Very soon after arrival, you will find that Nepal is not really a difficult country to negotiate! Neither is it is unsafe. It can be, however, extremely frustrating (things do not run to schedule and take time), and hygiene can be an issue, particularly for young children.
Things to do prior to or immediately on arrival
Learn something about the culture, customs, and religion of the country.
If possible, learn the basics of the language.
Think about accommodation. Someone has suggested if you rent a serviced apartment short term it will give you the chance to look around and find somewhere you like in an area that is close to your office/ schools etc. (Recently we saw a post from someone who was coming to work in Kathmandu but was planning to live in Bhaktapur, a delightful Newari town 16km away. What they couldn’t know was the journey could more than an hour due to traffic and it would be hard to have any kind of social life without a vehicle.)
Find out about schools. For example, there is the American system based Lincoln School and the British system based British School in Kathmandu. But both are expensive. Other schools are available which could possibly be as good for younger children and are a lot less expensive.
Finding out where other families live whose children attend the same school will also be helpful when you are choosing your final residence location.
Research transportation – is your office going to be providing you with transport? Will you buy your own car or rely on taxis and buses?
Health – find out what you can about the basic health and hygiene of the country. Are their international doctors /clinics/ hospitals? Health insurance?
Is the country you are going to safe? Can you and your family walk around securely? Do you need to take extra precautions? Are some areas less safe to live in than others?
Find out something about the weather and pack accordingly!
If you have access to someone already living in the country i.e. a future colleague, you can ask them what food/ baby items/ children’s items/ personal items you should bring that you will not find in the new country.
Will you be provided with staff from your office? If not, how do you go about hiring them and how much should you pay and what should you expect from them?
Quick Checklist to follow
Going to another country can be daunting. In this Expat Guide, we have tried to give you some information and tips on how to settle into Kathmandu life. Let’s start with this quick checklist:-
Check your transport details. Do you require a return flight out of the country in order to meet visa requirements? (not for Nepal). Are you shipping goods or planning to buy furniture etc when you get there? Are your electrical appliances going to work? Check local voltage.
Can you get a local SIM card at the airport? (yes for Nepal). Unlock your phone if necessary before you arrive. Find out about internet services as soon as possible.
You probably know how you are going to be paid but double check. Research local banks but also keep your bank account at home operational. Internet banking!
How will you connect with other expats, meet local residents, and make friends? Other expats are invaluable sources of information and help. Look for social meet-up groups or language exchanges and locate yoga classes, gyms, libraries, book clubs, or other places you can meet both locals and fellow expats.
Look at taking classes. Although it’s easy to get by in English in Nepal, it will be easier if you can speak basic Nepali.
Enjoy the experience!! Listen, be patient, be trusting, smile and have fun!