Nepal Monastery Experience
2-12 weeks from $1,169
- Visit the temples and world heritage sites of Kathmandu
- Teach English to young monks in a Buddhist monastery
- Travel around breathtaking Nepal during your free time
- Gain an understanding of the Buddhist culture and faith
- Immerse yourself in Nepalese culture & tradition
- Live in a monastery and take part in meditation & prayer sessions
This trip is an incredible and rare opportunity for you to not only gain an insight into daily life within a Buddhist community, but to work with, eat with, and live with the monks themselves, teaching English to young monks and helping them learn and progress on their spiritual journey. You'll be helping to give this amazing community a deeper, better understanding of the world around them, contributing to daily lessons in the monastery as well as getting to know the children by planning and taking part in fun activities that allow them the time to step away from serious studies and enjoy themselves. You'll have the chance to meditate with the monks, and will even be given access to prayer sessions - an experience you won't find on a tourist trail.
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What to expect at the project
You'll start your programme with a couple of days getting to grips with Nepali life in the country's capital, Kathmandu. You'll have a full orientation, which will include:
- Taking language lessons
- Learning about cultural/gender issues
- Placement information
- Learning more about teaching English in Nepal
- Familiarising yourself with Nepalese food
- City tour of Durbar Square, Pashupatinath, Buddhanath and Sayambhunath
The first few days are all about settling in to Nepal. You’ll have plenty of time to get a taste of the culture, meet your fellow volunteers and shake off the jet lag so you’re ready and raring to start your project.
You’ll travel to your volunteer placement from Kathmandu by public bus (you'll be dropped off and met), which is another great way to get a feel for Nepal. Transfer times will vary depending on which monastery you are placed at. There are several monasteries you could be volunteering at, the majority of which are within an hour or two's bus ride from Kathmandu, with others further afield - you'll be told your monastery location once you arrive in Nepal.
As a volunteer on this programme, you’ll be teaching English to young monks (aged between 7 and 18-years-old) for 2-3 hours per day and getting involved in fun activities and games in the evening - a welcome break from studies and time for everyone to relax and get to know each other better. You’ll even have the opportunity to join the monks in meditation and prayer sessions, gaining a unique insight into this fascinating culture.
You’ll be living and eating within the monastery during your placement, so you’ll get to experience the culture as a member of the community rather than as a tourist.
You'll get to explore your beautiful surroundings in your own time, travelling to other parts of the country at weekends, or simply getting to know the towns and villages nearby. The team can also help arrange activities and excursions in other locations including Pokhara, Chitwan and Nagarkot, to further enhance your experience. Please note that excursions are not included in your trip and costs vary.
Day in the life
Following your initial orientation in Kathmandu, you'll make the journey to your placement monastery and be shown around before settling in and starting lessons the next day. You'll spend between three 2-3 hours teaching each day, from Monday to Friday, and will help out in the kitchen or library (or other areas of the monastery) between these times. You'll also get to organise fun activities for the young monks to take part in, in the early evenings.
Depending on whereabouts you're placed, you could be in a monastery with up to 400 resident monks living on site. Ages will vary, but volunteers will be helping novice monks (monks under the age of 20) with their education. Class sizes are likely to be relatively small in size as attendance is voluntary. The classes will be divided into groups depending on age, but ability levels will vary, so you'll need to be flexible in your teaching approach.
Evenings and weekends are yours to spend as you like, and it's well worth taking some time to explore the local area. There are so many incredible places to see in Nepal, you will be spoilt for choice.
Please note that all activities, inclusions and itineraries are subject to change.
Purpose and aim of the programme and how do you benefit the programme
The monastery project works to create global relationships between Nepali people and the international participants teaching English to novice monks, with the aim for both parties to gain a better understanding of their respective cultures and lifestyles. By sharing experiences and learning from each other this is a valuable project for the local people in Nepal as well as the volunteers that take part. This is a really unique opportunity to become part of an intriguing community, and learn more about the traditional culture and beliefs of Buddhist monks.
This is a fantastic programme for travellers looking for a unique travel experience who are interested in learning more about Buddhism and looking to gain or further their experience in childcare and teaching. During the programme, you'll get to experience day-to-day life in a small, close-knit community, spending time with young monks and helping them on their educational as well as spiritual journey. You'll also be getting hands-on experience teaching classes of children between the ages of 7 and 18, which is great if you're looking to pursue a career in education or are looking for your first steps into teaching or childcare, and you'll leave Nepal knowing that you've given your time to a seriously under-resourced and deserving project that will have a lasting impact on the young monks, monastery, and whole community for years to come.
- Airport transfers
- Most meals
- Transport to and from the project
- 24/7 emergency support
- Travel insurance
- National Park entrance fees
- Sightseeing entrance fees
- Optional activities and excursions
During your orientation you will stay in a private house where a member of the in-country team also stays, which is a 20-minute drive from the centre of Kathmandu. The rooms are basic but you'll have a comfortable bed, Western-style toilet and shower, with hot water and Wifi (please note, Wifi can be slower and sometimes intermittent compared to access at home).
For the duration of your volunteer placement, your accommodation will be in the monastery that you are placed at. You will be sharing a room with other volunteers of the same sex. There is one toilet and bathroom for all volunteers (between four and eight volunteers). Bedding is provided but past volunteers have found a sleeping bag to be useful particularly during cooler periods.
Breakfast and dinner is included at the monastery, which will consist mainly of Nepalese food with the odd western influence thrown in. You can expect lentil curries aplenty (daal), lots of spinach and potatoes with chips from time to time.
In a typical placement you'll eat Nepali food twice a day - 9am breakfast and 7pm dinner.
Your flight to Nepal should arrive at Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport (KTM) on your programme start date. Your return flight or onward travel should be arranged on your programme end date.
Minimum age 18 years , maximum decided on participant’s health and fitness.
It is your responsibility to obtain the necessary visas for your time away. You will be required to obtain a tourist visa for your time in Nepal. Please contact your nearest Embassy of Nepal for the most up to date visa information.
DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service)
An enhanced DBS check is required for this programme. If you do not hold a certificate dated within 12 months of your programme start date, please contact us as we can help you arrange the DBS check for an extra fee.
Do I Need To Have Teaching Experience To Take Part In The Project?
No. If you do have teaching experience, that's great, but it's not a requirement on this project placement.
Do I Need Any Vaccinations?
You should visit your GP well ahead of time to find out what inoculations you might need. Remember to tell them exactly where you’re travelling to as vaccination and medication requirements vary between different regions.
Do I Need To Take A Sleeping Bag?
Bedding is provided at the projects but volunteers have found a sleeping bag useful particularly when it gets cold.
Should I Bring Gifts For The Children With Me To The Monastery?
It's best not to give gifts directly to the children, but anything that can be used during lessons or playtime - like pens, coloured pencils, notebooks, maps, reading books, games etc. make fantastic resources to help the children with their studies.