Community and Sustainable Development in Nepal

Connect with Nepalese communities and students, building sustainable futures together.

Several key social and community development issues have impacted the country of Nepal. Deeply embedded in Nepalese communities and culture, the unique experiential activities on this program are designed for you to develop an understanding of these issues.

In Nepal, you will co-learn with students from Southwestern State College, collaborating on classwork and visiting local historical, environmental and cultural sites, community development agencies, markets, and schools. By engaging with local people and environments, you will be introduced to the history, knowledge and geo and socio-political contexts of Nepal. These experiences will help you to understand social issues and policies and the links between the micro, mezzo and macro factors that impact social work and community development in Nepal. While based in a Nepalese context, the learning you gain throughout this program can be applied to your community practice in Canada.

New for 2023: As part of this program, there will be a two-day trip to Chitwan. This will not only build on your learning through village tours & cultural activities, but also includes the unique opportunity to join a jungle safari, visit an elephant sanctuary, and go river rafting!


Are you unable to travel? An online course is available for you to engage with the same academic learning material and interpret data collected from the travelling group in Nepal. Please see the online course drop-down menu in the "Program Details" section below for more information.

Key information


Kathmandu, Nepal and surrounding districts




Spring 2023

Program type

Group Study

Application information

Application status


Apply Now

Application deadline

Travel-Based Nepal Program
Limited spaces available - apply today! First come, first considered.

Online Course
First come, first considered. Deadline to apply: February 2023 (may close earlier if spaces fill). 

Additional requirements

See the eligibility and how to apply section below.

Info sessions

October 25 at 5 PM, November 14 at 1 PM

A recording will be posted on the website after the last info session.

Student experience

Students from Southwestern State College (Spring 2022) Click the image to read a blog post from one of the students who participated in last year's online program!

Photo credit: Kamal R.

Recorded info session

Presented by Kathryn Bauer (Advisor) and Rita Dhungel (Instructor)

Have questions?

For program information, please contact Christine Walsh ( or Rita Dhungel (

For application and registration support, please contact the Group Study Team at

Other useful links:

Program details

Questions about these courses should be directed to the program instructors.

Please note: course descriptions are tentative and subject to change.

  1. Courses offered

    SOWK 557.44/UNIV 501.72: Community & Sustainable Development I: Inter-Cultural Practices and Sustainable Development Goals (3 units)

    SOWK 557.45/UNIV 501.73Community & Sustainable Development II: Community Practice in Nepal: Social Issues and Social Change (3 units)


    Note: Although 2 course outlines are linked above for each course, the course content is the same; it is just the credit that changes. Program participants from UCalgary's Faculty of Social Work may choose to receive SOWK or UNIV credit. Participants from other faculties will receive UNIV credit unless otherwise negotiated.

  2. Prerequisites

    The prerequisite for registration in all of the courses offered on this program is by consent of the instructor.

  1. Pre-departure

    March (date TBD), Calgary: Mandatory Travel Medical Clinic

    June 27 and 28, 8am-10am, Zoom: Mandatory Pre-departure Orientation facilitated by UCalgary International; course introduction and first meeting with Nepalese students & instructors from Southwestern State College

  2. In-field

    July 1 – 2: Travel from Calgary to Nepal (flights via Vancouver, China)

    July 3, Kathmandu: Introductions & guest lecture at Southwestern State College; city tour; Monkey Temple National Museum

    July 4, Patan/Lalitpur: Day trip to Patan/Lalitpur. Tour Khokana and Bungmati; subsistence farming; meet local artisans

    July 5, Kirtipur: Day trip to Kirtipur. Regional tours; guest lecture about community practice at Tribhuvan University

    July 6, Lubhu & Thamel: Day trip to Lubhu & Thamel. Tour local village & school; village economy/lifestyle

    July 7 – 8, Kathmandu: Government agency visits, including the Ministry of Women, Children & Social Welfare; guest lectures about welfare and social interventions; reflection & motivational conversations; Durbar Square tour; group dinner at the Garden of Dreams

    July 9, Bhaktapur & Dhulikhel: Travel to Bhaktapur for village tours; travel to Dhulikhel; group dinner at monastery; stay overnight in Dhulikhel

    July 10, Dhulikhel & Kathmandu: 3-hour hike with Dhulikhel locals; community visits; tour several Stupas; return to Kathmandu

    July 11 – 12, Kathmandu: Government agency visits & lunches; Bouddha Nath Stupa tour; work on projects with Southwestern State College students; guided tour of Pashupatinath temple; group dinner at monastery

    July 13 – 14, Chitwan: Travel to Chitwan; rafting in Trishuli River; group dinner with cultural program; jungle safari; activities at elephant breeding centre; village tour & cultural exhibition

    July 15, Chitwan & Kathmandu: Return to Kathmandu; personal time for classwork

    July 16 – 17, Kathmandu: Visit local charities & foundations, including Mother's Group Earthquake Charity; farewell dinner & cultural show; final project presentations; celebratory lunch with classmates

    July 17 – 18: Depart Kathmandu for Calgary (or continue on independent travel)

  3. Post-field

    July 25: Final course assignments will be due after the program ends

  1. Costs

    The estimated cost of Community and Sustainable Development in Nepal includes tuition, airfare, field trips, local transportation, accommodations and meals. The program cost is $7,037.

    For the full cost breakdown and payment deadlines, please see the Student Cost Summary (click here).

    Important information regarding deposit payments: Deposits are non-refundable. Deposits secure your space in the program and allows payment for logistical arrangements to be made in advance.

  2. Funding

    International Study Travel Grant: Students studying abroad may be eligible for the University of Calgary's International Study Travel Grant. For more information on eligibility, application details and deadlines please click here.

    Faculty of Arts Group Study Program (GSP) Scholarships (for GSP participants) and Faculty of Arts Student Study Abroad Scholarships (for other international programs) - up to 10 awards of $1000 each! For more information, please click here.

    IDEAS Funding: Students in the Faculty of Science are encouraged to apply for IDEAS funding. For more information, please click here.

    Student loans: If you qualify for student loans, your program should qualify. We are able to provide you with a letter confirming your participation in the program for funding purposes. Please email to request a letter. Please note that eligibility for student loans is determined by your loans provider.

    Click here for more info on funding opportunities!

Students will stay in safe and affordable hotel accommodations. Hotel rooms are double occupancy (2 students per room).  

This program is open to undergraduate students in good academic standing from all faculties.

Applications will be considered after your online application and supplementary documents have been received in full.

Please read the sections below for information about what your application will include. The application is completed online. Because the online application will time out after 1 hour, we recommend writing out your answers to the application questions in a Word document and preparing any of the supplementary documents you may need in advance.

Once you are ready, click here to access the application system.

Announcements on whether you have been selected to the program will not be distributed until after the November 15 deadline.

  1. Statement of Purpose

    Please tell us why you want to study abroad, why you have selected this particular program (academic reasons, personal interest, career prospects, etc.), how this program will meet your academic objectives and/or complement your degree, how you plan to finance your program, and why you should be selected.

    The word limit for this question is 500 words. Check for spelling, grammar, and word count before submitting your application.

  2. Unofficial Transcript

    Download an unofficial transcript from your Student Centre. Click here for a step-by-step guide to access your unofficial transcript.

    You will be asked to upload your transcript as a PDF in the online application.


    Note: Social Work students in the post-diploma program may instead provide a copy of their diploma.

Please ensure that you have read the Group Study Program General FAQs thoroughly before applying.


Program-Specific FAQs: 

Q: Is Kathmandu safe?
A: Yes, all the sites visited on this program are safe. English is commonly spoken in Kathmandu. Travel to surrounding villages is done in a professionally hired bus. Your program instructors, Christine Walsh and Rita Dhungel, are very familiar with Nepal and will guide you on any safety precautions to consider along the way. Throughout the program, you will also be joined by Nepalese students, who are an invaluable resource as you adjust to the local culture. 

In addition to the travel-based program, the instructors are offering a complementary online course in Spring 2023 so that the learning material in Nepal can be more accessible to those interested in engaging with it. 

This online course engages learners in an applied field study of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the context of Canada and Nepal that begins with a critical examination of the SDGs in both countries. Drawing on the multisensory recordings of students enrolled in the travel-based Nepal courses, learners in the virtual course will acquire practice-based, theoretical, and empirical knowledge about the SDGs in global contexts. Centralizing anti-oppressive theory and practices, learners are encouraged to participate in critical reflexivity and examine their perspectives on social justice and methods of achieving social change. The content of this course is complementary to courses that focus on social policy, political anthropology, community development, international studies/relations, and social justice practice.

Note: It is not possible to attend both the travel-based program and the online course. If you are interested in both options and struggling to choose between them, please do not hesitate to contact the Group Study advisor or the program instructors to discuss. 

  1. Academic information

    SOWK 557.xx/UNIV 501.xx: Sustainable Development Goals: Global Contexts- Canada and Nepal (3 units). No prerequisites.

    Please note: course descriptions are tentative and subject to change.

    Note: Although 2 course outlines are linked above for this course, the course content is the same; it is just the credit that changes. Program participants from UCalgary's Faculty of Social Work may choose to receive SOWK or UNIV credit. Participants from other faculties will receive UNIV credit unless otherwise negotiated.

    Instruction will begin online in late June alongside the travel-based program. In July, students in the virtual course will receive learning material, including recordings and data collected in Nepal. Once the travel-based program ends, the virtual course will have additional classes to discuss the data collected in Nepal and apply their learning. The virtual course will conclude at the end of July. Please see the course outline (linked above) for a more detailed schedule.

  2. Application instructions

    Undergraduate students in good standing from all faculties are welcome to apply. 

    The application is online and follows the same process as the application for the travel-based program. You will be asked to provide 2 things:

    • a 500-word Statement of Purpose explaining your interest in taking the virtual course and how it relates to your academic, personal, or professional goals
    • a PDF of your Unofficial Transcript, downloaded from your UCalgary Student Centre

    Once you are ready, click here to access the RAISA application system. You can look up the program application simply by searching "Nepal" in the Program Name search field. Make sure to select the online course application, so that you do not accidentally apply for the travel-based program.



  3. Costs and funding

    There are no additional fees for you to take this course! Participants will only pay the regular tuition and fees affiliated with for-credit courses on campus. For more information on Spring 2023 tuition, please view the Tuition and General Fees section of the UCalgary Academic Calendar.

    Funding is also available! This virtual course is funded by the Global Skills Opportunity Scholarship. All eligible students will receive $500 funding, with higher amounts available (up to $1,000) for Indigenous students and students with disabilities. Students must fill out an online application in RAISA. After you apply in RAISA for the virtual Nepal course, please go to the Funds section and select the Global Skills Opportunity GIS Scholarship. After being selected for this program and the scholarship, recipients must complete the steps outlined on the Global Indigenous Skills webpage.

    Note: As GSO funding is provided through the Canadian Government, it is currently only available for students with Canadian citizenship or PR status. Students who are not eligible to receive the GSO funding are encouraged to instead apply for the Virtual Global Learning Grant. Applications will open later.

    In addition, because the virtual course is a regularly timetabled UCalgary course, you may apply for student loans or any normal UCalgary awards to support your tuition expenses.

This program reflects the university's interest in multicultural learning and improving dialogues that may be impacted by power dynamics. The connections built with local students in Nepal was fascinating and unexpected [...] I used this opportunity and got a window into the Nepalese students' world.

Jonas Buekner (Arts - Psychology)

Past Participant, Virtual Nepal Program

The advisor for this program is: Kathryn Bauer

Getting started

Program-Specific Info Sessions

Info sessions are scheduled for every Group Study Program. Attending an info session is not required to apply, but strongly recommended as it will give you an opportunity to meet the instructor and learn more about the travel experience.

We also recommend watching Global Learning 101 for general information.

Watch Global Learning 101

Global Learning Advising

If you have questions about this program, you can meet with one of our Global Learning Advisors by emailing or booking an appointment through the link below.

1. Select "Advising"
2. Select “Study Abroad”
3. Select “Book by Appointment Type”
4. Select your program advisor to view available times.

Book an appointment

Academic Advising

Before applying to study abroad, you should ask your academic advisor how a Group Study Program might align with your degree.

After you are accepted, you should ask your academic advisor more specific questions about courses/credits. It’s also recommended to follow up with your advisor again once you return to Calgary.

Find your academic advisor

Start your application

Once you have gathered everything you need, you can begin your application!

Please note: Applications will not be considered complete until all required documents are submitted in full.


International travel presents challenges that may not be found when attending classes on campus. There may be a lack of resources, emergency services, hospitals, accessibility issues and/or demands on the physical and the mental self, all of which can challenge individuals when away from their usual support systems and structures. Adequate preparation is essential.

For this reason, it is imperative that you evaluate all aspects of your own physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual condition against the rigors of the particular global learning program you are selecting. If you are unsure of whether or not this program is a good fit for you and/or if you have any circumstances that could impede your enjoyment of the program, please contact us. Our Global Learning Advisors will be happy to assist in finding the best options for you and arrange any supports or accommodations necessary to ensure your success.

If you have or are seeking a certificate from Student Accessibility Services, you should provide this early to your Global Learning Advisor to ensure that the option that you are seeking can support your needs.

Please note: All participants must adhere to COVID-19 and other vaccination-related requirements for the destinations visited on this program. Failure to do so may have consequences such as being denied access to accommodation/housing, program activities, or to the host country itself.