The Responsible
Adventure Travel Company

Overview

Nepal is a truly amazing country which time has forgotten. Kathmandu is a blend of new and old with fantastic restaurants and traditional Buddhist temples. If you are interested in going to Nepal for your elective you can also combine this with a fantastic expedition to the foot of the planets highest peak, Chomolungma or as we call it Mount Everest! Afterwards you can go on an elephant back safari in the Chitwan Jungle or visit some of the rural villages which have been supported and developed through our charity, Moving Mountains Trust. The options are endless!

Adventure Alternative have been organising medical electives in Kathmandu since 2004, forming strong connections with both the Tribhuvan Teaching hospital, and the Nepal Medical College and Teaching Hospital, both located within this bustling capital of the Himalayan Kingdom. Here you will find busy streets full of character and colour. Initially this appears as a never ending maze of fascination with lingering aromas of incense and wonderful street side sellers offering great Asian artefacts and treasures such as Yak hair hats, cashmere scarves and Buddhist prayer flags.

As with all areas of beauty in the developing world it doesn’t take long to realise that behind the scenes there is a lot of poverty and people needing attention and treatment for conditions which in the West would only be found in text books.

    Staff

    Pasang Tendi Sherpa (Director of Adventure Alternative Nepal) and his wife Sarasoti live in the Nepal guest house and look after all visitors. Pasang has climbed Everest a number of times and is the main climbing Sherpa for all Adventure Alternative trips. He is also a Trustee of Moving Mountains Nepal. Both Pasang and Sarasoti speak good English, they have two children and have their own floor in the guest house.

    Testimonials

    Just a short note to thank you all very much for helping organise such a great elective. I am just back from Kathmandu and an Everest Base Camp trek having had an awesome time - the hospital was really great with the Unit 2A General Surgery team really friendly, also loads of other students from all over europe a big plus!

    The trek was great and the views breathtaking we were really lucky.... Now am back to London and the reality - trying to adjust to being a final yr already!

    Tom E

    Oct 2008

    Project History

    In Kathmandu your base is the Adventure Alternative guest house, which is just on the outskirts of the town. Here you live in one of our very comfortable rooms with kitchen, lounge and bathroom. Our staff live nearby to the accommodation, and they are always on hand to advise and guide you. Gavin (Adventure Alternative’s MD) has been working and climbing in Nepal for many years. He has climbed Everest a number of times and has also organised a host of other expeditions in the Himalayas and has always worked hand in hand with the people who we now employ. Pasang Tendi Sherpa is our main representative in Nepal, however we have a number of full time staff who you will find to be honest and caring characters who will do everything in their power to make sure you have a smooth and pleasant stay in Nepal.

    Type of People

    The elective program is not only open to Medical students; we also have elective opportunities available for Midwifery, Physiotherapy, Dentistry and Nursing students too.  We can also cater for professional placements and work experience.

    To successfully undertake a medical placement with us you will need to be enthusiastic, mature and sensible. You will also need to be adaptable and versatile. You do not need to have previously travelled abroad but you do need to appreciate that living and working in Nepal is very different to life at home. You also need to be respectful and appreciate that by undertaking such a placement that you will be looked up too by the entire community so you need to act and be a good role model. Most importantly though, you need to have initiative and a good sense of humour and enjoy having a good time.

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    Dates and Itinerary

    Time in Country

    Our staff will have your information and provide the on-ground logistics for you on arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu. You are assisted to the hospital and you meet the staff and are helped to move into the accommodation. You also receive an allowance in local currency to take care of your food and transport daily costs which will be distributed upon arrival.

    At all times you will have contact with the staff in the UK office. Adventure Alternative Nepal is a subsidiary of the company in he UK so you can be sure that we will remain responsible for you and have contact with both you and all of our staff at all times.

    Every area where we operate has our own representative who will be looking after you personally. It is a very sociable and enjoyable experience and they will all be keen to make you feel at home and feel a part of their country.

    Daily Routine

    At the hospital you will work with the medical director or consultant to discuss your exact daily routines and timings. You will be able to mention your preferences and you will find all the medical staff happy to try and accommodate you.

    Your days in the hospital will be busy however the Adventure Alternative representatives will settle you into the routine, introduce you to the staff and ensure you are happy travelling to and fro each day.

    At the hospitals you will find various departments including Anaesthesiology, Anatomy, Biochemistry, Clinical Pharmacology, Clinical Physiology, Dental Surgery, Dermatology, Ear, Nose, Throat (ENT), Emergency Medicine & General Practice, Forensic Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, General Surgery, Internal Medicine, Orthopaedic Surgery, Ophthalmology, Psychiatry & Mental Health, Pathology, Microbiology, Radiology and Community Medicine. It is possible to specialise in one department or to pick a number of departments to experience.

    You will become familiar with commonly prevalent medical and surgical problems within Nepal, getting first -hand experience of many tropical diseases and common health problems of a developing country.

    During the elective period you will attend daily ward rounds conducted by the consultants of the respective clinical departments. You will also be posted to the outpatient departments and the casualty rooms where you can see a variety of clinical cases. You will also be involved with interviewing and examining the patients and observe various diagnostic and therapeutic procedures under the direct supervision of the consultants.

    Similarly, you will be encouraged to participate in clinical bedside teachings regularly conducted for the undergraduate students of the Institute of Medicine in Kathmandu. In such sessions you can discuss the clinical findings, investigation plans and therapeutic management of the patients. These regular journal clubs, case presentations and topic discussions provide a rich learning environment for students. Such sessions are particularly useful to develop critical reasoning skills and the skills of problem solving based on case histories and the real patients.

    The community - based programmes for the elective are currently being developed. Such programmes will provide first-hand experiences in the practice of rural medicine as well as the insights in regards to the socio - cultural, economic and environmental determinants of health & disease.??

    Independent Travel

    Whilst in Kathmandu there is a lot to do. The city is full of fascinating tours and history, great restaurants and temples such as Pashupatinath and Boudhanath. The area of Thamel is the main Western hang out where you can relax in gardens while sipping a G & T or haggle over great bargains.

    At the weekend you can visit the surrounding valley town of Bhaktapur, the monkey temple of Swayambunath, or go to the Kathmandu Guest House hotel just outside town which offers day and weekend relaxation retreats with Spa’s, yoga and hot tubs. Kathmandu really has something for everyone from white water rafting to trekking from aromatherapy to religious tours. You will find plenty to do at the weekends and the staff are always there to help you organise everything. We have a full complement of experienced and enthusiastic staff who will help make your stay all the more special.

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    Cost

    Medical Elective Nepal cost: £950.00

    Includes
    • £950 is based on a 4 week Elective, any extra weeks are £150 per week
    • Airport transfers
    • Transport to and from the hospital daily
    • Accommodation and costs (electricity, gas, etc) in Adventure Alternative Guest House in Kathmandu
    • Weekly allowance for food and bottled water
    • The cost of your placement at the hospital plus all supervision
    • UK administration and organisation
    • Nepalese staff and administration costs
    Excludes
    • Vaccinations estimate (£70)
    • Visa (15 days=$25, 30 days=$40, 90 days=$100)
    • Airfare estimate (£450 - £600)
    • Insurance estimate (£70)
    • Weekend visits are not included
    • Weekend accommodation if travelling away from our own accommodation
    • Spending Money for gifts, phone, email etc
    Cost of Add-Ons and Some Optional Extras
    • Additional Week: £150.00
      Should you wish to continue your elective placement longer than 4 weeks it is possible to extend this with an additional cost of £150 per week.
    • Trek n’ Medical - Everest Base Camp: £945.00
      If you have a bit of spare time and a burning ambition to trek in the Himalayas and gasp at their beauty and magnificence then this is definitely the Medical elective for you! Due to our background as an expedition company and our connections through our charity which has done a great deal of work in the Himalayan villages we also offer you the chance to join one of our trek teams heading to the Base Camp of Mount Everest! This is one of the Worlds greatest hikes to one of the most incredible places on our planet which takes you to base camp tucked up underneath the sheer slopes of Everest. The trek takes just over two weeks, which includes rest days! Eventually you will reach the tiny settlement of Gorak Shep perched on the edge of the massive Khumbu Glacier with Mt Everest at the other end and the base where mountaineers begin their climb to the summit. This trek is fully supported and you will have a porter to carry your bag. Accommodation on the way is in comfortable lodges or under the stars. The food is great, the scenery breathtaking and the people are some of the most wonderful that you’ll ever meet! Getting to base camp is not possible all year round due to the monsoon and the winter when flights and severe weather close down the higher passes. If you are planning an elective around March, April, May or Sept, October, November then you can join up with one of the teams heading up. The trek can be before you start your elective or after and promises to be one of the most amazing and breathtaking things you have ever done. Fitness is generally peoples concern however the trek is surprisingly relaxing with generally four hours walking each day. If this is of interest you should check out the Everest Base Camp page on the website and don’t worry when you look at the price as this is greatly reduced for people on an elective. For latest prices please refer to the website or phone the office.
    • Moving Mountains Village Trek: £550.00
      This is a wonderful 7 day trek which can also be taken as an extension to the Everest Base Camp trek which starts when you approach Lukla on the way back from Everest. Two days further and off the beaten trail is two villages which our charity had been developing over the last decade. You are welcome to come and see what we've been doing and get involved. This is beautiful trip, like stepping back in time and will introduce to the traditional ways and cultures of the local people.
    • Chitwan Jungle Adventure: £399.00
      This is a very popular trip for those who would like a bit more excitement. We depart Kathmandu by coach and after a couple of hours driving we meet up with your white water rafting crew who will take you on an adventurous trip down river for many miles until you reach the Chitwan Jungle. We then spend the next four days based in a lovely jungle resort. This quaint home from home is our base for river trips in traditional dug out canoes, jungle walks and the highlight; an elephant back safari, which at the end involves jumping in the river with your elephant to give him or her a wash! After all of the jungle fun and activities we then return to Kathmandu by a short flight.
    • Everest Flight!: £160.00
      This is a flight around Mt Everest offering spectacular views of the mountain. This flight leaves daily in the morning and can be undertaken by those who plan to depart Kathmandu for home, on an evening flight following the trek or as an addition to the next two options. The one hour flight takes off from Kathmandu Airport and flies east in a fully pressurised aircraft, where one can see magnificent mountains from a height of around 25,000 feet. A must take tour of the majestic Himalayas. It’s an hour of breathtaking scenic beauty of the Mighty Mountains. It is a sparkling clear journey across the world’s highest peaks, Mt. Everest, Kanchenjunga – 3rd highest, Lhoste, Makalu, Cho Oyu, to name just a few including the Tibetan plateau. You enjoy a seemingly endless chain of snow capped peaks as you fly above the clouds, over glaciers and lakes, rivers and gorges from your private individual window. The clear, non tinted windows offer a great opportunity to experience and photograph the aerial views of the Kathmandu valley, the high peaks and the landscapes of Nepal.
    • Spa Hotel: £60.00
      Located just outside of Kathmandu is the lovely Spa Resort, Park Village. We can arrange transfers and accommodation at the resort for you. People can then select and 'pay as you go' for the various pamperings and treatments. They also offer classes in yoga and have lovely trail walks in the surrounding hills. This option is all about rest, relaxation and rejuvenation.
    Insurance

    You will need to organise your own insurance for your elective. It is now quite easy to get cover from credit cards, brokers or even Tesco’s! You can also look at the insurance options available online through the AA website.

    Profit Share

    Your time in Nepal allows us to properly support a number of businesses and charitable projects through investment in staff, upkeep, development, training or simply hiring or utilising existing skills or supplies. By coming out with Adventure Alternative we also make a charitable donation to every institution where you work. Adventure Alternative also uses profits to run the charity Moving Mountains so that it does not have administrative overheads.

    Local Benefits

    The local benefits felt due to you spending time with us in Nepal are huge. Starting at the grassroots level you will directly help all of the patients that you work with. Wider than this then you impact upon the family and friends of your patients, of whom there are many; families in Nepal can be very big! Then there are the doctors and nurses whose work load is lightened by you being there. As the net broadens you also benefit the community by spending your allowance in the local shops, on entertainment, weekend visits or day trips. You also allow us to employ many great people, many of whom where once sponsored by our charity but now employed by the company. Then if you stand back and look at the big picture, one which is and has been a long term plan of Moving Mountains - the continual development of the charity and the locations where the charity works. Your role continues this work and the time you spend there forms part of this ongoing process and all along this journey you are not only giving to the local community but also developing yourself.

    Local Providers

    From your first enquiry you will have experienced people to talk to in the UK office who will give you an honest appraisal of the placement, specifically you can talk to our Medical Electives co-ordinator, Andy MacDonald. This personal service and warm welcome will also await you in Kathmandu where Pasang Tendi Sherpa, runs Adventure Alternative Nepal. He is the director of the company in Nepal, looking after every trek, visit or tour, from meeting people at the airport to taking them to the summit of Mt Everest! He has made nine expeditions to Mt Everest and also guides on Aconcagua. He speaks excellent English and will be on hand all the time. AA Nepal company is a registered tour operator and looks after all of your daily needs and manages you whilst in Nepal.

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    Fitness

    Adventure Alternative Support

    We provide all the support in country from being picked up at the airport to accommodation at a homestay, cash kitties for food and transport, local staff on hand all the time, internet all the time, introduction to the hospital staff and supervisor, an introduction to Kathmandu and the environs and customs, security and of course convenience. This does not detract from your independence, you have your own space in the house, and you can come and go as you wish and organise weekend visits or even treks. We can help organise these since Pasang is running Adventure Alternative Nepal.

    In the UK you have the staff to help prepare your trip and offer advice on flights, insurance and preparation. We try to provide a comprehensive service, and a safe trip, but giving you the ownership of your own holiday to this part of the world.

    Selection Process

    To confirm a place on an elective you should complete the application form online. We also require a letter from your university stating that you are a genuine Medical student at that institution and which year you are expected to graduate. We can provide a confirmation letter which will have all the information required for your University application (name of supervisor, hospital details, address of Adventure Alternative Nepal, etc).

    Training

    No specific training is required before an Elective however we would highly recommend that you read up on Nepal before you travel, in particular the areas that you are planning to travel to. Prior knowledge on the history and local customs will only enhance your trip. We also strongly recommend that you examine the ethics of your trip by reading the article on the right hand side of this page entitled Ethics of a Medical Elective, and also Resources and Reading. We really cannot stress enough the need to read widely about the nature of electives, the pros and cons and the wider picture regarding development and how we attempt to uphold the principles of the MDGs and the NGO Code of Conduct.

    Do also learn some key words and phrases in Nepali and be prepared for standard customs on meeting people. Pasang and Sarasoti in the homestay will help you with this, since you will be living in their home, but it is good to do some research before leaving home.

    Role Model

    Without doubt you will witness the strong links between Adventure Alternative and Moving Mountains and the clinics and hospitals that you are placed in.  As such you will be an ambassador to both Adventure Alternative and Moving Mountains and there will be many people looking to you as a role model.

    Moving Mountains, with the help and support of Adventure Alternative, has successfully assisted many people and projects in the rural areas of Nepal. To be able to do this in countries where corruption is a common trait is no easy task. It takes careful assessment, implementation and management over many years. It also takes years to understand the principles of aid and charity within such communities.  Any charitable donations should be made through the appropriate channels and advice should always be sought from our staff.

    The Promise to Moving Mountains

    Adventure Alternative works with the Moving Mountains Trust which operates NGOs in Kenya and Nepal and carries out many long term projects and programmes. ‘MM’ was started by Director Gavin Bate during many years working in aid work and development, and ‘AA’ is the company that provides revenue and investment for many of them to become financially self-sufficient.

    This relationship between company and charity began in 1991 and our elective programme has sprung from the relationships we have with the medical authorities and the communities which you will visit.

    More than just an elective provider, we run long term ongoing medical programmes alongside our NGO and also at the request of local communities and hospitals. We have worked with medical authorities in many locations to ensure ongoing continuity as well as medical co-operation with other aspects of our work, for example the children’s homes we build and run, and the satellite private clinics which serve smaller remote communities.

    We provide the convenience of an organised elective, and we work to ensure that the time overseas is a highlight of your undergraduate years as well as a necessary addition to your competencies and clinical experience. You can also explore non-clinical skills like teaching, or getting involved with the Moving Mountains programmes, such as helping out in the children’s homes.

    Clearly there is an appeal in visiting a different country and culture, but this is also a chance to see relief work first hand and understand how an NGO runs.
     
    Perhaps most importantly it will allow you to see how an organisation with a developmental perspective is upholding the principles of the Millennium Development Goals. Director Gavin Bate has been involved in the overseas development industry for many years and has developed a structure in Adventure Alternative which reflects the unprecedented opportunity of the post-2015 agenda once the MDGs expire. He regularly attends events at the Overseas Development Institute and Business Fights Poverty to ensure that th

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    Gear

    Clothing Suggestions

    When you are working in the hospital and clinics you should dress conservatively and you should carry a white coat and your own stethoscope with you to Nepal.

    Dress codes really only apply to women, skirts should at least reach the knee and shoulders should be covered at all times, particularly in rural locations.  Expect it to be hot during the day so loose fitting cotton clothing is advisable though it can get cooler in the evening so a fleece is recommended.  Depending on the time of year you should also expect some heavy showers so a lightweight waterproof could also be useful.

    All our Guest Houses will provide bedding and mosquito nets.

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    Why Us

    • Well established developmental perspective with a keen eye on integrity and emphasis on social entrepreneurship and global health education
    • Flexible electives with no fixed dates
    • Close relationships with placement hospitals and clinics
    • Our funding model fulfils the criteria of Fair Trade Volunteering.
    • All our full time staff are trained and experienced in working with Western people
    • We actively support the local economy and promote social entrepreneurship through an equitable model of collaboration and ‘trade not aid’.
    • We do not sub-contract our responsibilities
    • Our UK office staff regularly visit Kenya & Nepal so you can chat to people who understand what it’s like to go to there for the first time
    • We run free Medical Camps in Nepal and Kenya and depending on your Elective dates it may be possible to get involved with these
    • Comprehensive pre-departure advice and support, 24/7 medical support during your trip and qualified supervision who have worked with us for many years.
    • Safe accommodation and a cash kitty for your use to buy your own food and cook yourselves, or staff on hand to help teach you local culinary cuisine!
    • We work in just a few destinations where we have worked hard to promote long term relationships that have a clear benefit for all stakeholders.
    • Very interesting variety of cases, treatments and patient care in different .environments offering a chance to expand your medical knowledge and enhance understanding of disease progression.
    • Our electives meet the requirements of British medical schools.

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