Child Care, Sports Coaching and Teaching - Volunteer Reviews

NEPAL

Read what our volunteers say about their time volunteering

Find out more about volunteering in Nepal

Helen – Child Care, 2017

“I will look back fondly on my two weeks in Nepal with Pod for as long as I live. As I sit here and think about it now, the images that spring to mind are: laughing more in two weeks than I have in two years, making connections with pupils and teachers at our primary school, making friends for life in the other volunteers, arriving at Street Kids and being really excited to see the kids every day, the beautiful city of Pokhara, the warmth of Janice's family, sari night, Bindu's cooking, teaching the time to class 2. This was one of the best experiences of my life.

Janice's family are incredibly welcoming and you really feel like if you needed support they would help you out. The Pod team were very helpful from beginning to end and everything was very well organised. The school placement lacked structure in that it wasn't clear what was needed of volunteers day to day. However, this was clearly mentioned beforehand and was something I was expecting. 

What did you find most rewarding?
Being with the children and seeing them light up when we arrived, engaging with the kids at Street Kids, who I would say we got to know the best, and - after what felt like hours of trying - seeing kids in our school remember something we'd taught them and apply it to a different scenario; even in just two weeks with one or two hours a day with each class you can see some progress in their learning.

Also, connecting with a culture so different to the one I live in and not just learning about it, but being welcomed in to it. Bindu, Janice and Julia will treat you like one of their family.

What did you find most challenging?
I suppose plucking ideas out of the air for lessons with limited resources. If you're a teacher, or just if you have plenty of ideas, take some things along with you such as flashcards or worksheets. There are a few things already there but it's easier if you've got a few things together before you go. If I went again I would get in touch with Janice to see what's available and bring things like mini whiteboards and mini clocks from my school. There wasn't really much else that was challenging - other than marrying in my head the time spent with the children who essentially don't have much, and spending time in nice restaurants with the other volunteers; it's a bit like living in two different worlds simultaneously!

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?
Do it. And be prepared to get stuck in to everything. Say yes to everything and get out and be useful. Even if you're having a bad day or wondering why you went, plaster a smile on your face and go and have fun with the kids; it'll make a difference to them.

Were there any parts of the placement which you would like to see changed?
Not at all - Pod are fantastic from start to finish; I couldn't have asked for better service or help and support, both in the UK and in Nepal.

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer?
I wanted a company who had excellent volunteer reviews and were rated on big companies' and institutions' websites. Pod wasn't the cheapest choice, but were very open with me about where my money was going and appeared in some top ten ethical choices for volunteering lists.

Would you recommend Pod Volunteer? Yes"

Beverley - Teaching, 2017

“The whole service from Pod, from initial application through to being on placement, has been incredibly well thought out by the Pod team. I couldn't have asked for a more worthwhile placement with such good organisation. Thank you!

Can you let us know more about your time volunteering in Nepal? 
Volunteering in Nepal was incredibly worthwhile, both for myself and for the children and staff that benefited from our placements. I was very impressed with the straight forward application process, with information booklets that clearly laid out everything that could be expected from a volunteer teaching placement. The POD staff members, both in the UK and Nepal, were extremely helpful, always available and incredibly friendly.

Since returning to the UK, lots of people have asked what my faavourite part has been. However, it's too difficult a question! I loved teaching in Prabhat primary school, the kids were so excited to see us and engaged in our lessons brilliantly. Street kids and Asha were a joy! Again, it was the kids that made the placement so worthwhile. On the occasions were festivals/holidays occured there were other schools to visit and I enjoyed a visit to the Nursery school as well as the secondary school to do some sports coaching. Janice, Bindu and Julia are the most fabulous hosts and only go to make the whole experience even better - sari nights, nepalese meals and fabulous conversations.

What did you find most rewarding?
The learning that went on in Prabhat school - although we're only there for a short time I know I made little steps to Class 1 recognising their colours, Class 2 learning parts of their body Class 4 and 5 learning a few traditional tales and most of the school knowing 'If you're happy and you know it!'

What did you find most challenging?
Teaching verbs/adjectives with few resources!

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?
Go for it! Pokhara is a lovely place to be based, Janice is an incredible source of information and can sort anything out for you. Be flexible - there are changes that take place to the normal everyday timetable but Janice will always sort a visit out to a placement so you are doing something each day. Pack in a couple of games so you have something new to take along to Street Kids and Asha.

Were there any parts of the placement which you would like to see changed?
No - it all worked incredibly smoothly! Thank you for fab organisation!

There was already a bit of class sharing going on between the 3 of us, but I know in order to make me feel worthwhile going, it was nice
to be teaching my own class.

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer?
Price for a 3 week volunteer placement seemed very reasonable. You had very excellent reviews from other volunteers. The placements fitted into my summer holidays (I'm a teacher!)

Would you recommend Pod Volunteer? Yes”

Rachel - Child Care and Sports Coaching, 2017

“I had an amazing experience, the living conditions and life in Nepal was better than I expected. It's definitely worth the trip if you are looking to change your life in certain ways. It's an eye opening experience and the warmth you get from helping these kids from adults and from the kids is incredible.

What did you find most rewarding?
I found how it impacted myself was most rewarding as well as the smiles on the kids faces when teaching them.

What did you find most challenging?
I think the language barrier was a little challenging however it was sometimes easy to read what they were trying to say by expression.

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?
I think go in with no expectations and this placement will be one of the best experiences you've had.

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer?
I chose POD because two of my friends have been through POD and completed placements in Thailand I knew how good POD was for them and that it is a genuine charity company

Would you recommend Pod Volunteer? Yes”

Alex - Teaching, 2017

“What did you find most rewarding?
The relationships that you build with the children and seeing them learn the things you are teaching them over the (relatively) short time you are there for.

What did you find most challenging?
The language barrier between us and the kids. Although some teachers do know a fair amount of English and can translate for you, be prepared for days that the teacher may be off work.

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?
Get stuck into the placements and culture and really try to connect and have fun with the kids. And try to attend every placement as each one counts and you never know when the school may be doing something special (such as a festival celebration) that you may miss out on otherwise!

Were there any parts of the placement which you would like to see changed?
No, I was very happy with how the placements were presented and timetabled.

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer?
Recommended it by a friend.

Would you recommend Pod Volunteer? Yes”

Gillian - Teaching, 2017

“The whole experience was fantastic. Challenging and rewarding, It was very well organised.

What did you find most rewarding?
The children

What did you find most challenging?
Quite tiring (but enjoyed all the exercise too!). Some people might find it too much.

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?
Be self-aware and know your limits - be ready to commit 100%. Don't expect things to be like at home.

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer?
Recommendation from past volunteer

Would you recommend Pod Volunteer? Yes”

Tizia - Child Care, 2017

“I think this experience was one of the most beautiful in my life. It was a last minute decision, and I am delighted. The entire Pod Volunteer team was present from start to finish and is still present today. I spent magical moments with the kids and discovered new things. During the weekend I could visit and do many famous activities in Nepal. I left 4 weeks, and they passed extremely fast. Saying goodbye was the hardest part of my trip, but my last day was one of the most beautiful in my life and one of the most touching. I think it is an experience to live once in his life, and I advise it to everyone.

What did you find most rewarding?
The most rewarding was simply the moments spent with the children. I found it very gratifying to have seen the progress in mathematics of children in the morning at school. In a very short time very clear progress was visible, it was incredible and so rewarding! To see the children and teachers of my departure made me realize the importance that my presence had for them.

What did you find most challenging?
I think what was the most difficult was to spend my first week as the only volunteer. It was not always easy to be alone with the children and especially to have no one to share my day. The language barrier was also a challenge. Everyone speaks Nepali and it is often complicated at the beginning.

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?
Enjoy every day, time passes so fast. And even if you do not see the impact your coming has, she has. It's so important for children to have you. I did realize how extraordinary this experience was and the effect it had on me only the day of my departure.

Would you recommend Pod Volunteer?
Yes”

Theresa - Sports Coaching, 2017

“It was such an amazing experience!

I did the sport coaching and child care and both projects were great.

You shouldn´t expect as much structure in the schools as you are used to in your home maybe but if you go with the flow, adapt and enjoy this kind of Nepali lifestyle you will love it after a few days.
The kids are super lovely and the accommodation is perfect - even if it´s a hotel i felt like i´m living at a host family. The people are awesome the food is very delicious. So I can really recommend it - I had a great time!

What did you find most rewarding?
The kids´ love they gave the volunteers. Even if new people come and go every few weeks they are open to everyone and love everyone the same.

What did you find most challenging?
To adapt to this not really structured lifestyle at schools that I´m used to from Germany - especially because this time I was the teacher. So you couldn´t make any play plans for lessons and had to be spontanious. After a while I got used to it and loved it but in the beginning it was quite difficult.

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?
Go with the flow, be spontanious, try your best in integrating and love the nepali culture and lifestyle.

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer?
I was applying for a few organisations, but Pod Volunteer seemed like they´re really looking for people who fit in their placements. There you know they really care about the kids in Nepal.

Would you recommend Pod Volunteer?
Yes”

Ella - Sports Coaching and Child Care, 2017

“I thoroughly enjoyed my 2 weeks in Pokhara Sports Coaching and doing Child care with Pod, my only regret is that I didn't have the time to spend longer on the projects - 2 weeks isn't enough.
Janice is brilliant at keeping you right and helping you with anything you may need, she makes the whole experience run smoothly and along with her mother Bindu and sister Julia welcome you into there home with such warmth!
I found volunteering was an excellent way to experience some of the real culture and discover more about the way of life in Nepal. I was provided with a challenging but very rewarding experience in the most beautiful setting. The kids are filled with so much energy and happiness and they make you feel so welcome and included into their family, friendships and homes!

What did you find most rewarding?
Helping give some of the teachers new ideas for activities or lessons which they can continue to use themselves, they seemed so appreciative of this! Also working with the street kids project, helping them with homework and hanging out with them as friends - they welcome and accept you as sister and that was very humbling. Seeing the enjoyment the kids get out of doing sports and playing new games.

What did you find most challenging?
Sports Coaching: Organizing groups for sports. There are a lot of kids and not all of them are willing to listen for longer than 10 seconds so setting up games was difficult. The language barrier may have also played a part in this.

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?
Sports coaching - don't try and introduce difficult games with lots of rules, the simpler the better. Don't be afraid to let them just play what they choose (badminton and football normally). If they are participating and having fun that is the main thing! Also go with an open mind and be prepared just go along with the chaos that may unfold!
Child care: I was in a school for part of this project and ended up adopting the role of teaching as the teachers are more than happy for you to lead the classes. So be prepared with lots of counting songs, nursery rhymes, simple colours and numbers lessons.

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer?
I was attracted to Pod as it is a non profit organization with lower costs than some others I had looked into and it offers a variety of different placements. It seemed more genuine than other large volunteer companies

Would you recommend Pod Volunteer? Yes"

Elizabeth - Child Care, 2017

“I recently returned from Pokhara, Nepal where I volunteered through POD at a child care center and at a home for street kids. I have participated in several POD programs in southeast asia. While all have been good experiences Pokhara has the best support staff. The introduction to the community, the discussion of Nepalese culture, the language lesson and getting a "work outfit" allowed me to "hit the ground running" on day one.

The volunteers stayed at the Bindu Guesthouse. Our volunteer coordinator, Janice, is the daughter of the guest house owner. It was fantastic having our support person in residence with the volunteers. Janice kindly makes sure you know your way around (after a tour), can speak a few words of Nepalese (after a lesson) and even have the traditional attire for teachers. All of this preparation allowed volunteers to be confident and effective in their placement on day one.

Janice, her mother Bindu and her sister Julia allowed volunteers their "space" yet at the same time one of them was always available to provide support.

What did you find most rewarding?
The children at the child care center are from 2-4. So of course lessons were very basic. They were learning numbers, colors, etc. etc. I was surprised to find how much Nepalese I learned along with them. It was incredibly rewarding to be able to understand and communicate with the children in their own language. (The pre-placement language class was very helpful too. This class allowed me to enter my classroom with a few simple Nepalese words and phrases. But it was enough to give directions, soothe a crying child and actively participate in the teaching of the class)

What did you find most challenging?
From day one I was expected to conduct a portion of the class (about 30 minutes). Some of the children were quite young (two) and it was a challenge to come up with age appropriate material. I found they loved Eric Carle's books and a few of Helen Oxenbury's. It was fun but slightly challenging to translate all the books to Nepalese (and use the correct pronunciation) prior to class

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?
The more prepared you are the better. While children's books are available it Pokhara I did not find any that were appropriate for this age. Bring books, translate and practice reading them aloud. The more animated the better. You dont need many books. At this age they do not mind in fact they enjoy hearing the same story over and over. Also refresh yourself on children's songs...the hokey pokey etc.

Also, I saw a mistake in my own placement. I went for only two weeks. At that point the other teachers and I had just begun to work well as a team. The kids also began to see me as their teacher/leader rather than an observer. I think all would benefit from a longer commitment from volunteers.

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer?
Having done three other placements with POD I know they are reputable and supply all the support a volunteer needs.

Would you recommend Pod Volunteer? Yes, I frequently recommend POD”

Steve - Sports Coaching, 2017

"Nepal, its friendly people and amazing landscape will form a treasured collection of memories for me. Volunteering with POD in Pokhara has been an experience of many emotions, challenging but rewarding. Pokhara is a great place to be based, providing a nice balance of freedom and exploration outside of the remit of your volunteer role. Be willing to try different things, walk many miles, and adapt culturally and in many other ways. Don't be afraid to offer suggestions as to how to improve your experience as a volunteer and that of others, which will in turn improve the experience of those who most need POD's support.

What did you find most rewarding?
Just being there for the street children as an interested and supportive adult

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?
Be open minded and be flexible to what is needed, but at the same time be prepared to be assertive in asking for increased clarity, structure (i.e. a weekly timetable), reflection and support

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer?
I was looking for an ethical, non for profit volunteer experience at reasonable cost. The destination, type of project and travel opportunities I was interested in all matched nicely in POD's project in Pokhara, Nepal.

Would you recommend Pod Volunteer? Yes"

Renee - Child Care, 2017

“I had a rewarding time in the placement in Nepal. Pokhara is such a peaceful and pretty place where you would wish to stay longer. The placement there is well- established and it is easy to find support from the local team whenever you need. Children there are nice and they love interacting with people in English. It is not hard to see that the interaction with volunteers in the past has helped with their English and I feel rewarding realizing that now I am a part of this.

Besides enjoying the natural beauty of Fewa lake and the surrounding mountains, there are many different things you could do in spare time. For example, having a talk with people you meet on the street and getting to know good stories from strangers, spending a night at the local bar with other volunteers, and paragliding at one of best places in the world.

What did you find most rewarding? The most rewarding part would be the time that I spent with street kids. They are really nice kids who love to communicate and play with volunteers. It is easy to tell that the street kids have better English than their peers at school, meaning that volunteers have helped them practicing English in their frequent interaction.

What did you find most challenging? The most challenging part would be figuring out a way to make myself helpful at school. The education system in Nepal needs to be changed in many aspects, but there are limited things that I could do to help. Preparing for a short lesson and bringing in a few activities during which children could learn about the same concept is my way of getting their attention and interest.

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement? Keep an open mind and bring attentive ears with you. It’s always different from your imagination.”

Meg - Child Care, 2017

"Nepal is amazing and beautiful. Janice, Julia and Bindu made me feel right at home and like I was family. The morning placement was great fun, however my afternoon placement took a little longer to get used too. Sadly my trip was cut short due to illness. However I will treasure the memories I made there for the rest of my life.

What did you find most rewarding? Teaching the kids in my morning placement.

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement? Pack warmer clothes if you are going out in January. Lots of layers are best as you can take them on and off as the weather changes.

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer? I had used them previously for volunteering in India so I knew they were a good company already.”

Carly - Child Care, 2016

“I had an amazing time in Nepal, some challenges throughout but these worked out with the longer placement time. The nursery students at Annapurna Primary were a wild bunch which made every day fun and the teachers were lovely to work with. The Street Kids Center was my favorite part of volunteering. All of the boys there are so incredible, everyday I learned something new about one of them that was just awe inspiring. They are fun to play with, although its a struggle to get them to do their homework. And sometimes the house mother gives you tea- its delicious! Janice provided support whenever I asked for it and her family felt like my own by the end of my trip.

What did you find most rewarding? Working with Street Kids, earning their trust, and having them open up and share intimate stories with me that they do not get to discuss with other people.

What did you find most challenging? Not being able to communicate with the kids I was teaching.

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement? Be open to everything and don't be afraid to ask Janice for help if you feel overwhelmed. Be respectful of the teachers (it is their classroom, the volunteers come and go) and also of the Street Kids Center (it is their home and their is not a lot of space) and of the boys (they all have interesting backgrounds but we don't know exactly what each of them has gone through).”

Dylan - Sports Coaching and Child Care, 2016

“Volunteering for POD was definitely the best way I could've spent my Christmas. It allowed me to visit somewhere which I never thought I would get the opportunity to visit. POD were 100% helpful from the word go and Janice, my volunteer coordinated in Nepal, felt like a big sister to me after I left. Although I applied to do sports coaching unfortunately the schools had exams while I was out there but POD quickly managed to sort out a child care placement.

In the U.K. I work in a school but I have never known such lovely and pleasant students until I visited Annapurna Primary School. Those children alone make me want to go back as soon as I can. Nepal has made a massive difference to my life and thanks to POD, I feel like I can make a difference to some of Nepal.

What did you find most rewarding? Street Kids and forming positive relationships with them so quickly.

What did you find most challenging? The language barrier.

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement? To be prepared for a completely different world from what they know and to fall in love with a country which they'll never want to leave.

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer? The website was very well done which made it easier to use and I soon saw the high standard of opportunities.”

Adam - Child Care, 2016

"What did you find most rewarding? Being with the boys at the street kids centre - they really are lovely!

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement? Do it - Nepal is incredible and the experience is so rewarding

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer? It was organised enough to help me with my first ever volunteering abroad experience, yet independent enough for me to feel a sense of freedom. Also you feel that the prices charged are acceptable and you can see where your money is going”

Karen - Child Care, 2016

"I've had the best 10 weeks ever. ☺ At Annapurna Primary you can get to know the children really well and you are given the freedom to really make a difference to their lives. Be prepared to work hard and be flexible, though. Bring buckets of energy and creativity: you'll be paid back ten fold with love and the satisfaction of seeing children really coming on. The street kids centre is just inspirational. They are truly the most remarkable young people.

What did you find most rewarding? All of it for different reasons....

What did you find most challenging? When I look back in my journal, I found going to the Street Kids Centre most challenging for the first two days ......I was out of my comfort zone, the children older than I had imagined.......but what did I love the most by the end of that week? Yes, the Street Kids Centrepreneurs.

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement? Don't expect childcare as you know it. Be flexible and positive. Bring whiteboard markers and felt tops ( good quality ones). Just enjoy the children: they are wonderful."

Andrew - Sports Coaching, 2016

"My placement as Sports Coach in Nepal was Interesting, Rewarding, Challenging, Stressful (for a non teacher) and Hard Work and I feel a better person for having done it. It was maybe the school I was in, as other volunteers didn't find it such hard work in the smaller schools. Having said that the smile on one little girls face as we played just a simple game of catch was to die for.

The Street Kids Centre was my highlight. Helping with homework and rewarding them with a game afterwards was fantastic. Their english was well their peers inschool due to the almost one to one sessions in the evening. So although they are disadvantaged being in the centre they helped massively by the project.

What did you find most rewarding? The smile on a childs face when they managed to accomplish a task I was trying to teach them

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement? Be very firm with the teaching staff that if there are not enough volunteers they need to be there to manage discipline and translate not just sit in the sun."

Michelle - Sports Coaching, 2016

"Pod Volunteer allows you to be independent but always provides the support as and when needed depending on your own confidence and capabilities.

Nepal is a fantastic versatile country and choosing Nepal for your volunteering allows you to experience the people including how they live their lives as they are always happy to invite you into their homes to eat and chat with them and sometimes dance too.

What did you find most rewarding? The Nepali people make you feel very welcome and I felt that they couldn't do enough to help you.

What did you find most challenging? The poverty was challenging although most people were very happy with their lives, it was very sad at the street kids centre at Dashain festival as 1 of them had not family at all.

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement? Go with an open mind as things change on a daily basis and they don't allows happen so don't have any expectations, this will help you enjoy the volunteering and get the most out of it as sometimes it is down to use to make the most of the opportunities that arise."

Joe - Sports Coaching, 2016

"I would definitely recommend this type of experience to anyone. Especially younger people currently deciding on what they want to do in the future. It is the perfect opportunity to try something new and make a huge impact on wonderful people. It offers you the opportunity to experience a whole new country and encourage you to embrace independence and will live with you for the rest of your life.

What did you find most rewarding? Seeing the kids smile and know you were making a positive impact on their day and hopefully their future.

What did you find most challenging? Grasping the language. They generally spoke very good English but it was an interesting challenge trying to grasp the Nepali language and put it to use.

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement? Make sure you are fully aware of the role you will be taking on and be aware of the laid back attitudes to organisation in the country in terms of placements, you may end up spending some days doing very little."

Julia - Teaching, 2016

"I had the most amazing time! I loved living with Bindu, Janice and Julia! It was a brilliant experience! I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent in Nepal with Janice and her family! I loved learning about the Nepali culture. Bindu taught me lots of recipes which I'm going to try my best to recreate! I continued learning the language after my first lesson which was challenging but fun as it enabled me to communicate more with the locals! The girls that I taught at the women and girl's refuge were brilliant and we are all still in touch! All in all, a truly wonderful experience!

What did you find most rewarding?
Being able to communicate in Nepali!

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?
To embrace the culture and try everything!"

Ryan - Teaching, 2016

“I was in Nepal for 6 weeks, spending 5 weeks with the Street kids and at the secondary school teaching English. It was amazing experience from start to finish, to see how little the children have, the few resources the teachers have to use, it was an eye opener to say the least. Despite this, both the children and the adults are always up beat and very
pleasant. This was my first time volunteering abroad, but definitely not my last. The opportunity to experience the Culture, meet new people and help those who need it is hard to beat. Just by playing and socialising with the children, you are making a difference. Janice, the volunteer coordinator is an amazing person and staying with her family made the whole experience very enjoyable. I'm already planning on going back!

What did you find most rewarding?
Meeting, working and socialising with the children at both Street kids and the school. It was also amazing to see the different sides of Nepalese culture and how much it differs from our own.

What did you find most challenging?
Probably the language barrier, trying to teach a large group of children basic English and then having the teacher translate what you are teaching can be very confusing, but it's all part of the challenge! Also the climate, when you are use to the Irish weather it can be quite testing!

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?
Nepal is a great country full of opportunities for volunteers to help children/adults who aren't as fortunate as ourselves. It's a brilliant opportunity to experience such an amazing culture and offer your help to people who need it.

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer?
After looking online at different organisations, I found Pod Volunteer's website very helpful and the reviews from previous volunteers encouraged me to enquiry more. After contacting Pod about volunteering I knew I was in safe hands.

Would you recommend Pod Volunteer? Yes”

Tiphaine - Teaching, 2016

“I went to Nepal to volunteer in the teaching project for 14 weeks and taught english to the girls at the women’s refuge. Volunteering at the women’s refuge was a delightful experience during which I got to meet and get to know a wonderful group of girls. At first they were a bit shy but as the lessons progressed they opened up and, whatever their level of english was, we had many fascinating conversations. Near the end of my stay, we went for a boating trip, as requested repeatedly by the girls, which was a lot of fun and got them out of the classroom for one day. For lesson planning, I was left to my own devise and to do whatever I wanted. I chose to teach by themes and got the girls to give me ideas on themes that they wanted to discuss during our classes. I would definitely recommend planning lessons ahead of classes and for a few days so that you don't spend your free time planning instead of visiting Pokhara or just relaxing.

One of the most helpful aspects of the project in Nepal is to have Janice there to help us from the beginning all the way to the end. She helps with the language barriers that you may encounter, with going around the city and overall making sure you are having a great time. Living with her family is also a wonderful experience as they are some of the loveliest women I have ever met. They make you feel at home and part of the family.

This was my first time as a volunteer abroad and for an extended period of time, but it will definitely not be the last time. The project in Nepal has motivated me to keep volunteering in the future and as much as I can.

What did you find most rewarding?
The most rewarding part of my project was the relationships that I build there, especially with the girls I was teaching. At first they were very shy with me but after a week or two they opened up to me and we got to have many wonderful discussions about many subjects.

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer?
After extensive research on many different volunteering organisations I found POD through a "the Guardian" ranking of the "top 10 volunteering trips". I checked out all of the organisations mentioned and POD was the organisation that seemed the most trustworthy and the volunteer reviews definitely helped with my decision.”

Geoff - Teaching, 2016

"My experience of Pod Volunteer is that they are an excellent organisation. I went to teach in Nepal. There were two other volunteers and we all got on excellently, and had a great time. I hope we made a great teaching team too. It was enormously beneficial to plan the lessons together for the day ahead. So much more was achieved this way. I was shocked at how little the children knew and could do. I was not expecting a high standard obviously, but kids of 8-11 could not confidently add up single digit numbers (5+5 or 7+3). We put them through an intensive course and at the end of the 3 weeks most had made significant progress. You can be fairly circumspect about what difference you can make in such a short period of time. However, if you view yourself as a link in a chain of volunteers then as a group I think we can make an enormous difference."

Kam - Child Care, 2016

"Having spent 3 months in 2008 in Lakeside Pokhara it was great to go back! It was such an amazing place to volunteer with Pod to teach at Annapuna primary school. Making a difference everyday to some of the most disadvantaged children was the best experience of my life. Going back 8 years later, it was fantastic that some of the kids who I taught had grown up and come to visit me at the school. One of their best memories was the sports day we organised (still a photo at the school). Was recommend anyone to go and try and make a difference."

Egle - Child Care, 2015

“Everything with Pod was well arranged and executed. As hectic as Nepal is, things seemed to right on schedule. I'm very grateful.

I've been wanting to volunteer for a very long time but somehow I always found excuses not to do it. Until one day I said enough is enough and accidentally stumbled upon Pod's website. The reviews and the support network on the website seemed incredible and the placement fee reasonable, so I decided to give it a go. And it's one of the best decisions I ever made. The arrangements for the placement both in UK and Nepal are really well executed. Of course, as on all big journeys there are some unexpected challenges and difficulties, but all the time I was there I felt safe in the hands of Pod and knew whatever obstacles came my way, I'll be able to overcome it with the help of Pod and volunteer coordinator in Nepal, Janice. A big thank you to all of you.

So if you're a first time volunteer and going to a strange country alone, like I was and you're feeling a bit nervous and unsure, I urge you not to be afraid and give it a try with Pod. Based on my experience, it's an organisation you can trust.

What did you find most rewarding? Working with kids, both in Street kids and Annapurna school was very rewarding. I was able to see different sides of Nepalese culture and educational system.

What did you find most challenging? To see and accept the level of poverty and how little the kids have and how humble they are at the same time. Also I was quite shocked that there aren't separate schools for children with special needs and how they don't get the attention they deserve.

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement? Try and come prepared, kids like to be entertained but they are not fussy at all. They enjoy playing games and learning new things. So make sure you bring loads of energy and enthusiasm!

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer? I chose Pod because based on their website and reviews from other volunteers, it seemed like a very trustworthy and reliable organisation. I was a nervous first time volunteer and I wanted to go with the organisation that I felt safe.”

Jade - Child Care, 2014

“I had the most amazing two weeks volunteering with Pod, they were so supportive from start to finish and Janice and Sarah are absolute stars who made me so comfortable from the start and could not have been nicer! I cannot recommend Pod highly enough as I had the most amazing experiences and will never forget my time in Nepal. If you are thinking of volunteering for the first time but are unsure, don’t be, you will be so well looked after with this organization and take home memories to last forever.

How would you describe a typical day volunteering in Nepal with Pod? A typical day for me was being up and ready to leave Bindu's at 9.50AM ready to walk to Ward 6 which is a ten minute walk once you get the route down. We would play with the beautiful children and then get involved with lessons and help out with basic English along with singing dancing and story reading.

We would then help the teachers with dishing out the children’s lunch and would leave at one. We would then have a nice break to go for lunch or do whatever else we could fit into the day, followed by walking to Street Kids which is a half an hour walk away. Street Kids is amazing and involves helping the boys with homework and then playing, talking and entertaining them until 7pm.

Following Street Kids we would generally come back to Bindu's to freshen up and then go out for dinner and to visit some of the fab bars that line the Lakeside strip.

What did you find most rewarding? When the children at Ward 6 felt comfortable with me and would come over for hugs or to sit in my lap. I loved it when they would repeat back any English words that i would try and teach them and also any work we did with Street Kids as the boys are so appreciative of the time you spend with them and are the most lovely humbling, bright and intelligent children!!

What did you find most challenging? The language barrier when trying to teach Ward 6. Because the children are so young they only know a few very basic English words, so its very difficult sometimes in that respect because you cant talk to them.

Were there any aspects of the placement which you would like to see improved? No, I honestly thought it was faultless!!

What advice would you give others considering doing this placement? You HAVE to do it, you wont regret it and will have an amazing time and meet amazing people along the way!!

Why do you think others should volunteer abroad? Because it is something that will stay with you for the rest of your life and will be the most rewarding thing knowing that you have helped to leave a positive impression on these kids lives and that this will shape their lives in the future. You will be part of the bigger picture!

Why did you choose Pod? Pod was chosen for us by the company we work for, but its easy to see why they did chose Pod after working with Sarah and Janice.

Would you recommend Pod to your friends? Yes, thank you so much to Sarah, Janie and Gemma as well as Bindu for the support and for making this process the best experience ever! I didn't want to come home and wish I had been in Nepal longer!”

Deborah - Teaching, 2014

“I felt very supported while out there and I liked the fact that everyone was staying one place to allow us to get to know people on different placements!

How would you describe a typical day volunteering in Nepal with Pod? I went on this volunteer holiday by myself but I was never lonely! As everyone was there for the same reasons we all got on well and gelled as an ever changing group, as volunteers came and left. We went out for evening meals together and always had stuff to talk about from our placements and activities from the day. Sarah and Chrissy (and Buttons) made us feel very welcome and reassured knowing that there was someone who knew the area who could help if there were any problems.

What did you find most rewarding? The staff and students were great and very welcoming so I found working in the school and trying different ideas very rewarding as they responded so well!

What advice would you give others considering doing this placement? Definitely go as it was an amazing experience!

Why do you think others should volunteer abroad? To help see that the rest of the world is not as jaded as Britain!

Why did you choose Pod? Ability to do short placements.

Would you recommend Pod to your friends? Yes”

Rebecca - Teaching, 2014

“Sarah (Pod Nepal Volunteer Manager) was brilliant, she was very supportive. She emailed us a week before we came over and answered a few questions I had and whilst we were there both her and Phil resolved any queries we had immediately which made my life a lot easier!

How would you describe a typical day volunteering in Nepal with Pod? The people in the community make you feel really welcome as does Bindu, her family and the school where you volunteer. I was there for a month and I wanted to stay longer, I built such fantastic relationship with the children and the teachers, they really appreciated what you were doing for them and it was evident that they genuinely enjoyed the fun, creative activities that were planned for them. Volunteering Monday to Friday meant that you had the weekends to explore and I definitely made the most of this time, Pod were really helpful when it came to booking different things. I went trekking and then to local sights like the Peace Pagoda, Devi Falls, Mehendra Cave etc. It was lovely to meet other volunteers that were staying at Bindu's and plan to do things with them at the weekends, or even plan to go out for tea with them during the week to natter about the day.

What did you find most rewarding? The break through you had with the children. A good example is one of the boys in grade 1, he always drew guns and was quite angry, in the last week he drew flowers for the first time and coloured it in with our felt tips. It was an incredible moment.

What did you find most challenging? The language barrier with both teachers and children, but Phil was very helpful when communicating with teachers.

What advice would you give others considering doing this placement? pack walking boots, take flashcards and plenty of coloured paper and pens.

Why do you think others should volunteer abroad? It is a life changing experience, one I wish lasted longer!

Would you recommend Pod to your friends? Yes”

Sarah - Teaching, 2013

"The Pod team in the UK organised everything for me perfectly, every step of the way I felt completely supported and confident that everything was taken care of. Gemma was always very friendly, reassuring and happy to answer any of my questions. In Nepal, Chrissy was the perfect person to have there. She was always willing to sit, listen and offer any advice she could; I really appreciated her support. I loved my placement once in Pokhara, it was organised brilliantly. Everyone was so welcoming and there was a room full of ideas and resources at Bindus which was invaluable. The accommodation was great, I loved staying with Bindu and her family. They were so welcoming and looked after us all so well.

Choosing to volunteer with Pod in Nepal was the best decision I have ever made! I loved everything about being in Pokhara; from the placement teaching in the school to my wonderful accommodation. The stunning views never got old; Lakeside is for me the most beautiful place in the world. Volunteering allowed me to become a part of a culture and experience the day to day realities that the locals did. It also enabled me to meet some of the nicest people I have ever met. They were like minded and made my time in Nepal so much fun! Pod were the perfect organisation to go with. They offered so much support, both from the team in the UK to the practical support once I was in Nepal. Everything was organised for me when I arrived in Kathmandu - this made settling into a new country and adjusting to the new sights, sounds and smells so much easier as I didn't need to worry about anything! I couldn't be happier with my decision to choose Pod and can't fault them in any way; from the service I received, to the support the placements and local projects Pod supports, receive.

What did you find most rewarding? The children; they made my entire experience!

What did you find most challenging? What I struggled most with the discipline that I witnessed. The children are hit by the teachers and other adults; it is part of the culture and therefore something that is part of their society. I found it very hard to see and found it challenging to my beliefs both morally and ethically.

What advice would you give others considering doing this placement? Come with an open mind. Think beforehand about what you can offer the placements and what your specific skills are. Don't expect to change the world, it is just not possible; however, you can make a difference and you should be proud of anything you achieve in your placements - no matter how big or small!

Why do you think others should volunteer abroad? For you: you get to immerse yourself in culture and have experiences that you would NEVER have had otherwise! For the people you will volunteer for: you can offer so much. You can really make a difference to people, and that is so valuable.

Why did you choose Pod? I did a lot of research and Pod seem to me to be by far the most ethically sound charity. Through supporting local projects and its transparency, I felt that it was a reliable and trustworthy organisation - I am glad to say I have been proved right!

Would you recommend Pod to your friends? Yes”

Ben - Sports Coaching, 2012

“What is a typical day at the project? Arrive at school around 10 o clock and get a timetable for the day. I would then take out different classes throughout the school day to play football or cricket.

What did you find most rewarding? The fact of how much the kids enjoyed being out the classroom getting involved in sport.

What did you find most challenging? Managing large classes from the younger years.

What advice would you give others considering doing this placement? Have a lot of energy as these kids are extremely energetic on the sports pitch.

Why do you think others should volunteer abroad? The kids love a role model who they can look up to. Especially in Sport.

Why did you choose Pod? Locations available and the helpfulness of staff.

Would you recommend Pod to your friends? Yes.”

Jean – Teaching, 2012

“The initial experience on arrival is a huge culture shock, and one which takes some days to accustom to, if at all. It really makes you evaluate what is important in life, from both the material and emotional viewpoint. The Nepalese people are so welcoming and friendly, and the fact that you actually stay in a family environment is a huge support. Plus the support given from Chrissy is invaluable, and, from the other volunteers. Be honest to admit your own feelings of vulnerability, and the need for verbal and emotional support. Whatever you are able to give to the project you are assigned to, you will be repaid tenfold, in affection and life experience. Don't think 'should I?', think, 'I will'. No regrets.

After a brain rattling trip on the local bus, the arrival at school is always greeted with smiles and cries of 'Hello'. Be prepared for changes in timetable, due to staff or child absence. Always have a 'magic bag' which contains items to introduce the planned activity, and replacements if the idea just doesn't work, due to lack of understanding and communication. Any small degree of understanding is a major achievement, don't aim too high, the bar can always be moved, in a positive direction.

What did you find most rewarding? The warmth of the children, their response to your input, their sheer delight at new activities.

What did you find most challenging? The culture shock, the heat, the food, but all could be overcome.

What advice would you give others considering doing this placement? Go into this with an open mind, don't think you are going to become a crusader, and change the world. Any small input that you can make is worthwhile, and the memories are invaluable.”

George – Teaching, 2012

“This was the first time I have done any volunteering or 'proper' travelling abroad and I couldn't have wished for a better experience. The Pod staff, both in the UK and in Nepal, were excellent. Willing to give advice on everything from travel aspects, to putting me in a specific placement, to finding a great local meal. I went with the expectation of some disruption to schedules and I wasn't disappointed. With a national holiday every week and the occasional strike I was able to explore and do all the touristy things as well as get to grips with the placement work. If you are teaching I cannot emphasise enough the need to have a lesson or three up your sleeve ready to bring out at a moment's notice, as many volunteers found that they were put on the spot on their first day. This is a truly wonderful placement, in a wonderful country full of friendly people.

How would you describe a typical day at the project?

Why do you think others should volunteer abroad? A great opportunity to immerse yourself in a culture, that you would otherwise not experience. Builds teaching skills, especially the ability to breakdown the English language, especially useful for early years/foundation stage teachers.

Why did you choose Pod? Most reputable, reliable and supportive non-profit charity found through my research.”

Reta - Child Care, 2011

“I am 58 years old and have worked or looked after my children from the age of 15 but have recently retired. I was looking for something fulfilling and challenging to do. I was keen to work with young children in a caring capacity. I don't have any formal childcare training but have worked in a voluntary position in Canada with children of abused mothers.

Getting to know the children and gaining their trust enough to have fun with them with most rewarding. It is lovely to walk into the school playground in the morning to have them run to you to say hi.

You have so much to offer, they need to learn English to increase their job opportunities, you only need a few word in Nepalise to get by. They can learn basic hygiene from you by watching what you do, e.g. washing your hands before eating and involving them in this procedure. Pokhara is a great place to be, lots to see and do. The food is amazing, I never had one bad meal in a month. The wine is usually dodgy so don't waste your money! The beer is served in huge bottles enough for two or three people from one bottle and very good. Try the fresh lemon tea or fresh ginger, excellent. Lots of lovely shopping opportunities and very reasonably priced.

Why did you choose Pod? I chose Pod because the web site information was so clear. The staff are extremely helpful in the UK office and on site in Pokhara. I would recommend Pod to others.”

Prayagha - Teaching, 2011

“I volunteered in Nepal for three weeks, teaching at a primary school. It really was an amazing few weeks. The children are really appreciative and adorable. Nepal is a beautiful country, full of culture and filled with things to do. The placement was a life changing experience and I would recommend it to anyone looking to do a volunteer placement. Pod is an excellent organisation and the coordinators in Nepal take very good care of you and are always in touch with you while you are there.

How would you describe your typical day? I woke up around 8.30am and made my way to school at half nine. I would teach up until one and then meet the other volunteers for lunch. We'd then usually go shopping/sight seeing/relax in the hotel or go over to the street kids centre to play with them or help them out with their work. we'd then go out again for dinner as the food in Nepal is great and also very cheap.

By the end of my stay I'd managed to teach the kids how to do four digit subtraction with borrowing. I felt so proud and it was such a rewarding task.

When I first started the language barrier was difficult but after learning a few phrases and having other volunteers helping it made things a bit easier.

I would recommend anyone thinking about it to definitely give it a go. If you're going to do this placement make sure you love being around children.

I would definitely recommend Pod, they are well worth your money and are a very trusted organisation.”

Deborah - Teaching, 2010

“This was my first trip abroad alone, and I was pretty terrified (and excited of course). But as soon as I got to Pokhara, where Philippa met me, showed me round and introduced me to the other volunteers, all those fears of being lonely dissipated straight away. I was only in Nepal for three weeks, but I've come away feeling like I really understand the place. Although volunteering was tiring at times, and the humidity saps your strength, I came home feeling refreshed - the relaxed pace of Nepalese life was a real change and just what I needed. The experience was a brilliant one - from helping people in real need to making fantastic new friends and immersing yourself in a new culture.

I would wake up at about 7, have some breakfast and then head out to my project at about 10. When working with the street kids while the schools were on holiday, we would take in drawing materials and play with them for a couple of hours before finding some lunch and using the afternoon to wander round lakeside or mahendri pul. When working in Shree Krishna, I would shadow the English teachers Bed and Saru, helping the classes with pronunciation, writing exercises on the board and marking work. I would finish at 3:30ish, then head back to Bindu's to unwind for a while before going into Lakeside to find something to eat with the other volunteers. I was usually in bed by 10.30, but I quite enjoyed the 'early to bed early to rise' lifestyle.

It was recommended to me by a friend who went to Thailand with Pod in 2009. I would certainly recommend Pod myself.”

Katherine - Child Care, 2009

“I really can't say enough good things about Pod and the placement I was on in Nepal. Going with Pod was a very last minute decision, but they were so helpful in getting me organised and on my way in no time at all!

I was a bit nervous before I went as this was my first time going away on my own.  But I’m not exaggerating when I say that there was no time during my whole placement that I felt lonely. From the other volunteers, the Pod contacts in the town where I worked and all the kids at the centre I have made some truly great friends and memories to match!

Before I went I really felt Pod had a good knowledge and relationship with the people I would meet and places I would stay and their support and organisation didn’t stop until I got home. 

I had so many questions before I went and Pod were so patient answering all my emails and last minute questions. In addition to this they sent emails while I was on my placement to make sure that I was happy and everything was okay – I always knew that they were just a phone call away if I had any problems!

The support in Lakeside was fantastic. It lived up to my expectations and more. I’ve always wanted to do some volunteering but I never thought I would have the month that I had. I’ve made some fantastic friends, been lucky enough to work with amazing children and visited one of the most welcoming and exciting countries in the world! would recommend to anybody of any age, background and experience!

I would recommend a volunteer placement with Pod to anyone. Value for money, a supportive personal company offering worthwhile placements in some of the most fantastic countries in the world! I want to do some more volunteering next year and I won’t be looking any further than Pod for a placement!!”

Sarah - Teaching, 2009

“My time in Nepal was the most amazing and awesome thing I have ever done. I was completely engrossed and absorbed in making the most of my short visit, about five weeks in all. All my expectations were swept away: the school was much less well resourced than I had imagined it would be, so that became a challenge."

Find out more about the Teaching, Child Care and Sports Coaching project

AWARDS AND ACCREDITATIONS

  • Tourism Concern
  • Association of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust
  • Right Tourism
  • DOFE
  • theguardian
  • the independent
  • Sunday Times
  • Year Out Group
  • Best Volunteering Organisation
  • Wall Street Journal