Generally, the idea of a school exchange program often brings vivid memories of experiences in Europe, Latin America or recently, East Asia. Nevertheless, what is so often neglected in such an experience is a genuine appreciation for people at different levels of society. Nepal, a developing country, can provide a truly great experience for an exchange student to immerse themselves in a variety of unique cultural opportunities while also having plenty of opportunities to directly witness development and positive changes taking place. For instance, a student may witness first hand the complexities involved in bringing internet access or work being done to educate individuals about conserving water. Surely, the experiences which your child can experience in even a semester of studying abroad in Nepal will definitely be seminal for their future.
One of the aspects which makes Nepal a unique area for a school exchange experience is its direct proximity to a number of untarnished natural areas. Although it may seem attractive to have an experience in a popular city or urban district, choosing Nepal will almost certainly guarantee a plethora of experiences quite close to natural areas. Surely, a school exchange experience in Nepal will create a direct sense of appreciation for its unique climate and perhaps a firsthand look at the damaging effects of climate change. If your child is in any way interested in skiing or alpine experiences, Nepal is sure to be an obvious choice since many experiences are likely to be quite affordable. In addition, your child can visit a number of fascinating religious and spiritual structures quite easily.
As nice as an experience seems, it is important to recognize a few limitations present for a student experience in Nepal. For one, as Nepal may have an education system quite different from that back at home, it may be difficult to coordinate courses/requirements in high school. In addition, while English is likely to be present, language barriers and related challenges will likely be present. As such, an experience in middle school or early high school may be the most opportune time. However, if your child is interested in a late high school experience, such an experience can provide valuable opportunities for a college application and be quite motivating. Nevertheless, working with a few challenges can open a unique door.
As important as an exchange student program is for an individual’s personal/academic journey, it is important to recognize the immense value that such an experience can have for schools and schoolchildren in Nepal. For one, the program fees/accommodation fees will directly support the employment of a number of Nepali citizens. In addition, project work will likely include a service project, an opportunity to directly help the poor/neglected individuals in Nepal. While it may seem tempting to send your child to a program in an established country, choosing Nepal, while significantly lower in price, can make a much larger difference.
In conclusion, an exchange student experience in Nepal is surely to be an amazing opportunity for your child to truly explore a beautiful destination which also happens to be a developing nation. Although it is natural to have anxieties or fears over your child’s safety and health, a program such as Gap Year Nepal can certainly provide structure and a watchful eye while also giving your child flexibility to explore and develop as an individual. If meaningful experiences and a desire to inculcate a sense of service in your child are important to you, do not hesitate to contact a group such as Gap Year Nepal and start planning out an unforgettable experience.
Author: Chetan Immanneni