Q: How can I pay for the program fees?
Ans:The program fees are due when your training commences. Currently we do not accept traveler’s cheques or credit cards. We prefer in Euros or dollars but can accept Nepalese Rupees as well. If you wish to extend you volunteering program you must discuss this with Alliance and pay the fee in advance.
Q: When should I arrive?
Ans:Volunteers must arrive in Pokhara at least one day before the training program starts. Depending on your departure location, you may experience jetlag or ” Culture Shock” for a few days after your arrival, therefore, we recommend arriving in Kathmandu at least three days before your training beings.
Q: Is there a Training program?
Ans: Yes, depending on your length of stay, you will receive up to two weeks of cultural and Language training from the Alliance staff. The first phase of the training includes basic cultural and language information and will be conducted at guest house in during you time in the village, the staff will continue to provide the training. For more information about the t raining program, please review the program section.
Q: How is the program length calculated?
Ans:The length of your time is equal to the training period plus your placement period. For example, if you program length is two months, then you will spend two weeks in training and six weeks at your placement.
Q: Where will I stay during the training period?
During the first phase of the training period, you will stay at a Guest House. The Guest House will have facilities similar to Western Standards. Starting with the first date of your training class, Alliance Nepal will pay for you hotel and basic food costs during your stay. You will be responsible for the costs of your accommodation and food for the period before and after your placement.
An Alliance Nepal representative will accompany you to and from the placement locations.
Q: How much money should I bring with me?
It’s different to give an exact amount of money that you should bring. Costs will vary according to how much time you spend traveling on your own, whether or not you go trekking / traveling, if you drink beer (!), how often you phone home / use the internet etc.
That said, living in the village 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 you money on! During you training and placement you are responsible for any incidentals (sodas, snacks, etc). that you may accrue.
We recommend purchasing one of that travel guides, such as the Lonely planet for Nepal to help you estimate how much money you may need.
Don’t forget that you also need to budget Alliance program fees, visa fees and your flight and any extra activities, extra transportation and extra food.
Q: Where will my placement be?
Currently, we are sending volunteers to villages within the rural areas around Pokhara. We have different 200 Host Families asking for volunteers.
Q: Do you select my placement area?
Yes, placements are decided based upon program vacancy and volunteer’s skills, however we try 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 endeavor to accommodate them. You placement village will be finalized during the second week of training.
Q: How can family contact me during my placement?
Depending on your particular placement, your host family may or may not have a telephone within their home. Most villages will have one phone that can accept incoming and outgoing international calls. In addition, most placements are within an hours 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 contract, Alliance Nepal. We will do you 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 in may be hours or even a day before a message can get through to a volunteer.
Q: Does an Alliance staff person stay in the village with me during my placement?
An Alliance 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 can not resolve, then will contact an Alliance staff person to provide assistance.
During the placement an Alliance staff person will provides site visits (the number determined by your length of stay), and / or will contract the volunteer via phone to provide regular ‘check-ins’.
Q: How can I prepare for teaching English prior to my arrival?
You will be provide basic TEEL instruction during your training period, but it would be helpful for you to brush up on your grammatical knowledge of the English language. You could also consider bringing any English language textbooks, and or TEEL books that you may find useful as they are difficult to find in Nepal.
Q: What is weather like in Nepal?
The width of Nepal is only about 200 km on average, but within this short distance the altitude of the land rises from lowly 60m to all the way up to above 8000m.
Hence the weather depends upon the altitude of the place in Nepal. However, in general Nepal has four climatic seasons: spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter.
Spring starts March to May. The temperature of this season fluctuates between 200 C to 300 C (68 0F to 86 0F). Summer starts from June to August. These are also the pre-monsoon months with occasional evening thunderstorms and hot temperature. Autumn starts from September and ends by November. During this period, the climate is dry and mild with temperature fluctuating between 20 0C to 30 0C (68 0F to 86 0F). Winter starts from December to February. The morning and evening are very cold while the afternoon is pretty sunny. The temperature during these months rises from 15 0C to 20 0C (59 0F to 68 0F).
Q: What should I bring for my host family?
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’ books of your home town or country.
• Posters, stickers or magazine picture from you country.
• Children’s books
• T-shirts (new) from your country.
Q: What should I Bring for myself?
This will vary depending on what non Alliance activities you want to participate in (trekking, white water rafting, etc) and how much you need to be comfortable during your placement. 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 Pokhara (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 (see program Guide and Volunteer Room for details)
• Waterproof jacket (a fold-away windcheater is fine)
• (Women) Sarong (or you can buy a lungi cheaply in Nepal)
• Mosquito repellent
• Sun cream
Q: What makes a good Volunteer?
Alliance Nepal does not ask for any formal qualifications from our volunteers. All we ask is that you have a genuine desire to help people and are committed to seeing the program through. A positive and flexible attitude will also help you to get the most out of your stay in Nepal.
If you are applying to teach English, a strong command of the English language is a necessity. Similarly, if you are interested in volunteering at a Health Post, some prior medical experience and first aid skills would be useful. If you are applying to teach computers at the Resource Center, to the environmental awareness program, or income generation program, you should possess the skills and knowledge necessary to work within these programs.
The following attributes are vital for survival, regardless of the program !
• Good problem-solving skills.
• Sense of humor/ ability to laugh at yourself
• Willingness to share
• Open mindedness
• Enthusiasm to learn about new cultures