As a former U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer (Namibia '14-'15), I really can’t say enough good things about VIN and my experience in Nepal. I think what set VIN apart from my prior international volunteer experiences is that they are a local organization with staff members who are also locals. As such, they have a unique perspective and insight as to what and where the genuine needs are. This knowledge is critical in determining the success of an organization’s efforts.
The staff was amazing. Not only are they available 24 hours a day, but they are competent and effective in their roles, and are a very engaged group.
My placement exceeded my expectations in regard to my accommodations, integration, comfort and personal satisfaction. I was fortunate enough to have been placed in a small nunnery near the Bouddhanath area. In addition to the nunnery being relatively small, my class was also small – 4 students. Considering I was the first volunteer to work with them, this allowed me the ability to dedicate attention to any student who was struggling with a concept. This resulted in us having an accelerated class with the young nuns learning more than they likely would have in a large class setting.
My host family, and everyone at the monastery was friendly and welcoming, and were quick to share whatever resources they had. They also helped to explain cross-cultural differences and ceremonial activities as well as to direct me where to find various things in the neighborhood. They also took me on a sight-seeing adventure to Swayambhunath, as well as to visit an HIV Orphanage that had been destroyed by the earthquakes.
I can say with absolute certainty, that when it is time for me to do another volunteer trip to Nepal, I will definitely be contacting VIN.