Alumni Spotlight: Taylor Warner


Taylor Warner graduated from the University of Colorado Denver in May of 2016 with a bachelor's degree in History and a bachelor's degree in Psychology. Taylor enjoys travel and has been to numerous countries including, Greece, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Nepal.

Why did you choose this program?

I always had an interest in visiting Nepal so when I was searching for volunteer programs there, I was drawn to Trek to Teach in part because of their application process and length of the program.

Applying to volunteer with Trek to Teach involved three short essays, submitting a resume, and a couple interviews. This process made me feel that they were looking for people who would genuinely be a good fit with the program.

The length of the program is ten weeks, this drew me to TTT because it was long enough that I could feel like I was actually having an impact, but not as long as other programs where it felt like I would have to significantly uproot my life.

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

Trek to Teach has an amazing and dedicated staff. Nepal is a country where pretty much anything can happen, having such great support helps in those situations. Trek to Teach organized airport pick-up in Kathmandu, getting trekking permits, arranging where we would live in the villages, transportation within the country, etc.

Going to a country like Nepal can seem daunting, but the staff is fantastic and they organize a lot which helps with adjusting.

I had to organize my own airfare and any non-TTT travel. On weekends when I would go to other villages or into the city, or when I had finished teaching and wanted to visit other parts of the country, I had the freedom to plan those excursions myself.

While I was responsible for these things, I always could rely on TTT to help point me in the right direction and give advice. My older sister came out to visit me and we got some help on how to arrange a trip to Chitwan National Park.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

I would advise people going abroad with Trek to Teach to learn as much from past volunteers as they can. There is a vast support network of Trek to Teach alumni who are always happy and willing to help.

If you have trouble with students or have a hard time figuring out how to present a lesson, it is nice to bounce ideas off of other people who were in a similar position. It is also nice to get recommendations for restaurants and places to check out when you aren't teaching.

Basically, don't be afraid to ask questions and utilize the experiences and advice of past volunteers.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

In Nepal, the typical school day starts at ten in the morning and ends at four in the afternoon. There is a half day on Fridays and no school on Saturdays. In Nepal, there are also a ton of holidays and festivals, which means that there are quite a few days where school is off.

During holidays and long weekends, I would trek to the closest village and meet with other volunteers. I also would sometimes accompany my host family to Pokhara, which was an hour away by jeep road from my village.

On average, I would wake up early and have some tea while visiting with my family. Around nine o' clock we would have Dhal Bhat, a popular dish of rice and lentils. After eating together, we would head out to school.

My host family lived right next to my school and they were teachers, so I adapted to their routine. During the school day, I would teach a few classes and had a break where I could plan lessons. After school, I would have tea and either walk around the village, help out at my guest house, read, or text my family back in the states.

In Nepal there is a lot of downtime, but there are so many new things to see and people to talk to that it never felt boring.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

Prior to leaving, I did experience a lot of problems with anxiety. I remember one of my main fears being that I would essentially be on my own in a foreign country with people I didn't know. This was my first solo travel experience.

Once I arrived in Nepal, it was so different and so amazing, I forgot how freaked out I was before I got on the plane. I also immediately clicked with the other volunteers and Trek to Teach staff as we went through orientation in Kathmandu.

Once you realize that everyone is in the same boat as you and that there is a vast network of people there to support you if you need it, things become a lot less scary or nerve wracking.

Any parting thoughts?

My time in Nepal was fantastic and unlike anything else I had ever done. I made so many new friends through my time with Trek to Teach and got to experience a different culture in a more intimate way.

My host family and the residents of the village of Dhampus were so generous and welcoming. I felt like I was family and am so fortunate for the opportunities I had while living there.

I knew Nepal would be a great adventure, but I didn't realize just how important a tiny landlocked country in South Asia would become to me in just a few short months.