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Trek to Teach

About

Trek to Teach seeks motivational teachers eager to educate children in the Nepali Himalayas. Due to the mountainous geographical region surrounding schools and communities in Himalayas, students often find it difficult to attend school. Trek to Teach teachers serve as motivation to inspire children to attend school regularly. All teachers are provided with an orientation and home-stay during their time in Nepal.

Teachers can expect to:
- Live in the beauty of a remote rural village
- Be welcomed into the home of an amazing host family
- Gain valuable teaching and communication experience by teaching 6 days/week
- Return home rejuvenated with extra strength and stamina from hiking through the Himalayas

In their free time, teachers are encouraged to visit other nearby villages, trek to Annapurna Basecamp, or soak in the hotsprings at Jihnu.

A longer weekend away from classes can lead you to a retreat in the resort town of Pokhara.

Founded
2011
Headquarters

5129 Via Cinta
San Diego, CA 92122
United States

Still have questions?

Click below to get in touch with our team!
Be sure to ask about the February 10th application deadline for our Spring 2020 trek.

Reviews

Katie
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Trek to Teach was a lifechanging experience for me. In my short three months in Nepal, I learned so much about myself, Nepali culture and was able to broaden my perspective on the world. I enjoyed exploring Kathmandu and taking in breathtaking views of the Himalayas while trekking on various trails in the Annapurna region. While teaching in a rural Nepali government school comes with its challenges, the work came with great reward. From my students to my host family and other community members in my village, I truly believe that Nepal is home to some of the nicest people in the world. I felt extremely welcomed in my village and felt that I was able to experience authentic Nepali life at the hands of the relationships that I was able to form. While I highly recommend this program to someone who is seeking adventure and the desire to positively impact the lives of some of the most deserving people in the world, it does take the right type of person. Having the ability to be flexible and to have little to no expectations is imperative for having a successful experience not only for yourself but for your future students as well.

What would you improve about this program?
The hardest thing about this program is the short amount of time that teachers spend in their villages teaching. There is a quick turnaround of teachers in these villages, which makes it difficult to establish a routine in the classroom and to implement long term change for the students. This is something that is difficult to change as a volunteer-run non-profit, but a change that I see making a drastic shift in the overall impact of the program.
Laura
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I spent 9 weeks teaching in the rural Annapurna village of Kimche. The hospitality and welcoming spirit of the Nepal village people in unparalleled. From the moment us teachers arrived at the airport in Nepal, to the moment we left, we were looked after. The US and Nepali teams have been working with teachers and travelers for over a decade and know what is important before and during your stay - so whether you're an experienced traveler or venturing out for the first time, rest assured you will have people looking out for you. This is an experience that will push you and challenge you physically, mentally, and emotionally in ways you never thought possible. Not only did we do the 4 day trek to our villages, but we had the opportunity to trek on weekends to nearby villages and then to Annapurna Base Camp and Mardi Himal Base Camp over school breaks. The rest of my time was spent in my village - Kimche - where I hiked (and I mean HIKED) up the mountain to school everyday. The school days were not without their challenges: language barriers, different school systems, different expectations for teachers and students than we're used to, behavior, etc. However, the relationship created with students, despite these factors, was far beyond anything I expected. The students, their families, and the community truly valued and appreciated what we, as teachers, brought to them. Regardless of your teaching experience, there is so much to offer these students and this community. Yet, I guarantee you will learn more from these people than you are able to teach. I was fully accepted and immersed in Nepali culture and life, truly becoming a member of that community and family for the time I was there. I left Nepal with a much larger family - so grateful for all of my brothers (dai's/bhai's) and sisters (didi's and bahini's). From daily volleyball games to cultural rituals, exhausting treks to quiet nights in the village, and helping host families in the fields to after school tea at a student's house, these are experiences I will never forget.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
My advice would be to go into this experience with a completely open mind. You will experience moments that you never could have excepted, ones that make you uncomfortable and push you beyond your limits, however there is learning in every single moment. You must be willing to challenge yourself and I promise that you will be repaid, tenfold with the experience you gain and the love you receive from this country and its people.
Regina
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I learned a lot while I was abroad, about myself and the world. While I was there, I trekked through the foothills of the Himalayas. Before Nepal, that sounded nearly impossible. But I promise almost anyone can do it! And it's 100% a confidence booster to do something that you've never done before (like backpacking). I also taught ESL, which was daunting because I was entirely unfamiliar with Nepali. But I learned it bit by bit while I was there and discovered an immense passion for their language. This made teaching a little easier as well as everyday life a little more fun. Most importantly, I met incredible people from all over the world! Everyone goes to Nepal to trek (Europeans, Australians, Asians, etc.), and talking with other trekkers opens your eyes in a new way. I don't think there is another place in the world where you can go and meet such a unique mix of people in a single evening. Because Trek to Teach places its teachers in guest houses (hostels designed for trekkers), you can meet a variety of people and learn about their lives. So what did I learn while I was abroad? I learned that I can do "this." I can teach. I can backpack. I can navigate international airports solo. I can travel in a foreign country. I can learn a new language (it's never too late). I learned so much and gained so much confidence that I never knew I needed. I also learned about the world. I learned about political situations in smaller countries and about the developmental phases of nations worldwide. I learned about other religions (Hinduism and Buddhism) and tried new foods. I learned that Nepal strives for peace and harmony and that the Nepali people have a large capacity to love. This program taught me all of these things and more by introducing me to a new nation, and I hope to learn even more when I return. Because with Nepal, once is never enough!

What would you improve about this program?
This program, by and large, seems to benefit the teacher immensely. It's a great experience for someone who is trying to live in a foreign country for a short stint or for someone who has never lived abroad before. This was perfect for me as I was trying to see if I was capable of living abroad for such a long period of time...and my unwillingness to leave at the end of three months was confirmation that I can in fact live abroad. But my heart hurts for the students who grow fond of teachers that leave after three months. These students love so well and quite frequently have to say goodbye to teachers they admire. I wish there were a better way of staying connected afterward or a better way of making a more long-term impact on the community.
Elsa
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

This program was the most incredible experience I have ever had. It was never easy and challenged me in so many different unexpected ways but I truly loved every second of it. I got to live in one of the most beautiful places and live with some of the most beautiful and caring people I have ever met. The kids you get to teach are amazing and full of energy and desire to learn like no kid you have ever met and will love you unconditionally. I will never forget them. The Nepali Board was incredibly helpful, Narayan and Suman wonderful tour guides and always fun to hang out with and Sarala and Chandni became dear friends. I would highly recommend this program, it truly is one of a kind program and really does make a good impact on the communities that it helps out in. Please ask me any questions you have about the program!

What would you improve about this program?
This program is young and is still getting some hitches figured out but it was mostly smooth sailing and I wouldn't change my experience for the world
Taylor
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Trek to Teach stands out from other volunteer abroad programs I have come across. Multiple things initially drew to to Trek to Teach, notably the application process required and the duration of the program. The application process involved interviews, essays, and submitting a resume. The amount of work it took to apply to the program ensures that participants are serious about TTT and allows for the TTT staff to determine if participants will be a good fit or not. Additionally, the length of the program, 10 weeks, is long enough to begin seeing an improvement in student performance. It is not a short-lived program where there is no chance to see if an impact is being made or not, but it also isn't so long that it deters potential volunteers. Also, leading up to teaching in Nepal, there are a series of Skype sessions where previous teachers go over what to expect in Nepal and how to prepare.

Trek to Teach also has a dedicated and amazing staff, who create a vast support network for current teachers. Between the staff in Nepal and the many former teachers, I never felt alone or without adequate support during my stay in Nepal. If I had a concern or a question, someone way always there to help out. Everyone involved in Trek to Teach cares immensely, which makes for a positive experience.

The trek is difficult, even for experienced hikers. As someone with exercise induced asthma, I definitely struggled with it. I thought that I had trained a significant amount before leaving for Nepal, but I quickly realized that I could have trained more. Thankfully, because Trek to Teach has such caring and understanding staff, there is plenty of encouragement along the way.

During my time in Nepal I made so many new friends and had amazing experiences. I am still close with the family I lived with and I get updates from time to time on how my former students are doing. One of the most rewarding and fulfilling parts of the program was the exposure to a different way of life and all of the interesting people I was fortunate enough to meet during my time in Nepal. It was an exciting adventure and I will never forget it.

Read my full story

Programs

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Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

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.

Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Emily Meyers

Job Title
Director of Education

Miami U & USD Graduate. Lived Australia's Nomad Life. English Teacher in China. Explorer. Reader. Writer. Perpetually Happy & Restless.

What is your favorite travel memory?

My favorite travel memories, in general, are definitely those spent in the Himalayas. To be specific, this past summer I went hiking with a few new teachers for TTT and one of our brilliant guides.

We hiked a rough eight hour day the day before (complete with rain and leeches) and woke up the next morning with dense clouds surrounding us. This would have been beautiful to see, but I had woken up in the same spot a year prior with the exact same view - none. So, our group decided to have a rest day and hope that the clouds would clear tomorrow.

We were at the peak of where we were going and the hope was that the clouds would part so that we'd be able to see the famous Annapurna Mountain Range. The clouds didn't let up all day and we weren't very hopeful that the morning would be any different. Just before 5 am the next day, our guide (Suman) started pounding at our door - urging us to get up!

We stumbled downstairs, still mostly asleep, to something different: the beginnings of sunlight and the snow topped mountains. Other travelers padded down and all of us, from a dozen or so different countries, made our way outside in silence to see the sunrise over the giants that had eluded us the day before (and the summer before that). Instant coffee in my hand, the wind in my face, I was happier than I had been in recent memory.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

Through TTT I have become infinitely more independent and my thirst and appreciation for those things that are different in our lives have been strengthened.

I spent the summer in Kathmandu and trekking through the Annapurna Region; leaving my friends, family, and fiancé at home. TTT provided me with an exhilarating experience where I was able to give back and grow as an individual in one of the most beautiful places in the world.

I came home with a refreshed outlook on living, teaching, and one's lifestyle. "Less is more," is not usually practiced where I am from, but now I see this change of mine being reflected in my day-to-day actions and outlook.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

TTT teachers' happiness is based on small successes that have big impacts. Many of the previous volunteers have not had prior teaching experience, so teaching is the hardest part of their journey.

Recently, I was able to hear a previous teacher retell a story of how she spent a long time trying to teach her Grade 1 students the concept of "afraid" (it was part of the chapter they were learning). For some reason, the students could not grasp this word and the teacher was met with a sense of frustration and failure.

After continuing to work hard and not giving up, weeks later this teacher came into her classroom and her students were hiding under their desks. Confused, she just stood there and waited. After a minute all of the students jumped up and tried to scare her! They wanted her to be "afraid".

The moment of realization that came after that her students not only understood this concept, but could put it into action, became this teacher's proudest moment. It was then that she knew she was making progress and working for the better.

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

As a teacher in the States, I would love nothing more than to be placed in one of our villages and teach for an extended amount of time at one of our partner-schools. Having visited our schools this summer, I saw how wonderful the students were and how in need they are for a long-term English teacher.

Being able to form meaningful and lasting connections with our mountain students would be an unparalleled experience. Our volunteers do not only take over the role of the teacher, but they also become friends, confidants, and advocates. I would love to experience this first-hand.

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

Our company is unique because all of the members have experienced life in Nepal and many of us are prior teachers. Therefore, each of us knows the challenges that come with uprooting your life to live in a completely foreign country. This provides us with the ability to empathize and help our volunteers assimilate into Himalayan life and their teaching role.

Additionally, our Nepali team is made up of the warmest and most wonderful individuals who work tirelessly from the moment our volunteers arrive to the moment they depart making sure that the transition into the Nepali lifestyle goes as smoothly as possible.

Each of us within the company knows we are working for the betterment of Nepal's rural youth. We've met our students, watched them grow, and worked with community members and educators so that their futures are brighter. We are a small organization, but one full of love. And love is powerful.

US visitors, meet us in person!

  1. Saturday 29 February
    Denver, CO Gap Year Fair
    Colorado University: Denver
    Fair:
    1:00 PM - 4:00 PM
    Presentation:
    1:00 PM - 2:00 PM

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