Nepal - Teaching in Buddhist Monasteries
Discover spiritual Nepal and teach English to Buddhist monks. Learn about the Buddhist religion while experiencing life in a monastery and undergo a unique cultural exchange.
|Location of Project||Various locations in Nepal|
|Project Length||Min 4 weeks - Max 8 weeks|
|Arrival Airport||Tribhuven International Airport|
|Volunteer Work||Teaching English in local schools and monasteries|
|Number of Participants||1 - 2 international volunteers|
|Age||18 - 70|
|Accommodation||Volunteers stay in the monastery in either a shared or private room.|
|Food||Traditional Nepali food provided|
|Support||Local in-country team and 24hr emergency support|
|Airport Transfers||Included on arrival when volunteering for 2 weeks or more|
|Pre-Departure Kit||Full project details will be sent following registration|
|Orientation||Training and introduction in Kathmandu for 1 week|
|Insurance||Comprehensive travel health insurance with volunteer abroad coverage|
What's Not Included
Nepal is a country of highly diverse and rich geography, culture, and religions. The mountainous north contains eight of the world's ten highest mountains, including the highest, Mount Everest. In Nepal it feels like the clock has gone back several hundred years. The capital city is a maze of narrow, unpaved streets lined with terracotta-roofed houses. With its thousands of shrines, temples, and antiquities, Kathmandu is often referred to as a "living museum". Hinduism is practiced by a greater majority of people in Nepal than in any other nation. Buddhism, though a minority faith in the country, is linked historically with Nepal as the birthplace of Siddhartha Gautama who, as the Buddha Gautama, gave birth to the Buddhist tradition.
About the Project
Buddhism, as traditionally conceived, is a path of liberation attained through insight into the ultimate nature of reality. It is a religion or spiritual philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha (Pali/Sanskrit "The Awakened One").
In this program you will teach English to Buddhist monks at the monasteries and if you are interested, you can also teach in local schools. This is most suitable for those especially interested in Buddhist culture and religion.
Due to the fact that the monks spend their lives inside the monastery, this program provides them with the amazing opportunity to learn English, as well as experience another culture, from an international volunteer.
As a volunteer you will live in the monastery and teach 2-4 hours of English each day to monks and locals in the surrounding area.
The Orientation week is the first step towards a great stay in a new country. It is designed so that you can begin to understand the Nepalese culture. It is a fun filled week that is dedicated to getting to know Nepal and some of its cultural aspects first hand. You will also get time to meet the local people, taste the local cuisine and get familiar with the Nepalese customs. Given its objective – learning about the traditional rural Nepal culture, it is appropriate that this week takes place in Kathmandu. There are many opportunities to immerse yourself in the culture such as visits to local villages, touring temples, local fairs, and some amazing natural scenery sites that you can explore during your free time.
Volunteer Work and Contribution
After a one week orientation volunteers will be assigned to a specific project that firstly depends on needs and avaiability and then on personal preferences. These projects include:
Teaching: Depending on abilities and past experiences, some volunteers may be assisting a local teacher, while others may be able to lead class on their own. Volunteers will teach English informally - which gives you the opportunity to use your imagination and plan your daily lessons as you see fit. There are no guidelines, other than to engage your class and allow them to practice English. Classes are available for both children and adult monks, for around 1-2 hours every day.
Organizing Afterschool Activities: Some volunteers will be in charge of overseeing outdoor or indoor games and projects to engage the students outside of their everyday schedule. You will organize educational and environmental activities, as well as singing and dancing games, painting, or other crafts.
You will also get the opportunity to participate in intensive meditation courses and the chance to take field-trips to Hindu and Buddhist holy sites during your placement.
Every Saturday you will have a day off.
Accommodations: During your placement volunteer you will be staying in a monastery in either a shared or private room. This is a great way to experience a level of cultural and linguistic immersion that goes far beyond the limits of a tourist. Electricity is available, although power outs are common, and phone/ internet service can be accessed near the village.
Food: You will be provided with three main meals a day. The typical Nepalese meal is 'daal, bhaat, tarkaari' (lentil soup, rice, and vegetables) also other foods such as noodles, 'roti' (flat round bread), and different kinds of seasonal fruits and vegetables are eaten. Boiled water will be available for drinking.
If you would like to do some sightseeing and trekking, a fun trip can be added to your Nepal experience, or you can also discover new places independently. Nepal offers a great combination of nature and culture. Highlights include:
- Pokhara - picturesque lake-side town, and the base for many activities. Great live music scene, with plenty of cool bars and hotels. Fast becoming the destination of choice for travelers due to the scenery, adventure sports, and nightlife.
- Royal Chitwan National Park - join a safari and view tigers, rhinos, and other animals in the jungle.
- Annapurna area - popular trekking region of Nepal, where the world-famous Annapurna Circuit is located.
- Rafting - join an exhilarating white water rafting trip.
- Min age 18
- High level of English
- Able to work in high altitudes
- Good physical fitness
- Motivation to teach
- Immunizations (please consult your doctor)
Here's an excerpt of Melanie's experience:
Check out our Volunteer Blog at blog.goeco.org to read experiences written by GoEco volunteers from all over the world!
I went to Nepal to teach English at a Buddhist school in Pharping. The project was well-run, and even though there were not many teachers attending the classes, they told myself and the other volunteers that we could teach whatever we wanted, (we didn't have to follow any program or curriculum.) They said that anything that we did will help the kids with the language and that's what we tried to do - make it interesting and useful at the same time.
The school has a very nice library with many books and materials that helped in our classes our classes. At first I was thinking to do some teaching at the public school as well, but I liked the monastery too much and I spent all my time there. We ended helping with many of the other classes as there was a lack of teachers in many other subjects too. I would definitely recommend it to others.
For me it was a once in a life time experience. The difficulties I met In Nepal were more from cultural shock and the quite harsh impressions that the extreme poverty has made on me. In this respect it was nice that from the the very first day I had an organized language/cultural immersion course with a very sweet girl (who was also my guide for the first few days) so I had some company when I most needed it. What I liked most it was probably the whole atmosphere at the monastery, with all the boys that accepted us. The people there are so pure and genuine in their relationships, it is something we could learn from them too.
Volunteer in Nepal - Teaching in Buddhist Monasteries