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  • Locations: Kathmandu, Nepal
  • Program Terms: Spring Quarter
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Spring Quarter 2018 11/29/2017 ** Rolling Admission 03/26/2018 06/01/2018

** Indicates rolling admission application process. Students will be immediately notified of acceptance into this program and be able to complete post-decision materials prior to the term's application deadline.
Program Information:
sociology italy
 Location Kathmandu, Nepal
Spring Quarter
Spring quarter dates: March 26 – June 1, 2018
 Estimated    Program Fee Spring quarter: $7,000 (plus $450 Study Abroad Fee)
 Credits 12-15 quarter credits (8-10 semester credits)
 Prerequisites None
 Program      Directors Benjamin Spencer, Laure Heland, David Citrin, Shree Krishna Dhital, Sunita Subba
 Program  Manager Carrie Moore |
 Application    Deadline Rolling admissions until November 15, 2017
Deadline extended: November 29, 2017
 Information  Session(s) Contact Ben Spencer – for additional information
  General International Design Activism | Nepal (IDA|N) is an immersive 1-2 quarter (1 semester+) study abroad program focused on innovative, interdisciplinary problem solving and community-based planning, design and project implementation in the marginalized urban communities of Kathmandu, Nepal.
Where You Will Study
Expenses, Financial Aid, & Scholarships

Application process
  Visas This country is part of the Schengen area. Please click here to learn more about important rules and restrictions for foreign visitors to this area.

Program Description

International Design Activism | Nepal (IDA|N) is an immersive 1-2 quarter (1 semester+) study abroad program focused on innovative, interdisciplinary problem solving and community-based planning, design and project implementation in the marginalized urban communities of Kathmandu, Nepal. During the IDA|N program, students will gain an in depth knowledge of the social, political, cultural and environmental context of Nepal, explore Kathmandu’s urban form, architecture, public spaces and technology and learn to speak basic Nepali. They will work in close collaboration with local students and stakeholders to plan, design, implement and assess the impacts of a community-driven project and learn about development practice from representatives of local universities, NGOs and government agencies.

Graduate and undergraduate students from schools across the UW campus as well as non-matriculated students are encouraged to participate in the program during both the winter and spring quarters (spring semester+) of 2018. Students may also elect to participate in the program during the winter or spring quarter alone. The program is sponsored by the UW Department of Landscape Architecture in collaboration with the UW Jackson School of International Studies/Nepal Studies Initiative and the Informal Urban Communities Initiative. Nepali collaborators include Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu University and local NGOs such as Lumanti, Abari and Communiterre Nepal.

Applications for the spring program will accepted on a rolling basis until November 15, 2017. 


Kathmandu, Nepal


Kathmandu Valley, Chitwan National Park/Terrai Region and Pokhara/Anapurna Region



Students will spend the majority of the program in Kathmandu Valley and stay in rental housing located in Patan. Patan is a safe setting, convenient for all local activities and easily accessible for guest lecturers and collaborating Nepali students. Students will be responsible for their own meals. They will have kitchens in their rental units and will have the option to prepare their own food or eat out at one of many local restaurants.

Additional services provided will include 1) transportation within Kathmandu Valley and 2) workspace, a conference room and a makerspace/shop facilities including digital fabrication equipment and a wide assortment of tools at Communiterre Nepal.

Field Trips

We will take two 5-7 day field trips. During the spring quarter we will take our first field trip to the city of Pokhara and the Annapurna region of Nepal students will explore nepal’s second largest city and spend time hiking in the surrounding mountains and villages. During the second spring quarter field trip, we will go to Chitwan National Park in the Terrai region of Nepal where students will explore Nepal’s subtropical ecology. We will stay in guesthouses and dine at local restaurants.

Note: During the winter quarter, field trips will include visits to the village of Pathlekhe in the Kavre District and to Langtang National Park


Pre-Requisites/Language Requirements/Physical Components

Orientation Sessions (required)

Participation in a minimum of 3 orientation sessions (Seattle-based/online) are required for participation in the program. Students only participating during the spring quarter will be thoroughly oriented to activities that take place during the winter quarter.

Previous experience studying, working or living abroad will be viewed in a positive light but is not required. Given the unpredictability of community-based work, we will be looking for applicants with personal qualities including patience, adaptability, and the ability to maintain a positive attitude in the face of changing and/or adverse circumstances. Students should be open to cultural exchange, prepared for the challenges that arise from cross-cultural communication and motivated to engage directly with Nepali peers, educators, community members and other collaborators.

Students will participate in construction activities. During field trips, they will hike up/down steep hills and stay in rustic conditions. These activities may require significant physical exertion. At times, access to electricity and modern communication may be limited and beds/toilet facilities may be basic.


12-15 quarter credits (8-10 semester credits)


LARC 702B International Design Activism |Nepal Studio II (6 quarter credits/4 semester credits)

The International Design Activism | Nepal Studio  (implementation and assessment focus) will cultivate students’ ability to implement transformative community-driven design interventions in a marginalized informal urban community. Building upon site analysis baseline assessments and outcomes of the participatory design process conducted during the winter quarter, students will work in close collaboration with local students, community members and craftspeople to conduct capacity building workshops and implement a built project. Following project completion they will document, assess, and disseminate project outcomes and impacts.

LARC 498B Culture | Ecology | Practice (3 quarter credits/2 semester credits)

This seminar will focus on the history, culture and ecology of Nepal and the Kathmandu Valley and their relationship to contemporary urban form and development in the city. Students will explore topics ranging from  Nepal's traditional caste systems, to the drivers and impacts of the Kathmandu Valley's rapid urbanization. The class will also provide a foundation in development theory and an introduction the practical considerations of  working in developing urban contexts. Instruction will include classroom lectures and discussion with local faculty and students, as well as visits to cultural sites, NGOs, government agencies and case study projects.

LARC 485B: Spoken Nepali (3 quarter credits/2 semester credits)

Spoken Nepali will introduce students to practical Nepali for use in everyday conversation as well as romanized written Nepali. Language instruction will take place during two, 1.5 hour morning sessions each week and will involve a variety of activities and exercises ranging from pronunciation, vocabulary, grammar/syntax and conversation. Language instruction will support student engagement and cultural exchange with Nepali counterparts/community members and students. *Students may also choose to take an additional 3 credits (6 total credits) of language instruction.

LARC 600 Independent Study (3 quarter credits/2 semester credits, optional)

During Independent Study students will define a topic area or project that they would like to pursue in further depth. The topics/projects will most likely relate to or enhance the community work we are pursuing as part of the International Design Activism Studio. However, students will have considerable leeway to define and pursue project that meets their own interests and fulfills requirements of their course of study. Course instructors will help students define and manage projects and provide feedback on project evolution and deliverables on a regular basis.

Program Directors & Staff

Benjamin Spencer, Department of Landscape Architecture & Global Health, Program Director

Laure Heland, Department of Landscape Architecture, Program Co-Director

David Citrin, DEPARTMENT OF Anthropology and Global Health, Program

Program Expenses

Estimated program fee: $7,450

Included in the program fee
  • $450 Study Abroad Fee
  • Instruction
  • Housing
  • Program activities and program travel
Not included in the program fee
  • Airfare - average price subject to when and where you buy your ticket - $1,250
  • Food (about $10/day)
  • UW Student Abroad Insurance ($62/month)
  • Other health expenses/immunizations
  • Personal spending money

Payment Schedule

Program fees will be posted to your MyUW student account and can be paid the same way that you pay tuition and other fees. Check your MyUW Account periodically for due dates.

Payment Type Payment Amount Payment Due Date
TOTAL FEES CHARGED $7,450 April 13, 2018

Financial aid

  • A large percentage of UW students utilize financial aid to study abroad. Most types of financial aid can be applied to study abroad fees.
  • Students can also submit a revision request to increase the amount of aid for the quarter you are studying abroad. These additional funds are usually in the form of loans.
  • Consult the Financial Aid section of our website for more information on applying for additional financial aid, special considerations for Summer and Exploration Seminar program students, and budgeting and fundraising tips.


  • There are many scholarships designed to fund students studying abroad. The UW has some of our own, but there are also national awards available to you as well.
  • Scholarships vary widely in their parameters. Some are need-based, some are location-based and some are merit-based.
  • Consult our Scholarships page to learn about UW-based scholarships. The Office of Merit Scholarships, Fellowships, and Awards can help you learn about additional opportunities.
We understand that figuring out your finances for study abroad can be complicated and we are here to help. Please do not hesitate to contact your Program Manager listed above if you have any questions about the information on this page, or in the Finances section of our website.


To be eligible to study abroad, all program participants must attend an in-person pre-departure orientation facilitated by UW Study Abroad. You are also required to attend all program-specific orientations offered by your program directors.

You must register for orientation through your online study abroad account in order to attend a scheduled session. You can visit the orientation section of our website to view the current orientation schedule.

Orientation must be completed prior to the enrollment deadline for the quarter that you are studying abroad.

Application Process

The application includes:

  • four short answer questions
  • one faculty recommendation
  • electronic signature documents related to UW Study Abroad policies and expectations

Following the on-line application process students may be contacted by the Program Director for an in-person interview. Once an admission decision has been made regarding your application, you will receive an email from the UW Study Abroad application system.


UW Study Abroad is not responsible for obtaining visas for study abroad program participants. The cost and requirements for obtaining visas vary. It is your responsibility to determine visa requirements for all countries you plan to visit while abroad, including countries that you plan to visit before or after your study abroad program. You can do so by calling the consular offices of those countries or checking the following website:

For Non-U.S. Citizens

If you are not a U.S. citizen, consult the embassy or consulate of the countries you will visit to learn their document requirements. You can check the following website to find contact information for the consulate of the country you will be visiting: The procedures that you will need to follow may be different than those for U.S. citizens. It is important to initiate this process as soon as possible in order to assemble documents and allow time for lengthy procedures.

Disability Accommodations

The University of Washington is committed to providing access and reasonable accommodation in its services, programs, activities, and education for individuals with disabilities. To request disability accommodation for this program, contact Disability Resources for Students at least 8 weeks in advance of your departure date. Contact info at


$350 of the total program fee and the $450 UW Study Abroad Fee are non-refundable once you have submitted a contract. Students withdrawing from a program may be responsible for paying a percentage of the program fee depending on the date of withdrawal. More details about the withdrawal policy are included in your payment contract. No part of the program fee is refundable once the program has begun. The date of withdrawal is considered the business day UW Study Abroad receives your signed withdrawal form.

Notice of withdrawal from the program must be made in writing by completing the following steps:

  1. Provide notice of your withdrawal in writing to the Program Director
  2. Submit a signed withdrawal form to UW Study Abroad, 459 Schmitz Hall

Visit the Withdrawals section of our website for more information.