Volunteering at Buddhist Monastery in Nepal has been designed for people who are interested in religious culture, to teach English in one monastery for a period of two months or more. Volunteer Society Nepal (VSN) can provide longer stays upon request. Volunteers will teach English to the monks, both young and old, for around two to three hours per day. In turn, the monks will share their knowledge and culture with the volunteers. Meditation practice, as well as field trips to Hindu and Buddhist holy sites, will be included in the program.
For the first week, the volunteer will take intensive language classes, as well as teacher training, every day at the Volunteer Society Nepal Office, in Kathmandu. The monks will be able to speak both languages so it is really a matter of the volunteers’ preference; however, most people find Nepali easier to learn. The volunteers will visit holy sites around the Kathmandu Valley. After one week, they will be placed with a host family near the monastery depending on the availability of place stay in the monastery, where they will stay for a total of six weeks or more. This program combines religious research, through an experiential approach, with volunteer English teaching. 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.
In Nepal, Buddhism is a way of life. For many people, volunteering in a Buddhist monastery in Nepal is a way to give back to their community and connect with their religion.
Monasteries in Nepal are often located in remote areas, away from the hustle and bustle of city life. This provides volunteers with an opportunity to disconnect from technology and connect with nature. It could be a very meditative experience for an Individual
Volunteers at Buddhist Monastery in Nepal typically help with tasks such as cooking, cleaning, and gardening. They may also lead or participate in meditation sessions and other religious ceremonies. Volunteering in a monastery in Nepal is a great way to learn about Buddhism and Nepali culture.
As a volunteer in Nepal teaching English to Buddhist monks in a monastery, you will primarily work as an English instructor to the monks. You’ll teach Buddhist English to monks for 2-4 hours a day. You are encouraged to hold discussions and debates as this will greatly increase your ability to grasp and speak English.
As a Volunteer Teacher at Buddhist Monastery in Nepal you may do following activities
- – Teaching English grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation
- – Planning lessons and curriculum development
- – Leading classes to teach basic conversational English
- – Organizing extracurricular activities such as dancing, games, music, sports, art, etc.
- – Helping monks with their homework
- – Fundraising for the monastery
- – Assisting monastery administrations
- – Helping around the monastery
Arrival and Introduction
You will be met at the airport by one of our staff (Bishal Shrestha or Anjila Joshi). Together with our driver, Bimal, you will be taken to either the Volunteer Society Nepal office or a hotel. Here you can drop your bags and relax. Volunteer Society Nepal (VSN) director, Tej Shrestha, will come to meet you to clarify your program for the first days. Depending on when you arrive, you will begin a Nepali language class or a sightseeing tour of some of the world heritage sights of the Kathmandu valley. In the evening you will enjoy your first Nepali dinner.
Nepali lessons and local amenities and sightseeing
After a leisurely start and breakfast, so you can recover properly from your journey, you will start your Nepali language course at the Volunteer Society Nepal (VSN) office. After meeting the entire Volunteer Society Nepal (VSN) team you will have 2 lessons from around 10.30 to 12.45 with our highly experienced language teachers. This will also give you a chance to meet any other volunteers joining at the same time. In the afternoon, one of our staff will take you around the local area of Pepsi-Cola where the office and homestays are for the induction period.
Later that afternoon, you will be driven around being shown where all relevant amenities are: the nearest bank, shopping center, internet café, food shops, and post office. You will also be shown the local buses that can take you to Kathmandu or to Bhaktapur and also where you can catch a taxi. You will also be told where to keep your valuables and general information about life in Nepal.
At the end of the afternoon, you will be driven by our guide to see some of Kathmandu’s famous UNESCO world heritage sites. One of our guides have over 15 years of experience taking foreigners around the ancient city and can answer any questions you have on ancient and contemporary Nepal. During your introduction, you can visit the famous Buddhist Boudanath and Swayambhunath stupas as well as the Hindu temple complex of Pashupatinath. The Durbar squares on Patan and Kathmandu are also essential visits. If you have other sites you are particularly interested in then this may be integrated as well.
Nepali lessons and Volunteer Society Nepal (VSN)’s projects
In the morning we will continue the Nepali language training. Be aware we are aiming for a basic understanding. For example to say ‘yes and no’ and to introduce yourself. We do not expect you to speak the language fluently after the training. After the lesson, you are driven around some of Volunteer Society Nepal’s projects in the Kathmandu Valley. This may include the new CBIA school, our women’s center, our orphanage in the Pepsi-Cola suburb, or a visit to the village of Sunakoti where you will see new toilets, drinking water systems, and environmental projects that have all been recently implemented by volunteers and fundraising efforts.
In the afternoon, you can do more sightseeing with our guide in Kathmandu, or if you desire to take some time for yourself that’s even so possible. This afternoon, it’s also a good opportunity to stock up on anything you may have forgotten before heading up to a rural placement. The tourist hub of Thamel will be able to furnish you with anything from Marmite to an extra pair of Merino socks.
Introduction Host Family and Start Project
After about two days of language classes and sightseeing, you will be moved to the host family. They will be fully trained in hosting volunteers and you won’t be left in the dark about anything: toilets, drinking water, bedding, how to work the shower, where to buy anything you need nearby, and basic etiquette. If you want an early night then that is fine, but you will also be given the opportunity to ring home or send emails from the Volunteer Society Nepal office so any parents or loved ones won’t be worrying about you.
It’s possible we already start this day at your project. If time appears to be short, we will start the next day in the morning. Our VSN Nepal Director will discuss and finalize your program upon arrival so you know what to expect during the first days in Nepal.
While you volunteer with Volunteer Society Nepal (VSN) you will be staying with a Nepali host family. Be part of a Nepali family. Eat together with the family. Play with the children. Experience the rich Nepali culture firsthand. Many volunteers tell us this unique insight into the culture of Nepal is a key part of why they come back again and again.
All our host families have conducted training regarding hosting volunteers adequately. They know how to ensure hygiene and provide security. They will treat you as a member of the family. To secure the knowledge of the western culture and desires we train our host families yearly.
Although we do not experience it frequently and it can be considered very rare, it could be possible you are not satisfied with your host family. In that case, it’s possible to switch host families. We want to guarantee your happiness and secure a positive experience of Nepal. Hence, we remain in contact if ever runs properly at your host family during your stay.
When you arrive on placement you will be introduced to your host family by the Volunteer Society Nepal (VSN) representative and given a full tour of the premises. Many of our host families have children and it seems many of our volunteers enjoy helping them with their English, learning to cook Nepali food, and mixing in with their life. On the other way around, we experience volunteers learning a lot from the hosts and children regarding life in Nepal.
At the host families, you will stay with or without fellow volunteers. You can clarify your preference and we will take that into account while arranging your host family. It is always possible to stay as a couple or group of friends in one host family. You should consider the host family as your temporary family in Nepal. As they will treat and value you as a family member. They can even help you how to discover the neighborhood, advice on travels, and offer you warmth in times of homesickness.
You should not expect luxury during your stay in Nepal. Nepal is a developing country and may well be different from what you are used to at home. However, you will have your own room unless requested otherwise, and the rooms are always clean and comfortable. The quality of toilet and washing facilities varies significantly between placements. If you are based in Kathmandu you may find you have a hot shower and a Western-style toilet in your homestay. However, if you are in a rural placement then it is more likely that you will have a traditional squat toilet and a cold shower. If you feel like having a hot shower and flushing the toilet is a priority then make this clear when you are applying and we will see if it is possible to find you one of our better-equipped host families.
The electricity supply in all areas is limited. Due to nationwide electricity shortages, the government imposes power cuts of around 2-4 hours a day. In the cities, some houses have backup batteries that will run low-power bulbs in key rooms, but in rural areas, you can expect to use candles. A head torch is a very useful thing to bring.
On placement, you will usually eat with the family and share the same food as them. At least two meals a day are provided for you while volunteering. The usual meal times are between 9 and 10 AM and 6 and 8 PM. You will usually be served the national staple of Dal Bhat Tarkari which is a tasty and filling plate of rice, vegetable curry, lentils and pickles. It may occasionally have meat such as chicken or mutton in it, although if you are vegetarian this can easily be explained. This may be supplemented occasionally by noodles, eggs and other snacks dependent on your host family and placement
Your host family will provide you with clean drinking water on your placement.