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Teaching English at Buddhist Monastery


If you want to travel abroad but you don’t want to finish that as just a sightseeing, then why don’t you do a volunteer work? If you can speak and write English as native level and interested in Buddhism, maybe teaching English at Buddhist monastery or nunnery could be the best choice for you. Volunteer Initiative Nepal provides you an opportunity to live in such a beautiful place with children, monks, and nuns during your stay.

Even though more than 80% of people in Nepal are Hindus, Buddhism is a big deal in Nepal too. You can figure out it from the fact that Kathmandu is called as “City of Temples”. Nepal is also known as the country where Gautama Buddha, the originator of Buddhism was born. After China invaded Tibet in 1959, many Tibetan moved to Nepal and made their own community. Nepal is a country which has 93 languages and more than 100 ethnic groups. So, during your stay, you will witness the culture that you have never seen in your country. Quaint temples, monasteries, and nunneries traditional tasty foods, classical beautiful festivals, and more… Volunteer Initiative Nepal also holding a half day sightseeing of world heritage sites for volunteers.

Able to speak English is very important for children, monks, and nuns. It does not only mean they could see their own culture objectively, but it also means their future choice will be more widely. If one of the monks or nuns is able to speak English, then he or she could teach English to others. And when those monks and nuns will be able to speak English, then those could teach to others. Which means the number of monks and nuns who can speak English is expected to rise as geometrical progression. However, it is about such a long, long journey and that is why organizations like Volunteer Initiative Nepal are focusing on teaching English at monastery and nunnery and still needs and welcomes the volunteers from across the world.

You will not only teach English to children, monks, and nuns, but you will also learn many things from them. Those would be Buddhism knowledge or would be more basic things.

Staying at monastery or nunnery means that you have to follow their own culture and habits because you are also being part of them.

Basic things are the things that people might forget in daily life. One typical example is flexibility. “Children are really quick to move one thing to another.” Aurore, the volunteer from Belgium and teaching English at one of the Buddhist monasteries in Kathmandu said. “They also force you to be flexible yourself. Even if you make a nice lesson plan and lesson never goes. You just have to be flexible, to be adaptable, and they also have brought me lots of joy already.”

She also said that children have a unique feeling and sometimes they will be amazed at the most insignificant things to us. “It’s very nice to actually step back and realize, ‘Ok, this is very cool.’”

While you will teach and learn from them, you will probably hit the wall. Aurore said there are some hard things about teaching English like addressing everyone’s needs and trying find activities that can suits to everyone because of children’s very varying English levels. And she mentioned that two of the hardest things for her are trying to keep attention from children and managing the classroom. But she also said that trying to solve those problems will be useful for your life even if you don’t have a plan to be an English teacher. Maybe you are going to face some problems as well, but even those will be part of your experience. As mentioned above, Nepal has lots of languages and ethnic groups. Accept the differences makes your comfortably and fruitful stay.

There are many more things that you will see, know, and learn, but the only way to experience those exactly, is just do it on your own. And the door to do, is always opened.

-Kosuke Nakashima

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Volunteers Initiative Nepal (VIN)

Nayabazaar Khusibu, Kathmandu

Email: support@volunteeringnepal.org

Fax: 00977 1 4362560

Tel: 00977 (1) 4362560 / 4356679 (Office)