Nepal & India Gap Semester

START Kathmandu, Nepal |
FINISH Koshi, India |
DURATION 10 weeks |
AGES 17 - 22 |

From Mountains to Sea

Imagine soaring Himalayan peaks, fluttering prayer flags, big skies and stunning Buddhist monasteries. Nepal is known for its spectacular mountain environment combined with some of Asia’s best wildlife viewing opportunities, a myriad of historical towns and the friendliest people on earth. And then there’s India… It’s like no other, unique by its architectural wonders, history, bustling bazaars, and spiritual traditions. Arriving here after peaceful Nepal feels like a blasting force of sounds, smells and colors, but in the best way possible.

On this gap year program you'll fully immerse yourself in the Indian and Nepali ways of life by living under the roof of host families, mastering the art of Indian cooking and Bollywood dancing, and practicing ancient meditation techniques that were taught by Lord Buddha.


Volunteer at a rescue center in Agra, where you will have the opportunity to work closely with sloth bears. These incredible creatures are in need of care and support, and your contribution can make a real difference in their lives. Gain hands-on experience in animal welfare and conservation as you assist in feeding, grooming, and enriching the lives of these majestic animals. This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to connect with sloth bears and contribute to their well-being will surely be a highlight of your gap program journey.

Jeep safari in Royal Chitwan National Park, where you can search for rhinos, elephants, and tigers in their natural habitat. This thrilling experience will bring you up close to some of the most magnificent and endangered species on the planet. Navigate through lush forests and grasslands as you keep a lookout for these majestic animals in the wild. Witnessing these incredible creatures in their natural environment is a rare and awe-inspiring opportunity.

Embark on the adventure of a lifetime with a 10-day trek through the breathtaking Himalayas to Annapurna Base Camp. Traverse through rugged terrain, ancient villages, and towering peaks as you make your way to this iconic destination. Experience the thrill of conquering challenging trails while being surrounded by stunning panoramic views of snow-capped mountains. This immersive trekking experience will not only test your physical endurance but also provide a deep connection to nature and the Himalayan culture. The journey to Annapurna Base Camp will be a transformative and unforgettable highlight of your gap program, leaving you with memories to last a lifetime.

Immerse yourself in the rich culture and warm hospitality of Nepal by experiencing homestays with Nepali families and living like a local for two weeks. Step into the daily lives of welcoming locals, partake in traditional customs, and savor authentic Nepali cuisine. This intimate cultural exchange offers a unique opportunity to gain insights into the local way of life, traditions, and values. Engage in meaningful conversations, participate in daily activities, and forge deep connections that transcend language barriers. Living with Nepali families will not only broaden your cultural perspective but also create lasting memories and friendships that will enrich your gap program experience.


This is a guide to what you can expect to do on program. The order in which the activities occur might vary.

Click download to view the full 10 week sample itinerary.

Download Sample Itinerary

Cultural Orientation & Permaculture Farm

Namaste! On arrival in Kathmandu, you will meet your program instructors at the airport and travel together to Nagarkot for an introduction to Nepali culture. There’s no better place to delve into the culture than Nagarkot, a small village on the rim of The Kathmandu  Valley full of ancient pilgrimage sites, mountain views and ancient temples. We will have some time to explore while we focus on getting to know each other and creating a positive and reflective group culture.

After a comprehensive program briefing, we head to a rural permaculture farm, where we will be introduced to various aspects of organic agriculture, sustainable development and take in the fresh foods and mountain air of the region. Don’t expect this to be in a classroom setting. Instead, we will be learning hands on by sowing seeds, thinning seedlings, planting vegetables, making compost, designing our own garden and so much more. We will also learn more about the welcoming Nepali culture and lifestyle by living on this family farm. This will be a truly immersive experience where we work, learn, and eat together with the host family.


Yoga and Meditation Retreat & Kathmandu

We then head off to a yoga and meditation retreat, where the serene natural environment and views of the Himalayan range is the perfect backdrop for our restorative yoga sessions, breath work, mantra chanting, and guided meditations. During these three days, we will get a chance to drop into the serenity of the beautiful surroundings to relax the mind and body in preparation for our journey ahead.

After a few days of peace and quiet, we make our way to bustling Kathmandu. We will spend a few days in Nepal’s capital, which is set in a valley surrounded by the Himalayan mountains. We will master the rich flavors of traditional Nepali cuisine during a cooking class, but there will also be some free time to explore this vibrant city. We might wander around the maze-like alleys in Durban Square, shop for souvenirs at Asan’s bustling market area, visit a temple that is rampant with monkeys, and talk to some of the friendliest locals around.

Rural Homestay & Community Project

The next ten days will be spent living under the roof of a local family in a gorgeous small village at the foothills of the Himalayas. There are few roads in the area, and we will walk 30 minutes from the nearest road to our village. We will be fully immersing ourselves in the warm Nepali culture here, and assisting the community on a development project they have initiated. This is particularly valuable to the community in the wake of the 2015 earthquakes.

During the day we will be working with community members on the project, helping them in whichever way we can, whether it’s by painting, doing garden work or harvesting fields. There will be wonderful opportunities for cultural exchange with our host families during our homestays, including helping cook meals, playing football with the children or helping them out with their homework, learning about local food production, and gaining experience in grassroots development. 

Program Details

What's Included?
  • All in-program travel and transport, excluding flights
  • All accommodation
  • All meals
  • All expeditions, activities, excursions, volunteer projects and entry fees as described in the itinerary
  • Experienced Program Instructors and local guides
  • Informal lectures from resident experts on conservation and eco-tourism
  • Experiential core curriculum that pushes students to reflect and ask questions of themselves
  • Certificate of Program Completion


For full program details, please request the information booklet.

Request Information Booklet

High Activity Level

Anyone with an intermediate to advanced activity level and an enthusiasm for the outdoors and new experiences will have a great time on this gap semester! You will need to be fit enough to complete a multi-day trek (4-6 hours trekking per day carrying a daypack), and engage in physical work during the volunteer project.

Low Camping Level

You will be camping for a few days on this gap year program during the Annapurna Base Camp trekking, but you will spend most of your nights during this backpacking adventure in tea houses. For the rest of the program, you will stay in hotels, lodges, hostels, and of course family homes during the homestay portions.

Medium Service Learning Level

You will be able to make a difference to the local community during your stay. Be prepared to get your hands dirty and do some hands-on learning about local issues.

Have you got any questions before applying?

Nepal & India Gap Semester