Volunteer in a Monastery
Learn about ancient religious practices and connect with otherwise isolated monks by volunteering in a Buddhist monastery
This program remains one of our most popular at Volunteer Society Nepal. Few other placements in the world offer the opportunity to work alongside Buddhist monks and observe their unique monastery environment while also helping them communicate with the outside world. For volunteers who are keenly interested in learning more about monastery life, meditative techniques and Buddhist teachings, this is an incredible experience.
What work does a monastery volunteer do?
Volunteers in our monastery placements teach English to the monks, both young and old, for around 3-4 hours per day. In turn, the monks will share their knowledge and culture with the volunteers. If requested by the volunteer, they may get the chance to learn meditation techniques and receive an in depth knowledge of the Buddhist culture here in Nepal. This is one of our most popular volunteering posts due to the unique way it allows you to truly become involved in the life of a Buddhist monastery.
Do I need any qualifications or skills to do this work?
No you not need any specific qualifications for this work, but a good command of the English language is vital. You must also be a very culturally sensitive person because you will be working in a religious environment that is likely to be very different from your own.
As Buddhist monks have to participate in different religious activities at various times of the year, the structure of this program may sometimes be altered and volunteers are asked to be flexible to accommodate this.
Where in Nepal can I volunteer in a monastery?
The volunteers will work in a monastery and may also work with the attached community schools for non-monastic children. Please note that if you want to volunteer in a Tibetan Monastery you must be willing to stay for at least 1 month or more.
For more information go to our Locations Page.
What accommodation will I be living in?
Wherever you choose to work in Nepal you will be placed in a home stay with a local Nepali family. By living with a family you will gain a greater insight and understanding of Nepali culture. The standard of lodging will depend on whether you are in a rural or urban area. In a rural area the facilities will be basic with minimal running water and a squat toilet. However, in an urban placement you will most likely have a flushing Western style toilet and a shower. All of your food will be provided for you at your home stay and you will never be more than 30 minutes from your place of work. For more information on what to expect in a home stay have a look at our Food and Accommodation Page.
Check out the experiences from some of our volunteers
- Volunteer’s experience: Teaching at a Buddhist monastery in Nepal
- Volunteers’ experience: teaching at a Buddhist monastery in the mountains
- Volunteers’ support at Monastery in the Mountains
Once you arrive we organize an introduction for you. We deem this to be highly valuable and it’s a program valued by many volunteer in the past. By means of an introduction you can acclimatise and prepare for your volunteering. You can begin at you project rested and prepared. In this way you can be really effective.
Arriving to work in a foreign country can be a nerve-wracking experience, this is why at VSN we provide a friendly and in-depth welcome. The in-depth welcome encompasses basic language training, cultural training and sightseeing through Kathmandu and surrounding. This is what you can expect from the moment when you touch down at Tribhuvan Intl. Airport. The program may vary depending on your time of arrival. We will manage to include all below mentioned activities in you introduction program.
While you volunteer with Volunteer Society Nepal you will be staying with a Nepali host family. Be part of a Nepali family. Eat together with the family. Play with the children. Experience the rich Nepali culture firsthand. Many volunteers tell us this unique insight into the culture of Nepal is a key part of why they come back again and again.
All our host families have conducted a training regarding hosting volunteers adequately. They know how to ensure hygiene and provide security. They will treat you as a member of the family. To secure the knowledge of the western culture and desires we train our host families yearly.
Although we do not experience it frequently and it can be considered very rare, it could be possible you are not satisfied at your host family. In that case, it’s possible to switch host family. We want to guarantee your happiness and secure the positive experience of Nepal. Hence, we remain contact if every runs properly at your host family during your stay.
When you arrive on placement you will be introduced to your host family by the VSN representative and given a full tour of the premises. Many of our host families have children and it seems many of our volunteers enjoy helping them with their English, learning to cook Nepali food and mixing in with their life. The other way around, we experience volunteers learn a lot from the hosts and children regarding the life in Nepal.
At the host families you will stay with or without fellow volunteers. You can clarify you preference and we will take that into account while arranging your host family. It is always possible to stay as a couple or group of friends in one host family. You should consider the host family as you temporary family in Nepal. As they will treat and value you as a family member. They can even so help you regarding how to discover the neighbourhood, advice on travels and offer you warmth in times of homesickness.
You should not expect luxury on your stay in Nepal. Nepal is a developing country and may well be different from what you are used to at home. However, you will have your own room unless requested otherwise, and the rooms are always clean and comfortable. The quality of toilet and washing facilities vary significantly between placements. If you are based in Kathmandu you may find you have a hot shower and a Western style toilet in your homestay. However, if you are in a rural placement then it is more likely that you will have a traditional squat toilet and a cold shower. If you feel like having a hot shower and flushing toilet is a priority then make this clear when you are applying and we will see if it is possible to find you one of our better equipped host families.
The electricity supply in all areas is limited. Due to nationwide electricity shortages the government imposes power cuts of around 12-14 hours a day. In the cities some houses have backup batteries that will run low power bulbs in key rooms, but in the rural areas you can expect to use candles. A head-torch is a very useful thing to bring.
On placement you will usually eat with the family and share the same food as them. At least two meals a day are provided for you while volunteering. The usual meal times are between 9 and 10 AM and 6 and 8 PM. You will usually be served the national staple of Dal Bhat Tarkari which is a tasty and filling plate of rice, vegetable curry, lentils and pickles. It may occasionally have meat such as chicken or mutton in it, although if you are vegetarian this can easily be explained. This may be supplemented occasionally by noodles, eggs and other snacks dependent on your host family and placement
Your hosts family will provide you with clean drinking water on your placement.
The Teaching English at Monastery Volunteering Placement Is Available At The Following Beautiful Places:
The Kathmandu Valley lies at the crossroads of ancient civilizations of Asia, and has at least 130 important monuments, including several places of pilgrimage for the Hindus and Buddhists. The cities of Kathmandu, Patan, Bhaktapur, Kirtipur and Chobhar are located in this valley, and each displays excellent examples of Newar art and architecture. The valley is the cultural and political hub of Nepal, but this melting pot of traditions and different Nepali >>>>
Himalayan Region:(Mt. Everest)
Salleri and Garma, Solukhumbu
Salleri is a small Himalayan town that serves as the headquarters of Solukhumbu District. It is everything you would imagine from the Everest mountain region: beautiful landscape; hillsides dotted with villages, a lively weekend bazaar, a Tibetan refugee camp, and many spectacular Buddhist monasteries. Recently road has been connected with Salleri and regular jeep service operates from Kathmandu. The duration of Jeep drive is about 10 hours.>>>>
Why pay for volunteering?
You probably asked yourself on occasion. Why pay for volunteering? After all…you’re offering your services free of charge… and on top of that you have to pay? How ridiculous is that?? The question one should ask though is: “what is it I’m paying for?” In the following points, we will shed light on this question, and hopefully will have answered any misconceptions many people have on volunteering. As a potential intern/volunteer you need to understand that below is a list of reasons why a program fee is required.
Note: In some cases, you may work directly for the organization in need of volunteers and there may be volunteering program with little fee. These organizations may be local or international, and their process for applying generally differs from our organization as it will be more tailored to their requirements and needs and less so on those of the volunteers. But, be aware that they usually are unable or unwilling to provide above mentioned logistics and support like arranging housing, orientation, sight -seeing, language classes, visa Assistance, 24/7 support and social and Cultural activities etc.