Plan My Gap Year - Volunteer in Nepal from $375
88% Rating
(11 Reviews)

Plan My Gap Year - Volunteer in Nepal from $375

PMGY offers 2-week to 6-month volunteering opportunities in Chitwan, Pokhara and Kathmandu. Volunteers get involved in a wide-range of project work including English teaching, orphanage care and working with Buddhist monks at a monastery.

Our programs in Nepal run throughout the year. We have two start dates every month so you decide when you go and how long you go for.

Locations
Asia » Nepal » Pokhara
Asia » Nepal » Kathmandu
Asia » Nepal » Chitwan
Asia » Nepal
Length
2-4 Weeks
1-3 Months
3-6 Months
Language
English
Housing
Guesthouse
Host Family
Starting Price
$0.00
Currency
USD
Price Details
- Accommodation
- Meals
- Airport Pickup
- 24/7 in-country support
- In-country orientation course
- Volunteer Handbook
- Full Financial Protection
- And of course PMGY’s round the clock UK support service – It’s what we’re famous for!

Questions & Answers

Program Reviews

  • Impact
    81%
  • Support
    91%
  • Fun
    89%
  • Value
    75%
  • Safety
    93%

Program Reviews (11)

Sophie
Female

Real Nepal Experience

8/10

I visited Nepal in July 2017 as part of the Real Nepal Experience. The programme is amazing and so well organised! The heavy monsoon rains meant that the order of the programme had to be completely rescheduled when we got there, but this didn't phase the local reps at all. It was clear that they were really keen for our experience to be the best that it could be; this was really appreciated when we were lucky enough to see the top of the snow-capped Himalayas after trekking for 2 days up to Poon Hill!

Before visiting Nepal we were sent a pre-departure handbook. This was really useful as it advised us as to what to bring and the activities we might be doing once there. The list was pretty extensive and as always, I definitely over packed! I think more use could be made from the PMGY Facebook groups- pages that allow you to discuss your trip with people out there already / those that have already taken part. It would have been really useful to have been told that white t-shirts are a nightmare to hand wash/keep clean and that you don't need to splash out on proper trekking gear!

The accommodation was always to a reasonable standard, with a western toilet etc. All the accommodation is pretty centrally located too, which was particularly good when in Kathmandu and Pokhara. Most hotels offer a laundry service- this was particularly useful after trekking.

I chose to volunteer in a government school in Pokhara and stay with a family as my volunteer placement. Staying with a family was definitely the highlight of the trip for me. Shesh, Laxmi and Puja were so friendly and took the time to show us Pokhara from a Local's perspective - something that I just wouldn't have been able to see if travelling alone! Laxmi is amazing at cooking and made us a range of Nepali food (not just daal bhat everyday!) and even made us pancakes for breakfast some days! We were able to get a real idea of the Nepali culture and even had the opportunity to dress up in a sari!

Working in a government school was really challenging. We were the first group of volunteers to be placed in a government school as opposed to a paid-for boarding school. We were teaching English to kids aged between 5 and 12. The younger classes were particularly difficult as the kids were just so naughty! As a result, teaching the class without the local teacher present was impossible. The teacher told us what to teach each day which basically just involved the kids dictating what we had written on the board; we were expecting to have the freedom of planning our own lessons but when we arrived this didn't seem to be the case. I think teaching in a government school is a great idea as it meant we were able to help the poorest and most vulnerable kids in society. But, I think we would have had more of an impact if we were able to teach older kids, maybe those aged between 12-16. This way we would (hopefully) not have had so many issues with behaviour and would be able to communicate with the kids better as their English would be more advanced.

Overall I think the trip was really well organised. I would say this type of trip would be especially good for 18-20 year olds who may be going on their first holiday alone. Taking part in such a tightly organised trip to a country as chaotic as Nepal definitely saved me hours of time on the organisation front and I'm sure worked out a lot better than if I were to have travelled to Nepal on my own. However, as a 22 year old who has done a fair bit of travelling, I think I would have enjoyed the trip more if I was given a bit more independence- maybe even just a couple more free days in Kathmandu or Chitwan to wonder around without being directed by a guide. However, overall I would 100% recommend this trip. Nepali is an amazing country and well worth a visit!

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Abigail
Female
18 years old
England
Other

Teaching Volunteer Program at Chitwan Monastery (Daunne)

10/10

I am so glad that I went on this trip. I stayed at the Daunne monastery, which is the Chitwan monastery, and I volunteered for 3 weeks. The facilities at the monastery are very basic: the toilets are squatties, the hot water is a bit temperamental, and the electricity often cuts out. But none of that ever could have taken away from the brilliance of this trip.

Nepal has some of the friendliest people I have ever met. When we met Asim for the first time, he made us feel so welcome, and insisted we called him "big brother" because he treated us like we were part of the family, which I adored. The whole of the orientation team treated us so well, which made it so easy to adjust. Asim is always on hand if we had any questions, no matter what time of the day it was, and even if it was something as silly as asking him to tell the taxi driver where we wanted to go if they didn't speak English. Also, your safety is of paramount importance to them. When we were meant to be leaving Kathmandu, there had been horrible weather the few nights proceeding, so rather than put us on a public bus which would have taken hours more, Asim actually drove us in his car to the monastery. I always felt safe knowing that Asim was there to help us.

The monastery was no different. The minute we walked in the children came running up to us, grabbing our hands and dragging us into the jungle with them to go mushroom picking. They would chat away to us in Nepali, not realising we didn't have a clue what they were saying. The older ones spoke much better English, though, and could hold a really good conversation. However, every single child was eager to learn, whether that be at the school or just around the monastery. They wanted to know everything we could tell them about our homes, our families and our friends, so if you are thinking about going on a trip like this, I would advise taking some pictures with you, because the kids would absolutely love that. The teachers and the principle are also some of the kindest people ever, and I'm so sad I don't get to see their smiles every day.

In terms of teaching, before I went I was really worried that I needed to prepare lessons and try and think up things to teach them. And whilst that is useful, it is not necessary. They have a book which they study their English out of, and you just go through the exercises with them. The hardest part was knowing whether or not they understood what you were saying or what they were saying, because most of them could speak really good English or recite it, but they didn't have a clue what it actually meant. This was particularly the case for the middle aged classes. Also, the classes here weren't split based on ability, like we had thought, but they were by age group, which was actually a lot easier.

My biggest piece of advice for this trip is you need to be flexible. Yes, read the volunteers handbook, and yes, do lots of research into the country and the culture. But you need to accept that things won't always go to plan, and you have got to be willing to adapt and change. No matter what, this is a once in a lifetime experience, so immerse yourself as much as possible in the experience, because you will make some of the best memories on this trip.

If you wanted to do any excursions whilst on the trip, talk to the in-country support when you get there. I was surprised at how many places we actually got to visit whilst we were there. We managed to visit Lumbini, Pokhara, and Chitwan, as well as obviously Kathmandu and Daunne. I would definitely recommend Pokhara if you are doing this monastery, because we visited it at the end of our second week, and it restored some much needed Western luxuries, such as hot water, Western food, and a proper bed. However, Daunne is such a beautiful monastery that these trips aren't necessary, but are just a nice bonus.

Overall I am so grateful for this trip, and although I found a lot of things challenging, it has made me come out of it a much stronger person. It made me realise how lucky I am to be in my position, and actually made me a lot less stressed, because I realised everything will work out in the end, even if it wasn't how you had it planned.

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Elwenn
Female
21 years old
Waterloo, Belgium
Other

Amazing Time in Nepal !!!

10/10

I volunteered with a friend in Pokhara Happy Home for two weeks and I can't say how much fun it was! The boys are full of energy and I really enjoyed spending time with them!

A typical day would be waking up early (as Nepali people do!), having tea, and helping them with homework until breakfast (most delicious Dhal Bat ever, the orphanage mother can teach how to make it if you want!). After that they would go to school and we'd either help with housework, gardening or go exploring around! There are many things to do in and around Pokhara, as it is located next to a big lake and mountains (beautiful landscapes!). In the afternoon, after school, we would help the kids with their homework and play with them! They were actually on holiday while we were there so we got to spend lots of time with them which was awesome!

Before these two weeks at the orphanage, we went hiking 5 days and we got to see the sunrise from Poon Hill! Our trekking guide, Yubaraj, was the best - he knew the trek very well + he taught us some Nepalese and many things about the culture along the way.

I absolutely loved the trip and would definitely go back to Nepal! :D

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Emilia Theodora
Female
21 years old
Romania
University of Southampton

Volunteering at DSL Monastery in Nala

10/10

The three weeks spent at the monastery were overall one of the most wonderful experiences I've had in my entire life. It is something I would recommend to anyone, no matter the background, age or interests. Although I was, theoretically, the teacher, the truth is that I was the one who learned an amazing amount of things about people, about life and even about myself! It might sound like a cliché, but it is truly a life changing experience - I am a different person now, my perspectives for the future are completely changed after meeting so many inspiring people and learning about the Buddhist way of life! I will certainly go back one day, as I am really attached to that place and to all the monks!
Everything was way better than I had expected: the conditions were very satisfying, the food - very good (three meals a day, and the monks were always so kind as to fill our plates, even if we asked for less), there is a very friendly nurse who can help if any medical problem arises. I was surprised with what amazing hosts Nepali people are in general, they always take very good care of you, making sure you have everything you need. Asim and his wife, the project coordinators, as well as their partners are very good people. What I love the most is how they always asked us to call them "big brother" and "big sister", they made us feel like home all the time.
We received great support during our time there, we were given help with organizing the travel around the country and we could contact Asim any time during day or night if any problem arose. You have no reason to worry before getting there - everything you need to know can be found in the volunteer handbook and, if you have extra questions, I would recommend finding some past volunteers on the PMGY facebook page and asking for some advice, some of them are really keen to help!
Regarding teaching, the kids are, again, amazing. They are so receptive and eager to learn new things! At first they can be a little shy and you must get them used to speaking only English instead of Nepalese, but once you've got their attention, they're all yours, eyes and ears! I would recommend finding your own teaching style, that should work best! For example, I liked teaching a lot of science - geography and astronomy mainly. Things that for us seem common sense, but they have no idea about. They were fascinated about topics like Earth's rotation around sun, planets and galaxies, continents, earthquakes and volcanoes, rain, snow and so on. I liked to check their understanding every time, and I received very positive feedback! After the first few lessons, I was preparing the following ones based on their questions and suggestions. This, of course, worked well for older kids, another volunteer working with younger kids used a lot of games and songs to keep them engaged, which worked extremely well. Piece of advice: do not panic and stay confident, you will discover your own teaching style very quickly! Be flexible and ready to assess their knowledge and English level to come up with the best plan!
These were just a few thoughts about my experience. Of course, there are so many things left to say! However, the most important is to go there and enjoy every single moment, to give and receive as much as you can!

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Clarinde
Female
21 years old
London
University College London

Volunteering in Pokhara orphanage

9/10

I spent three weeks in Nepal, one trekking and the other two volunteering in Pokhara Happy Home.

Happy Home is house to eight boys from the age of five to sixteen. I had a wonderful time there. The boys are very sweet and full of energy! We helped them with their homework and organised activities for them during the day as they were on holidays at the time we were there. It was a great learning and cultural experience.

In addition, there are many activities offered in Pokhara and Chitwan such as paragliding, kayaking, and a safari. I met volunteers who tried the paragliding and they were enchanted.

The trekking was magical, everything was well planned and our guide was very kind.

Overall the trip was very well organised. The host family in Kathmandu are very welcoming and are of great support if ever you encounter a problem. I would definitely recommend Nepal to anyone who enjoys spending time with children and is interested in discovering new cultures and the breathtaking scenery of the Himalayas.

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Tomas
Male
20 years old
Czech Republic
Other

Volunteering at a Buddhist Monastery

7/10

I have spent few months in Nepal this year and it was an amazing experience. Event though the first week in Kathmandu was kind of dull, as soon I got to the monastery everithing changed for the better. The Monks there were super friendly and the monastery was beautiful, even the food there was better ( althought still Dal bath). I was lucky to be there for the Buddhist new year, which is a 9 day Paja followed by a 10 day holliday, and to celebrate with the monks. We even played cards on New Year's Eve.

In the classroom the monks are incredibly well behaved and they will love everithing you will teach them. They are also somewhat shy, so you will have to start the conversation, but after some time, they will not stop talking.

Also the first monastery I visited was completely diferent to what the others look like. It is located in Kathmandu, the air there is therefore really bad, the monks are less friendly and the rooms are bad as well. I would therefore recommend the monastery in Nala, which is amazing.

Overall, The experience at the second monastery was fantastic and I definitely plan on returning one day.

How can this program be improved?

The first week was far too long, two days would have been enough.

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Bethan
Female
22 years old
Chitwan, Nepal
University of Exeter

Nepal was great!

7/10

I visited Chitwan Orphanage in Nepal, which now holds a special place in my heart!
The information given before hand was extensive and you were given all the relevant contact information for your journey.

The host family you stay with when you reach Kathmandu was so lovely, couldn't have asked for anything more!

Although the journey was long, the time at the orphanage was so precious, the kids were absolutely lovely and I've met a friend for life in another volunteer!

Not only that but I was able to add a safari on to the end of my trip after saying goodbye to the children (which was extremely sad!) which was amazing. Nepal now definitely holds a special place in my heart!!

How can this program be improved?

Maybe more checking of how the program is run to make sure it runs super smoothly and you feel like you are 100% supported at all times.

Katie
Female
24 years old
Saffron Walden

Teaching in Chitwan, Nepal

6/10

The volunteer handbook and the pre departure support was good. However, I was not fully aware of where I was going to in Nepal or what sort of school I would be in. When I was in Nepal i was looked after very well and after asking lots of questions managed to find out some more information about where I was going. However, I was only made aware that I was the only volunteer going to Chitwan when I was in Nepal. Due to the time of year that I went (late Dec to early Jan) there was likely to be less volunteers but emails and the handbook hinted there would be other volunteers too. This was not a problem in the end but it would have been nice to be aware of it before hand as it was not easy coming into something very new and different on my own.

The family I stayed with were so lovely and made me feel very welcome, the Nepalese are such good natured, kind people.

Furthermore, the school was also so welcoming, both students and staff were lovely. However, I assumed I would be teaching basic English, but I was put into a secondary school where their English speaking and writing was of a very high standard. I know I was only there two weeks but I did not have any structure to my day, I was certainly thrown into the deep end. Although I tried to plan lessons it was difficult to know what they wanted me to teach. But it was enjoyable to be able to help them with their English pronunciation and teaching them about England.

Chitwan is a lovely place and I asked to go there as I had previously visited Pokara and Kathmandu before and wanted to visit somewhere new. The national park there is very interesting and the area is quite busy. However, I would say Pokara and Kathmandu are much more lively and Pokara is a very beautiful place which I would highly recommend!

My advice would be to definitely do some volunteer teaching, but do it for longer than I did and ask more question before you leave about the school or situation. It is definitely all part of the adventure not knowing everything however so don't worry too much!

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Sebastian
Male
20 years old
SAFFRON WALDEN
University of Sheffield

Real Nepal Experience

10/10

In August I went on the Real Nepal Experience where I volunteered in the Chitwan orphanage. It was a truly amazing experience that I would recommend to anyone thinking of doing any volunteering or travelling, as the Nepal Experience gives a perfect combination of the two.
PMGY and all the contacts and guides in Nepal were great in organising the trip, and are very accommodating to your needs. Especially given how cheap the trip is relative to other similar organisations, the service PMGY provide is brilliant. PMGY provide more than enough information beforehand in their handbooks, and through webinars, as well as via email should you have questions.
The accommodation in Nepal was relatively basic, but a lot better than what I was expecting given how poor the country is. Food in the orphanage was great, the dal bhat was the best we'd had anywhere in Nepal.
My advice to anyone thinking of doing this trip would be to book it straight away - the only bad part of the trip was how quickly it went!

Kasia
Female
32 years old
Dorset, UK
University of Technology

Had a wonderful time in Nepal

10/10

I had a wonderful trip to Nepal last March, I will never forget it! Everything was perfectly organised, I felt safe and supported at all times. I travelled solo as a career break and met many wonderful people also, with whom I'm still in contact with. This was my first trip to Asia, the culture shock hit me at first and I wanted to go back home after the first couple of days but I stayed and when the time came, I didn't want to leave! I absolutely fell in love with Nepalese culture and people. I want to go back and thinking of my next trip already! Thank you for giving me this opportunity to visit such beautiful country and people.

Emily
Female
21 years old
Hendy

The Real Nepal Experience

10/10

I've recently enjoyed one of the best months of my life thanks to PMGY. I experienced the real Nepal with the company and have made memories and friends that will last a lift-time. Booking the experience was absolutely no hassle and the company were super organised in ensuring that we knew what to expect once we arrived in the country. Once I received confirmation of my place on The Real Nepal Experience programme I was sent a volunteer handbook which contained all the necessary information, from contact numbers, to financial advise, to dress code. Once I arrived in the country, I was collected from the airport by (friendly) members of the PMGY team with no problems at all. During the experience we stayed at various hotels, with a Nepali family, and in Guest houses in the Himalayas. All accommodation met our basic needs, and the hotels were comfortable to stay at. Experiencing life with a Nepali family was an amazing opportunity, and one that I will appreciate and remember for life. During my time in Nepal, I was fortunate to be able to volunteer at a school in the Kindergarten class. Again, this was an experience of a life-time. I generally assisted the teacher in any way I could, played with the children, helped them with aspects of their work and taught them some nursery rhymes. As the children were only 5 years of age, communicating with them wasn't the easiest, but after a couple of days we got used to each other and I could interact better. All in all, I had the experience of a life-time and am glad that I decided to experience Nepal with the help and guidance of PMGY.
My advice to potential volunteers would be to keep an open mind. The countries you're volunteering in are not fully developed and their culture is completely different. Respect this, embrace this, and you'll have an amazing time.

About The Provider

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Plan My Gap Year (PMGY) is an award-winning international volunteer placement organisation based in the UK. We provide the worlds most affordable, need-driven and supportive short-term volunteer programmes across Africa & Asia. Our programmes start from just one weeks in duration right up to six

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