MAJOR FAQ-NEPAL

ABOUT THE NEPAL INTERNSHIP PROGRAM (IN GENERAL)

How long has IFRE been working in Nepal ? Whom do you work with? Where are you located? What are IFRE's programs?

IFRE has offered our internship programs in Nepal since 2007. We currently support three internship service projects in Nepal : teach English, teach Buddhist monks and photojournalism. IFRE partners with many local NGO's orphanages and community projects to offer meaningful placement for our interns in Nepal .

IFRE has a strong, established office in the heart of Kathmandu , which provides interns access to every part of the city. Our orientation and Language and Cultural immersion programs are facilitated through the Kathmandu office, located just 4 miles from the airport. It boasts eight rooms, full kitchen, internet access and recreational areas. Most of our internship projects in Kathmandu are within 20 km radius of this office, which allows us the frequent interaction with our interns. Interns are always welcome at the office.

APPLYING FOR THE NEPAL INTERNSHIP PROGRAM

How can I apply? What happens when I apply? Do you guarantee placement? How long does it take to receive confirmation?

Please read IFRE's 4-step application process:

  • There are two options for applying for an internship project in Nepal . You can apply online ( http://www.ifrevolunteers.org/apply-now.php ) or you can simply download an application form, fill it out and mail it into IFRE's offices. Participants are required to submit their application with a $349 application fee plus the program fee for the number of weeks you choose. However to simply start the placement process, all that is needed upfront is a $200 deposit which will be deducted from the final invoice. This non-refundable deposit from you is required to validate and initiate the application process.
  • Once IFRE receives your application, we immediately forward it to country coordinator for processing. The in-country coordinator reviews the application carefully to determine the most optimal project for you while you intern in Nepal . Decisions pertaining to room and board are made at this time - depending on the location of the project. The vast majority of participants stay in fully immersed in-home stays.
  • IFRE receives the details of the participants' placements from the in-country coordinator.
  • The information is then passed on to the prospective participants along with a final invoice. Final payment is due six weeks prior to departure and, in expedited cases, as soon as possible. The placement details contain local contact information to be used when applying for a visa and/or to get in touch with the local staff and host family.

Preparation for your internship vacation in Nepal should include reading about travel to Nepal , immunization, acquiring a travel visa and booking airfare for your internship journey to Nepal . If you face any problems, IFRE's Program Manager is always available for any assistance.

IMPORTANT: Once participants purchase airline tickets, we request flight information be forwarded to IFRE's U.S. office by fax or by email. Participants' flight information will then be forwarded to the in-country coordinator in Nepal , who will then arrange an airport pick-up.

AIRPORT AND ARRIVAL INFORMATION

Who will meet me in airport? What should I do if I am delayed or miss my flight? When should I arrive?

Tribhuvan International Airport (KTM) in Kathmandu is Nepal 's only international airport in Nepal .

We ask that interns travel with all necessary and important documents, including intern placement, passport, visa and vaccination booklet. Please have them easily accessible if they are requested. Interns join our program with a tourist visa and do not need a long term or working visa.

If there is a delay or missed flight, please contact our local office or coordinator (contact numbers are available in personal placement sheets and pre-departure booklet) and wait for a representative. If there is failure to connect with IFRE's local rep at the airport, please travel to the contact hotel named in the personal placement documents via a secure taxi. Please do not use taxis outside airport. Airport concierge services can assist.

We advise Nepal project interns to arrive in Kathmandu one day prior to program start date. The weekly project fee includes expenses from the first to last day of the project (Usually first or third Monday). Expenses prior to the project's start date are the responsibility of the intern (usually $30 per day for room/food in hostel).

Room and Food

Where do I stay during one-week language program? Where Do I stay during the internship program? What do I eat? What about shower and restrooms? Do you accommodate special diet?

IFRE manages living accommodations, meals and supervision for interns for the entirety of a interns' stay in Nepal . Most interns placed in Kathmandu projects stay at our homebase – a permanent home set aside for international interns and manned with a local staff. Our homebase provides a same-gender shared room and shared bathroom with running hot water and a “western” style toilet. Interns will have the ability to do laundry at the homebase.

Interns receive three prepared meals per day. We do not accommodate special diets beyond vegetarians or diabetics. Our cooks prepare breakfasts, lunches and dinners of Nepali foods (similar to Indian food, including wheat bread, rice, curry, dahl, chapatti and pickles) for interns. If interns will be out of the house during lunch hour, they can request a lunch "to go”. If traditional Nepali fare does not appeal to interns, they are welcome to buy personal food and prepare it.

Our safe and secure Kathmandu homebase is located in a beautiful area of Kalanki, nearly 5 km away from Thamel, a popular tourist hub of Nepal . Most of our interns' projects are located within 2-5 miles of the homebase. Therefore, interns can simply walk to their projects or take a local taxi. Most necessary services for travelers are located within 2 km of the homebase: internet cafés, restaurants and grocery stores. Our homebase is located in the heart of city and provides easy access for interns to all parts of Kathmandu . It is a perfect situation for interns to live safely and comfortably while making many new friends and sharing experiences every day. Most of interns project in Nepal ( Kathmandu ) are located within 2-10 km of our homebase so you may walk or ride a local bus to your project. In the evening interns return to the homebase, to relax, eat dinner, explore local areas or share the day's experiences with fellow interns and staff.

Occasionally, depending on intern traffic, available projects or distance to an intern's assigned project, we may also place our interns with carefully pre-screened host families. Our host families are socially respected and are experienced with hosting international interns. They have strong interest in our interns' safety and well-being and demonstrate this with caution and care. In most host family situations, interns will share a room with another intern of the same gender. Another viable option is an at-orphanage stay. Many orphanages in Kathmandu have special rooms set aside to house international interns. Interns who have stayed with a host family or at an orphanage describe an enriched experience because of having done so. Once you have applied for program placement, you will find the specific details of your accommodations in your personal placement documents for your project.

Visas

IFRE requires interns obtain a tourist visa before departing for Nepal . Please contact the local Nepalese embassy to learn more about the proper steps to take when obtaining a visa. They will have information about timelines, visa fees and visa extensions. It is the intern's sole responsibility to obtain a visa.

Health and safety

Being informed is the best defense against disease and safety risks. We recommend visiting some of the following websites for health and safety information:

WHO website for international travelers ( http://www.who.int )

WHO Nepal ( http://www.who.int/countries/en/ )

Tips for visitor to Nepal ( http://kathmandu.usembassy.gov/information_for_travelers.html )

GENERAL HEALTH TIPS FOR INTERNS IN NEPAL

  • Drink only bottled or boiled water or carbonated (bubbly) drinks in cans or bottles. Tap water should not be considered safe at the beaches nor fountain drinks and ice cubes. If this is not possible, make water safer by both filtering through an "absolute 1 micron or less" filter AND adding iodine tablets to the filtered water. "Absolute 1 micron filters" are found in camping/outdoor supply stores.
  • Buy bottled water from respectable outlets to guard against upset stomach. Some of the well-known brands are AquaFina and Himalaya . Ensure the seal of the bottle is intact to avoid purchasing tap water in a resealed bottle.
  • Take care with spicy dishes, especially at the beginning. Avoid eating food from roadside stalls. Do not eat unpeeled fruits and avoid fresh salads, especially in small hotels. If interns must eat food at a questionable location, make sure the food is served hot.
  • The most common health complaint in any developing nation is an ailing digestive system. In many cases, the illness may be attributed merely to a change in diet, but occasional cases of food poisoning can occur, whereby the symptoms occur very quickly, severely and explosively. These are seldom serious or extended illnesses, but medical treatment should be sought if it occurs.
  • Always use insect repellent in a mosquito-prone area. However, keep in mind not every place is mosquito-infested and low temperatures in winters (to the high season in Nepal ) kill most bugs in the northern plains and hills.
  • If traveling in scorching heat, remember to drink enough water, use hats, sunglasses & SPF lotions. Beware of the health effects that the mid day sun may cause, most importantly SUN BURN or DEHYDRATION.
  • Pharmacies or chemists are available in every little town and village and medications are dispensed. However, interns with prescription drugs should bring enough for the duration their Nepal trip. They must be carried in their original prescription bottle and the prescription must be in the name of the intern.
  • The cost of visiting a doctor is low (less than a dollar) when compared to western countries.
  • It is advisable to carry a small health kit, which should include remedy for upset stomach, some antiseptic cream, hydration powder, mosquito repellant, sun block, band-aids, etc.
VACCINATIONS

We use the Center for Disease Control traveler's health recommendations (www.cdc.gov.) Consult a personal travel doctor who will be knowledgeable about current epidemics.

The following vaccines may be recommended for your travel to South Asia including Nepal .

Hepatitis A

Recommended for all travelers

Typhoid

Recommended for all travelers

Polio

One-time booster recommended for any adult traveler who completed the childhood series but never had polio vaccine as an adult

Yellow fever

Required for all travelers arriving from a yellow-fever-infected area in Africa or the Americas . Not recommended otherwise.

Japanese encephalitis

For long-term (>1 month) travelers to rural areas or travelers who may engage in extensive unprotected outdoor activities in rural areas, especially after dusk

Hepatitis B

For travelers who may have intimate contact with local residents, especially if visiting for more than 6 months

Rabies

For travelers who may have direct contact with animals and may not have access to medical care

Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR)

Two doses recommended for all travelers born after 1956, if not previously given

Tetanus-diphtheria

Revaccination recommended every 10 years

MONEY MATTERS

What is the exchange rate? Where should I change my currency? Can I use my ATM or credit cards? Should I bring traveler's checks?

Find the Exchange Rate of Nepal Rupee (INR) http://www.xe.com/ucc/

The local currency is the Nepal Rupee. Currency can be exchanged upon arrival to Kathmandu's Tribhuvan International Airport . There is one bank counter at the departure lounge and three bank counters at the arrival lounge. All transactions are conducted based on a passenger's declared amount and currencies permitted by the government, based on the current foreign exchange rate. We suggest exchanging $200 in the beginning, as further exchanges can be made in banks near the Kathmandu office.

It is advised to confirm that bankcards will work overseas. Debit cards and credit cards are becoming more widely accepted at major stores; however, they are still not accepted as widely as in the States. Credit card fraud is a big issue in Nepal . Do not use your cards at any smaller or non-reputable locations. Traveler's checks need to be exchanged in the banks, as most locations will not accept them directly. Visa, MasterCard and American Express are accepted in some of the large stores and hotels in larger cities but may not be widely accepted in smaller cities and not at all in the villages.

An ATM or debit card is the best way to obtain cash and ATM vendors are available in major banks and department stores in Kathmandu . Visa, MasterCard and American Express are accepted in some of the large stores and hotels in larger cities, but not accepted in smaller cities.

How much money you bring depends on your personal spending habits. Thrifty people can get by on less than $10/day. Your budget should also include money to explore Nepal in free time as well as for your personal use. A good rule of thumb for money management is the 1/3 method, bring 1/3 cash, 1/3 traveler's check and leave 1/3 of your money in your account - plus a credit card for emergencies.

FIELD SUPPORT AND SUPERVISION

How does IFRE help me when I am in the field? How can I maintain communication? Do you visit me?

Once your internship program begins, our local staff members stay in constant touch with you. Interns staying at our Kathmandu homebase will see staff daily, yet all Nepal interns have 24/7 access to our in-country staff. If a project is located a substantial distance from our offices, then our local staff communicates by either email or phone and visits every 2-4 weeks (if possible). We recommend that interns stop by the office once a week, if they are staying/working in the local area, to give feedback on their home stay and project. Many minor issues can avoid escalation with a just little extra communication. Your project will have local staff members in addition to our in-country coordination staff.

We are available for you at the local office via email and phone for your entire trip. It is our job to make sure that you are safe and healthy.

Our Nepal coordinator maintains a 24/7 mobile phone so you can call him at any time. Before returning home interns are welcome to stay at the office apartment for one night if space is available.

COMMUNICATION

How do I communicate with my family? IFRE staff? Is there internet access?

Interns are advised to bring their mobile phone. Upon arrival in Nepal , SIM-cards can be swapped and the phones used locally.. This is the perfect way to stay in touch with family and the IFRE office in Kathmandu . Internet Café's are available in most areas of Kathmandu , Chitwan and Pokhara with computer stations rented by the hour for a very modest fee.

CLIMATE OF NEPAL

The internet is a great resource current weather, forecasts and weather history in Nepal :

Yahoo Weather: http://weather.yahoo.com/ forecast/NPXX0002.html (www.weather.yahoo.com)

The Weather Channel: www.weather.com

The Weather Underground: http://www.wunderground. com/global/stations/44454.html (www.wunderground.com)

Nepal has a diverse climate. Summer is normally the hot, humid and rainy season. Winter is cold in the morning and warm during the daytime. The temperature drops during winter nights. Interns should bring appropriate clothing according to the season and activities. Fall and spring weather is moderate and wonderful.

Month

For working

For Trekking

Sept - Feb

March - August

Winter clothes

Summer Clothes

Winter Clothes

Warm (light winter) Clothes

*Please bring a raincoat in June-July-August

Temperatures in Degrees Celsius (maximum - minimum Temperature)

Place

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct 

Nov

Dec

Kathmandu

19 - 2

20 - 4

25 - 8

30 - 11

30 - 16

30 - 20

30 - 21

29 - 20

27 - 19

23 - 15

23 - 4

20 - 2

Pokhara

20 - 8

21 - 8

27 - 11

30 - 16

30 - 19

30 - 20

30 - 21

30 - 21

29 - 20

27 - 18

23 - 11

20 - 8

Chitwan

24 - 7

26 - 8

33 - 12

35 - 18

35 - 20

35 - 23

33 - 24

33 - 24

32 - 22

31 - 18

29 - 12

24 - 8

AVERAGE RAINFALL IN NEPAL

Month

Rainfall (in mm / inches)

Month

Rainfall (in mm / inches)

January

47 / 1.9

July

327 / 12.9

February

11 / 0.4

August

206 / 8.1

March

15 / 0.6

September

99 / 3.9

April

5 / 0.2

October

42 / 1.7

May

46 / 1.8

November

0 / 0

June

135 / 5.3

December

1 / 0

ITEMS TO BRING

Most items of daily use are available in Nepal at a reasonably cheap price. However, we suggest interns pack the following items:

• Camera
• Mobile phone (mobile phone can be used locally after changing SIM card)
• Sleeping bag
• Insect repellent
• SPF sun protection
• Working gloves (if you are joining conservation or construction project)
• Some books about Nepal
• Map of Nepal
• Toiletries
• First aid kit
• Flash light
• Electricity adopter/converter
• Sun glasses
• Footwear (for work and travel)
• Towel

What gifts should I bring for my project and/or host family?

It is a common courtesy to bring a small gift for your hosts. You are not required to do so, but if you choose to bring a gift, it should be simple. We suggest a box of chocolates, a t-shirt with a hometown/country logo, pictures of your family and local post cards.

If you want to bring gifts for your project and if you are working for an orphanage or a school, please bring pencils, pens and paper, art supplies like markers and construction paper pads, as well as games for the children to enjoy. Remember that every child will need these items so you may wish to bring enough for a number of children.

MORE ABOUT NEPAL
To many visitors, the Himalayan Kingdom conjures up the images of snow-capped mountains and rolling green hills. Indeed, out of ten world's tallest mountains, eight stands in Nepal , making Nepal a mountaineer's dream. However, Nepal has much more to offer than just the high breathtaking Himalayas .

A small country with an area of approximately 52,818 sq miles is diverse geographically as well as ethnically with more than 61 ethnic groups and 70 spoken languages. You will find rich cultures and vibrant traditions, exquisite temples and monuments as well as fast flowing rivers and tropical jungles teeming with wildlife, making your trip an unforgettable experience. It is the only Hindu Kingdom in the world. However, all the people from different races and religions live in harmony and there is an ideal blending of Hinduism and Buddhism.

To cross a street in Kathmandu is to travel across centuries. Shrines, temples, palaces, palace squares, ageless sculptures and legends that are parts of every brick and stone and gilded masterpiece, make Kathmandu Valley a verifiable living museum.

Nepal Tourist Information Centers

Nepal Tourism Board, the tourist service center at Brikuti Mandap (Ph: 4256909) provides brochures and free posters on Nepal from Monday to Thursday from 9 am to 5 pm. On Fridays, it closes at 3 pm. The department stays open until 4 pm in winter. Other tourism-information center locations are listed below with phone numbers.

  • Birgunj - 051-22083
  • Pokhara - 061-20028
  • Bhairawa - 071-20304
  • Janakpur - 041-20755
  • Kakarbhitta - 023-2020

Source: visitnepal.com

Art and Religion

Nepalese expressions of art, classical and modern, are imbedded in the daily practice of religion. Unique artisanship is often found in temples, architecture, shrines, fountains and the design of religious objects. Understanding the various religious creeds as well as the representations of gods and goddesses enhances the appreciation of Nepalese art.

Hinduism
Buddhism
Tantrism: explains Prayer Wheel at upper right
Architecture
Painting
Literature
Bronze Figures
Jewelry
Pottery

Nepal , the only country that is a Hindu state, boasts tremendous religious tolerance of the many faiths practiced within its borders.

  • Hindus predominate Nepal with 86.5% of the population,
  • Buddhists are 7.8% of the population and
  • Muslims make up 3.5% of the population.

Common to all of these religions is the integration of religious expression within everyday life. In contrast with Western religions, these religions involve codes for- individual behavior and daily rites of worship. In the morning, people gather at temples, sanctuaries or riverbanks to offer prayers and puja.

Hinduism

The word Hinduism was introduced in the 19th century to define the aggregate beliefs of the Arya, immigrants who left Central Asia in 1500 BC and animist religions of native populations in Nepal .

Basic concepts: Cosmic law rules the good order of the world, be aware and respect cosmic law. Lead the life of a good Hindu, observe rules, perform all rites, accept the caste of birth. Caste system supplies code of conduct and rites done. Encompasses all parts of life; rites but also who to take drink from, associate with, marry, etc.

Principles of Hinduism: Dharma religious law and moral code by which people can earn enlightenment. Karma is the life balance of action and reaction and individuals responsible for decisions and consequences. Leading good Hindu life will bring rebirth into a better life. Samsara is cycle of reincarnations determined by karma. Moksha is liberation from samsara; individual unites with universal timelessness, ultimate serenity, nirvana. Path to moksha is good Hindu life.

Each deity has different names, as well as different symbols, attributes, tasks and powers according to what god it represents. Each deity has a vehicle, an animal usually, which serves master. Primary Hindu gods are Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.

History

Organized civilizations can be traced back to thousands of years before the birth of Christ. History reveals dynasties of Ahirs and Gopalas, Kirants, Licchavis and Thakuris ruling the country before the Malla period began. Modern Nepal is an amalgamation of a number of principalities, which had independent entities in the past. Before the campaign of national integration launched by King Prithivi Narayan Shah - the first Shah King of Nepal , Kathmandu valley was ruled by the Malla Kings, whose contribution to arts and culture are indeed great and the Malla era is considered the golden age of Nepal . In 1768 A.D., the Shah King defeated the Malla Kings and unified the country that was divided into small independent Kingdoms.

His Majesty King Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev is the present King of Nepal. The revolution of November 1950 ended autocratic Rana regime that ruled the country for 104 years since 1846 A.D. The Ranas seized all the power from the Shahs but revered the existence of King in Nepal . After the fall of Ranas in February 1951, Nepal first saw a dawn of democracy. The parliamentary government under the multi-party system was adopted for some years, which was later followed by Panchayat System in 1960. The popular people's movement of 1990 reinstated the multi party democratic system and the new democratic constitution of the Kingdom was promulgated on November 9, 1990. On February 1, 2005, King Gyanendra made another historic move and assuming all executive powers headed a 10-member cabinet with the commitment and assurance to bring back the lost PEACE in the country within the next three years.

Nepal is one of the founding members of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), which was formed in December 1985. The SAARC Secretariat was set up in Kathmandu in January 1987 and later in the same year in November, third SAARC summit was held in Kathmandu .

Late King Birendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev ruled Nepal for 30 years from January 30, 1971 to June 1, 2001. His son Crown Prince Dipendra was named King on June 2, 2001, after the unfaithful Royal family massacre of June 1, 2001 that took the lives of the King, Queen, Prince, Princess and five other Royal family members. However, King Dipendra soon died in hospital on June 4, 2001. The younger brother of late King Birendra, His Majesty King Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev ascended to the throne on June 4, 2001 and currently rules the country. He is the twelfth King in the Shah dynasty.

During a regular gathering at Narayanhity Royal Palace on the Friday night of June 1, 2001, the gathered Royal family members were shot dead and some were injured within a few minutes of time by Crown Prince Dipendra, who was heavily under the influence of alcohol and drugs. Crown Prince Dipendra also shot himself in an attempt of suicide over an argument he had with his parents about the woman he wanted to marry. Crown Prince Dipendra was admitted to hospital in a coma and critically wounded condition, but still was named the King.

The King in Nepal is seen as a Living God, the reincarnation of Lord Vishnu. Late King Birendra was very popular and deeply loved by the people of Nepal who were greatly shocked and saddened by the news and it took quite a long time for the countrymen to come out from their self-mourning.

The King, Queen and other members of the Royal family were carried to Pashupati Aryaghat, next to the Holy Bagmati River , for their last rites. Desperate to know the truth, people blocked traffic in protest and riots began in the streets of Kathmandu; even a curfew had to be imposed to disperse the restless crowd, which just could not believe what had happened inside the highly guarded Royal Palace .

People shaved their heads as a sign of respect for their beloved King as they would have done in the demise of their family members as per Hinduism and a 5 day closure of government offices and 13 days of official mourning was announced. Just after 48 hours of the title "King", King Dipendra died in the hospital and the younger brother of late King Birendra, Prince Gyanendra became the new King of Nepal - three Kings in 4 days.

The murder of Royals inside Narayanhity Royal Palace is said to be the second worst mass killing of royalty in the world after the Romanovs, who were killed back in 1918 during the Russian civil war.

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