My experiences

I look back on my time here in Nepal as my seven months away from America is coming to a close on it's final days, and can't believe how quickly the time went. My choice to come to Nepal and spend some time volunteering was so much more of an experience than I ever thought it would be. I came here to teach English, and with that came so much more.

Living with a remote Nepali family at first is a bit scary because you are being forced into a totally different culture, as anyone would go through a bit of a shock. These feelings quickly melt as your host family loses the 'host' title, and just becomes your family. To them, you are their son or daughter, brother or sister, and taken into the family like you have lived with them forever. Between my family and the locals in my village, I felt totally accepted and comfortable with everyone there as I formed tight connections with many people. My hesitance about things faded, and I found myself fully participating in all and anything I could do to help. From cooking dinner for my family, cutting grass in the field and carrying the big basket back on my head, dancing Nepali style with 60 villagers during festivals, attending popular music competitions, milking our cows, going to local village football games, jungle walks, and everything casual in between such as talking and laughing with new people. I brought more out of my village life experience than I ever thought I would, and in the end, the hardest part was leaving despite any excitement about traveling on. My Nepali family is now my lifelong family, and all the friends I made between the locals, other INFO volunteers, and other traveling friends make my connections fully international.

Teaching English and volunteering while traveling really sets you apart from the regular traveling tourist, and makes your time so much more valued and treasured. Actually doing something special and making a difference with my time is something I will never forget. I had my four different classes to teach in a day, each which held their own characteristics and memories. I had my two different beginner level classes, split on ability and English language development, all set between seven and eleven years old. Furthermore I had my advanced class of fourteen to sixteen year olds who already had rather good speaking English, but needed more refinement of grammar and detailed things. Then to conclude the day, at night I would teach private lessons to my older brother and his friends who were determined with their English. The experience of teaching was something totally new to me, and very rewarding as I quickly learned the successful ways and techniques of getting information understood. I will cherish my time helping in the village, as I plan on keeping the friendships I made forever.

To anyone thinking about volunteering, or incorporating it into traveling plans, I highly suggest it and can't express enough the wonderful things it holds. I would like to thank my organization, INFO Nepal, for being a very supportive and helping with the volunteer program that really made my time in Nepal more special than I ever thought it would be. 

Thanks again!

Margot McGowan