So, you have decided to volunteer in Nepal?
There might be many questions on your mind like which organization to choose, which city to volunteer in, how to get there, who will take care of you, your parents are more scared than you, will it be safe specially for girls? and many more. Nepal is a very beautiful country and you will see many things going around. If this is your first time in Asia and especially traveling to Nepal, you are going to experience a lot of culture shocks. From the traffic police giving you directions to Nepalese eating food with hands, you might experience regular things in Nepal that are supposed to be very weird in your country.
Before choosing a volunteer program, ask yourself what are you good at. Are you good with children, women, animal or community work? After knowing the cause you want to volunteer in, visit more than 10 organization websites, compare their work and volunteering fees. Especially see if they have updated their humanitarian work in regular basis or if they just have a website promoting volunteering. You might not want to choose an organization which offers just volunteer placements and are not giving back to the community. Talk to program coordinators what they are expecting from volunteers, how your skills might help them and be connected with their social media profiles. Take at least 1 to 2 months before you finally say “I am going to be your volunteer in Nepal”. Buying flight tickets for more than $1000 USD, sleeping on a plane for 23 or 24 hours and giving weeks to month for welfare of others is not a small deal.
Things to ask the volunteering organization:
- Accommodation and meals arrangement.
- Internet connection ( if your parents are worried about you.)
- Location of placement. If possible, pictures from the surrounding.
- If there is anything you can bring for the project.
You should not worry about getting diseases in Nepal as long as you are having bottled mineral water. But it is recommended to get vaccinations like Yellow fever, Tetanus , Hepatitis, Rabies. Pack your regular medicine but do not worry as you can find pharmacies and hospitals in Nepal. Don’t forget to print your detailed contact address and location of your organization. Volunteer organization staffs will come to pick you up at the airport. You can get 15 min free WiFi at airport which you can use to message your program coordinator that you have arrived. After getting your visa upon arrival you can exchange money at airport ( it’s easy to use Master/ Visa card at ATMs and exchanging money is never a problem) as well a Nepali sim card for your phone.
If you need to extend your visa it will not take you more that 10 minutes in the immigration office ( Kalikasthan, Dillibazar- 3o min walk from popular tourist area Thamel, Kathmandu).
English is the communicative language with international volunteers and it’s OK if it is your second language. Most of the organizations manage volunteer accommodation in host families or in the volunteering placement. If you are walking around city in your western dress, it won´t be a problem but female volunteers are recommended to use full sleeve clothes in village. Religion will never be a problem. You will learn and enjoy Hindu festivals which can be a thrilling experience for you.
Volunteers choose the date of arrival in Nepal and duration of volunteer assistance. Try to find the cheapest flight as possible. Learn some phrase which can connect you with locals like:
Hello : Namaste
How are you? : Tapae lae kasto Cha
My name is…….. : Mero Nam ………….. Ho.
I am from ……… : Ma …… bata ayeki hu ( Female)/ Ma……… bata ayeko hu (Male)
Nice to meet you : Tapae lae vetera khusi lagyo.
Volunteers usually assist 4-5 hours in the program each day. During your free time you can explore cultural heritage sites, visit local and tourist markets, enjoy street food and hike in mountains. Monkey temple, Boudha, Kathmandu durbar square and Pasupatinath are the famous cultural heritage sites around Kathmandu. After you complete the project, don’t forget to ask for your volunteering certificate. Many times it’s a plus point having international volunteering experience in your resume.
Sujan Pariyar is Founder of inxchan.com | Director of “Innovative Social Centre” | Charity and travel adviser | Author | SEO expert | Social entrepreneur. He write about Entrepreneurship, humanitarian work and travel. His foundation Inxchan provides an unique volunteering and traveling opportunities in Nepal. Inxchan is one of the active organization working for benefiting children, women and community of Nepal.
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