From the Ganges plain to the highest peaks of the Himalayas, Nepal stretches for more than 8,000 meters. The Himalayan republic, located between India and Tibet / China, is particularly known for its impressive mountain landscapes and subtropical valleys, often decorated with colorful flags and temples. In addition to Mount Everest, the country is home to seven of the ten highest mountains in the world.
Scenic and cultural treasures regularly attract a large number of tourists to Nepal, which regardless of this is still one of the poorest and least developed countries in the world. This contrast also contributes to making the country such an exciting place to study.
Nepal at a glance
Nepal lies on the southern slopes of the Himalaya Mountains. Due to the large differences in altitude, the country can be divided into three very different areas: the fertile and industrially most developed Terai in the Ganges lowlands in the south of the country, the plateau higher up in the mountains and the high mountain region bordering on Tibet in the north.
The largest cities in the country, such as the capital Kathmandu and the second largest city Pokhara, are located in the fertile mountain valleys of the Central Plateau, which reaches up to 3000 meters in altitude. The climate here is subtropical with mild temperatures and sometimes large amounts of rainfall in the monsoons.
Population of Nepal
The population of Nepal is 29.5 million and is largely rural to this day. By far the largest city is Kathmandu with 1.7 million inhabitants. Together with the neighboring cities of the Kathmandu valley, it forms a metropolitan area in which around 3.5 million people live.
Ethnically and religiously, the population is very mixed: around 100 different ethnic groups of Indo-Aryan and Tibeto-Burmese origin make Nepal a multi-ethnic state. In addition to the official language of Nepali, another 122 minority languages and dialects are spoken. Most of the Nepalese belong to Hinduism, but a fifth of the population is also made up of Buddhists, Muslims, Christians and followers of smaller religions.
Nepal has been a parliamentary democracy since 2008 that professes secularism. Nevertheless, the Hindu caste system still plays an important role in social life today.
Economy of Nepal
Nepal is considered a developing country and is one of the 20 poorest countries in the world. The inadequate infrastructure in large parts of the country, the lack of raw materials, but also bureaucratic hurdles and corruption are considered to be the causes of the difficult economic situation. Added to this are the consequences of the devastating earthquakes in April and May 2015, which initially meant a severe setback for the economic development of Nepal.
More than a quarter of all Nepalese live below the national poverty line. There is a large gap in prosperity between urban and rural populations. Two thirds of the working population in Nepal work in agriculture, but industrial production has been declining for a number of years. Another important source of income for the country is tourism and remittances from Nepalese living abroad, which is estimated to amount to around 30 percent of the gross domestic product.
Culture of Nepal and Kathmandu Valley
Nepalese culture is known for its many colorful and exuberant religious and traditional festivals, such as the Holi festival, during which winter is driven away by throwing colors at each other.
The numerous historical sanctuaries and temples, which are particularly important in the Kathmandu valley, the cultural heart of Nepal, are also important for the lively religious culture of the country. The unique places of worship, some of which date back to the fifth century, testify not only to great craftsmanship, but also to the country’s very own culture, in which Hindu and Buddhist traditions have merged.
The Kathmandu valley has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979. The severe earthquakes of 2015 severely damaged or destroyed many of the historic buildings and monuments. Reconstruction is proceeding slowly.
Requirements for studying abroad in Nepal
In order to study at a Nepalese university, applicants usually have to prove that they have successfully attended school for twelve years, which is equivalent to the high school diploma. However, the requirements differ depending on the institution and program. For courses in engineering and medicine, for example, entrance exams are common. At some universities this also applies to other areas.
International applicants need a bachelor’s degree to start a master’s degree in Nepal.
Costs and financing options for studying in Nepal
International students have to pay tuition fees in Nepal, which amount to around EUR 4500 per year. However, the cost of living in Nepal is rather low. Except in very touristy areas, they are only around half of what is common in Germany. For the Nepalese national dish, for example, you only pay around EUR 1.50 in many places. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when consuming food:
- Food should not be consumed uncooked and unpeeled.
- It is not advisable to use drinking water that has not been filled in bottles or cans in the original packaging. This applies to consumption as well as cooking and brushing your teeth.
As a rule, Nepalese universities offer accommodation for students. Private rental apartments or accommodation with host families are also inexpensive. Renting an apartment in Nepal is on average 80 percent cheaper than in Germany. Although higher cost of living must be expected in touristy places such as Kathmandu, you can easily find a comfortable apartment there for around EUR 200-400 per month.
To finance a study visit to Nepal, there are several options: study, travel and living expenses, for example, by using BAföG, or by (partial) scholarships are funded.
Study in Nepal: Visa and Entry
To study at a Nepalese university, international students need a student visa. This is issued by the Nepalese Ministry of Immigration on presentation of a letter of recommendation from the Nepalese Ministry of Education. Depending on the length of the study stay, student visas are approved for a maximum of one year. A visa that allows multiple entries to Nepal can also be applied for. The application for the student visa can be made online.
After receiving the visa, the correctness of the entry and exit dates should be checked immediately, otherwise difficulties may arise when leaving the country. You can find more information about the student visa for Nepal on the websites of the Nepalese Ministry of Immigration and the Nepalese Embassy in Berlin:
Nepalese Ministry of Immigration
Nepalese embassy in Berlin
Before entering Nepal, you should always take out health insurance. It is also recommended that certain vaccinations be given or boosted before traveling. The following link provides further information on preventive healthcare:
Center for Travel Medicine – Country Information