INFO Nepal

Volunteering ¦ Meaningful Travel ¦ Cultural Exchange

Read through our FAQs and Volunteer Testimonials below….

Then when you are ready fill in our enquiry form.

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs on program/placement

  • Any time of the year. We are very flexible in starting your training any time you arrive. Let us know your preferred start date and program via our Enquiry Form .

  • Yes, depending on your length of stay, you will receive from 2 up to 10 days of Cultural and Language training from the INFO staff. This includes basic cultural and language information and will be conducted at our office near Thamel, Kathmandu. If your program is more than 12 weeks, you will receive a second phase of the training in the village to help prepare you for village life.

  • During the first phase of the training period in Kathmandu, you will either stay at the Volunteer Home or an Hotel. Both locations have facilities similar to Western standards. Starting with the first date of your training class, INFO Nepal will pay for your hotel and basic food costs during your stay. When you return from your placement, INFO will pay for up to two nights of your accommodation. You will be responsible for the costs of your accommodation and food for the rest of your time in Nepal. During the second phase of training, you will be moved to the placement village where you will stay with a traditional host family or dependent on your program, within the building complex of a Children’s Home/Monastery. INFO Nepal will organize the transportation to and from your placement and ensure that you arrive safely.

  • Yes, placements are decided based upon program vacancy and volunteer’s skills. We do try, however, to take into account any special preferences / needs of the volunteers. If you have any preferences, please let us know as soon as possible so that we can endeavour to accommodate them. Your placement village will be finalised during your initial training.

    Placements are in Kathmandu Valley, Kavre, Pokhara, Nawalparasi and Chitwan, all of which are near to a major city.

  • The best way is to buy a Nepali Sim card so you will have Internet as well as phone call facilities. Depending on your particular placement, your host family may or may not have a telephone or internet. Most villages will have one phone that can accept incoming and outgoing international calls. In addition, most placements are within an hour travel to a major city that provides email/internet and/or international phone service.

    That said, in case of an emergency, your family/friends may contact INFO Nepal. We will do our best to get a message to the individual as quickly as possible. You must understand that the infrastructure in Nepal is not as reliable as in more developed countries. In some cases it may be hours or even a day before a message can get through to a volunteer.

  • An INFO Nepal staff member will not be in your placement village throughout your stay. However, each village has a local ‘point person’ to assist the volunteer with any issues that may arise in the village. If there is a problem that he or she cannot resolve, then they will contact an INFO staff person to provide assistance. During the placement an INFO staff person will provide site visits (the number determined by your length of stay), and/or will contact the volunteer via phone or email to provide regular ‘check-ins’ .

  • Nepali people eat food with the family twice a day (around 9 o’clock in the morning and 7o’clock in the evening). Both meals consist of rice with curry including vegetables and sometimes meat. Tea is served in the morning and in the afternoon.

    In some areas, it is possible to buy western food from shops or restaurants, but for placement meals it is unfortunately impossible to cater for Volunteers with particular dietary requirements.

  • If in doubt, help out! Although there will be some set tasks to pitch in on, unless you put yourself forward or offer to help, you will find yourself sitting around a lot. Use your initiative – everyone appreciates a willing pair of hands – whether it’s for cleaning, cooking, gardening or entertaining!  See below for some examples of what other volunteers got up to.

  • Yes, we can help with this. Please see our page ‘Travel & Volunteering Combined’

FAQs for before arrival

  • You will be met outside the airport terminal by an INFO Nepal representative holding a placard with your name on it who will then escort you to the relevant venue. Please provide us your flight information as soon as possible so that a punctual pick-up can be assured.

  • Though petty theft is not as common in Nepal as in, say, neighbouring India, it does still exist – and foreigners are the primary targets. As such, it is important to exercise caution and travel smartly. Bring a bag that you can wear crossed over your body, or if you have a backpack, bring a lock. Don’t flash around money or other valuables, and keep an eye on your belongings – especially while taking public transportation.

    If you wish, you can give your passport or plane ticket to a staff member at the office and they can keep them in the safe at the INFO office. Generally, your room at your placement will have a lock on the door or a locked compartment, and you should use it because the kids and your host family are likely to be curious about you and rifle through your stuff. It is harmless but can get annoying and can account for the occasional misplacement of items.

  • In Kathmandu, health care is relatively good – and also very inexpensive. In your placement, however, the same cannot be said. Some placements are close to Kathmandu or Pokhara (another large city), but if you are in a village, there will be little to no access to health care. There probably won’t even be access to medication, so we recommend that you bring your own mini-pharmacy.

    Please consult your doctor regarding suitable travel vaccinations well in advance of your trip.

  • If you are a technology junkie, Nepal is not the place for you. While most placements have electricity there is a rolling blackout at different times during the day – even in Kathmandu. It’s thus likely not worth bringing a laptop.

  • Digital Cameras and video cameras are a good idea. You can also buy these quite affordably in Kathmandu. Nepali children all love being filmed and having their picture taken. It is a good idea to make sure you have a large memory card and extra batteries.

  • Costs will vary according to whether you do adventure activities, if you drink beer(!), if you buy a sim etc.

    There are ATM’s in Kathmandu and Pokhara. You can also exchange your money into rupees at a number of locations in Kathmandu. If you’re in a pinch, there are Western Union facilities in both Kathmandu and Pokhara. Credit cards are generally only taken in mainstream hotels.

    That said, living in the villabe is very cheap, as you will not have to pay for your main food or accommodation and there is very little for you to spend your money on! Don’t forget to budget for INFO’s program fees, visa fees and any extra activities.

  • We would be very grateful for educational books (grammar, TEFL, science, health, etc.,) illustrated books, English novels and children’s books. Also very much appreciated are donations of clothes, art supplies, and stationery. If you’re working with the Children, bringing items such as a Frisbee or props to assist in games and activities will be well received.

  • The Nepali people are very friendly, and giving gifts to the volunteer on the day of their departure is very common. If you would like to bring gifts for your family, below are some suggestions:
    • A framed picture of yourself and your Nepali family (you can have this made while in Nepal)
    • A small photo album with pictures of you and your family/friends from home
    • A ‘coffee table’ book of your home town or country
    • Posters, stickers or magazine pictures from your country
    • Children’s books
    • T-shirts (new) from your country
    • Flags
    Whatever you decide to give your host family, please consider the next volunteer. Buying your family something elaborate or expensive will create an expectation in them to receive similar presents in the future. It is better to give them something sentimental (representative of your time with them or of your home country).

  • This will vary depending on whether you participate in adventure activities outside of your placement (trekking, white water rafting, etc.). Please note that Nepali people are conservative in their dress -including when doing water sports/activities- and clothing should be packed appropriately.

    With the exception of medicine, first-aid-kit and high-tech trekking gear, you can buy everything that you would need for your placement in Kathmandu (likely cheaper than in your home country). Here are a few suggestions:
    • Sleeping Bag
    • Hiking boots
    • Tevas/ flip flops
    • Fleece jacket (during winter months)
    • Light-weight cotton clothing (during summer months)
    • Waterproof jacket (a fold-away windcheater is fine)
    • (Women) Sarong (or you can buy a lungi cheaply in Nepal)
    • Mosquito repellent
    • Sun cream
    • Water purification tablets and/or good quality water purifier
    • First aid kit
    • Flashlight (torch)
    • Penknife
    • Towel

    In terms of sanitary items, most things are available here – shampoos, soaps, shaving products, toothpaste. It is recommended, however, that women bring tampons (if they wear them), as you cannot get those in Nepal. Hand sanitizer/ wipes should also be brought from home, as well as any name-brand/prescription medicine. Since rice is eaten with every meal here, some people may have constipation problems – volunteers should thus consider bringing fibre vitamins!

FAQs on fees/cancellation

  • You can pay the deposit fee online and rest of the program fees either online or after arriving in Nepal. The program fees are due in cash when your training commences. Currently we do not accept traveller’s cheques or credit cards. On your arrival in Nepal, we prefer payment in Euros, but can accept Nepalese Rupees as well. If you wish to extend your volunteering program you must discuss this with INFO and pay the fee accordingly. See more information about fees on our Volunteer Programs page.

  • There is no insurance incorporated and so we recommend that you get your own travel medical insurance to protect yourself in case of illness or lost or damaged property. For more information about what is included in fees see our Volunteer Programs page.

  • Once the volunteer commences training, having paid the fee and received a receipt, INFO Nepal does not refund programme fees. However, if due to unavoidable circumstances (e.g. serious illness, family bereavement), INFO Nepal will consider a refund of 50% of the program fees, provided the volunteer is registered for a programme of more than 2 weeks. No refund will be offered for programmes of less than 2 weeks.

     

What Previous Volunteers Say

  • The time spent teaching was really rewarding, just to hear how the kids English came on in the 4wks up there was awesome. We’re proud to say there are now a couple of kids in the Himalayas with hints of Yorkshire accents! We ran a resource center for the kids before school for 2hrs and after school for 1.5hrs every day bar Saturday and we then would either teach at school for 2 or 3hrs a day. Very tiring but good fun. On our first day there we got given a piece of chalk each, shown into separate rooms and told to “go teach English”. Ok. The mind went blank and the sweat started pouring and I had 10-25 grubby faced kids expecting to learn something! It was time for a bit of trademark Dan quick thinking, then it came to me; heads, shoulders knees and toes. Fun and educational, what a genius!!

    Dan
    Volunteer Program: English Teacher

  • The children were all so friendly and welcoming and they all call you ‘sister’ which is very cute. When I first arrived, there was 6 boys aged 7-16 and 2 girls 11-16. I bought a puzzle book with me which they all loved so ended up getting some English word searches for them to do which they finished! The kids tend to get up around 6ish and when school is on they leave around 9:30 and get back around 4ish so you still get plenty of time to see them and also have some free time in the day to go and explore. They live around a 5-minute walk to the main road, where there is a coffee shop with wifi and a supermarket. I enjoyed helping the children in the kitchen to cook and see how some of the traditional Nepalese dishes are made.

    It’s very flexible at the home so was easy to go on the trips at the weekend. We did the trip to Chitwan national park and did the jeep safari and baby elephants etc. I loved being at the orphanage but at  the same time it was nice to get away and visit different places which were a relaxing break from busy Kathmandu!

    Sophie
    Volunteer Program: Children’s Home Helper

  • I was taken to the monastery in the evening, introduced to the nuns and shown my room. I was quite surprised, the rooms at the monastery each have their own bathroom! If you prefer it Western style, although the toilets are not, bring some toilet paper. The monastery has a little shop where you can buy toilet paper, candy, shampoo etc. It is quite a modern monastery, there is solar energy so when the weather plays along you could also take a hot shower.

    Don’t expect the teaching to be like teaching at home, where you stand in front of the class and everyone copies what you write on the board. Especially the younger the class, the more you should teach them in a rather playful way. Basically, you are there to help them practice what they learned and practice talking. Although they have a timetable for their classes, sometimes they put in a cleaning day in between, or go to another monastery for a puja, so just take every day as it comes and relax.

    My goodbye from the monastery was very warm and lovely and I honestly wished I could have stayed longer.

    Laura
    Volunteer Program: Monastery Volunteer

To hear more stories and/or speak to a previous volunteer directly, please contact one of our overseas co-ordinators, all of whom are previous volunteers.  You can find their details on our Contact Us page.

 

Government Registered No : 878/1999/2000
Social Welfare Council Registered No : 10700