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Nestled in the Himalayas at 4,600 feet above sea level, Nepal’s capital city of Kathmandu truly lives up to expectations both in its beauty and its excitement. Kathmandu is the only metropolitan city in Nepal and the urban center of Kathmandu Valley, with over 900,000 residents and several thousand tourists each year. The city offers many modern comforts while still maintaining its cultural and traditional heritage. Thanks to the city’s diversity, with numerous ethnic groups and followers of both Hinduism and Buddhism, you will find a seemingly endless supply of new cuisines, music, temples and festivals to experience. The traditional art, fragrant incense and delectable spices provide a full sensory experience.
Kathmandu Valley also contains two sister cities, Patan and Bhaktapur, and a number of small towns. The three sister cities are home to no less than seven UNESCO World Heritage shrines, which together form one official World Heritage Site. The area contains several additional magnificent temples, monuments and sculptures – tokens of the golden era in Nepal’s architecture.
Due to a relatively poor economy and lack of infrastructure, many Nepalese people cannot afford to travel, making opportunities to engage in cultural exchange with foreigners extremely rare. Moreover, since higher education in Nepal is taught exclusively in English, the language skills they gain at a young age become vital to their future. Volunteers work in one of three school locations: either in the heart of Kathmandu, or in nearby Pokhara or Chitwan.
Volunteers will mainly assist the regular staff in teaching the students math, history, science, geography, computers, and engage in various arts and crafts and games with the students. This structure allows the children to learn their core course materials while at the same time practicing and improving their English. Volunteers will work with children diverse in age and skill level and with varying learning capacities. Creative ideas are warmly received, and volunteers are encouraged to bring posters, pictures, music and other resources to further enrich the lessons. Specific tasks may include:
A typical day: You will be placed as a teaching assistant in a class of about 25 students, and will be expected to lead four to five lessons per week. School hours are from 10am until 4pm, with lunch provided by the school at noon. Volunteers may choose to stay for the entire day, or leave after finishing their lessons. In order to enrich the curriculum, you may be encouraged to introduce creative and fun ideas such as sports, games, and arts and crafts projects.
Please note: because most of the teaching placement will take place under the supervision of a trained teacher, you will not be required to have a teaching background for the project. Volunteers who do not have teaching experience can still make a meaningful contribution as a conversation partner and through cultural enrichment.
Holidays: From mid-March until mid-April there is a school vacation during which teaching will not take place. On these days, volunteers have the option to participate in other activities, such as renovation or working with rescued animals.
Volunteer work does not take place during national holidays, but you are always welcome to join in the local celebration.
Please note these consecutive holidays, which may impact short-term placements, before registering:
Note on attire: Volunteers are permitted to dress casually while at the school; however, transparent clothing and low-cut tops will not be permitted.
Internet: WiFi is available at the center. Please be aware that in Nepal the speed of the internet is slower than what many international volunteers are accustomed to in their home countries.
Laundry: Laundry facilities are available for an additional fee
Accommodations: You will be staying in a shared house 5 kilometers from the city center, in a shared, same-gender room with up to 6 other participants. Each room has a Western-style bathroom with hot water. There are several other facilities which you are also free to use, including a recreation lounge with a satellite TV and fridge, travel desk and mini library. There is also an option to upgrade for an additional fee to a 2-person room with a private toilet (shared with your one roommate), or a private room with a private toilet. Both are subject to availability.
Food: You will be provided with three meals per day on weekdays, and two meals per day on weekends. The meals are mainly vegetarian, although chicken is served from time to time. There are also an array of local restaurants where volunteers may choose to eat.
Please take note of this project’s minimum requirements:
Culture Week (Highly Recommended):
During your first week of the program, you will find yourself immersed in the beauty and wonder of Nepalese culture with a cultural and language orientation, as well as local sightseeing. You will gain a deeper understanding of the local people through introductory language and culture classes, trips to local shops and markets, yoga and meditation and sightseeing.
One Week Nepal Venture (Add-On):
For an additional fee, volunteers can spend one more week exploring the Himalayas in this beautiful country! Activities include jungle exploration, hiking, white wate rafting and other blood-pumping adventures!