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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. Siddhartha Gautama or Buddha Gautama, a native of Nepal, gave birth to the Buddhist tradition.
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. The monastery in Pharping takes in children from the age of eight, mainly children who lost their parents in the Earthquake in 2015. Some children come from mountain villages where otherwise they wouldn’t have an education, so they join the monastery to have a better start in life. 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 approximately 1-2 hours every day.
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 have the opportunity to participate in intensive meditation courses and the chance to take field trips to Hindu and Buddhist holy sites during your placement.
Schedule: Volunteers will work Monday-Friday and have Saturday and Sunday free.
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.
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:
Internet: Internet and phone service can be accessed near the village. WiFi is available in the Pharping accommodations.
Accommodations: During your volunteer placement you will be staying in a monastery in either a shared or private room. Standard rooms will house 4 to 6 volunteers, or you can choose to update to a double or private room for an additional fee (subject to availability). Staying in the monastery 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 outages are common.
Food: You will be provided with three meals a day during the week. The typical Nepalese meal is ‘daal, bhaat, tarkaari’ (lentil soup, rice, and vegetables). Other foods such as noodles, ‘roti’ (flat round bread), and different kinds of seasonal fruits and vegetables are also eaten. Boiled water will be available for drinking. Only breakfast and dinner are provided on the weekends.
Please take note of this project’s minimum requirements:
Culture Week (Highly Recommended):
A Culture 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 firsthand. You will also have 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 scenic sites that you can explore during your free time.
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:
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!