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The Just Student Jobs Country guide for gap year travel in India and the Middle East - Nepal

Where to Go - Middle East / India

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Population: 24,702,119

Literacy rate: 27.5%

Life expectancy at birth: male –58.3 yrs, female –57.35 yrs

Infant mortality rate: 75.93 deaths/1,000 live births

Population growth rate: 2.34%

GDP growth rate: 3.4%

GDP per capita: £740

Unemployment: N/A; substantial underemployment

Inflation: 11.8%

Climate: varies from cool summers and severe winters in north to subtropical summers and mild winters in south.

Time: GMT + 5.45.

Electricity: 220 volts AC, 50Hz. There are frequent power cuts.

Websites: A privately-maintained site with good general info on Nepal is at

The US Library of Congress page is at

A travel guide providing cultural info is at

With eight of the world’s highest peaks (including Everest) this is the place to go to if you are serious about mountain climbing – however, opportunities for work at 8,000m are rather limited. If you are reminded of Shangri-La in any way, forget it. This is the only official Hindu state in the world. It is also one of the poorest and least developed countries in the world. The almost total dependence on wood for fuel has led to widespread deforestation. Agriculture is the mainstay of the economy providing a livelihood to 80% of the population. Production of textiles and carpets account for some 80% of foreign exchange earnings. 40% of the population is undernourished. Attempts at reform have been made, but a rapid succession of different governments has not helped the continuity of any programmes. 60% of Nepal’s development budget is aid. Communication is a problem, particularly in the north – the mountains get in the way somewhat. Tourism is an expanding industry.

A word or two on social conventions: Superstition and religion merge into one. As a foreigner, all visitors are ‘polluted’ and there are several customs associated with this attitude: never step over the feet of a person, always walk round; never offer food and drink which is ‘polluted’, in other words, food that you have tasted or bitten; never offer or accept anything with the left hand, use the right or both hands. It is rude to point at a person or statue with a finger (or even with a foot). Shoes and footwear should be removed when entering houses or shrines. Kitchens and eating areas of houses should also not be entered with footwear, as the hearth of a home is sacred. Do not stand in front of a person who is eating as this means your feet will be next to his food; squat or sit by his side. Local Chorten are built to pacify local demons or dead persons and should be passed by in a clockwise direction, as should temples; the earth and universe revolve in this direction. Small flat stones with inscriptions and supplications next to the Chorten should not be removed as souvenirs; this is considered as sacrilege by the Nepalese. Avoid touching a Nepalese dressed all in white; his dress signifies a death in the family. Shaking hands is not a common form of greeting; the normal greeting is to press the palms together in a prayer-like gesture. A gift given to a host or hostess will probably be laid aside unopened; to open a parcel in the presence of a guest is considered uncivil. Casual wear is suitable except for the most formal meetings or social occasions. Bikinis, shorts, bare shoulders and backs may not be appreciated. Men only remove their shirts when bathing. Overt public displays of affection, especially near religious places, are inappropriate. Nepalese cities are generally safe, but take sensible precautions with personal possessions.

If you find work here, you will need some savings to survive. On the other hand, working here will be a wonderful experience will look good on your CV. If entering from India, remember that it is prohibited to bring in Indian currency.

Entry requirements

Three-month tourist visas are available on arrival. Residency and work permits will be arranged by your employer. It is illegal to work on a tourist visa, but it is done. You will need to renew the visa twice a year and can only stay three months out of any twelve.


Hepatitis A, Polio, Tetanus, Encephalitis, Typhoid, Meningitis and Yellow Fever.

Tax and Insurance

No information on tax; wages are so low it would hardly matter anyway. Health insurance essential; try for an anti-Yeti clause.

Gap Year Programmes

Click here to find gap year programmes and placements in Nepal

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