I would highly recommend the Orientation week if you are a first time volunteer. Especially, if you are a first time volunteer who has never been exposed to a third world culture. The registration process is seamless. My cordinator was very quick and precise about answering my questions. ( Is there a Western toilet, can I have a vegetarian diet, not spicy, my interest is in the Monastaries). After paying the deposit, I asked more questions, then once my flight was booked ( which meant a commitment), I was given very detailed information about my accomadations, packing list, how to be picked up at the airport. From the moment I saw the person holding a sign with my name on it at Katmandu Airport...until now...I have had excellent support and connections with the staff.
I will be here 3 months, I am now a month into the program. If you like to volunteer, and want to experience a unique culture by living the way the locals live, this is the way to have an adventure. ( what did I LEARN? My accomadations have western toilets.....as opposed to a hole in the ground....but toilet paper is not provided. There is no heat in the homes. Our host has a set up for hot water...but it is cold in the building. Get use to eating rice with almost every meal. Laundry involves drawing water from a well with a bucket).
We may not have the simple amenities we have in the states....but we can see things that would be difficult to experience if you are coming as a tourist for a couple weeks. The beautiful shrines...yes...but the way the people live....and their warmth and hospitality. My mother is afraid I will never want to leave Nepal, perhaps she is right.
One thing I would change in the Orientation is the language class. Although the language teacher knows English, is very warm and intelligent, I think the classes could be shortened to just a couple hours of basic language. The instructor is very talented at explaining the culture, arranging sightseeing tours, and almost immediately becoming a friend in this strange, new culture. I think the Orientation week should have more hours of explaining culture, walking around the villages, and just acclimating to the new surroundings.
If you are adventurous and open minded, I would recommend the program.