Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Teacher/Volunteer's Experience in Nepal


By Laura R. and Amanda Summers

From Laura: As a recently certified teacher of English as a foreign language, I had grandiose visions of how teaching in another country would be. I imagined putting all my newly learned skills to use; getting creative with lesson plans, having fun, and most importantly, making a difference in my students’ English comprehension. The reality, however, was much different.

The students themselves are a dream come true for any teacher; very respectful and hardworking. The school system is another story entirely. First off, they have government-issued English books riddled with grammar and spelling mistakes. The teachers never deviate from these books, so there is no room for lesson plan creativity.

The books themselves are organized well; they have separate lessons for grammar, listening, reading, and speaking. Unfortunately, instead of actually doing those lessons, the teachers force the kids to copy every single word directly from the book. The students have absolutely no idea what they’re writing.

I’ve taken control of the classes, and I’m encouraging the students to speak more English.  However, because they aren’t used to speaking, the younger students are very shy and often scared to speak in front of me, but they become more comfortable after each passing class.
 

Overall, it was an eye-opening experience and I learned many times over that things do not go as planned in a foreign country. One highlight of my time here in Nepal was staying at the Star View Guest House in Changunaryan. It was only about a 15-minute walk from the school where I taught, and it has one of the most amazing views I’ve ever seen. I was also able to meet other volunteers and tourists from all over the world, which is one of the best things about traveling.

From Amanda: So many from the west come to Asia with hopes and dreams of helping, fixing or somehow positively impacting society-or at least a person or two. It seldom works out exactly as we hope, but sometimes it's even better. 

It astounds me that volunteers continue to be one of the most taken advantage of groups of travelers on the planet today. It has been my desire to help in my own way. I'd been hosting volunteers at no charge at all, until I just couldn't do it anymore. I found the old adage to be true that if someone is given something for free they don't appreciate it. That certainly isn't true for the majority of volunteers, but a couple of bad apples are enough. We provide a bed, but ask our volunteers to pay for food and utilities, just $7 per day.

The placement agency did not even pick Laura up at the airport and only gave her two nights of lodging for the $300 or more she paid for the placement. In reality, you do not need a placement service to volunteer in Nepal. Here's a helpful blog post I wrote to help volunteers not fall victim. http://bit.ly/2aCdD5b

Kay Garnay for Nepal has a policy that the volunteers' experience in Nepal is equally as important as their service. We have our volunteers work just 3 hours per day/5 days per week. Additionally, we go to Kathmandu for site-seeing each week by car. Our rooms are clean and sometimes when I show the volunteer to their room I hear a faint, "Wow."

We are enjoying our volunteers very much. We work with only one government school in order to make the best use of our resources. We also support 4 libraries, so if you are coming to Nepal used, children's books are great if you want to bring something. Please do not buy new books or paper and pencils, as they are cheaper hear and it supports the local economy. We are so grateful to Laura and all our hardworking volunteers who sacrifice so much just to come here and leave the world a little better. 

 

 My eBook is available now at https://payhip.com/b/sQu5 If you are planning a trip to Nepal you'll enjoy it. It will save you time as well as money, but more importantly, it will help you to have a better time in Nepal. Many people wonder if they can eat the street food like in Thailand or Vietnam. 


Here's my spoiler alert: Do not eat the street food in Nepal, nor should you eat at any buffet. The eBook addresses such things as this and what to do if you become ill, etc. Whether or not you get my book, please read this short, free eBook. It will help you get your time here off to a great start. http://bit.ly/2aGxcuHIf there is a problem with the download or code please let me know at FrugalTravelsNepal@gmail.com 

Promotion code for discount: GR5X4BCHX2 

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