Teach English to Buddhist Monks
Choose your own departure date
■ 19 days ( 2 weeks volunteering) from $1745 AUD
■ 26 days ( 3 weeks volunteering) from $2045 AUD
■ 33 days ( 4 weeks volunteering) from $2345 AUD
■ 47 days ( 6 weeks volunteering) from $2945 AUD
■ 61 days ( 8 weeks volunteering) from $3545 AUD
* Enquire for longer durations
Buddhism was born in the majestic landscapes of Nepal and there’s no better place to immerse yourself in the religion and its cultural influence than at a local monastery. This unique volunteering opportunity will see you teaching English to novice Buddhist monks of all ages while experiencing the daily routines of monastery life.
While education has been at the core of Buddhist monastery teachings for centuries, the focus has largely been on scriptures and beliefs. It’s only in recent years that the importance of learning the English language has been recognised in helping todays contemporary monks connect with the wider community.
During your placement at a monastery on the outskirts of Kathmandu, you’ll teach 3 x 45-minute classes each day (6 days a week), with the rest of the time free to help out in other classes, socialise or explore the nearby medieval city of Bhaktapur. No teaching experience is required, just a good command of the English language and the confidence to speak in front of groups of people.
In return for your invaluable service, you will get to participate in the day-to-day life of the monastery and its rituals, gaining a rare insight that few get to experience. Over the course of your placement, you’ll discover first hand the teachings of Buddhism and the spiritual influence it’s had on this spectacular mountain nation and its people.
Meals included as per the itinerary
Private Vehicle for airport transfers, city tour and transfer to and from the placement on arrival and departure
Accommodation (twin share)
3 nights pre placement and 1 night post placement staying in a guesthouse in Thamel
Whilst on placement volunteers will stay in a basic guest room at the monastery. Depending on other volunteers at the time, you may need to share with 1 other volunteer of the same sex. Each room has private ensuite facilities.
Entrance fees for all attractions included in itinerary
DAY 1 - Namaste and welcome to Nepal
On arrival, you will be met by your in-country team and transferred to your hotel in the tourist district of Thamel. From the moment you step off the plane, you’ll be mesmerised by the sights, sounds and smells of Kathmandu.
DAY 2 - Kathmandu
Over the next 2 days you’ll get to explore some of Kathmandu’s famous ancient monuments and UNESCO world heritage sites, you’ll also gain a deeper understanding of the culture and customs of the local Nepalese people.
You will start the morning with cultural and language classes, orientation and a few “do’s and dont’s” to help you relax into this exciting new country.
Spend the afternoon watching the golden glow wash over the Kathmandu Valley as the sun sets on the Swayambhunath Monkey Temple. According to legend, the Kathmandu Valley was once a lake (geographical evidence supports this) and the hill on which Swayambhunath now sits spontaneously rose from the waters. Hence the name Swayambhu, which means “self-risen”.
DAY 3 - Kathmandu Valley
This morning after breakfast you will make your way to Nepal’s most sacred Hindu temple, Pashupatinath. Set on the banks of the holy Bagmati River (just as Varanasi is positioned on the Ganges), Pashupatinath is an open-air crematorium that is accessible to the public. Sadhus and devotees of the Hindu God Shiva are often found here worshipping and, if you’re lucky, you may get the chance to have a photo or two taken with one of these famous dreadlocked holy men.
After Pashupatinath, you will head to Boudhanath – the largest stupa in Nepal and the holiest Tibetan Buddhist temple outside of Tibet. The original stupa was built sometime after AD 600 but was reconstructed again in the 14th century after being wrecked by Mughal invaders. Boudhanath is an impressive monument and thousands of pilgrims gather daily to make a kora (ritual circumnavigation) of the dome under the watchful eyes of Buddha, which gaze out from the square tower.
DAY 4 - Orientation at the Monastery
This morning you will be picked up from your hotel in Thamel and driven approx. 40 minutes through the chaotic traffic of Kathmandu to a monastery within the Kathmandu Valley.
You will be transferred to your placement with a member of our in-country team who will be there to introduce you to the head monks, give you an orientation and ensure that you are settled into your new home for the duration of your placement.
DAY 5 - Sunday – Friday Volunteering
A typical day at the monastery begins with breakfast at 7.00am followed by your first class at 9.45am. Throughout the day you will be required to teach 3 x 45 minute classes. Predominantly volunteers teach English however, there are opportunities to teach maths, science, sports and creative activities. Repetitive, rote learning is common practice with students being able to repeat whatever they are taught, but with little comprehension and so volunteers are encouraged to be creative with their teaching methods– using songs, games, books, art, photos etc in their classes.
Depending on the monastery’s requirement, you may be working as the sole teacher in the classroom or in partnership with a Nepali teacher. You may also find that due to the number of teaching volunteers, that you will be the only volunteer in a placement. Wherever possible, we ask that you work in partnership with the local teachers, introducing them to new, practical teaching techniques and creative learning ideas, rather than teaching in their place. The more work you can do with the teachers, ultimately, the greater number of children will benefit from your placement.
As you will be living at the monastery, each day you will get to share meal time with the young monks and witness their morning and evening puja (ceremony) as they chant mantras and offer sacrifices. A truly incredible experience!
Saturday - Free Day
Saturday’s are your free days.
There is so much to discover in and around the Kathmandu Valley. Spend the day back in Thamel where you can wander the little laneways at your leisure, browse the local supermarket or organise to go to the cinema and watch one of the latest Bollywood films. Visit one of Nepal’s rich UNESCO listed heritage sites including Durbar Square, Patan or the medieval city of Bhaktapur. If you are feeling adventurous you may like to experience a scenic Everest flight or enjoy a day hike from the monastery to the hilltop village of Nagakot, known for its spectacular panoramic views of the Himalayas.
Additional weeks (Sunday - Friday)
Choosing to volunteer for a longer duration will not only allow you to acquire a deeper understanding of the local culture and language, but more importantly the longer you spend in the classroom the greater the rapport you will have with your students and the greater impact you will have on their education.
You will be transferred back to your hotel in Thamel. Spend the afternoon drinking chai in one of the many hip courtyard cafes, fill your backpack full with some last-minute shopping and reflect on what has truly been a once in a lifetime journey.