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  • Locations: Kathmandu, Nepal
  • Program Terms: Spring Quarter
Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
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, Sabin Niglekhu, Laure Heland
 Program  Manager Ruby Machado |
 Application    Deadline Rolling admissions until January 15, 2018
 Information  Session(s) Contact Ben Spencer – for additional information
  General Design Activism | Nepal (DA|N) is an immersive study abroad program focused on innovative, interdisciplinary community based project implementation and impact assessment in the marginalized communities of Kathmandu, Nepal. The program is support by the UW College of Built Environments, Jackson School of International Studies and the Department of Global Health.
Where You Will Study
Expenses, Financial Aid, & Scholarships

Application process

Program Description

Design Activism | Nepal (DA|N) is an immersive abroad program focused on innovative, interdisciplinary problem solving and community-based planning, design and project implementation in marginalized communities of Kathmandu, Nepal. During the DA|N program, students will gain an in depth knowledge of the social, political, cultural and environmental context of Nepal, explore the relationship between health and the built environment in Kathmandu and learn to speak basic Nepali. They will work in close collaboration with local students and stakeholders to plan, design, implement, assess, analyze and disseminate the outcomes of a community-driven project and program. They will learn about contemporary development, policy and practice in Nepal from UW faculty and 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 the spring quarter of 2018. The program is sponsored by the UW Department of Landscape Architecture with the support of the Nepal Studies Initiative housed in the Jackson School of International Studies’ South Asia Center, and the Department of Global Health. Nepali collaborators include Kathmandu University, Tribhuvan University, and local NGOs Lumanti, and Nepal Communitere.

 Applications for the spring program will accepted on a rolling basis until Janauary 15, 2018. 


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 406B/702B, JSIS 392, GH 499: Implementation and Assessment Studio (6 credits) 

The Implementation and Assessment Studio will cultivate students’ ability to implement community-driven projects/programs in marginalized urban neighborhoods. Building upon the 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 implement a built project (eg. public park) and an associated program (eg. health promotion). Following project completion they will document, assess, analyze and disseminate project outcomes and initial impacts. They will also contribute to assessing the prospective, long-term impacts of projects and programs undertaken during previous community engagements in Kathmandu

LARC 498A/B, JSIS 485, GH 399: Culture | Ecology | Health (3 credits)

Culture | Ecology | Health will focus on the history, culture, ecology and contemporary development of Nepal and the Kathmandu Valley, and their relationship to the built environment, human health, policy and practice in the city. Students will explore the interdependence of political, socio-economic and ecological change, the drivers and impacts of urbanization including climate change, conflict and poverty, and the roles that government, NGOs and other actors play in shaping the complex human and built landscapes of the city. Students will attend lectures by Nepali faculty members from Kathmandu University and Tribhuvan University, hold discussions with Nepali students and visit local sites relevant to course content

LARC 495AB, JSIS 392, GH 399: Spoken Nepali (3 credits)

Spoken Nepali will introduce students to practical Nepali for use in everyday conversation. Language instruction will take place during four, 1.5 hour language labs each week and will involve a variety of activities and exercises ranging from vocabulary, grammar/syntax, pronunciation, proverbs and conversation. When applicable, the class will be offered at beginner and intermediate levels to accommodate students with and without previous knowledge of Nepali (eg. during the spring quarter for students who participate in the program during both winter and spring quarters). Language instruction will support student engagement and cultural exchange with Nepali counterparts and community members.

LARC 499AB/600AB, JSIS 485, GH 600:  Independent Study (3 credits)

During Independent Study, students will define a topic area and research project that they will pursue in depth. Students can define and pursue topics/projects that relate to the community work we are pursuing during studio, correspond their own interests or help them fulfill the requirements of their course of study at the UW or other University. Course instructors will help students manage projects and provide feedback on project evolution and deliverables on a regular basis.

Program Directors & Staff

Benjamin Spencer, MLA, MArch, Department of Landscape Architecture and Global Health, Program Director,

Sabin Niglekhu, Phd in Geography and South Asia Studies, 
Program Co-Director

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

David Citrin, Department of Anthropology and Global Health, 
Director, Nepal Studies Initiative

Biraj Karmacharya,  MBBS, MPH, PhD, Kathmandu University School of Medical Sciences, Partnerships Coordinator

Alisha Adhikari, MArch 
Design/On-site Coordinator

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.