Nepali Times
Student discount, please!

A student identity card is a highly valued asset in Nepal. So much so that even those who haven't stepped into a classroom for years bribe the local photocopy guy into attesting one for them. Flash your student ID and the microbus conductor is compelled to charge you less, you get to see the zoo animals for cheap, and get discounted entry at many shows and exhibitions.

Things are set to get even better for students here. With the introduction of the International Student Identity Card (ISIC), held by over 4.5 million in 120 countries, Nepali students will now be able to extend discounts received to participating restaurants, clothing outlets, and bookstores.

Zen Nepal Tours and Travels, which introduced ISIC to Nepal, is upbeat about its prospects. "We thought it was a great opportunity to help students access more services," says Mitali Ghosh, manager of Zen Nepal. The card is issued only to full-time students, aged above 12, at a cost of US$22. It is valid for a year and can be reissued at any ISIC provider around the world. In operation since January, Zen Nepal has already issued 125 ISICs.

A majority of the clients that visit Zen Nepal's office for the new card are those who have been accepted into foreign universities. "Most issue this card for the discounts it provides on airfares," explains Ghosh. "But there are even more benefits once they arrive at their destination." Worldwide, 41,000 merchants accept ISIC.

Bhumi Puri, who has been marketing the ISIC card in Nepal, asserts that the card is not just for those about to leave the country. Zen Nepal has involved 150 local merchants in the ISIC discount program, and expects the number to reach 200 by the end of the month. "Students living here can avail themselves of 7-25 per cent discounts at participating stores," says Puri. "And we have carefully selected businesses that are appropriate for students."

It's a win-win situation for the businesses too because it opens them to a pool of Nepalis who otherwise might not be able to afford their products as well as foreign students with ISIC cards who may visit Nepal.

For the same price, non-students can apply for a youth card for similar benefits, and teachers can also sign up for a special International Teacher Identity Card.

1. dolakha
Is this a paid advertisement? I hope NT got paid to promote this business or at least got some ad revenue.

2. Indra Shrestha
I was able to save quite a lot money as a young graduate student in the UK with this card.  I'm glad the card is finally being accepted in in Nepal.

3. SK
"For the same price, non-students can apply for a youth card for similar benefits, and teachers can also sign up for a special International Teacher Identity Card."

So anybody can get this card for $22. This is a scam to make money. I doubt people will be even able to break even. 

4. Kim Hutchins
This is a great card for student travellers!!!  The discounts are amazing, specially in Europe and Australia.

5. Samsara

Definitely not worth it if you're planning on heading to the US for your collegiate career.  Student discounts are practically non-existent here.

6. Mytwocents

May be useful in europe. Otherwise not required in US . As somebody commented, "Is this a paid add?". If you are in Nepal, you don't need this and if outside of Nepal, the university itself issues a very good card.


7. Rajesh Gurung
The fares for a flight from Kathmandu to the UK were going for NPR 40,000 + in the general market.  I purchased my ticket for NPR 27,000 and got a free ISIC card through the company.  I cannot speak for the others, but in my case, I already saved over NPR 15,000 in one ticket.  There was a long line at the company the day I went to buy my ticket and I imagine they were all saving tons of money.  And I read there are 4.5 million students with the card worldwide.  I guess, the numbers speak for themselves, and any criticism to the card or company is ill-founded.

Rajesh Gurung
Cambridge U

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)