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 the teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha (Pali/Sanskrit "The Awakened One").
In this program you will teach English and other subjects to Buddhist monks of all ages at the monasteries. 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.
What's not Included
Nepal is a country of diverse and rich geography, culture, and religion. The mountainous north contains eight of the world's ten highest mountains, including Mount Everest - the highest in the world. In Nepal it feels as though 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 the majority of people in Nepal, while Buddhism, though a minority faith in the country, is linked historically with Nepal being the birthplace of Siddhartha Gautama or Buddha Gautama, gave birth to the Buddhist tradition.
After a one week orientation volunteers will be assigned to a specific project, depending first on needs and availability and then on personal preference. 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.
Other Tasks: Volunteers may also have the option to get involved in other tasks around the monastery such as gardening, cooking or helping out in the library.
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.
Holidays: Please note that the monastery students are on vacation during the months of December and January. No volunteering will take place during this time.
Please take note of the project's minimum requirements:
- Min age 18
- High level of English
- Completed high school
- Able to work in high altitudes
- Good physical fitness
- Motivation to teach
- Immunizations (please consult your doctor)
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.
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 Nepalese customs. Given its objective – learning about traditional rural Nepal culture, it is appropriate that this week takes place in Kathmandu. There are many opportunities to immerse yourself in the culture, including visits to local villages, touring temples, local fairs, and some amazing natural scenery sites that you can explore during your free time.