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Design Abroad Nepal 2024

Design Abroad Nepal 2024

Design Abroad is an exciting course at OCAD University offering students a unique opportunity to work internationally with a local community to co-design solutions that have a meaningful impact. In 2024, Design Abroad will take place in Pokhara, Nepal, from May 12 – June 1, 2024. This intensive three-week course allows students to gain an in-depth understanding of the local culture through exploration, observation, and other design tools. 


Working in groups, as well as individually, students engage with organizations and members of the community to identify challenges and possible solutions. Students then integrate what they have learned through this participatory design process to develop design solutions that are innovative, appropriate, and implementable. 


This course not only offers students the ability to gain international travel experience but also provides the opportunity to co-design with others from a different cultural context in order to create solutions that can have a lasting impact. Through a mix of structured interaction with the community as well as studio-based work and critique, students from OCAD University’s various design disciplines learn how to develop design solutions that aim to improve the lives of their intended users. 
Design Abroad challenges students to hone their ideation and prototyping skills but also asks them to engage in systems thinking, creation of new business models, analysis of historical and cultural contexts, as well as local and international policy in order to understand the bigger picture and its impact on their designs. The goal is to help students grow as designers who are conscientious, resourceful, adaptable and innovative whether they are designing in Toronto or on the other side of the globe. 


Design Abroad offers students a unique experience not possible in a traditional classroom setting. Through this course, students have direct access to communities and individuals allowing them to fully engage in the participatory design process. The result is the development of projects that are rooted in an understanding of the local strengths and challenges and have the potential for lasting impact. Along the way, students gain friendships and experiences that will last a lifetime. 


To view past courses and projects please visit the link HERE


Upon completion of this course students will have the knowledge and ability to: 

1. Observe and Understand Culture 

Observe and analyze the environment to make informed design decisions. 

2. Experience the Participatory Design Process 

Participate in the design process with people from different cultures and backgrounds. 

3. Ideate and Prototype 

Research, brainstorm, and work with a community – be willing to let go of ideas and continue the iteration process. 

4. Evaluate and Implement 

Make critical assessments of implementable concepts. 

5. Document and Share 

Compile and organize information for presentations to others. 


Tentative Itinerary  


8am to 9am – Breakfast at Hostel 


9am to 3pm – Groups working with organization and community members 


Lunch in community 


4pm to 5:30pm – Debrief 


6pm to 7pm – Dinner at Hostel 


8pm to 9:30pm – Cultural Activity 


Students will be required to attend sessions pre- and post-travel; virtual meetings will be made available as an option. The exact dates will be determined later in the fall semester. Students can expect two to three pre-travel sessions to take place in March and April and two post travel sessions to take place in July and August.  


Travel Dates: May 12-June 1st, 2024 

Want to learn more? Join us for an information session on November 3rd 1:00pm-2:30pm  

Location: 115 McCaul, lower level  


Instructor: Sarah Tranum  

International Programs & Collaborations Office:  

Submission deadline: Sunday November 12th by 11:59pm 


Eligibility: Design Abroad 1.0 cr GDES-3079 is open to undergraduate students in the Faculty of Design, Faculty of Art and Faculty of Arts and Science who have completed 8.5 credits or more 


Funding: OCAD U seeks to reduce barriers to participation and increase the engagement of underrepresented students in international learning opportunities.  Funding for domestic undergraduate students is provided through the Global Skills Opportunity program. Target groups are defined through this program as follows:    


Low-income students: either having 1.) been approved for a Canada/Provincial Student Loan, Canada Student Grant or similar non-repayable student financial assistance in your province or territory for your current program of study OR 2.) In the absence of receiving non-repayable student financial assistance, can provide information to demonstrate that they require financial support to cover the estimated costs/expenses of this course.   


Indigenous students: First Nations, Métis, or Inuk (Inuit). This includes urban and unaffiliated Indigenous peoples.   


Students with disabilities: For the purposes of this program, disability is defined as a difficulty or impairment due to a long-term condition or health problem and/or experiences a limitation in their daily activities. Students do not need to be registered with OCAD U’s Student Accessibility Services, rather they are only required to only self-identify.   

This funding is to assist with flight and estimated costs for accommodation, meals and local travel are available to domestic undergraduate students who self-identify as one or more of these groups.  Along with your application you will be asked to self-identify in order for us to gauge student funding eligibility. Note, your responses will not affect the evaluation of your application to participate. To receive these funds, eligible participants must participate in pre-departure training and will be required to submit GSO forms and travel forms.  


*Students who have already received this funding are not eligible. Priority will be given to students who have not already received GSO or GEP (Global Experience Project) funding through previous opportunities*    


Estimated Costs/expenses: There is no associated participation or application fee, however, note that all selected students will be registered for this course and will be responsible for the associated tuition for a 1.0 credit. Eligible students will be provided with a maximum of $1750.00 CAD (Canadian dollars) for their round-trip airfare. 


Successful applicants will be contacted to participate in a short interview on  

Thursday, November 23rd via Teams 



Flight (round trip)    


1750.00 CAD will be provided (Toronto to Katmandu, Katmandu to Pokhara, no direct flight from Toronto) 

30-day Tourist Visa = $70  


Accommodation (shared room), meals and curriculum related excursions 


$2,595 CAD Program Fee  


Total estimated cost:    


 Approximately $4415 

This is the summary of estimated costs. For those students who are not eligible for GSO funding, they will be responsible for covering these expenses.  


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