Teaching English and Photography
I arrived at Volunteer World Nepal Nepal full of anticipation. After two weeks of trekking, I learned a little about Nepali and was ready to start my volunteer placement. Nepali language classes began the following day, and it felt good to be able to put the language to use right away. At that time, the Tihar festival was just beginning, and the volunteers were welcomed into the home of one of the language instructors to observe the festivities. What a great way to jump into life in Nepal.
After one week, I moved to Sunakothi, a rural village south of Kathmandu, where I volunteered at a secondary school. I had the opportunity to live with a Nepali family, participate in their daily activities, and learn about village life. Sunakothi is very picturesque with a constant view of the snow-capped mountains in the distance. I enjoyed taking long walks in my free time and seeing the harvest in the fields. During this time, I led English language conversation groups in Classes 5, 6, and 7 (10-14 years old students) and conducted a photography project in Class 10 (16-18 years old students). In all, 28 students participated in photography.
Over the course of the project, I taught general photographic concepts and gave various assignments, including taking self, family, and community portraits, making pinhole cameras, and developing black and white photos in our improvised darkroom. For many students, it was the first time they had ever taken photos, and they were very excited. With the help of a translator from Volunteer World Nepal Nepal, we analyzed their photos after each assignment. Over time, the students were able to build on their experience and improve the quality of their photos.
On the last day of my volunteer placement, the students and I organized an exhibition of their work. After spending the morning putting up photos and preparing the exhibition room, teachers and students came to see the exhibition class by class. Volunteer World Nepal Nepal staff and volunteers and some of the students’ family members also attended to show their support. All-day, Class 10 students served as guides for the exhibition. It was inspiring to see the pride they took in their work. Overall, I have had an invaluable experience travelling in Nepal and volunteering with Volunteer World Nepal Nepal. I have found the Volunteer World Nepal Nepal staff to be extremely conscientious and supportive of their volunteers. The volunteers came together on several occasions to take day trips around the Kathmandu Valley. With a little orientation, the transportation system became relatively easy to navigate. The Nepali people have also been very friendly and helpful. In general, I have felt very safe travelling around the country.
Thank you Volunteer World Nepal Nepal for this memorable time!