Nepal

Tibetan and Himalayan Peoples

Accessibility

This information is provided to assist you in identifying possible accessibility barriers and preparing for an accessible educational experience with SIT Study Abroad. You should be aware that while in-country conditions and resources vary by site, every effort is made to work collaboratively with qualified individuals to facilitate disability-related accommodation. Students with disabilities are encouraged to contact SIT’s Disability Services at disabilityservices@sit.edu for additional information related to access abroad and to discuss possible accommodations.

Academics

During the coursework phase of the program, you will generally be in class five to six days per week for three to five hours per day. You will have breaks between classes at least every 90 minutes. Learning is typically assessed through take-home assignments, in-class assignments, written assignments/exams, oral presentations/exams, individual assignments, group assignments, in-class quizzes/exams, and take-home quizzes/exams. Course readings and in-class materials are typically available in a digital format.

If you have questions about alternate format materials, testing accommodations, or other academic accommodations, you are encouraged to contact the Office of Disability Services as early as possible.

Program Center

The program office along with its classroom, study/library, computer space, student lounge, and restroom are accessed by a set of stairs. The building does not have an elevator, and its entrances, doorways, and pathways/hallways are less than 32 in. (82 cm.) wide. Threshold bumps of approximately five inches exist in all doorways. The restroom has an accessible door handle, running water, and a toilet seat raised approximately 24 in. (60 cm.) from the ground.

Activities/Excursions

The program includes multi-day excursions to different Tibetan communities in diverse geographical areas. A high-altitude, multi-day trek (up to 13,000 feet) involving steep uphill climbs usually takes place. A pair of comfortable, waterproof shoes with good ankle support is recommended. Program excursions may occasionally vary to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities.

Housing

The program’s homestay coordinator will be responsible for placing you in your homestays. These placements are made based, first, on health concerns, including any allergies or dietary needs, to the extent possible. The physical accessibility of homestay options is currently limited. If you have questions about homestay accessibility, you are encouraged to contact the Office of Disability Services as early as possible.

Dietary Needs

Food staples tend to include rice, lentils, vegetables, dumplings (both vegetable and meat), and various meat dishes. Maintaining a vegetarian diet throughout the semester is possible, though vegan and kosher diets can prove more challenging. SIT Study Abroad works with students, program staff, homestay families, home colleges and universities, and others to accommodate dietary needs whenever possible. For more information on dietary needs and dietary preferences, please review the Student Support section of the Student Health, Safety, and Support web page.

Transportation

In Kathmandu, you will typically travel between your homestay, classes, and/or placement sites by walking five to 20 minutes. City streets are crowded with unexpected piles of debris and no sidewalks or crossing signals. Rural roads are not paved and often consist of rough-cut pedestrian/trekking routes on mountainous terrain.

Outside of the larger cities, there are many locations in Nepal that are only accessible on foot. To get to excursion locations, you will fly within Nepal and then travel by bus and on foot. Buses are not equipped with wheelchair lifts or ramps, and winding roads make standing to stretch difficult.

Technology

The SIT program center provides internet access during posted hours. It is not available during classes or lectures. The program currently has a computer for word processing with spellcheck, printer, copier, and scanner. You are advised to bring your own academic technology, including laptops, recording devices, adapters, and assistive technology. You are advised that severe electrical shortages happen every day. It is recommended that you fully insure your electronic property against loss or theft. You may choose to rent computer time in Kathmandu for about $1 an hour.

If you have questions about assistive technology, note-taking accommodations, or other academic accommodations, you are encouraged to contact the Office of Disability Services as early as possible.

Health Resources

Nepal’s foremost Western medical clinic in Kathmandu is the CIWEC clinic. CIWEC is renowned for treating travel-related and tropical illnesses along with gastrointestinal parasites and altitude-related sickness. Mental health counseling and psychiatric care is not as widely available nor utilized in Nepal in the same way as in the United States, though there is a US-trained psychiatrist on call at the CIWEC clinic. Payment for medical services is covered by your health insurance if the provider is notified prior to or during the medical service.

Because of its topography, the Kathmandu Valley can sustain high levels of pollution, fog, and smog. Students with asthma and/or allergies may find that the environment exacerbates these allergies.

Once admitted, you are encouraged to discuss any questions or concerns about accessing health services or medication while abroad during the health review process. Read more about the health review process and the summary of benefits for student health insurance.

Requesting Disability-Related Accommodations

To request disability-related accommodations once admitted, you should contact the Office of Disability Services. For more information about the accommodation process, documentation guidelines and a link to the accommodation request form, please visit the Office of Disability Services website.

Students with disabilities are encouraged to contact Disability Services at disabilityservices@sit.edu or 802 258-3390 as early as possible for information and support.

Additional Support Resources

MIUSA (Mobility International USA) is a cross-disability organization serving those with cognitive, hearing, learning, mental health, physical, systemic, vision, and other disabilities. It offers numerous resources for persons with disabilities who wish to study abroad and/or engage in international development opportunities.

Abroad with Disabilities (AWD) is a Michigan nonprofit organization founded in 2015 with the goal of promoting the belief that persons with disabilities can and should go abroad. AWD works diligently to empower clients to pursue study, work, volunteer, and/or internship opportunities outside of the United States by creating dialogue, sharing resources, and spreading awareness.