Teaching English in Nepal offers an incredible experience to encounter life in a Buddhist monastery or a local school. While you’re there you can explore the country’s beautiful national parks, and lay eyes on some of the highest mountains in the world – this is Himalaya country, after all. Near the northern border, you can find eight of the 10 tallest mountains in the world, including Mount Everest.

 

More than 150,000 Tibetans live in exile in India, Nepal and Bhutan. Of those exiled, nearly 20 percent live in Nepal where they are now free to practice their religion and rebuild their cultural heritage. As a result of this, there are several large monasteries in and around the surrounding mountains of Kathmandu where monks live and devote their lives to Buddhism. Monasteries don’t have English teachers, but they see the language as an important teaching.

In Nepal you’re given the opportunity to learn from the culture and the people, but you’ll also be making a real contribution to the lives of less fortunate kids. Many schools are understaffed or in remote areas, so it’s a really big deal for people from other countries to come to Nepal and share their knowledge. The children will often have some English language skills but there is always room for improvement and they’ll love hearing about knowledge, life and interests.

If you’re not living at the monastery you’ll be living and eating with a Nepalese family so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to experience the culture. You’ll also be travelling to your volunteer place of work by foot or on a bus – more great ways to get a feel for the Nepal way of life. If you want, you can have some typical Nepalese clothing made especially for you so you won’t even look out of place!

 

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Top 3 tips for teaching English in Nepal

  1. Boots and camera: Nepal is famous for all its treks and the local people and scenery must be captured in mind and on camera.
  2. Be respectful: Particularly of the Buddhist faith – most teaching jobs in Nepal are within Buddhist monk schools so be careful to respect the rules the monks live their lives by.
  3. Dress code: In some programs traditional local Nepalese clothing is made for you. While not essential, it’s a good way to gain the respect of the staff and locals. 

 

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Before you go – checklist:

The travel stuff

  • Visa appropriate for Nepal;
  • Passport with at least six months' validity;
  • Travel insurance.

The teaching stuff

  • Complete TEFL course – online or classroom course options (if applicable);
  • You’ll need to be a native English speaker;
  • Make sure your CV is updated and ready to go for the application process;
  • Ensure you have appropriate TEFL Teaching Resources such as lesson activities, lesson plans, classroom and teacher resources, theory and research, and additional resources;
  • Purchase an English dictionary, a grammar book and supplies in case these items are not readily available.

Personal admin

  • Let AEC (Australian Electoral Commission) know you’re leaving the country so you don’t get wacked with fines for not voting if there’s a local or national election on the horizon;
  • Make sure your drivers licence is valid for a while or apply for an international drivers licence;
  • Make copies of your documentation (i.e., passport, visas, birth certificate, etc.);
  • Photocopy all documents including insurance particulars, record the numbers of your credit cards, passport, and airline tickets and give to a responsible family member or friend at home;
  • Bring additional passport photos to ease the process of replacing a lost or stolen passport, or if other official documents are required once you are in your destination country.

Medical

  • Medical – do you have you have all the drug prescriptions you need, including your glasses/ contact lens prescription if you wear them?
  • Pack a spare pair of glasses and contact lenses (if you wear them);
  • Have you had all the relevant shots/immunisations for Nepal? And pack a list of the injections you’ve had just in case;
  • Visit your dentist to have a clean and checkup before you jet.

Finances

  • Tax – let the ATO know you’re leaving the country;
  • Apply for any credit and debit cards for travel;
  • Notify your bank and close any accounts that might charge you fees while you’re away;
  • Money – take approximately $AU200 with you as universal currency;
  • Pay off any debts you have with friends, family or financial intuitions;
  • Cancel any automatic withdrawals you have from your bank account.

Practical

  • Pack your camera, batteries and chargers;
  • Buy an international power adaptor suitable for Nepal;
  • Invest in a good backpack;
  • Don't forget all your electronic chargers;
  • Note all your insurance and emergency numbers in a safe place;
  • Pack an extra memory card for your camera
  • Know the address of the Australian embassy in Nepal (the Australian Embassy is in Kathmandu).

The not-so obvious

  • Foam earplugs (to block out noisy travel buddies or offer to others if you’re the noisy one!);
  • A good book – or a novel based in Nepal - it adds an interesting perspective when you explore these destinations (try The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen);
  • If you have more than one credit card, separate them. Perhaps store one in your wallet and the other in your luggage. That way if you lose one or the other you’ll still have access to cash;
  • Collect Australian souvenirs (those little clip-on koalas go down a treat) to give out to your students;
  • Purchase a few educational games or children’s word association games;
  • Collect glossy catalogues and magazines with lots of pictures; these are hard to find in most developing countries and students love them!
  • Find out what is considered to be proper attire in your classroom, including shoes, as well as weather-appropriate clothing for Nepal.

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