I was volunteering in Chitawan, in the town of Rampur for five weeks. During this time I participated in orphanage work in the mornings and evenings and in the afternoons while the kids where at school I worked in the nursery. I enjoyed my time in Rampur and found the scenery beautiful and peaceful its a wonderful place filled with loving and curious people. My airport pick up was excellent, my driver was waiting for me with a sign that said my name and organization upon my arrival in Kathmandu. I spent my first two weeks in Nepal going through the language and cultural course, I found the language course very helpful in starting a foundation for which I could start learning basic Nepali, and made it easier for me to communicate with my host family upon arrival in their home. I highly recommend the second week cultural course in which you go white water rafting and see Chitawan National Park, both where equally amazing. I have enjoyed my experience so far in Nepal, and loved the people who I have had interactions with.
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I took part in the environment conservation project in Rampur, Chitwan for three weeks. Prior to working in the project I took the 2-week language and cultural orientation which I found very beneficial. It was very convenient to learn some basic Nepali phrases and grammar before going to rural Rampur. Although there was only a short time to learn the language, the teacher Prakash did a very great job and I am very happy with the course. Second week activities were also nice, I enjoyed going to Sauraha and doing rafting and canoeing. Elephant riding and visiting the elephant breeding center I did not enjoy as much because the idea of regarding the elephants as mere tourism attractions made me very sad.
Airport pickup and overall support was well implemented. More information could've been given about how to act at the airport upon arrival, for example whether to give or not give money to people and who to give your baggage to.
My host family in Rampur was very nice and hospitable. The children were able to speak some English but it was difficult to communicate with the adults so it was very convenient that I had the Nepali language orientation before. The project itself was also very nice, the environment was beautiful and peaceful and working quite flexible.
Overall I enjoyed the whole experience from arrival till project completion but I am still a little bit confused how the project fee is spent. The allocation should be more transparent right from the start. Before I started the project I had a different assumption about how the fee is allocated than I have now.
I am doing the teaching Buddhist monks program in Nepal along with the two week language and culture course. The two week course was great, the first week you stay at their hostel in Kathmandu and learn Nepali. The Nepali teacher is Prakash and a great guy, incredibly friendly and helpful. It was just me doing the language program at the time so it was very intensive and I learned a lot to help me get around Kathmandu and to teach the monks. On the first night of the second week I got sick at the host family and had to go back to the hostel. There they took great care of me, making me special rice and medicine to help me get better, which I did in a couple of days. They were happy to postpone the rafting and safari program due to the illness and were very accommodating. The rafting program was a load of fun, the location is beautiful. Next to the Trishuli river, surrounded by hills you stay in a cozy little hut for the night after rafting and then get the bus to Chitwan the day after for the safari program. The safari program was great, we had one of the staff from RCDP come with me and a few other volunteers with his family. The hotel was great and the owner was incredibly friendly and made sure all ours needs were met, not to mention free WiFi. Then I started the program in the monastery. It was a little challenging at first because many of the monks are in India on a pilgrimage so the class ranged from 5 to 16 year olds. Teaching all of them in one class was almost impossible but another volunteer joined me and we were able to split the class up. The monastery itself is beautiful. I could hardly believe it when I arrived (if you're curious look up Neydo Choeling Monastery, it's gorgeous). The staff at RCDP are incredibly friendly and I have got to know them all over my time here. They have been very helpful and have gone out of their way for me. When I left some belongings at the hotel in Chitwan one of the staff brought it to me in Kathmandu after. I would definitely recommend to anyone thinking of travelling or volunteering, RCDP couldn't have made it any better.
I volunteered in Jaco in the provenance of Puntarenas, Costa Rica. I was teaching English. Let me begin by saying this was a fantastic experience and I highly encourage others to volunteer without hesitation.
My volunteer experience was handled extremely professionally from the application forward. I was in constant email and Skype contact with my in-country co-ordinator to clear up any questions I may have. My in-country co-ordinator Lauren Markey is absolutely amazing! She was with me every step of the way to clarify any questions I had and help me in any other way I needed. She was flexible and tailored the program based on what I wanted to gain from the experience. Learning Spanish was very important to me so I opted to take Spanish lessons and was placed with a wonderful teacher who was flexible and when I asked to double my hours per week was more than happy to oblige. I also requested to go to Puntarenas and volunteer at the orphanage on the weekends. Lauren was flexible and sorted everything out for me. I was placed with an AMAZING host family who insisted I call them my Tico family. I helped them cook traditional dinners and had a chance to put the Spanish I had learnt to practice.
This program is great value for money as it is one of the cheapest programs offered for volunteers. I did extensive searches for cheaper programs as I wanted to help however I am a student and could not afford the programs that cost thousands. I am also sceptical of companies that charge small fortunes as I have heard that often the majority of the money goes to the company rather than the community. With this program, you pay the fee directly to your country coordinator when you arrive rather than the company so you know exactly where your money is going. Food and accommodation are included in the price and day to day I had no extra expenses besides an occasional night out so money was not a problem.
The school was wonderful, everyone is friendly and accommodating. I knew I was making a difference at a school that was struggling with staff and very grateful for the extra help. I signed up to teach English however once I realised the school would benefit from more; I also opted to also teach Geography, Maths and Science in English. The children are excited to learn and you can’t put a price on the look on their face when they understand something new.
I was nervous before volunteering as I had no idea what to expect. Looking back now I had no reason to be. You’re entirely captivated by new cultures, foods and customs. I did not want to leave and I am sure others who have participated in this program in the past would agree. If you’re hesitant about volunteering I am telling you now you will regret not embracing the opportunity. It is the experience of a lifetime.
My program here in Sri Lanka was to teach Buddhist Monks English. This was the first time that I stayed with a host family and they were extremely supportive making me feel safe, secure and comfortable. Both Hom and Michael were professional in the organization of my volunteer workplace and provided me with all the necessary information I needed prior to my departure. I am grateful for the hospitality and kindness that was shown to me during my staying here and I would highly recommend RCDP Sri Lanka to anyone who is looking into doing any volunteer work abroad.
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