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Welcome to RCDP-Nepal

Established in 1998, RCDP-Nepal, a non profit organization, is a recognized leader in the field of volunteering. When we started volunteering program in Nepal in 1998, the concept of volunteering in Nepal wasn't even heard of in Nepal. Therefore, we feel proud to be a pioneering volunteer organization starting volunteer program in Nepal.

When you join our Nepal volunteer program, you not only join an unforgettable humanitarian journey but also contribute to make this world a better place. Wherever yougo, you will immerse yourself in local cultures, work to uplift lives of the extremely poor people and communities, and return home with life changing experiences.

RCDP strives hard to make the volunteer programs very affordable, so anyone can participate in them. On our program you will receive unparalleled in-country support from experienced staff, which ensures your volunteer experience is safe, life changing, worthwhile and fun. So far, 8000 volunteers trusted our program.

Volunteer Nepal Guide

Download Your Free Nepal Volunteer Guide Ebook

This comprehensive Guide to Volunteering in Nepal is jam-packed with comprehensive information so you can begin your life-changing adventure without a hitch. From getting started to living overseas and then returning home, you’ll discover all the guidance you need to ensure it’s a seamless process from the beginning to end.

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Volunteer in Nepal

If you are thinking about traveling to Nepal to volunteer, take a few minutes to look through this guidebook. Our concise but comprehensive guide is filled with valuable information that you will find incredibly useful if you’re considering or planning for a volunteer trip abroad.

Within this guidebook, you will find everything from how to get started planning for your volunteer Nepal trip through returning home. We will explore how to select a good volunteering organization, essential things to pack, a departure checklist, and aligning your expectations for experiencing life in Nepal.

  • Chapter 1: Introduction: volunteeringabroad
  • Chapter 2: Why should I volunteer in Nepal?
  • Is volunteeringabroad really for me?
  • Chapter 3: What types of volunteer projects are in Nepal?
  • Chapter 4: How do I decide when and where to volunteer?
  • When is the ideal season to visit Nepal?
  • Where are the best places towork in Nepal?
  • Chapter 5: How can I select the best volunteer organization?
  • Chapter 6: What do you need to know before leaving?
  • Preparing for your volunteer abroad experience
  • Packing List
  • Information to know before you go
  • Getting connected with in-country staff
  • Your adventure begins: what to expect upon arrival
  • Departure checklist
  • Chapter 7: Safety and Cultural Shock
  • Safety first
  • The ‘do’s and ‘don’ts of Nepal
  • Culture shock
  • Chapter 8 : Completing your project and returning
  • How to make your volunteer abroad experience rewarding
  • Things to see and do while volunteering abroad
  • How can I continue to support my volunteer project?
  • Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
  • Closing Remarks & Further reading

Chapter 1: Introduction to Volunteering Abroad

Have you ever wandered what it means to participate in an abroadvolunteering program? Are there volunteer opportunities in Nepal? What exactly is volunteeringabroad anyway?

Volunteering abroad is an international humanitarian trip where you travel, generally to developing countries, around the world to volunteer your time, skills or labor, and Nepal is one of the most popular volunteer abroad destinations. Home to seven of the world’s highest peaks, all of which are over 20,000 feet tall, dramatic landscapes and humble mountain villages make Nepal an ideal place for volunteer travel.

While Nepal is incredibly rich in culture and geographic features, most Nepalese people live in poverty. There are countless different areas where you, as a volunteer, can make a real difference in the lives of Nepalese people and their communities.

Why Nepal

Chapter 2: Why should I volunteer Nepal?

What types of people travel to Nepal and why do they choose to do so? What types of positive impacts does volunteering make on local community? How does volunteering abroad benefit me?

There are so many reasons why you should join a volunteer project in Nepal! Between the outrageously beautiful landscapes, seemingly endless ancient temples, monasteries, and historical landmarks, the deep sense of spirituality and serenity that exudes from all corners of the country, and the lovely Nepalese people - there really isn’t any reason why you shouldn’t travel to Nepal. Here are just a few more reasons to inspire you further:

An authentic experience in cultural immersion

Nepalese people are often described as being warm and amicable. The bond within their communities is quite strong, and they will welcome you as a visitor. People in Nepal are proud of their culture and are more often than not eager to share it with visitors interested in learning.

Partake in colorful traditions

Hindu is the predominant religion in Nepal with Buddhism following in second. Religion in Nepal is more than just a belief system, it is a way of life that is celebrated and practiced through ancient traditions, ceremonies, and festivals. Nepal is the only Hindu Kingdom the world, and there are hundreds of temples, statues, and monasteries that are devoted to the polytheistic religion you can explore and experience.

Breathtakingly beautiful scenery

Between the massive mountains, piercing blue glacial lakes, beautiful forests, charming towns, divine temples, and ancient monasteries, Nepal hasexquisite and stunning places to visit. When you join a volunteer program in Nepal, you will find yourself constantly in awe of your surroundings.

Traveling to Nepal is a culinary experience

While talk about food in Nepal may often be overshadowed by talk of the mountains, traditional Nepalese food will make your taste buds dance. Nepalese cuisine typically includes curries, flatbreads, chutneys, dal, and dumplings (called momos) filled with all sorts of different ingredients. Each region of Nepal has its own traditional dishes, but they usually include a lot of vegetables and lean meat. Don’t forget to try Nepali tea too during your time volunteering.

Have the adventure of a lifetime

Nepal is full of adventures to be had! It is obviously very famous for its mountain trekking, but there are also opportunities to go on wildlife safaris, river rafting trips, paragliding tours, and even bungee jumping. For those who are serious hikers and climbers, the Himalayas and Annapurna mountain range offer some of the best mountain hiking and climbing journeys in the world.

Change your perspectives and personal mentalities

When you join Nepal volunteering opportunity, you may discover a new passion, embrace a new way of life, gain valuable career-related experience, or find a new sense of purpose and direction. We often complain about daily stresses from work, relationships, family, and money, but when you spend time in a community that has significantly less than you do, you might realize that your problems aren’t all that bad. Sometimes we all just need a little perspective in order to come back with a positive attitude and outlook.

Make a significant difference in the world

Children, adults, and communities where you volunteer will be very grateful for your decision to visit their country and lend a helping hand. There is so much that you can do to positively impact the lives of the Nepalese whether through teaching, photography, community building, or healthcare. What’s more you’re setting an amazing example for other people to do the same.

Is volunteer Nepal really for me?

Whether volunteering abroad is for you or not will depend on your values, beliefs, and philosophies on life. Volunteering abroad is a big decision and should not be made lightly. The truth is that volunteering abroad programs are not for everyone. Here are a few questions that you may want to ask yourself to help you determine if this is the right choice for you:

Do I enjoy helping others and meeting new people?

When volunteering abroad, you will be engaging with people who need help. Volunteering abroad involves meeting lots of new people, from the host family you will be staying with to the local project staff, other volunteers and the people who live in the community where you are based. If you are keen to offer support and assistance to others and have a nurturing, kind or caring personality then volunteering abroad is most likely a good fit for you.

Can I step outside of my comfort zone?

Most westerners take day to day creature comforts like constant hot water, a reliable electrical supply, and a flushing toilet for granted when they are living in their own home. However, during your Nepal volunteer opportunity, you might be living in a situation where these resources are not available. If you are ok with these realities, volunteeringabroad may be the right choice for you.

Do I have skills to share that would make volunteering worthwhile?

There are many projects like working in orphanages or supporting conservation efforts where no skills are needed. All you need to do is arrive with an open mind, compassion for those you’re serving, and a good attitude. You can contribute however you can, and the support you give will make a huge difference.

Do I have the money needed to fund a volunteer experience?

Unfortunately, volunteer projects are not free. We’ll talk about this a bit more in following chapters, but the cost (including airfare, vaccinations, and program fee) can run from hundreds of dollars into the thousands, depending on the duration of your time volunteering. When considering why you should volunteer abroad, you should make sure you have enough funds to do so.

Projects and Locations

Chapter 3: What types of volunteer experiences in Nepal are available?

There are so many fantastic and incredibly affordable volunteer projects. Your decision should be based on what your personal interests and passions are guiding you toward. Whether you choose to volunteer in health, education, or photojournalism, the experience will be rewarding for all who are involved.

Volunteer in an orphanage

Thousands of children in Nepal are left to fend for themselves due to the harsh realities of poverty and Nepal’s past struggles. Without a familyor guidance, many of these children wind up living in the streets or are exploited for labor. When you decide to volunteer in an orphanage in Nepal, you will make a huge difference in these deserving children’s lives. Your commitment to these orphanages and to the children who call it home will give them hope for a brighter future despite their rough beginnings.

Do you want to make a difference in the lives of orphans? Go to the project page to find pricing and complete information.

Volunteer teaching to school children English

English is the second language of Nepal, so the ability to communicate proficiently in English is critical if one is to find a decent paying job. Many students from low-income families will not have the opportunity to learn English, and therefore they will pursue lower-income careers; thus, the impoverished lifestyle is perpetuated by lack of education.

Nepal volunteer teacher to teach English is a gift to the children of Nepal that will keep on giving, and when you join a volunteer teaching English program in Nepal, you will give students tools to break themselves and their families free of the poverty cycle.

Do you want to help disadvantaged children reach their potential? See the project page to find pricing and complete information.

Volunteer teaching English to Buddhist monks

This rare experience is an incredible way to spend time at one of the beautiful monasteries where you will have the opportunity to learn all about the Buddhist way of life while teaching young monks English skills. As tourism rises in Nepal, the ability to communicate in English is very valuable. If the monks speak English, they can more effectively share their rich culture, history, and religion with those who visit their monasteries.

Do you want to learn about Buddhism and make a difference teaching? Visit the program page for more details.

Volunteer with a medical project

If you are a medical professional or interested in the field of healthcare, volunteering with a medical project in Nepal is an amazing opportunity to not only help people in need, but to also gain valuable hands on experience. Medical volunteers will work either in a hospital or local health clinics, and shadow local doctors and learn mostly from observation. You will need to provide proof of experience in a medical field or you should be a medical student in order to join this program.

Do you want to gain valuable medical experience? Visit the project page for the complete information.

Volunteer with a photo journalism program

If you are interested in photography and want to improve your skills, this unique opportunity is calling your name. Nepal couldn’t be anymore picture worthy between the impressively tall and extensive mountain ranges, ornate temples, ancient statues, lively towns, annual festivals, constant ceremonies, and Buddhist stupas. During your photojournalism volunteer program, you will work closely with a professional photographer who will mentor you and teach you valuable tricks of the trade.

Want to see amazing places and improve your photography? Visit the detailed program page for the full information

Nature Conservation

If you would like to join in the environmental conservation movement to preserve Nepal forests and nature for positive impact, see the detailed program page for more information.

Chapter 4: How can I choose when and where to volunteer Nepal?

When is the ideal season for volunteers?

Are there certain times of the year that aren’t ideal for visiting Nepal? What are the most pleasant months to volunteer if you want to climb mountains and travel the country outside of your program?

The optimal time to join a Nepal volunteer program is whatever time works best for you. Volunteers are always needed. However, like any place, there are certain times of the year that are better for various reasons.

December and January

These are the true winter months of Nepal. While it doesn’t snow in Kathmandu, the temperatures are quite chilly. For such a small country, Nepal’s landscape changes drastically in elevation ranging from 60 meters to upwards of 8848 meters. So, you can imagine that the higher elevated places have more extreme climates. Best Volunteering in Nepal during the winter months are wonderful if the cold isn’t a factor for you. The weather is typically consistent, and the skies are clear, which offers beautiful views of the mountains.

February through middle April

During these spring months temperatures are warmer, and the days are longer than during the winter. Nepal’s national flower, the rhododendron, is in bloom, and it truly transforms parts of the landscape. These months are also the best times to see wildlife in Nepal. On the downside though, skies are often hazy, which can obscure mountain views.

End of April through June

These months are considered pre-monsoon season. If you have the freedom to pick any time to volunteer, it is recommended that you pick any other season. These months are extremely hot, humid, and buggy. Also, it is more common to have stomach issues during these months in Nepal because the rains are just starting. However, this is a more affordable time to travel to Nepal because it is not peak tourist season.

Middle of June through the end of September

Contrary to what you may assume, monsoon season is actually one of the most beautiful times to volunteer service for Nepal. The Nepalese welcome this season, as it brings an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables and life into the valleys, forests, and mountains.

Everything turns greens, many flowers are in bloom, and butterflies fill the air. During monsoon season, it doesn’t rain all day, but rather big storms come at night. The downside of this season? Great potential for mudslides and rock blockages, which may cause travel delays. If you want to experience the picturesque and vibrant Nepal as you probably are imagining it, join a volunteer in Nepal program during the monsoon season.

October and November

Some of Nepal’s biggest Hindu festivals like Dashian and Tihaar are during these months. Visiting Nepal during the festival season is incredibly special and will be a most memorable authentic cultural experience. However, make sure you plan far in advance if you are planning to come during this season, as it is very busy time of the year.

Other articles on Best Time to Visit Nepal

Where are the best places for volunteer work in Nepal?

There are three main areas when volunteer programs operate: Kathmandu, Chitwan, and Pokhara. All three regions are completely different and have their own unique things to offer. All three of these regions are excellent places to visit and volunteer.

Kathmandu

Kathmandu is the capital city of Nepal. It is also the largest city in Nepal. There are approximately 1.4 million people living in Kathmandu and another 2.5 million living in the surrounding Kathmandu Valley, which includes Lalitpur, Kirtipur, MadhyapurThimi, and Bhaktapur. Kathmandu is 1,400 meters above sea level and falls into the warm temperate climate zone in Nepal.

Kathmandu is a fascinating and sensory stimulating destination to spend time in while you are volunteering in Nepal. There are tons of fabulous restaurants where you can enjoy authentic Nepalese cuisine, teahouses, local bazaars, workshops and tiny souvenir stores, museums, and cultural centers to explore. There are also ornate and picturesque temples, stupas, statues, and monasteries through the city. There is no place on earth quite like Kathmandu, Nepal.

While you are volunteering in Kathmandu, you will have ample free time to explore. You can visit the Durbar Square, hike the Annapurna circuit, see red pandas at the Langtang National Park, or spend time at the Kopan Monastery, among countless other culturally captivating experiences and activities. On a clear day, you can even see the Langtang Himalayan mountain range!

Chitwan

Chitwan is located in the southern part of Nepal about a four- or five-hour drive from Kathmandu. The landscape here is very different from how you are probably imagining Nepal. Chitwan is a made up of vast grasslands and plains and sits at a much lower elevation. The predominant source of income in Chitwan comes from agriculture. Rice, mustard, maize, sesame, buckwheat, and wheat are all grown in this region of Nepal.

Cows, goats, chicken, and buffalo are also commonly raised in this area for meat, milk, manure, and farming help. In recent years, bee keeping has become a popular and profitable industry in Chitwan. Joining a program in Chitwan, Nepal will introduce you to a whole different side of the country.

During your free time from your volunteer work in Chitwan, Nepal there are some really exciting opportunities to experience the nature of this area. The most famous point of interest in Chitwan is the Chitwan National Park. It is here that you might get lucky and see a Bengal tiger! The park is also home to elephants, rhinos, wild boar, deer, and a great variety of birds. You can take a jeep safari through the park with a professional wildlife guide. There are also waterfall hikes, tours of the local villages, and a chance to visit an elephant-breeding center when in Chitwan.

Pokhara

Pokhara is 200 kilometers from Kathmandu and is a nature and adventure-lover’s dream destination. Pokhara is the second largest city in Nepal and the ideal starting point for trekking through the Annapurna mountain region. Everywhere you look in Pokhara is picture worthy! If you decide to volunteer abroad in Pokhara, Nepal, there will never be dull free time moment. This region is home to a great number of beautiful lakes, waterfalls, and caves. If you love taking walks through nature, this is your spot. There are so many good walks and leisure hikes here.

There is also a wealth of cultural sights to see including the International Mountain Museum, Gurkha Memorial Museum, and the World Peace Pagoda. What’s more, there are plenty of yoga and meditation option, amazing restaurants and cafes, full moon parties, and annual festivals. Pokhara has been dubbed the adventure capital of Nepal too for its many adrenaline-pumping activities, such as bungee jumping, skydiving, paragliding, mountain biking, and white-water rafting. Volunteering trip to Pokhara, Nepal will be an exhilarating experience where you will also have the opportunity to truly make a different in the lives of the people and communities there.

Preparation for Trip

Chapter 5: How can I find and apply to the best volunteer Nepal organization?

There are multiple organizations that offer Nepal volunteering opportunities. When you search for volunteer programs in Nepal, quite a selection will appear. It is necessary to weed out the organizations that aren’t reputable, professional, and ethically responsible, but this might seem like an overwhelming task. Here are some important factors to consider when choosing a volunteer organization that may help you find the best abroad organization.

Read reviews and talk to past volunteers

Reading reviews from past volunteers is an excellent way to gain some insight into the volunteer organization and their programs. Past volunteers, whether they had a really good experience or a really bad experience, will typically share their feelings about the program that they joined. See what others are saying about the organization you are interested in volunteering with and take note of how those reviews make you feel.

Investigate the organization’s numbers

How long has the organization been operating? How many volunteers have volunteered with the organization in their history? With time, comes experience. You want to choose a volunteer organization that has been operating long enough to be experts. An organization that has been operating Nepal volunteer trips for a number of years will most likely have programs that are well-organized, well-managed, and run smoothly because they have had time to sort out all of the glitches.

Take notice of their online presence

A reputable, responsible, and professional volunteer organization will have great online presence that includes a well put together and easy to navigate website and active and relevant social medias outlets like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. You can tell a lot about a company or organization through their online presence and how quickly they respond to their clients. Be wary if the website isn’t well designed and doesn’t provide you with all the important initial information that you are seeking and if their social media pages aren’t active, up to date, and sharing engaging and inspiring content.

Check for transparency regarding your fees

All volunteer organizations charge some sort of application fee and program fee. When picking a trust-worthy organization, the allocation of your fees should be made very clear. There shouldn’t be any hidden costs or obscure information. Most of the time application fees go toward the basic costs of running a business, and the program fees go directly to your chosen volunteer project in Nepal and host family.

Communication is key

It is wise to choose a volunteer organization that responds to your e-mails or phone calls in a timely and professional manner. Communicating with them should be easy and provide you with the answers to all of your questions and concerns. If communication is faulty from the beginning, imagine what it will be like when you are on site in Nepal.

Filling out the Application

Once you have selected the which of the best organizations are right for you, you should proceed to apply for the volunteer program. Booking your spot is usually self-explanatory and is done by filling out an online application and paying a certain amount as a deposit. It is advisable to apply in advance by about 3 months so that you can have ample time for making travel plans and preparing for your trip.

Chapter 6: What do I need to know before my volunteer Nepal trip?

Preparing for your volunteer abroad experience

Once you applied for your volunteer trip, now it’s time to start the next exciting phase - preparing for your adventure. There’s a lot to think about at this stage, so use this handy checklist to make sure you cover everything in time for your departure.

Passport - Anytime that you are traveling outside of your home country, you must have a passport. Your passport must be at least valid for six months from the date of your departure to Nepal. If you are planning to volunteer abroad in Nepal in November 25, 2017, your passport must be valid at least until May 25, 2018. Don’t let something so avoidable ruin your trip.

Visas - A visa is required to enter Nepal. However, a visa can be obtained upon arrival at the airport if you are a U.S, Canadian, British, Australian, or other EU country citizen. Other nationalities must obtain a visa prior to arrival and should check with the embassy for requirements and fees. Just make sure you have valid visa to volunteer in Nepal before you leave or as soon as you arrive and can obtain one at the airport. There are 15, 30, and 90-day visas. A 15-day visa costs $25USD, a 30-day visa costs $40, and a 90-day visa costs $100.

Vaccinations - Prior to traveling anywhere, you should make sure that you are vaccinated for measles-mumps-rubella, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis, varicella (chickenpox), polio, and your yearly flu shot. While these aren’t required to enter Nepal, it is better to be safe than sorry. It is highly recommended that you also get a Hepatitis A and Typhoid vaccination. You can get hepatitis A and typhoid through contaminated food and water in Nepal. Aside from that, you should ask your general physician what other vaccines you should have. For more information about vaccinations and health concerns in Nepal, consult the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website.

Flights – Airfare is going to be one of your biggest costs for Nepal volunteer experience. Most volunteers don’t live particularly close to Nepal. For this reason, airfare is pricy. However, with proper planning and searching, it is possible to find a reasonably priced airline ticket(s). Here’s some tips:

  • Check out several different airline companies.
  • Research what airports in Nepal you can fly in and out of according to the program that you decide to join.
  • Use fare-compare websites such as Kayak or Google.
  • Play around with flying different routes
  • If possible, avoid busy travel months.
  • If you have airline miles, try and find an itinerary that you can apply them to.
  • Book in as far in advance as you can.

Funds: You’ll need to ensure that you have sufficient funds to support your volunteeringopportunity in Nepal. If you need some ideas on how to pay for your volunteer program, there are lots of resources to draw on. You can use online funding sites such as GoFundMe , or GiveForward, as well as others for studentsand large groups. You can also look to local churches, businesses, or volunteer groups for help funding your trip as well. They may just be waiting to help someone like you be of service in another part of the world.

Here’s another tip to reduce the cost of your volunteer experience: Budget in advance. Researching, prioritizing, and planning for a financially reasonable volunteer experience will help not break the bank while abroad.

Suggested Reading: It is a wonderful idea to read up on Nepal before you embark on your volunteer trip . Through travel books about Nepal, you can learn a lot about the culture, traditions, religions, customs, history, geography, sights to see, activities to do, and foods to try. Learning about the country in which you are planning to visit will help you to feel more comfortable about your trip and will prepare you for what’s ahead. Sometimes it is also nice to read some non-travel guidebooks about Nepal to get you even more excited and inspired for your volunteer in Nepal trip too. Here is a list of suggested reading for your Nepal volunteer adventure:

  • The Rough Guide to Nepal
  • Little Princes: One Man’s Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal by ConorGrenna
  • Nepal-Culture Smart: The Essential Guide to Customs & Culture
  • While the Gods Were Sleeping: A Journey Through Love and Rebellion in Nepal by Elizabeth Enslin
  • Nepal (Culture Shock! A Survival Guide to Customs & Etiquette) by Jon Burbank
  • House of Snow: An Anthology of The Greatest Writing about Nepal by Ed Douglas and Ranulph Fiennes
  • What To Bring On Your Trip?

Packing List

To avoid getting overwhelmed and forgetting something important for your volunteer trip in Nepal, it is a good idea to make a list of your must-bring items. You should also research the specific area(s) in which you will be volunteering and traveling to in order to get an idea of what the typical weather conditions and temperatures are like, so you know what type of clothing to bring.

Here is a basic list to get you started:

  • Original and copies of travel documents (visa, passport, travel confirmation, and travel insurance)
  • Credit card
  • Nepal guidebook(s)
  • Leisure reading book(s)
  • Headlamp and or flashlight with spare batteries
  • Comfortable shoes
  • Light overnight or day bag for short trips
  • Sarong, cotton wrap, or shawl
  • Travel towel
  • Wet wipes and antibacterial gel
  • Camera (memory card and charger)
  • Notebook or journal
  • Cables for electrical devices
  • Travel adapter
  • Toiletries
  • Medications
  • Rain jacket
  • Bathing suit
  • Lightweight, mix and match clothing (pack for comfort and the weather) for warmer months
  • Winter jacket, scarf, long sleeves (think layers), gloves for winter months
  • Hat and sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellant
  • Donations

It is also a very nice idea to bring some small gifts from your home country to share with your host family and chosen project. Projects that involve childcare, education, or healthcare, in particular, can always use educational resources, books, coloring books, art supplies, games, toys, and first-aid supplies. A lot of volunteer programs are extremely underfunded and under resourced, so any donations are greatly appreciated. If you are not sure what to bring or what is needed, just ask your volunteer organization.

Information to know before joining volunteer Nepal

You’re probably experiencing all sorts of emotions about your upcoming volunteering trip. This is totally normal! To help ease these feelings, there are some things that you can inquire about that will only help to further prepare you to volunteer abroad.

Ask about specific details about your local volunteer project’s setting If you ask detailed questions about what to expect upon arrival, you will start your Nepal volunteer program feeling confident and secure. Here are a few suggestions to make sure you know before departing:

  • Name, address, and contact information about your volunteer placement
  • Expectations, rules, and guidelines of the project and organization in which you are volunteering
  • General responsibilities
  • Volunteer work schedule (days/hours and break time/time off)
  • Transportation to and from your project location (is this something that is arranged by the organization or that you are responsible for arranging for yourself?)
  • Who is your supervisor?
  • Who will you be working alongside? (Other volunteers, a mentor, project staff, etc.)
  • Is there any pressing information you should know before leaving for Nepal?

Gather information about your living situation

If you have decided to stay with a host family while volunteering in Nepal program, you may feel more comfort if you learn about them before you walk into their home. Living with a host family is an experience like none other. You may feel nervous, but don’t worry - your host family has been carefully chosen and will quickly become like your second family. You can ask your volunteer organization for information about your host family like:

  • Where will I be living and how far is it from my project location?
  • How many members of the family are there?
  • What are the names, ages, and genders of the family members with whom you will be residing?
  • Do they have any pets?
  • What is your host family’s main occupation?
  • What are some of their personal interests or hobbies?
  • Will you be sharing a room, or will you have your own private room?
  • What areas of the house do you have access to? (The living room, kitchen, laundry room, etc.?)
  • Are you permitted to have friends visit you at the house?
  • What amenities are available within a close range of their house? Internet cafe, post office, pharmacy, food store, etc.
  • Has your family hosted international travelers and or volunteers in the past?
  • Are there any specific rules of the house that you need to be aware of so that you may follow them accordingly?

Don’t forget your motivation for volunteering

Remember that one of the main reasons that you are in Nepal is because you felt it in your heart that you wanted to help to Nepalese people and animals. You also had a yearning to experience a new culture and foreign land. Embrace the challenge and change of traveling outside of your comfort zone and remember that you are doing something extraordinary not only for yourself, but for others in need. Keeping this open-minded and heart-guided mindset will only further enhance your volunteer experience in Nepal.

Learn about Nepalese culture and customs

When you are traveling outside of your home country, it is advised that you brush up on the local culture and customs of the place in which you are planning to visit. Having a basic understanding of the customs, salutations, manners, and common religions of Nepal will save you from unpleasant interactions and behaving in a disrespectful way. Fortunately, the internet has an incredible wealth of information to help you out in your research.

What’s more, local knowledge is invaluable. Your host family and the local people with whom you interact will be able to share with you all sorts of information regarding the best places to visit, eat and drink at, and explore. They can also help you plan your free time adventures. Getting advice from a local is the best way to travel and experience a new place.

Communicate with your volunteer organization for any issue or concern

If something isn’t right or doesn’t feel right, let your country coordinator know. If you have a problem or issue relating to literally any part of your volunteer program in Nepal (host country, supervisors, meals, work), alert your in-country coordinator immediately.

If you feel in danger or have an emergency, your support team is 100% there for you. Your volunteer trip should be a positive, rewarding, and happy experience. If for any reason it is not going in that direction, be sure to speak up so that your issues or concerns can be immediately addressed and solved.

Connect with local in-country support staff & communicate with them

When you are in Nepal for a volunteer work, you will have the support of an in-country team who works for your volunteer organization. Your in-country support will either be one specific person or several, but regardless they will be available and often will accompany you to your volunteer project and on cultural excursions. They will also be in charge of providing an orientation and introducing you to your host family and volunteer project coordinator and staff.

You will develop a close relationship with your in-country support right off the bat. It is their job to make sure that everything runs smoothly, that you are always safe, and that you are happy. They are also there should any emergency or issue occur during your volunteer opportunity in Nepal.

So, you might want to reach out to him or her (or they) prior to your departure date just to say hello and make a first connection. Starting your working relationship early on may help to make you feel more secure about setting off on your adventure. It’s always good to know someone or at least feel like you do.

Your adventure begins: What to expect upon arrival

When you arrive in your country of choice, you will experience a range of different feelings, senses and emotions. Beautiful and diverse landscapes and vibrant cities which are complemented by the warm hospitality of the people will leave you excited and full of energy. On the other hand, coming face to face with poverty, city slums, and homeless people of all ages, combined with low health and hygiene standards, and people and communities that are in desperate need of love, care, support, facilities and resources can feel desperately sad and overwhelming.

Whether you are working with people, animals, the environment or on developing facilities and structures for the community, your volunteer service abroad and time in that country will prove to be a rewarding experience.

A representative from you volunteer agency will pick you up at the airport, give you an orientation, and introduce you to your project and project team. It may take a few days to adjust to your transition, and that is very normal. See chapter seven for tips on dealing with culture shock.

Departure Checklist

Before you take off for your amazing volunteer trip to Nepal, it is wise to double-check all the information regarding your trip. It is also a good time to ask any final pressing questions to your volunteer organization that might be lingering on your mind. Make sure that you:

  • Check your flight information and make sure that all of the details that you have received are correct. This includes airline(s), flight number(s), date, and arrival time.
  • Ensure that you have sent your flight information to your volunteer organization and confirmed that arrangements have been made for your pick-up at the airport, including knowing how you will identify the person picking you up.
  • Make a copy of your passport and have all your important documents with you.
  • Make sure that you have the correct emergency contact information and your volunteer organizations/country coordinators contact info.
  • Make sure that the emergency contact information that you gave the Nepal volunteer organization is correct.
  • Check that there have been no changes with your project, host family, and or location and ask any other lingering questions.
  • Have realistic expectations (remember that you are traveling to developing countries; you will see poverty, extreme health problems, lack of education, slums and underdeveloped communities).
  • Packed a carry-on bag with ample clothing in the event that your luggage is lost or delayed. With numerous connecting flights, there is always a chance that your luggage may be mishandled or misplaced.
  • Have made sure you are ready to travel, contribute your time and energy to humanitarian causes, face challenges, and start the unique experience of a lifetime!

Safety and Cultural Shock

Chapter 7: Safety and Culture Shock during your volunteer Nepal Trip

When you are traveling in Nepal, or any other place in the world, it is critical that you are safe. It is your volunteer organization and in-country support team’s top priority. However, you must also take full responsibility for yourself and your actions. Common sense, awareness of your surroundings, self, and possessions, and the following recommendations will play a significant role in your safety and overall happiness during your time abroad.

Safety first

Here are some safety recommendations:

  • Always carry around a copy of your passport. You should never have your original document on your body, unless specifically required for a reason at some point.
  • Make sure that you have your health insurance information in an easily accessible place. You can make a copy of this and keep it with you, as well. Your travel insurance should have a 24-hour support number. Make sure that you have this number.
  • Keep up to date on any safety or travel warning advisories for Bali.
  • Ensure that all of your vaccinations are up to date and you are traveling with any necessary medications.
  • Send a copy of all of your important documents (passport, credit/debit card, travel insurance) and travel itinerary details to a family or close friend.
  • Let your bank know about your travel and volunteer plans in Nepal. Also, write down or place in your device your bank’s fraud or stolen card department number, just in case.
  • Register your Nepal travel details with your home country’s embassy.
  • Keep all of the contact information for your volunteer organization, Nepal volunteer project, local support, host family, embassy, and emergency services in Nepal somewhere on you at all times.
  • Don’t bring any valuables with you while you are out and about. Pick pocketing and petty theft are a concern in Nepal. Always be aware of your possessions and who is around you.
  • If you are going to take a taxi, make sure that it is a registered taxi. Ask your local coordinator for recommendations for taxis, private shuttles, or any other type of personal transportation to ensure that you are traveling with a reputable and safe driver.
  • Always try and travel around with at least one other person, especially at night. It is never a good idea to walk around alone at night.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings and pay close attention to landmarks or street names, especially until you have a comfortable understanding of where you are and how to get around.
  • Keep the address and directions to your accommodations with you.
  • Listen and trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right or a person doesn’t seem trustworthy, just believe that to be true and remove yourself from that situation.

The ‘Do’s’ and ‘Don’ts’ of volunteering in Nepal

Dos

  • Use both of your hands when receiving something, even if it’s just money. This is a sign of gratitude and respect.
  • Remove your shoes before entering a temple, monastery, or home.
  • Walk around stupas clockwise so that it is always on your right side. The same goes if you encounter a stone wall covered with Tibetan scripture.
  • Get a receipt of authenticity and proof of purchase if you purchase any type of antique relic, otherwise you will not be able to take it out of the country.
  • Carry a flashlight or headlamp with you, since power outages sometimes occur.
  • Make sure you exchange all of your Nepalese currency before leaving the country. It is illegal to leave Nepal with Nepali currency. Keep all of your receipts from any previously exchanged money during your trip, as you might need these later to exchange your money back.
  • Eat everything on your plate. If you are served too much food, ask for some of the food to be taken away prior to eating. It is disrespectful to not finish the food you have been served.
  • Ask before taking photographs of a religious ceremony, place, or person.
  • Always be friendly and respectful.
  • Enjoy every single moment of your volunteering experience in Nepal.

Don’ts

  • Don’t touch the women. When greeting or meeting a Nepalese woman, you don’t shake their hands or hug them. Instead you press your palms together in a prayer-like fashion called Namaste. This is the preferred method of greeting and meeting.
  • Don’t engage in public displays of affection. Men and women do not hold hands or affectionately engage in public. It is best not to act out of public norm.
  • Don’t wear any skimpy clothing. Nepal is religious and conservative. Be respectful and wear clothes that cover your shoulders, chest, and mid-section. Don’t show too much skin.
  • Don’t eat with your left hand.
  • Don’t eat unpeeled fruit or vegetables unless you are certain they have been properly washed in filtered water.
  • Don’t drink unfiltered water.
  • Don’t offer food from your plate to someone else.
  • Don’t eat beef in front of Hindus or Buddhists. Cows are considered sacred.
  • Don’t wear leather.
  • Don’t raise your voice or get into a loud verbal confrontation, this is viewed as very bad manners in Nepal.
  • Don’t do drugs. Drugs in Nepal are illegal, and it is a serious offense if you get caught.

Be Informed About Culture Shock When Volunteering in Nepal programs.

Culture shock can occur when you are living, working, visiting, or volunteering in a foreign country, especially a third world country. It is something that can happen to anyone, even the worldliest of travelers. However, it is more likely to strike someone who hasn’t experienced ways of life that are drastically different from their own. Culture shock happens when you are in a place where the culture, customs, beliefs, living situations, and sanitation conditions are extremely different from how they are in your home country.

Don’t be scared of culture shock though. Immersing yourself in a totally new culture and world has far more benefits and rewards than the temporary discomfort of culture shock. The best thing that you can do is to remind yourself that you are in a new place and you will just need some time to adjust. Grant yourself all the time you need to adjust and just be patient with this adjustment period, as it will pass.

It might also be helpful to know and realize that a lot of volunteers who make the selfless and noble decision to venture out on an overseas mission to help others in need will most likely experience some sort of culture shock, especially if it is their first time volunteering abroad in a developing country. You can connect with other likeminded volunteers and learn more about culture shock and how to deal with a new environment by searching online forums and blogs relating to volunteer opportunities in Nepal. You are not alone and realizing that can make a significant difference.

There are also some ways to prevent or at least lessen the severity of your initial shock when volunteering by following these tips:

Learn about the daily customs, living conditions, and hygiene standards of Nepal

The more you know about Nepal before you go, the better prepared you will be for the reality of Nepal. Nepal is a beautiful, friendly, and culturally fascinating country, however, there is a lot of poverty and a lot of people who are suffering and in need of your help. Having a general idea of what to expect will help make it less shocking.

Embrace Nepalese culture

Between incredible religious and historical landmarks, festivals, ceremonies, natural wonders, and activities to do, it should be relatively easy to have an authentic and rich experience during your Nepal volunteer work. The more you participate in Nepali culture, interact with the local people and communities, experience the temples, monasteries, monuments, and cultural and religious events, the more you will feel like you belong there. You can also seek out other types of cultural learning experiences such as language classes, cooking classes, or guided tours. There is so much to do and see in Nepal . Get out there and do and see as much as you can.

Take your experience moment by moment

While it may be a bit challenging at first to adjust, embrace the challenge. The greatest rewards sometimes come out of the biggest challenges. Take every moment for what it is and how you feel in that moment. Be present and positive. Volunteering in Nepal program is an incredible opportunity to do something to significantly improve the lives of others while also having a learning, growing, and wonderfully stimulating experience in a world that is so different from your own. With the right attitude, an open-mind, and a bit of patience, you will definitely find your comfort zone.

Make friends

You are in a unique situation where you have the opportunity to meet people from all over the world who you might have not had the chance to meet outside of this volunteer trip. Spending time with others, especially when you are feeling a bit uneasy, is a great way to overcome culture shock. It is likely that other volunteers in your group are experiencing similar feelings too. You can also connect with your host family and learn to embrace their traditional ways of life. This will help you in your transition period too.

Major FAQs

Chapter 8 : Completing Your Project and Returning Home

How can I make my volunteer opportunity in Nepal rewarding?

The decision you made to spend time in Nepal will be life changing for not only you, but for those with whom you encounter and help. You are embarking on an experience that will allow you to explore an incredible new culture. While you’re in volunteering, you will have the opportunity to challenge and learn about yourself, grow as a person, gain some valuable new insights and perspectives, try new food, and meet new people all while lending a helping hand to the people and animals that need you the most.

The decision you made and the time, effort, and money that you put into this volunteer abroad in trip will pay off in vast and unexpected rewards. However, to ensure that you have the most memorable and rewarding volunteer trip in Nepal, you’ll want to make sure that you do the following:

Understand your project

Make sure you have all the information about the country, and program, host family, transportation, language, and safety concerns relating to your destination country before arriving at your volunteering program abroad.

Build a strong relationship with your in-country coordinator

Notify your country coordinator immediately about any problems you may experience. Your country coordinator is a vital lifeline and a great resource when trying to sort out any difficulties which may arise. Use it.

Support and show passion for your cause and project

You’ve planned, researched and devoted lots of time to finding the right experience for you, so once in place it’s important to continue to immerse yourself in your cause. Show up with a smile, share your skills, hobbies, and passion for people and always be of service.

Embrace the culture

During your Nepal volunteer opportunity, practice language, dress like locals do, eat the wonderful cuisine, respect the religions and traditions, indulge in some market shopping, art, music and festivals. Just have fun learning about your host country.

Stay positive and appreciate the experience

By being actively involved, going to new places, eating unfamiliar foods, saying yes to opportunities for adventure and exploring the country you’ll create a happy balance of both project volunteer workabroad, and fun travel experiences.

Discover the country

You have off-time, so what can you do? Why not explore your host country? Whether you like the idea of trekking through jungles, taking a moped ride through the marketplace, lazing on a beach, or visiting local historical sites, your Nepal volunteer project will be amazing and filled with wonder. Take the chance to experience the country you’re in fully.

Don’t expect luxury

Volunteer programs abroad in developing countries may not be able to offer the same standard of comfort in accommodation that you are used to at home, but you will always be housed in the best place they do have. Take the opportunity to embrace an alternative way of living without worrying about the differences. It will definitely make you appreciate what you may have taken for granted in the past.

Things to see and do during your volunteer Nepal program

There are 200 awe-inspiringly beautiful glacial lakes, some of the best trekking trails in the world, snowcapped mountains, and flora and fauna rich forests. Nepal is also home to 35 different ethnic groups that practice different religions, have their own unique traditions, prepare sensory stimulating dishes, and speak several different languages.

We can guarantee that you will not want to miss the best of what Nepal has to offer. Here’s some of our recommendations for your time in Nepal.

Sights to See:

Activities to Do:

How can I continue to support my volunteer program in Nepal?

After you have completed your volunteer trip, there are some follow-up things that you can do to help your volunteer organization, specific volunteer project, and future volunteers. When you were doing your initial search and research, you most likely utilized and benefitted from online reviews, forums, and blogs. You can contribute to these helpful online avenues now that you are an experienced Nepal volunteer. You can also provide your organization and program with constructive feedback too. Here are some detailed examples and ways you can continue to help.

Provide feedback to your volunteer organization

Now that you have completed your volunteer program, there are probably some things that you can share with your volunteer organization and or volunteer project in Nepal that can help them to grow and improve. Maybe you have some ideas as to how to make things better or more efficient. Any constructive feedback, especially relating to accommodations, meals, transportation, orientation, cultural excursions, and your individually chosen volunteer project is greatly appreciated. The goal is always to help those in need and to provide volunteers with an amazing and rewarding experience overseas. Your ideas for improvement are always welcomed.

Write a review and share your experience with other volunteers

Share you experience by writing an online review. Keep in mind that you want to share information and your experience in a way that will be helpful to others who are interested in doing what you just accomplished. Reading reviews are a very useful way to learn about a program through the firsthand experience of someone who has participated in it. Sharing your thoughts, opinions, feelings, and stories should be aimed at helping others feel confident about their decision to join the volunteering program in Nepal the way you did.

Raise awareness and support fundraisers for your project

As you know now, the work that is being done at the volunteer project that you spent time volunteering at is never ending and highly necessary. While you might not be able to physically be there anymore, you can continue to help. You can raise awareness and or financial aid for your project in Nepal by hosting fundraisers and charity events. Share your story and experiences and inspire people to want to lend a helping hand too.

Create an inspiring blog

Another amazing way to share your experience in Nepal and inspire others to do what you did is by creating a blog. It is in this space that you can upload your photographs, share your story and experiences abroad, connect interested readers with the volunteer organization that you worked with and project in Nepal you spent time at by providing links and contact information, and inspire the desire to reach out and help those who are in great need of it. You can also keep readers up to date on current news, fundraising events, and different ways to help in Nepal. Here are some blog post ideas to get you started:

  • What was your volunteer experience in Nepal like?
  • Did you experience any culture shock? How did you overcome it?
  • Did you experience any challenging moments or events?
  • What was your best day?
  • What was your host family experience like?
  • Did this experience change you or your life in anyway?

Keep in touch

Stay in touch with all of the wonderful people with whom you shared your volunteer experience in Nepal. The connections you made are special. You might also want to do another volunteer adventure to Nepal or a different country in the future and can reach out to your co-volunteers to see if anyone wants to join you. Most of the time, once you volunteer once, you will want to do it again!

FAQs about volunteer Nepal

How will I get from the airport to my host family or volunteer house?

When you arrive in Nepal, there will be an arranged picked up at the TI airport. This travel arrangement will be made prior to your arrival and you will have all of the details of this service prior to your departure for Nepal. The person who will be picking you up with be a professional and certified driver. You will be noticed as to how to identify your driver.

How many other volunteers will be volunteering with me?

The number of other volunteers that you will be volunteering with will vary depending on the time of the year and your chosen project in Nepal. You can ask for this number when you are applying for your Nepal volunteer trip.

If I volunteer with a friend, can we volunteer and reside together?

In most circumstances, this should not be a problem at all. It is best to make this request right away when applying, so that the necessary arrangements can be made.

Are my meals and accommodations included in my program costs?

Yes, you will receive three meals a day of typical Nepalese food, and your accommodations are part of the cost of your program. You will most likely stay in a hostel or with a host family.

Will my host family speak English?

English is the second language in Nepal. It is likely that your host family will be able to speak at least a little bit of English, since they have hosted international travelers in the past. If there is ever a communication issue, your local coordinator will be able to assist you.

Will I be able to travel around Nepal during my days off?

Absolutely! During your time off from doing volunteer work in Nepal, you are highly encouraged to set off and explore. Your local coordinator and or program staff will be able to shed some local knowledge and recommendations on transportations and tours, if you need it.

How will I get to and from my volunteer placement?

This all depends on where your project is located and where are you living. Some host family locations will be within walking or biking distance to your project. Your volunteer organization will be able to coordinate your transportation with you.

Is it possible to speak to past volunteers?

Check to see if your volunteer organization has a volunteer community forum or database of past volunteers. You can also do a search online to see if there are any blogs about volunteering in Nepal.

What kind of food will I be eating while I am in Nepal?

Traditional Nepali meals consist of rice, lentils, curry, vegetables, and some type of lean protein (no beef). Nepali food is very flavorful and delicious. Your meals will always be fresh, healthy, and home cooked when dining at your accommodations.

How many hours per day will I be volunteering?

For most volunteer programs in Nepal, you will volunteer for 4 to 6 hours a day. This is completely dependent on your specific program though. It is best to inquire about your proposed schedule from your volunteer organization.

How much money do I need to bring?

The amount of money you need to bring to Nepal really depends on your personal budget and what you are planning to do in Nepal during your free time. If you are planning on going on a lot of tours, participating in adventure activities, dining out, and shopping, you will need more money than someone who is planning their trip on a stricter budget. It is recommended that you bring at least $50 a week for small personal expenses.

14 YEARS OF VOLUNTEER ABROAD EXCELLENCE

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VOLUNTEER ABROAD

Volunteer abroad is a unique way to travel, discover new locations and to immerse in local culture. Help underprivileged communities through variety of volunteer works and broaden your minds and perspectives.

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Internship ABROAD

If you are seeking academic credit or simply want to add experience and knowledge, we provide you a meaningful option and opportunity in the areas of health, education, and other subjects of your interest.

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Language Abroad

RCDP-Nepal provides 2-weeks orientation program comprising of language training, cultural tours, village hikes, and visits to popular tourist sites, among others to teach local language and get acquainted with local culture and customs.

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Charity Trek

RCDP Nepal offers exciting Himalayan charity treks and tours to support Ashna Orphanage. When you join an RCDP Charity Trek, we donate $100 per person to this struggling orphanage.