If you’ve chosen to take part on a volunteer program in Kathmandu, this wonderful opportunity to immerse yourself in the culture, traditions and scenery is an absolute must! An array of spectacular experiences is available for the taking! It’ll kick-start your experience as a volunteer in Nepal and get you acclimatised to your new surroundings.
Setting you off on the right foot, taking part in this project will give you an excellent introduction to the culture, customs and people of Nepal. You will find great differences between your own cultures and those of the Nepalese from Religious practices to dining, school, and even toileting! But there will also be some similarities. In this week you will be introduced to everything you will need to know to settle into your new location and learn about do’s and don’ts. But it won’t all be about rules and regulations. Nepal is full of national treasures for you to discover and you’ll have a taster of some of these through visits to local markets, taking part in yoga sessions, trying your hand at traditional cooking techniques and taking some lessons in useful words and phrases of the local language. Part of your orientation will also take you on a guided tour of the historical Boudhanath, one of Kathmandu’s sacred locations. Remember that you have a lot to offer too, the local people will be just as interested to learn about your culture and customs as you are to learn about theirs, there will be plenty of opportunities to share your experiences with them.
On arrival, you will be met by a transfer coordinator at a designated meeting point, who will ensure you arrive safely at the accommodation centre on the Sunday before the project begins.
Starting your morning with a Puja – or worship – to the Gods and Goddesses of Hinduism, you will witness Religious rituals which are central to the culture. Discovering the importance of murtis (images), mantras (prayers), and yantras (diagrams of the universe), you will also find out about the importance of the personal nature of Hindu worship and the significance of individual offerings.
Following some fun activities to get to know the rest of your groups, the remainder of your morning will be spent discussing the schedule and safety of the program. You will be required to sign in agreement with the code of conduct, the child protection policy and to release liability from the company.
You’ll have a lunch break midday to reflect on the morning and then continue with a helpful session on acceptable social behaviours whilst travelling in Nepal. After this you’ll have a Nepali Language Training session which will introduce you to some essential words and phrases to help you communicate more easily with the locals.
Your day begins with a Nepali Language Training course to get you into the swing of using the language. Another great opportunity to extend your knowledge of words and phrases to really help you settle into your project. This will be followed by a hugely important talk about travelling safely whilst taking part on the program, looking at health precautions and general safety. There’s a break for lunch and then a cross cultural orientation session for an hour and a half to bridge the knowledge gap regarding dining, drinking, bathing, clothing and toileting customs in the culture of Nepal.
After a busy start to your week, today begins with an early morning, relaxing session of yoga and meditation. Another Nepali language session after yoga should see you starting to become familiar with some useful greetings and conversational phrases before you hear about Nepal’s schooling and educational system. The afternoon session takes you on a 2-and-a-half-hour tour of Boudhanath, one of the most sacred, and historically significant, landmarks at Nepal.
Your last Nepali Language Training session for the week kick starts your morning. Buzzing with enthusiasm to try out your developing conversational skills, you’ll have a lecture on Religion and culture, a refreshing lunch break and then head out to a local market. Here you’ll get to try out your new skills as you scavenge for some local, authentic Nepali souvenirs.
Today is all about hiking! Following a beautiful nature trail, you’ll set off up the mountains to reach a spectacular viewing point over the Kathmandu valley. After a lunch break where you can relax and recharge your batteries, you’ll have a chance to evaluate your week’s activities, giving and receiving feedback and asking any questions you may have. A culinary delight is prepared for you in the evening as you take part in a lesson about traditional Nepali cooking techniques.