Living and working as a volunteer in Nepal is a fascinating experience, where you get the chance to be part of day to day life in this ancient and mystical country. Career break volunteers in Nepal can help support education projects while living close to some of the world's best treks, and the Kathmandu valley, with its wonderful historic towns and temples.
Volunteering to teach in Nepal places you in a country with a rich heritage and intriguing history. Nepal has always been a dividing line between civilisations, and a crossroads for commerce and culture. Here the plains of the subcontinent climb up to the high plateau of Tibet, the languages and people of India give way to those of China, and the Hindu religion blends in to Buddhism.
As a volunteer in Nepal you will find that it is often a complex blend of the two influences and this variation is further complicated by the diversity of ethnic groups within the country. Added to this, in recent times the country has gone through several unprecedented changes: from being the world's only Hindu Kingdom to the youngest federal democratic republic, from conflict to promising signs of the return of peace.
Career break volunteers teaching in Nepal should be aware that it has four distinct seasons. Spring from March to May, is reasonably warm. Summer, from June to August, is the monsoon season when the hills turn lush and green. Autumn, from September to November, is cool, with fresh mornings and evenings and clear skies, (making it the most popular season for trekking). Finally winter, from December to February, is cold at night, with fog in the early morning.
Nepal is where MondoChallenge first started out back in 1990, when we ran one volunteer teaching project in a small school in the rural area of Sermathang. Located at 2700 metres above sea-level in the beautiful Helambu region, the school grew steadily with support from volunteers teaching English in Nepal and patrons from across the world. By 2001, when sadly the school was closed by the Maoists, it had grown to 150 pupils and we were funding 9 teachers. Since then volunteers on a career break in Nepal have been working with schools in Kathmandu, just outside Kathmandu Valley and in the Chaukot area (near Dhulikhel).
These include primary and nursery schools, where children sit their examinations to move on to secondary school. Our volunteer projects target schools where there is a real need for additional support and where volunteer teaching can make a real difference to the quality of the education. There is also the opportunity to teach English to adults in the Chaukot area after school. Teaching English abroad is one of the most popular choices for a career break, and working with MondoChallenge in Nepal can be particularly rewarding. If you enjoy working with children then our teaching projects in Nepal are ideal for you.
Volunteering in Nepal opens the door to a range of career break travel opportunities:
Kathmandu: As well as being the arrival point for your volunteer work abroad, this small sheltered valley is the historic centre and capital of Nepal. This is the place where kingdoms rose and fell, palaces and temples were built and rebuilt, and where art and cultures have been refined and redefined over centuries. Kathmandu city is the largest in Nepal and is surrounded by green hills. Scattered around the valley are hundreds of temples and shrines, traditional villages and agriculture scenes of timeless beauty. You can see all these places by taxi, cycle, bus and foot, during your career break in Nepal.
Bhaktapur: Also known as Bhadgaon or the city of Devotees, it is the third major town of the Kathmandu Valley and well worth a visit while you teach in Nepal. Bhaktapur rises upon the northern bank of Hanumante River and was the capital of the whole valley during the 14th to 16th century. Much of the town's great architecture dates from the end of the 17th century, and Bhaktapur is well known as a Newari Architecture town. As a volunteer teaching in Nepal you should be aware that all visiting foreigners are charged a fee.
Trekking: Nepal is home to the highest mountain range in the world and there are a number of different approaches you can take to trekking in Nepal on your career break. Your choice might depend on time available, budget, experience and personal preference, and we can help you to organise your trek, including introducing you to a good guide or arranging permits where needed. Whether you plan to challenge yourself at the famous Mount Everest Base Camp or are thinking of tackling something much less daunting, your own safety should be paramount and we strongly suggest that you avoid trekking alone or without a guide.
As a volunteer travelling to teach English in Nepal, your own safety should be of prime concern. In recent years Nepal has been blighted by strikes and violent outbreaks, which have arisen due to tensions between the political factions of the monarchy, Maoists and the ruling political parties. This is particularly tragic in a country that has traditionally had a peaceful way of life, but happily, the situation seems to have improved dramatically.
The successful elections in spring 2008 promised to lay the foundations for increased stability and political harmony, making Nepal a safe destination for a volunteer project abroad once again. Nonetheless, we regard security as a top priority and recommend that all career break volunteers planning to visit Nepal consult the Foreign Office web site (www.fco.gov.uk/travel) or the Nepal News site (www.nepalnews.com) for the latest information.
You can also use the menu at the top left of this page to navigate projects in this country.