From November to December 2012 I was located South-West of Kathmandu in a medium-sized monastery. I provided English classes to students, age five to thirty. It is a beautiful location, away from the noise and constant honking of Kathmandu. The days at the monastery were wonderful. It felt like home although you have to be prepared for less amenities than back home. Believe me, you get used to it and you will feel very happy in exchange. And albeit the language barriers, the students were like anywhere else in the world: Charming, cheeky and curious; an overall joy! It was the right decision to come to Nepal and I would recommend Volunteer Aid Nepal to anyone interested to get to know the daily life of Nepalese people. If you fancy the same life-style like at home than you are better off for the touristy places in Thamel, Kathmandu. If you are eager to share your knowledge and maybe even broaden it in terms of Buddhist philosophy and daily life of a monk, then DO NOT WAIT! The organizational aspect during the project was excellent; staffs at Volunteer Aid Nepal and everyone in the monastery were wonderful. I hope to return very soon with more time to spend. Thank you for everything!
- Stephanie W. , Germany
When I went to Nepal for the first time I chose the Buddhist Monastery Volunteer Program and my entire trip was amazing. My time with Volunteer Aid Nepal was an absolutely wonderful and life changing experience.
From my arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport through my stay at the Monastery in Pokhara and then back to Kathmandu: Bhuvan and his team were there for me every step of the way. I made many lifelong friends in Nepal and when I returne to visit, Bhuvan and Volunteer Aid Nepal still assist me with negotiating their wonderful country.
To anyone wanting to help real people in the real world, I srongly recommend Volunteer work in Nepal with Bhuvan and his excellent team.
- Scott Braden Schwartz, USA
I am Scandinavian young women who decided to spent two months, June and July 2012 in Nepal, working as a volunteer English teacher at a Buddhist Monastery. I discovered the decision to be one of the most rewarding things I have done. A Buddhist Monastery is an interesting place surrounded by wonderful and friendly people. It is a great opportunity to break away from familiar surroundings and western culture, to question some old habits maybe discover new ones.
The weekly schedule stays the same: teaching takes 3 ½ or 4 ½ hours daily plus additional private lessons you might give. For example, I found myself giving English lesions to teacher monks during the weekends. The working days are from Monday to Saturday, Saturday being a half-day. Sunday is a holiday for everybody, teachers and students alike.
My personal opinion, which I shared with the teachers and a volunteer coworker, is that a volunteer should stay at the monastery at least a month. There are several reason for this: from the monastery’s point of view, students are very shy at first towards new teachers. They have to get used to the volunteer worker before they really start to interact with her or him. It also takes them at least 2 weeks getting used to the teacher’s accent volunteer workers being from various countries ( note: Please speak English slow enough, they are only few within the older and younger monks whose English is advanced). And from the volunteer worker’s point of view, the first 2-3 weeks are just to discover what is going on around you. I feel my experience would have been only shallow touch if I would have left after, let’s say week there, compared to what I have gained and realized here in 2 months. You don’t want to travel all the way to Nepal only for a couple silly days! Absolutely the best part of my journey has been getting to know a bunch of new and fascinating people. The monks, especially, the little students, will steal your heart. After the first impression you will soon find out that they are normal little boys playing games, having quarrels and generally goofing around. You can’t help getting attached to them. Sweet boys, who I will miss a great deal, back home.
The overall feeling I have about my stay in Nepal is ‘time-well-spent’. I truly felt that I successes to be helpful and do what I was supposed to do, teach English. But at the end I feel like I was the one learning so much more! About myself, fellow human beings, life, Buddhism and how I want to move on the future. I feel really lucky, especially as a western woman, that I could have this precious experience spending my summer in monastery. A big thank you belongs to Volunteer Aid Nepal, Who made this all possible. The organization been very helpful starting from the first puzzling questions I had about the whole thing, all the way to getting me to the Airport on time for my departing flight after my volunteering. So, as a conclusion: Go, experience, help and discover!
Salla Turunen, Finland, 2012
My first impressions of Nepal on the ride from the Kathmandu Airport to my hostel after being awake for about two days were overwhelming. And that kind of feeling should last for all the six weeks I stayed in this colorful country. At this moment I did not really know what to expect. I knew that I will do my medical internship in Nepal ( Pokhara) and stay with a local family. But everything worked out well. Volunteer Aid Nepal organized the ride to Pokhara and one of the most welcoming host families you can imagine. I used to backpack a lot in the past and now I can definitely say that staying with locals is the best way to experience a country and the people with their culture. I had time to do a little bit of hiking and visit interesting places around Pokhara. All in all I haven´t seen a lot of different sites but I have seen and learned much more than on my past travels. Working in hospital in Pokhara was great.
Most of the staff knew how to speak English. Unfortunately patients rarely speak English, but I was expecting such a situation. Nursing in Nepal is different to European standards. People in Nepal know and try to make the best out of the given possibilities. Working in Nepal was a lifetime experience and I´m thankful I got such a chance!
Dimitri Enzinger, Austria, 2012
I volunteered for 4 weeks in a children’s home in Kathmandu, and what an amazing experience it was. I lived in the orphanage with the children and I think this is an excellent way to get to know the children and provide support as though you are a big brother/sister. It also gives you the opportunity to experience the real Nepal, the orphanage became my home from home and whenever I went out for the day I was always greeted with a warm welcome on my return.
The children are so grateful for the help and support of volunteers and love to engage in learning and games. I found it was such a worthwhile way to spend my time in between traveling in Nepal. The children benefit so much from having a mentor, practicing their English and having that extra help with their homework. A volunteer can bring new skills, education and ideas to the children’s home that have a massive impact on the orphaned children of Nepal and will help towards the development of the country.
It was an experience that I will not forget, not only did I have the opportunity to have an impact on many Children’s lives but I also learnt many things about myself. I will definitely be coming back to visit the orphanage next time I am in Asia! ”
- Vicky Neale, UK 2011-06-15
“ Volunteering in Orphanage Volunteer Program was absolutely great life journey and not only in terms of beautiful landscapes but specially in scope of my internal journey. I’m already + 50 with the basic knowledge of English and it was my first trip to such a far place. I was full of doubts boarding my plane from Poland to Nepal, didn’t know what to expect. It’s hard to describe in a few words what this experience has given me. For sure a belief that each moment of our life is worthwhile and it’s only depends on us how much we want to contribute to the world around us. The children and people I spend time with has filled my heart with love and joy. And all this experience gave me a different perspective of life. It’s extremely important we treat each other with respect wherever we go. Each person is important and if we share love with people this love will be spread out and come back to us with double force. Different religions and cultures shows us great diversity of this world, the world we should all care of and try to do our best to make it the place of peaceful coexistence for all of us! Children learn the best from our example so let’s give them with ourselves the best example we can and it’as gona be the best thing to do. Only our work will make a difference so I deeply recommend you to volunteer with Volunteer Aid Nepal organization as they really know how to organize well their volunteer programme.
I would like to thanks very much to the Volunteer Aid Nepal for this chance even though my English was at the very basic level! I would like to thanks to staff of organization for all practical advices! I would like to thanks people at orphanage for their warm welcome. And I would like to thanks the children for their smile and joy we have shared during my stay with them. This stay in Nepal gave me a strong feeling that I’m a part of a bigger family and this family will stay always in my heart! ”
Teresa Szefler, Poland – March, 2011
” First of all what can I say but a million thank you’s to the organizers, Volunteer Aid Nepal for such professionalism right from the start when I first applied to be a volunteer in a monastery in Nepal.
Of course, being my first time making a trip to Nepal, I never stopped questioning Bhuvan practically about every little detail. And thank you Bhuvan, you were always so quick and detail and patient in giving me an answer to all my never-ending questions.
My work at the monastery is a life time experience that I just have no words enough to describe. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the monastery teaching the little monks and the staff at the monastery are absolutely incredible. Throughout my stay there, they were so accommodating, helpful and they made me feel so much at home.
On the whole I must say that what I have contributed in my venture is only a ‘drop in the ocean’ compared to the experience I have gained from my work at the monastery and in my association with Volunteer Aid Nepal. ”
- Jinkeer Kaur ( Malaysia/ Ireland) , Nov 12, 2010
“I am undergraduate student of the University of Nottingham in Ningbo, China. For my major of International Communication and curious about Nepal, I came here to do the volunteer program. Volunteer Aid Nepal is a NGO which is young but very creative and energetic which open the door of communication for us, and also for Nepalese. During the two weeks of volunteering, we experienced many wonderful and exciting things which can be expressive in our whole life. Nepal is such an attractive country which you will not disappoint. In addition, will all of you could find new things here and can actually contribute to Nepali society due to this volunteer program.”
- Tao Han, Sep 7, 2010
“How time flies! Tomorrow we must go back to china. I must say that this half month in Nepal is terrific. It makes me experience totally different life style from Chinese. Meanwhile, I found friendship with a lot of people Anu, Bhuvan, Uttam, cute guys of hotel, village uncle and kind hearted boss of hotel and so on. They make Nepal a home for me. I will definitely miss here.
Volunteer Aid Nepal is a great organization. I learn a bunch of things here and I will always remember the sentence “Think Globally, Do Locally”.
Thank You. ”
- Zhou Quan, Sep 7, 2010
“My experience in the village Purunchour is unforgettable for me. Although the living condition there posed some difficulties in front of us, we are still deeply impressed by the kindness of people there and finally enjoy the life closing to the nature.
Actually, the situation in the village is slightly different from our expectation. People there are not so conservation as we thought to be, and we witnessed their strong willing to change their life. Therefore, we can’t decide the way we help them before we closely observe the details situation, or just according to our prediction. I think volunteer program has a long way to go, by, but I believe with the help and deeper understanding, things would get better after a long time.
Finally, I want to express my sincere thanks to our assistance Anu, Without her devoted spiritual and hard work, we can never finish our research finally, Also thanks to Volunteer Aid Nepal, our life here are arranged convenient and meaningful.
All the best for you ”
- Chen Jingzhi, Sep 7, 2010
“After this experience, I think the development can be different models and styles. The western style of development can be a model for a country to improve its economy and living standards. But not all the countries in the world should follow the same model. And we also have witnessed the weakness of the western style of development. Social alienation, environmental issues are the typical examples. I saw the people in Nepal seem to be full of happiness and satisfactory. Although, China has a high pace of development, I think sometime there is lack of satisfactory and happiness. Every things seems to be hurried, people want to pursue a lot of things in China. To some extent, I cannot deny that material life is important but spirit life are more easy to give people a sense of satisfactory and peace of mind. Thus the material life cannot equally to the spirit life. Nepal is a unique country keeps people’s satisfactory and never destroy it because of inadequate development.
In a word, when I enter Nepal and the village, I feel peaceful and full of satisfactory. ”
- Tang Tiankai, Sep 7, 2010
“When I arrived in Nepal to volunteer as a photographer, I had absolutely no idea what to expect. I had never been to a place like this, and not surprisingly, was a little shell-shocked my first few days. But as the weeks wore on, my internal monologue drifted away from the differences between Nepali people and my countrymen, and landed on the similarities. And as I write this, on my last day in Nepal, I am struck with a saddening reminder – I have to go home. Never in my life have I met a People so entirely joyous and hospitable; I like to think it has rubbed off on me. As uncertain as I was when I arrived, I leave with the memories of a thousand enduring moments, cascading in my mind like a colorful picture-book. And I can’t help smiling.
I can assure you that volunteering with Volunteer Aid Nepal will be more than a photo album and a slew of fond memories. Volunteering will change you, and I think you’ll like who you’ve become.”
- Peter Hamre, Anchorage, Alaska, U.S.A.
“ My experience working with Volunteer Aid Nepal was wonderful. My project consisted of visiting 30 schools in villages surrounding Pokhara and collecting data information about the school and the students while photographing the school and its facilities, the students, lessons being taught and the scenery the school is set in. Prabina, a young Nepali girl, acted as my assistant, translator and ‘expert of the region’. For the duration of the project I often stayed with Prabina and her family. My experience on this project can be split into two parts: the project itself and also the friendship that formed between Prabina and myself and also with her family. Some of the schools that I visited were better off than others, however, virtually all of them suffered from the lack of something – teachers, teaching materials, sufficient space for learning, sports equipment, books and libraries, and some even clean drinking water and toilets. The emphasis on the importance of education, however, was still a theme that I saw reflected in each of the schools that I visited. Those who worked at the schools, the teachers and principals, were very welcoming to myself and Prabina, and happily filled out the data collection forms we brought and allowed us to look around the school and take photos. They often expressed their appreciation that someone was taking an interest in their school. I felt a real sense of accomplishment when the project was completed. My experience working on this project was complimented by the friendship that developed between Prabina and myself. Her and her family were extremely welcoming and took me into their home as if I was another one of their daughters. Prabina called me “Dee Dee,” or sister. I participated in family activities and daily routine in their house. Prabina got married partly through the time that I was staying with her and I got to attend her wedding; this is an experience that will stay with me forever. I learned many traditions and experienced the way of life for those in rural villages in Nepal.
The month that I spent working on this project gave me a real insight into Nepali people and culture. While life may not always be easy and many people have little, all those who I met were very generous, welcoming, and kind. I had many laughs with my new friends and they are friendships that I will maintain. I plan to go back to Nepal in the not too distant future and look forward to seeing everyone again. ”
- Steph Ferry, Canada
“Coming to Nepal seems an unbelievable decision in my 20 years life. The experience in the past 30 days proves that I made a good option. A totally new place for me not only a cultural shock, but also an adventure that test my potential to adjust a completely different environment. The most unique part for me is people here, I was impressed by an old man working in the field, and he can speak English well and asked us about political situation in China. It seems that people here don’t regard success as their lifetime happiness; instead, they prefer to pursue internal peace and satisfaction without caring outside criteria. Maybe it is resulted from their belief, not just about religious belief, it is spirit insistence and principle in heart, which is something I hope I could own and insist in the future whatever I will face. Moreover, I want to say I really like mother in our family in village, she totally beyond my imagination about traditional Nepali women. She is so lovely and open; sometimes the expression of love to us seems a little violent. The topic she is enjoyable most is taking us as her daughters in law. In a word, life in Nepal will be a valuable memory in my life that I will miss here. “
- Wu Chen, Nottingham University China
” It was such a excellent experience together with the Volunteer Aid Nepal. The organizer provided us very meaningful and rich activities. In training class, we got much useful information which helped us a lot in the following research program. The village, Lahachok where we did our research has beautiful scenery, friendly people and interesting culture. We met many women and learnt about their life. This program for me is not only about research, but also about the attitude towards the world. People are different and world is diversity, therefore, more wonderful.
I would like to say thanks to Bhuvan’s family for taking care of us. Also, to Anu for her helping during the research. “
- Zhou YI
” Firstly, I would like to say thanks for the organization, Volunteer Aid Nepal and the organizer Buhvan, giving me the opportunity to participate in the social research program. It’s a special chance for me, because I merely finish my year 2 study of the undergraduate and in china, there are few such organizations. Hence, for me, it is a process to grow up and learn many things in the research. Moreover, i want to say our assistant Anu is really helpful and professional, and she did very well in the research. Additionally, the research is well-organized, including the training session, field research and report writing. Especially, the training session seems quite important for us who are only year 2 students and has no experience about social research. In the process of the research, I feel that Nepal people are so friendly. Though the economic performance is limited, they have quite happy and positive attitudes toward life. In the research, not only learn about the mother group there and the issue of women there; but also learn about the colorful culture there, such as the singing, dancing, cloth, food, agriculture and see the beautiful natural scenery. In a word, this is a significant memory for me and I would like to keep it forever. Finally, the organizer Buhvan supports us a lot in the research and provides all kinds of help. Moreover, I think this will be a quite promising organization because the ideas are quite new and the man who established this organization is very outstanding in many aspects with ambitious and talent.
Good luck for everything! “
- Zhu Jing
” Myself and 2 other volunteers arrived in Ghachok late one Saturday evening to an overwhelming welcome. Flowers were put around our neck and red powder on our foreheads amidst loud applause. Then we were treated to the first of many many amazing, tasty, feast-like meals that we enjoyed during our stay.
Then the welcome programme continued in the village hall. After we were introduced, we each said a little about ourselves and the entertainment began. Traditional Nepali singing and dancing involves 1 or 2 people at a time standing up and entertaining everyone – great to watch but I found taking part a little daunting!
Then we were shown our comfortable room at another family’s house that was to be our home for the month. We were warmly welcomed here.
We were very well looked after during our stay – with regular hearty meals, tasty snacks and never-ending ‘kalo chiya’. We even learnt a little Nepali with the encouragement of the families we stayed and ate with.
We felt able to help at the school in several ways. We taught lessons alongside the Nepali teachers, pronouncing the English words for the children to copy while the Nepali teachers ensured that they understood the meaning. We wrote model answers to some questions in the school books to help the teachers and found ways to further improve the excellent books that are used at the school. We also taught some lessons. As time went on, we got used to the students and they got used to us and the teaching became easier. Their enthusiasm to learn was amazing – they were always very keen.
I have really enjoyed spending time with a very inspiring group of people with a fantastic vision for a successful future for their children, full of opportunities. I also enjoyed a warm and friendly stay with the people of Ghachok village.
” I came to stay as a voluntary English teacher at Ghachok village on the 19th December 2009. Volunteer Aid Nepal, a charity in Kathmandu told us about the teaching programme in Garchok village, we decided to come and help for a month.
After a days bus journey to Pokahra, we were guided to the village by local people in the evening. Upon arriving we were welcomed to the village by a large crowd of villagers outside the school. Garlands were placed over our heads and we where introduced to the school principal, general secretary of the programme and other prominent villagers who would influence our stay
Everyone involved with the local community project which includes the school was friendly and interested in our stay. Many villages enjoyed practicing speaking English with us and teaching us some Nepali. One of my favorite words is chinni (sugar) allways said with a shake of my chin. I defiantly feel more able to understand and converse with people in Nepali now. During our stay we were fed well! Two fantastic rice curries with dhal, spinach and chutney a day as well as local milk, butter, omelettes, tea and wine. Snacks were offered on some days including fried soya beans, pop corn and susi (a maize mix). I got the chance to make some ghee (butter) one morning by churning milk a totally new experience!
The local hospitality did not end there. At nearly every house we visited we where offered tea or wine, on one occasion we accepted an invitation to see a local holy offering. The religious and cultural openness of the village was very impressive. Soon after we arrived it was Christmas day, with some help we created a Christmas tree out of bamboo, shrubs, poinsettias and marigolds. The villagers helped us bake some cakes and then joined us for some Christmas songs and dancing. The Christmas tree (decorated with sweets) was scattered at the end of the evening by the local children looking for a present. A fantastic day.
During most of my days in the village I taught in the school. It had opened 5 months previously and is all taught in English. The school is primary school age with classes 1 to 5. The school uses Nepal made workbooks written in English. Having a look through one gives a good idea of how the lessons are taught. The students read trough the first section with the teacher and then answer questions on it in their books or on the board.
The village itself is set on a clifftop plateau above a river with the Annapurna mountain range on the skyline above. This setting provided fantastic exploration potential and we went on several walks including bathing in local hot springs and visiting a natural cave.
An inspirational contribution from each family in the community helped set up the community school. Every villager is willing to help another in need regardless of their social standing or wealth. If one person is sick other villages will come to their aid. The fact that the school is run mostly by volunteer students from the village is testament to the selflessness involved in the project.
I enjoyed my stay in this village of honest, hard working people. They deserve praise for setting up such a sound education, community and support infrastructure. I hope this pioneering project has continued success in the future and gains more support. “
Robin Stones , UK
” I have been 100% happy with my experience with Volunteer Aid Nepal. Your professionalism and constant check-ups have been very appreciated. “
- Erin Farmer