For a unique experience, a gap year trip to Nepal could prove to be more than just a holiday. Nepal volunteer projects give you the opportunity to explore while helping the Nepalese people by teaching them English.
Nepal at a Glance
The country is land-locked by India and China and divides religions, civilization, commerce and culture. Situated in the world’s highest mountain range, adventure travellers have helped grow the tourism here, but despite this it is still one of the poorest countries. Throughout the year, the Northern Himalayan range remains snow covered and has eight of the world’s highest mountains, including Everest. The middle range has high peaks, lakes, valleys and hills providing wonderful scenery. Conservation areas, wildlife parks and forest areas cover the Southern Terai region and the country is home to 23.2 million people. The legendary welcome that visitors to Nepal receive together with smiling children and universal greeting of Namaste (hands pressed together and a bow) will be remembered by all gap year visitors travelling to this mountain region.
Volunteering trips to Nepal, such as those organized by Real Gap, provide a fascinating destination for the gap year traveller. The economy is poor here and other than handicrafts and carpet making, the Nepalese rely on tourism, with more than half a million visiting annually to visit the National Parks or trek the mountains.
Things to do in Nepal
No gap year travel program arranged by Real Gap to Nepal is complete without trekking through the majestic Himalayan snow tipped mountains. Most treks use well trodden trails so don’t worry if hiking isn’t something you do regularly. This is the way to find hidden villages or the base camp at Everest, but serious mountaineers have many high peaks to scale including Mount Everest.
In addition to the scenery, Nepal is famous for being the birth place of Lord Buddha, the apostle of non violence and peace. For a gap year traveller with an interest in history, it is well worth the trip to see the old monastery remains and preserved images of Maya Devi, the mother of Buddha. Head to the Royal Chitwan National Park, one of the country’s biggest forest regions to see wildlife such as the rare one horned Rhino, Bengal tiger, crocodiles and leopards.
Volunteer and make a difference
To a poor country like Nepal, your skills and knowledge can be really helpful to local communities. There are opportunities to help on the Nepal Volunteer Project based in poor under-funded community schools in Nepal. During your gap year, travel and see the country and help to improve education in the poorest rural communities. Volunteers teaching on this type of program help local students and teachers by teaching music, art, sport and English.
Medical volunteering in Nepal is another option that the gap year traveller can arrange. On a project like this you can assist in providing primary healthcare to remote rural communities working alongside the local medical services and supporting their healthcare initiatives. This will help you to gain medical experience as well as teaching opportunities in the clinic’s kindergarten.
With the chance to visit palaces, temples and forts while immersing yourself in communities and their rich ancient culture as you travel Asia, there are few better places in the world to spend your gap year.
Bailey Wagster writes regularly on all gap year volunteering options for students on a range of travel websites like Real Gap and blogs.
Photo Credit - diasporaalliance.org