An average teaching day for me with ELI started with about a twenty minute walk to Aruni English School (in Balaju, Kathmandu) where I volunteered for a month teaching English to 5th,7th, and 9th graders. I walked alongside an Australian volunteer who taught there as well and we would take in the sights and sounds making sure to avoid fast moving vehicles or puddles from last night's rain. Together we would wait in the principal's office until the day and begin exchanging our lesson plans for the day. We arrived at the school around 11am despite classes starting at 8am since we each only taught three periods each. We would teach about two classes and get fed some Nepali food which usually involved some type of curry (potatoes or chickpeas) and various types of bread (roti). This food was probably some of the tastiest I've had in Nepal and the food there is great so that's saying a lot. My lessons with my students generally involve working out of their English grammar books or any supplementary materials I provide. The students were very well behaved and very grateful for the opportunity to learn English from a native English speaker. I only had to deal with one discipline issue and that can be easily handled if you send the student to the office. As I left for the day, I would receive a resounding "Thank you sir for teaching us, have a nice day, see you tomorrow, bye bye". After the school day ended for us, we worked with the school's basketball team to share our knowledge of the sport. (I didn't know too much but the other volunteer did so it worked out better than expected).
I think back on these days now and then and I still find it hard to describe how incredible of an experience I had teaching in Nepal. My name is Jonathan Milard. (That's me in the black shirt!) I'm currently a sixth grade Social Studies teacher in New York City. I volunteered for the month of September in 2012. I absolutely loved my experience. I loved it mainly because of the staff support, the students, and the country as a whole.
The staff at the volunteer house is great: They give you all the support you need, pair you with other volunteers if you fear your task might be too daunting, and even show you around the area and set up trips for you don't know who to turn to to plan excursions. They also respond to your emails quickly. They also let you know when other volunteers will be at the volunteer house so you have a bunch of buddies to explore with. And even if you travel at a time with not many other volunteers, you can easily make friends in Thamel, which is a 10 minute walk from the volunteer house.
In terms of teaching, I wanted to teach abroad to gain some experience teaching and I definitely did that during my experience with ELI. The students were also very respectful so teaching them was a great experience for me. I would sing songs from the U.S with them and learn some Nepali from them as well. Teaching abroad seems like a daunting task, but the support that I needed was given and since all Nepali high school students have to take an English test, more students have a basis in English than you would expect. The real challenge with them is to work on their conversation skills, but that comes with practice. I highly recommend teaching in Nepal if you are interested in teaching or want a change of pace.
One more reason I recommend volunteering through ELI abroad is that the country is amazing. I chose Nepal simply because I had a friend who also volunteered through ELI and loved it, but I wish I took the initiative to learn about it before. If I did, I probably would have gone sooner. The people are friendly, it's a very safe country, the food is cheap and delicious (momos.), and there is a lot to do and see, whether it be visiting historic sites, going on an elephant safari, going on yoga or meditation retreats, celebrating religious festivals, getting a massage, bungee jumping (highly recommend that), going on a trek, or just hanging out in Thamel.
Volunteering abroad is a scary thing, but you're in good hands if you do it with ELI. Nepal can provide you with some experiences you can hold on to for life. I could not speak more highly of this program and I hope you take advantage out there! Just be willing to walk, willing to accommodate, and be willing to experience adventure. Namaste.