Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How much does this program cost? Where does the money come from?
A. The trip for 2018 will cost $4000 for each Ambassador. This is all-inclusive and includes airfare, hotels in Kathmandu and Pokhara, meals, a 4 day trek in the Annapurna mountains, and tours with professional tour guides to several World Heritage sites. The first $500 is due in early January which parents or guardians are expected to pay. Ambassadors can raise the remainder and we have a comprehensive process for soliciting donations from friends and family which has been very successful in the past. If you cannot pay the initial $500 please contact us and we can work with you confidentially. We also have a limited number of scholarships available.
Q. Why should I choose this program over others offered to students?
A. This program has been in existence since 1999. It has a long and successful history with over 230 kids having gone through the program. It provides personal growth in many areas including the chance to work with other Bainbridge kids for 6 months learning about Nepal and performing local community service. Upon arrival in Nepal, Ambassadors are immersed in Nepalese culture which in many ways has not changed in thousands of years. The group will work on projects that make a huge positive impact on the local population. This trip’s primary focus is learning about and living with another culture and doing meaningful, often hard physical work – it is not a vacation; it is deep immersion in an entirely new culture and experience.
Q. When is the trip? What if I can’t go on the scheduled dates?
A. Generally, the trip is three weeks starting about a week after the last day of school. If you have other commitments during this time period, this program is not for you.
Q. What qualifications are required?
A. Ambassadors must currently be enrolled in high school as a sophomore or junior. They may either attend a high school on Bainbridge Island or be a resident of Bainbridge Island and attend high school off-island or be home schooled. They must be open to learning about themselves and able to work within a team setting. Also, Ambassadors must have the ability to commit fully to the program. Other than that, there are no GPA or community service requirements.
Q. Is it safe?
A. Our first priority is the safety of the team. We send two adult chaperones with between 8 and 12 Ambassadors. We follow U.S. Department of State travel recommendations and we speak with experts both here and in Nepal if there are political or safety issues of concern. We will not send anyone without being certain they will be safe.
Q. How do I apply?
A. The application is generally available around the first week in October on this website – look for the application in the menu on the top of each page.
Q. What is the itinerary?
A. We start by flying from Seattle to Kathmandu. After a day there we take a short flight to Pokhara where we will stay for the next two and half weeks. Then we travel back to Kathmandu for a couple of days of sightseeing. The entire trip is three plus weeks.
We are constantly tuning the trip to improve the experience so no two years are exactly the same but you can get an idea of what it is like by reading through our trip log. It is a day-by-day log of what the team did. You can peruse them here.
Q. What do we do in Pokhara? What is an actual day like?
A. We live in a local hotel in an area near Lake Phewa. Depending on the day we might go to a project site and work, visit local cultural sites, or learn about Nepal and the Nepalese people. During the trek, we spend the day hiking through the countryside in the Annapurna mountains and spend the night in tea houses.
Q. What do we do to prepare for this trip?
A. Starting in January the team meets roughly once a month to work on local community service projects or have training sessions to prepare for the trip. During the training sessions we talk about what to expect in Nepal, what things to pack, talk about the food and the people and get an understanding of cultural norms of the Nepalese people.
Q. What will I gain from this?
A. You will gain as much as you put in, plus more. You will be immersed in another culture where politics and culture are evolving rapidly every day. You’ll have the chance to see how the Nepalese people live and work, especially people who aren’t as privileged as we are. You will see places that have not changed in hundreds of years and see a society that is uniquely their own. Nepal has never been colonized so their culture is, in many ways, exactly as it has been for thousands of years. You get the chance to connect with fellow Bainbridge kids in ways that are not possible here at home. This is a once in a lifetime experience!
Q. Who do I contact if I have more questions?
A. You can email us at email@example.com and we will get back to you right away.