Volunteering in Nepal is one of the best things I have ever done, so much so I went back on 2 more occasions on different volunteer programs.
You want to make sure that any volunteering experience has a real impact and you have a good time. So that means you need to be prepared and consider some key points before booking your plane ticket to go volunteering in Nepal. I spoke to lots of former volunteers, project managers and used my own experiences to put together the below list of pro tips.
Be Realistic About Your Trip
What are you good at? What things are you interested in? Both of these questions are essential to answer before you begin your search for volunteer placements in Nepal. With the answers your search will be a lot easier because you know what skills you have and need to match them to a suitable activity. Think about how your skills will benefit the local organisation and also any extra skills that may be of use; music teacher, football coach, artist. You never know what skills may be useful!
Know The Place
When you’ve selected which place in Nepal you’ll be heading to it’s time to start your research. You will be immersed in the local culture during your volunteer program and you’ll learn a huge amount, but make sure you have a little head start. Try to lean about the culture, food and habits. Don’t believe everything you read because sometimes the tales you read about impoverished communities can be massively patronising, so keep an open mind before you arrive and Im sure you’ll have a great time. I think it’s good fun trying to learn some simple phrases with the locals because you spend more time together and it’s full of laughter, mostly aimed at you because your pronunciation will be way off at first! After you’ve mastered a bit of the language you’ll get lots of smiles when you visit local markets or restaurants and practice what you’ve learnt.
Whether you’re in Nepal or somewhere else in the world, you must always keep an open mind – if you don’t then I guarantee that your volunteer experience will be worse off. All past volunteers will tell you that need to expect the unexpected and be flexible. Things don’t always work like clock work, plans often change and you need to go with the flow. It’s all about learning and dealing with challenges. If you try to be rigid and complain about the changing schedule you will only end up upsetting your local hosts and colleagues. You’ll get used to it after a while and get to understand that things always work in the end.
What are your pro tips for volunteering in Nepal? I would be really interested to hear what you guys think. Just pop your thoughts in the comment section below – thanks for sharing.