In February 2020, I spent 4 weeks working with GVI in Pokhara, Nepal on the healthcare programme and truly had some of the best weeks of my life there. From the moment I arrived, I felt completely at home in Pokhara – the GVI base had a lovely community atmosphere, with many a card games, Nepali dance lessons and walks along the lake being enjoyed by all volunteers. The staff were truly fantastic, going above and beyond to ensure the projects were run effectively, whilst always allowing volunteers ample freedom and responsibility to bring in new ideas, meaning that the projects continually evolve and improve. Having the opportunity to teach healthcare and English to such motivated, polite and appreciative children, whose enthusiasm and creativity made even the simplest of tasks more fun that I could have ever imagined was a joy to be a part of. The days on project of course came with their individual challenges, but these helped me to further learn and improve my teaching skills, and ensure each day was exciting and rewarding. I really could see just how much GVI’s work was valued in the communities in which we were working, and as a volunteer, you therefore feel such a sense of pride to have contributed to this.
Nepal was an amazing place to explore outside of project time, with weekend trips such as to Chitwan National Park in easy access of the GVI base. There were always things going on in Pokhara too and getting to experience festivals such as Shivarati was incredibly interesting, giving me a better different insight into the culture and religion of the Nepali people. I left Nepal with amazing memories, friends from all over the world, a genuine new-found confidence, and only one regret – that I hadn’t stayed longer! The project work confirmed my love for teaching and encouraged me to complete my TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) qualification on returning home, so that I am able to work teaching abroad in the future. I am eager to return to Nepal as soon as I can and can only encourage anyone considering volunteering abroad to bite the bullet and go for it with GVI – if you are passionate about the cause for which you are working, you are guaranteed to have an amazing and eye-opening experience.