Teaching In Schools
Nepal is one of most beautiful and least developed countries in the world, and there are many opportunities to combine a holiday with some voluntary work. Volunteers experience life in both a rural and urban area, which is quite different from the banana pancake trail followed by the average tourist. VSSN is a authorized Nepali Non Government Organization (NGO) which places volunteers in schools and orphanages for two to five months also short stays are arranged.
An initial fee covers all food and accommodation, and includes an orientation course with lessons in Nepali, cultural tours/sight seeing, project information. Most people in Nepal can't afford to travel, and in the villages there is little chance of contact with the outside world. Volunteer teachers enable students to form relationships with someone from another culture, and the teachers can share different teaching methods and techniques. Mainly, volunteers assist the regular school teacher so volunteers do not need to have any teaching background.
Volunteers are also welcome to teach different subjects e.g. mathematics, history, science, geography, computer, technologies, music and other subjects. All higher education in Nepal is in English, so it is vitally important that children must learn English to continue further higher education. A trained teacher is committed to raising standards in schools in Nepal, and with an adult literacy rate of 51% for men and 24% for women there is plenty of room for improvement.
Volunteers have a light schedule of three to four lessons a day. Schools usually have a very dull curriculum of rote learning and pointless exams, so extra activities such as sports and games are really appreciated by the children. It's also a good idea to bring posters, pictures, music tapes and so on to brighten up lessons. Volunteers often find the first couple of weeks in school difficult to cope with; a volunteer, from America, explains: "When I first arrived, I was very shocked by the lack of resources and the harsh discipline. For example, in the nursery class, three and four-year-olds have to sit in rows on benches and wait for a turn at coloring in one book on the teacher's desk".
There is very little communicative teaching here. The first morning I was here I heard a strange chanting sound. I thought it was a religious ceremony, but it was actually the children studying. Reciting from textbooks, parrot fashion, is the main teaching method. Initially, I was very critical of the school, but the teachers are all doing the best they can with the few materials and training available. Many of the teachers are university students who are supporting themselves through college on their pittance of a salary. One of the best things about working in Nepal is the openness and friendliness of the people. All the staff and students have made me feel so welcome.
Despite the teaching methods, the children are often able to communicate well in English. Another volunteer, says, "Because all the subjects are taught in English, even quite young students can understand. It is possible to have a much deeper level of communication with them than with a typical Japanese high-school student."
In Nepal, hardly a week goes by without some kind of festival. Schools are relaxed about volunteers taking time off, so there are plenty of chances to head for those big hills. Volunteers live with a host family near the school or they stay at the orphanage in a separate room which will depend on volunteers choice and availabilities. Children from the orphanage go to school during day time so volunteer will be teaching in the school, during morning and evening volunteers will be helping orphanage children to do home-works or volunteer can organize some extra activities.
In Nepal, it is believed guests are sent from God and they are treated accordingly. Host families are generally so kind, volunteers may want to be adopted permanently. Most people get up around 5:30am and very little happens after 9 or 10pm. After a few painful mornings, though, it feels surprisingly good.
Volunteering is not always easy, and conditions in Nepal are at best described as "basic." The majority of volunteers, however, end up staying for longer than they intended. A volunteer English teacher says: "In Japan I earned a lot of money for very little work, and I enjoyed a very high standard of living. I know I won't be able to earn that much when I return to Britain. Coming to Nepal has put this into perspective. A family here could live for a month on the money I used to spend in one night in Shibuya. This is also a great place to get healthy after three years of continuous late night drinking."
Placements are available in rural, suburb and urban areas.