures in Nepal. Time spent in the cities of Kathmandu and Pokhara will allow for the exploration of bazaars, temples, and the unique urban settings of Southeast Asia.
The engagement project includes working alongside local healthcare workers that are stationed along our hiking and rafting expedition routes. We will assist in the further development of an ongoing campaign to promote hygienic practices in some of the most isolated and remote areas of Nepal.
Coursework and Credit Options
All coursework is team-taught by SOU OAL instructors Adam Elson, Erik Sol, and Chad Thatcher. Students are required to take 12 credits from the following list to participate.
Required Course: Last 4 week Summer Session, July 25 – Aug 17
- OAL 410 – International Expedition: Nepal – 1 credit
Elective Courses: Aug 18 – Sept 23 (Select 11 credits)
- OAL 174 – Hiking – 1 credit
- OAL 181 – Whitewater Activities I – 1 credit
- OAL 199 – International, Urban & Wilderness Navigation – 2 credits
- OAL 207 – Whitewater Activities II – 2 credits
- OAL 250 – Foundations in OAL – 3 credits
- OAL 275 – Adventure Based Facilitation – 3 credits
- OAL 362 – Outdoor Recreation Programming – 3 credits
- OAL 375 – Advanced Techniques in OAL – 3 credits
- OAL 399 – Minimal Impact Adventuring – 3 credits
- OAL 410 – Adventure Writing & Photography – 3 credits
- OAL 443 – Senior Capstone – 3 credits
Tentative Itinerary and Cost
- Aug 15-17: Trip preparation
- Aug 18: Depart for Nepal
- Aug 20-Sept 22: In-country
- Sept 23: Arrive Ashland
- Course fee: ~$4200; this includes all transportation, accommodation, meals, activities and travel insurance.
- Additional spending costs: ~$1000; this is a recommended approximated cost for the purchase of snacks, souvenirs, gifts, etc.
- Tuition: This cost will be determined by your specific tuition rate multiplied by 12 (credits).
- Total approximate program cost: ~$7300
Do I need a visa to enter Nepal?
- All foreign nationals, except Indians, need visas to enter Nepal. Multiple entry visas for 15 days (US$ 25 or equivalent convertible currency), 30 days (US$ 40) or 90 days (US$ 100) can be obtained from any Nepalese embassy or consulate. You can also get a visa on arrival at the Tribhuvan International Airport , Kathmandu or at the Immigration Office at the entry points of Nepal.
- Students are required to obtain the 30 day visa tourist upon arrival.
- Tourist visas can be extended for a period of 120 days at the Immigration Department in Kathmandu or Pokhara. For more information, please, contact Department of Immigration, Kalikasthan, Kathmandu, Tel: 00977-1-4433934 / 4429660 / 4438862 / 4438868, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org ; Web: www.immi.gov.np
What is needed to get a visa?
- A valid passport and one passport size photo with a light background. Immigration Department has not specified the size of the passport-size photo. Visa can be obtained only through payment of cash in the following currency: Euro, Swiss Franc, Pound Sterling, US dollar, Australian dollar, Canadian dollar, Hong-kong dollar, Singapore dollar, and Japanese Yen.
- Credit Card, Indian currency, or Nepalese currency are not accepted for payment of Visa fee.
What should I wear?
Light, loose garments are recommended in spring (March, April, and May) and summer (June, July, and August), while woolens and jackets or similar warm clothes are needed from November to February.
What is the currency of Nepal?
The Nepalese currency is the rupee and is divided into 100 paise. Banknotes come in denominations of Rs. 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1,000. Coins are of 1, 2, and 5 rupee denomination.
Where can I exchange my money?
- It is illegal to exchange foreign currency with persons and organizations other than those authorized such as banks, hotels, and licensed money changers. Nepalese banks do not accept Indian currency of denomination of Rs. 500 and 1000. You will find the exchange rates for different currencies in the Nepalese papers.
- In order to exchange surplus rupees at the time of your departure, please retain your encashment receipts.
Are there ATMs in Nepal?
There are ATMs in Kathmandu, Pokhara, and other big cities in Nepal that accept AMERICAN EXPRESS, VISA, and MASTERCARD.
Are credit cards accepted in Nepal?
Major hotels, restaurants, and curio shops accept AMERICAN EXPRESS, VISA, and MASTERCARD. You can contact the banks for credit card services.
If I run out of money, how do I get acces to more funds?
You can draw funds against your AMERICAN EXPRESS, VISA, and MASTERCARD cards in Kathmandu. The service premiums for doing this, however, could be high. You can also have money wired directly to Kathmandu through any major bank within two to three working days.
What inoculations are recommened before visiting Nepal?
Although specific immunization is not required to enter Nepal, it is, however, best to protect yourself against diseases such as hepatitis, meningitis, and Japanese encephalitis. Malaria has been reported in the Terai plains of Nepal, so take precautions against being bitten by mosquitoes. Please notify the authorities or the hotel of any symptoms of bird or swine flu or any endemic.
What health precautions need to be taken?
Use bottled or treated (filtered, boiled, SteriPEN, etc.) water only. Always wash your hands before eating. Do not eat unpeeled fruits or vegetables unless they have been thoroughly washed.
If I need to see a doctor, where can I do so?
There are well-equipped general and specialized hospitals, nursing homes, and private clinics manned by very competitive doctors in Kathmandu, Pokhara, and other cities if you fall sick. Your hotel will provide good advice on the matter.
What is Accute Mountain Sickness and how do you prevent it?
- Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) is caused by thin air at high altitudes starting from 3,000 meters upwards and may even lead to death. The main precaution that needs to be taken while trekking is not to go up too high too fast. So the body should be given enough time to acclimatize.
- If you suffer from initial symptoms like headaches, shortness of breath, fatigue, nausea, inability to sleep, swelling of the face, hands, and feet, and loss of appetite, descend to a lower elevation immediately and seek medical help.
Are there clinics to treat AMS on trekking routes?
The Himalayan Rescue Association (HRA), a non-profit organization that works to prevent casualties from AMS, operates a permanent aid post in Manang which is managed by volunteer doctors from HRA. It also operates a small aid post in the Khumbu village of Pheriche at 4,280 m. during the trekking season by volunteer doctors. HRA also operates a camp at Everest Base Camp during the mountaineering season.
Is travel insurance necessary to go trekking in Nepal?
Helicopter services are available should you fall sick or meet with an accident while trekking. However, such rescue services are expensive. So comprehensive travel insurance is advised to cover emergencies like helicopter rescue and medical treatment.
How safe is Nepal?
It is safe to take a walk around the city from morning to late evening until the shops are closed. But you are advised not to trek alone. Trekking with a guide from a registered agency is the best security. Do not display your cash or expensive items. Always lock your room and baggage. The Tourist Police at Bhrikuti Mandap is there to help you with security and travel-related problems. If any valuable item is lost, you can contact the Tourist Police to prepare documents for theft to claim insurance.
Are there public toilets in Nepal?
Public toilets can be used for a small fee. But visitors are advised to use the toilets at the shopping malls, stores, and restaurants which are cleaner.
What is the counrty code of Nepal?
Country Code of Nepal and surounding areas:
- Nepal: 977
- Kathmandu: 01
- Pokhara: 061
- Chitwan: 056
- Lumbini: 071
What is the time difference in Nepal?
Nepali time is GMT plus 5 hours 45 minutes.
Do I need a converter and/or adaptor to charge electronics in Nepal?
Electricity in Nepal is 220 volts, alternating at 50 cycles per second. A voltage converter is needed for a device that does not accept 220 volts at 50 MHz. Sockets in Nepal accept only the rounded three or two pins. If your electrical device uses flat pins, please bring a universal electric plug adaptor.
What are some basic Nepali customs that I need to know?
- When visiting a temple, always circumambulate all religious objects in a clockwise direction.
- Take off your shoes before entering a temple or a Nepalese home.
- Entrance to some temples is forbidden, so look out for such notices.
- Seek permission to take photographs inside temples or of religious ceremonie.
- You can accept a handshake offered by either a male or a female but never offer your hand first.
- Show decency in dress and avoid any show of public affection.
How do I get around in the cities and to other destinations?
- During the program all transportation will be provided, however, the following information may be helpful for students after the course has ended.
- There are metered taxis, buses, battery-operated three-wheelers, and rickshaws in the cities. Long routes are served by buses. Nepal does not have a railway system connecting cities.
- The only other travel option is by plane, and Nepal is well connected by air.
- There are Intercity Tourist Buses to popular tourist destinations like Pokhara, Chitwan, and Lumbini from Kantipath in Kathmandu, while you can board a bus to Jiri and Dhunche at the New Bus Park.
How reliable is the post office in Nepal?
The post office is reliable. Express Mail Service (EMS) is available at the General Post Office located at Sundhara near the Dharahara tower in Kathmandu and at Thamel, Basantapur, and airport postal counters in the capital. Kathmandu has the only Post Restante in the country.
How are communication facilities in Nepal?
- Getting a Nepali cell phone that makes international calls is very easy and requires no contract. Students simply present a copy of their passport and visa details and purchase a SIM card. The SIM will work with most phones. Then units can be purchased to make calls. A call to the states costs a few pennies per minute.
- Mobile coverage is wide in Nepal, even in the rural areas. Internet facilities are available in hotels and cyber cafes in all major cities. Apart from the urban centers, popular trekking destinations – the Annapurna and Everest region – also have modern communications facilities.
What kind of food is available in Nepalese restaurants?
Kathmandu is a melting pot of international cuisine. Dining out is, therefore, a pleasure. The Nepali staple is rice, dal (lentils), and curry. Apart from Nepalese cuisine, there are restaurants serving Continental, Indian, Chinese, Mexican, Japanese, Italian, and Korean food. Fast foods like burgers, pizzas are found everywhere. There are two KFC outlets in Kathmandu.
What souvenirs can I take home?
Popular among visitors are handmade apparels like woolen sweaters, jackets, trousers, and caps. And the Pashmina shawl is a highly coveted item. Then there are ethnic and contemporary carpets, gems and jewelry, metal and wooden products, Khukuri (the curved metal knife, music CDs, Nepali paper products, pottery, spices, tea, and Thangka paintings to take home. There are exclusive showrooms at Durbar Marg, Asan, Thamel, Patan, and Bhaktapur Durbar Square area which specializes in these items.
Please email Erik Sol with any questions, or to set up an appointment.