RCDP Nepal

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9.2 / 10 after 221 Reviews Based on overall, support & value average ratings
Program website: http://www.rcdpnepal.org/

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I chose RCDP and i`m very happy about my choice. I was teaching English to budhist monks in a monastery in Chitwan, and these were my best weeks.
First week when i arrived i had a language lesson week with 6 other volunteers. We learned some nepalese, and did sightseeing. We stayed in a hostel, and had 3 meals in a day. I liked food very much. It was very fun to be together with other people like me, and after that one week we went to our different projects, but still we kept in touch.
My volunteering weeks were so great. My host family was very nice and friendly. Such amazing people. I had a class two times a day. In the morning and after lunch. In my first week i was teaching together with american volunteer, and in my second week i was with swedish volunteer. So it was very great. I lived in a country side, so it was very calm, but it was possible to manage something and i went to nearby places also. People in Chitwan were very friendly and always smiling. It was really amazing. Also RCDP coordinators are very nice, you can always call them and they will do everything for you, so you`re never alone. All in all i have only good things to say about my experience, and i really recomend this program to everyone.

Program:
Location:
Posted: September 29, 2012
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
By: Margarita
Age:
20

i came to nepal with RCDP Nepal, and was supposed to stay for 8 weeks. the first week we had an " orientation" week with language classes and some sightseeing. thye language classes has been very nice and i learned some usefull phrases, our teacher was very kind and in the end he became nearly a friend for us. during the sightseeing i missed some explanations and actually I thought that they would prepare us more intensively for the next weeks of volunteering and living in a hostfamiliy.. before we came into our hostfamilies we had 3 days in chitwan ( souyh of nepal) where the chtwan nationalpark is. that have been 3 amazing days, we did rafting, elephant riding, elephant bathing, a jungle walk and canoeing. we stayed at a very nice lodge during these days. after those great days we went to our hostfamilies for the next two weeks( in rampour, chitwan). my hostfamily was very nice, but it was hard to talk to them because their english was not very good. but i had my own room and the food was tasty. i had to work in the orphanage, although i was there for teaching. but in nepal it is normal that the plans are changing every minute. the work with the kids was ok, although there was not so much to do, you always have to look for some work, so sometimes I just cleaned the kitchen to have something to do. it was the first time, when i got sick in nepal, but i was very lucky, because i had a great coordinator in chitwan, who brought me to the hospital and helped me with the paperwork. during our stay in chitwan we went to some other places, which was no problem. so we were able to do things on our own. the only thing that bothers me here, is that you not have a concrete idea, where the money goes, that you had paid for the program. you know that a little part of it goes to the hostfamily and another part to the orphanage or other social institution. but nobody informs you about the exact numbers. all in all it was a nice experience to live in a nepali family. while i was sick, they took good care of me. after this we did the annapurna base camp trek, which was really nice, RCDP organized evrything for us( 2 porters for our lugage and a guide) we had a great time and the porters and the guide were very nice and experienced. unfortunately we had to pay extra for the food and the lodges were not so good and we had to pay extra to take a shower. after the trek we stayed two more days in pokhara ( city in the west of kathmandu) and we had a nice lodge there. i have to mention that the organisation always cared about our transportation from one place to another( even picking up at the airport), that was very nice and comfortable for us. after this i spend one more week at a new hostfamily which was also very nice ( and even was able to speak english!). when i was there i was finally teaching. i waas teaching littlew munks near the monkey temple in kathmandu. it was a very nice experience and they reallt wanted to learn something so it was a pleasure to teach them. when i was in this hostfamily i was sick again, but my hostfather did everything that i felt comfortable, so this was a great week. the hostel in kalanki, where the voluntairs are staying, during their projekts is ok, it is kind of dirty but the food is good. in generell the staff at RCDP was very nice and always wanted to help when you had a problem or any question. above this i felt good with this organisation, i just have to note that it is sad, that we dont know exactly where the money is going to.

Program:
Location:
Posted: September 7, 2012
Overall:
7
Support:
10
Value:
7
By: doerthe
Age:
19

I chose to volunteer through RCDP Nepal initially because it was one of the least expensive options on the market. My experiences with their program, however, have proved that RCDP is much more than just a lower price - it's a wonderful organization that's truly interested in providing volunteers with a meaningful experience among caring staff in a safe environment.

I volunteered at an orphanage called Sahara International Nepal in Budhanilkantha, a village north of Kathmandu, Nepal. From the moment I arrived at the project - well, even before then, when I was picked up from the airport and transported to a volunteer hostel - I felt at home. Every staff member I spoke with was warm and welcoming. Hom Ojha, the country coordinator for RCDP, was exceptionally kind and willing to work with me when negotiating the price of my volunteering project. During my stay in the orphanage, Saman Adhikari, the field coordinator, stopped by numerous times to check on the volunteers and make sure we were doing alright. At any time I knew that I could contact a number of people from the program if I had any questions or concerns.

If I find myself in Nepal again, I'll definitely be sure to seek them out. I had the best experience during my stay here, and I've made some friends that I'll certainly never forget.

Program:
Location:
Posted: September 3, 2012
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
By: Chryste
Age:
18

Hey We are Asmah and Sabrina from france. We came to volunteer 2 weeks here in Sri Lanka. Our program was to work at the orphanage.
Fistr at all we arrived 2 weeks ago and we took the bus from the airport and then the train instead of having the pick up. its so much cheaper to take the train for like only 1euros. Anyway people here are very nice they help when you need help and they are very welcoming.the host family is fantactic. They are very nice people who cares about you beeing well and feel confortable.
As a volunteer house everyone has to help to clean around to feel all like at your house. Michael is a very good man and his family too.
Here in Sri Lanka dont hesitate to bargain for everything even the tuk tuk ask half price and if they say no dont worry the next one will say yes.
You can bargain everything if you are on a low budget as we did then DO IT
even to go to the programm bargain for the tuk tuk lool ;)
Well it was a very good experience. If you are taking the orphanage program dont bring toys but diapers wipes rash cream and all that kind of stuff that babies need. Some have some diseases so its helpfull to bring the basic medecine for babies ( talcum powder , cream ..)
We are going on a trip for 3 days and after we will leave.
Great experience , wonderfull people.I hope I will do it again.
dont hesitate to ask question at sabrina324@msn.com

Program:
Location:
Posted: August 30, 2012
Overall:
8
Support:
8
Value:
8
By: sabi324
Age:
24

My best friend, Tim, and I decided almost a year ago that we wanted to travel abroad together for the month of August 2012. We looked at several options, and we were very interested especially in the Himalayan Mountain region and the cultural aspects of the Nepali and Sherpa people of Nepal.

Tim was deep into the research about traveling to Nepal, and specifically the Everest region, when he'd found the RCDP Volunteer Program, and asked me what I thought about joining him to teach English!

I am a music director for musical theatre productions in the USA. I've been a teacher in musical theatre based education for over 10 years, and had good classroom teaching experience, but I had never taught English abroad before. I was lucky though. Tim had good experience teaching abroad (in Japan and Spain) and was TOEFL-certified, so I (of course!) knew I was in good hands.

Once we made inquiry into the program we were interested in (teaching English in Buddhist monastery in the Himalayas), we were contacted by Hom Ojha, who is the main coordinator for RDCP in Nepal. Hom was very helpful; he has a good command of English, and we were able to communicate pretty quickly (probably every other day we could expect a reply to any query via email).

We were also able through RCDP to add on a trekking expedition to Everest Base Camp and Kala Pathar for a VERY reasonable rate (we would only be responsible for food as an outside cost). Hom was even able to work around our specific dates; we needed to stay within the month of August entirely due to our work schedule, so Hom arranged our schedule in Nepal to include our trek first and then begin our volunteer teaching work at the Himalayan monastery project (Pema Chholing Monastery above Phakding). It was official. We paid our initial application fees (which apply later to the cost of your program), and Hom finalized our schedule in email. Tim spoke to Hom maybe three times, and honestly, though I wasn't the contact person for our trip, I never felt out of the loop -- Tim always forwarded me emails from Hom, and anytime I wrote to him with any questions, he answered promptly and Hom ALWAYS offered to call us if we needed to speak to him directly. Communication was always very good with him.

We purchased our flights separately (Tim fly from London after a visit there, and I would leave from the US to meet him in Kathmandu at the end of July), and soon enough we were on our way!! We couldn't believe it; we had no idea really what to expect, but we were ready for the trip of a lifetime!

The journey began with our arrival at the Kathmandu airport. Hom's notes about people wanting tip money is correct, but DON'T EXPECT the people meeting you to help you say no to helping you with your bags...!!! Because they are locals, they may be threatened physically - it will be up to you to SAY NO to anyone not with RCDP. Be sure to ask Hom who is meeting you, and make sure you know what EXACTLY your sign will say. It's not a big airport, so it's not hard to find your representatives, but just keep everything he says in his email in mind, and know that YOU WILL NEED TO BE IN CHARGE there, which can be difficult sometimes (especially if like me, you have never been outside of Western cultures). Also, almost every volunteer we've met here says this same exact thing after they arrive. Be airport savvy. ;-)

After we met our two representatives, we were driven to the hostel in Kalanki, which was a transition hostel: people coming to and from projects, arriving or departing from the airport, switching programs for one reason or another, etc. In general, a very flexible situation overall here in Nepal. We didn't need to make changes, and most of our time was spent in the mountains, but I do feel if a program doesn't fit you like you thought, RCDP (and especially Hom) will work to try to find a better fit for you. Keep in mind your health (for example: the heat in Chitwan wasn't a good fit for a British volunteer friend who was teaching English there) always, and know that there are a lot of different ways to help here in Nepal.

The hostel in Kalanki is pretty bustling, but the food (made by our host and resident cook, Porcas) is delicious and healthy, and there is always fresh, safe water available in bottles on the first and second floors. There are three meals provided every day, although you are always welcome to go elsewhere anytime you like. We would always just let Porcas or Biblap (our hostel manager and the resident Nepali language teacher) know if we would miss lunch. Often hostel guests will frequent the Cosy Foodland cafe across the big street in Kalanki we're near; there is good WiFi for free there (and also banana and mango lassis that we love!). We tended to go as a group after dinner. Dinner at 7:00, and then we'd go to Cosy, but always be back before gates locked at 8:30. It just keeps everyone safe (from drinking too much or staying out too late and not knowing the way back), honestly -- a good rule.

We stayed in Kathmandu two days before taking our (amazing!!!) flight to Lukla (more on that in a minute). We planned a few days on either end of our trip to spend in Kathmandu, which I suggest if you plan a trip to the Everest region. We saw Swayambhu Temple (the monkey temple) and got to visit Thamel and take in some good thali set (delicious!) and momo before our trekking. We also got to chat with some of the other volunteers before making our own adventures, which was really helpful -- someone may be doing the same program and have good, recent feedback and insight for you. (We were able to share some of our experiences at the end of our program with the next volunteers to go there -- also incredibly helpful to our brand new -- 2012 start -- teaching project!)

We met with Hom in person at the Kalanki hostel the second day we were in Kathmandu, and we made our payment (cash only -- scary but true -- but it worked, and everything happened like we planned, and honestly, no issues with any volunteers at all on the money end of things), and he arranged for our TIMS passes (for trekking) and for our flights to Lukla that day. We decided when we would fly, and one more volunteer joined us on our trek as well, which ended up being great fun, too.

Our local coordinator, Jangbu, would also serve as our guide on our trek to EBC/Kala Pathar, and that would prove to be the best asset to our journey as a whole. Our 12-day trek was filled with "lucky" clear views (Jangbu would always remind us about how lucky we were!) during off-peak season (our trek was 1 Aug to 13 Aug 2012, right at the beginning of serious monsoon season), and really wonderful experiences. I can't begin to explain any of those here. You simply need to see it all for yourself ;-) WELL WORTH THE TRIP and seriously ONCE IN A LIFETIME AMAZING.

After our trek was over, we went back to Ghat (Jangbu's home village) and we spent one night there with him and his family. Andali's cooking is exceptional, and we even learned how to make local beer (chaang) with her and Tim learned how to make homemade veggie momo. If you stay with them, convince her to let you help -- the Sherpa culture really wants their guests to rest and relax, but you really want to be sure to get your hands dirty and work with them. It's truly a wonderful, beautiful experience.

We moved to the monastery above Phakding (about an hour or so from Ghat), and were introduced to the highest teacher there, the Lopon-la by Jangbu. (This monastery is a pet project of Jangbu's. He is exceptionally involved in bringing education and resource management into the Sherpa and Buddhist culture in this region. Truly a great, loving, wonderful man. And also: a great Sherpa singer and dancer. Really. Just ask him to demonstrate!!)

Our classes would be held 1:00-2:30, concurrently, at two levels. We held the first class together, simply to gauge the level of the students, and to introduce ourselves. There was no set curriculum or book series used at this project, since it's only been about a year since its inception. We brought some materials to use ourselves (some paper and pencils, a pack of 24 Crayola crayons, Tim's lesson plans from previous teaching and some other resources on his Mac laptop), but aside from dry erase markers and a white board, and the 18 student monk's English composition writing tablets and their own pencils, there's not much else in the way of materials. We would have liked to have even seen some written notes from previous volunteers, but no one had left anything like that for us, which was really the only serious downfall of the program, I think. Tim and I left clear notes for the next volunteers, and were able to chat for a bit in person with them at the end of our project, too -- bonus -- so hopefully by the time the next volunteer comes, we'll have made an established system at least of keeping good notes on lesson plans that have been taught. (We leave Nepal this coming Thursday, and we will be sure to chat with Hom about this issue as well. Hopefully, curriculum issues will be resolved soon.)

The little monks are great students, and really anxious to learn. They are attentive, and really receptive to non-traditional teaching styles; one day, I took them outside on a mini-tour of the monastery campus, and we just had a vocab building day of naming all the things we saw -- in ENGLISH! They had a great time, and so did I, and we learned SO many new words that made perfect sense to them in their everyday lives. Games work well, too -- Tim and I made homemade memory and matching games for words and sentence structure and they asked to play almost every day!

The monastery food is humble, but plentiful, and you will never be hungry, for sure! We took daily walks and were thankful we had each other for company. There's definitely a lot of down time, but the region is so beautiful, and there are quite a few places to have good quiet peaceful meditation on the hillside, or go take incredible photos, or just be happy to hang out during a rainy day and listen to your iPod (we NEVER get down time from work, so we were very thankful for that as well). A typical day schedule: 6:30 morning meditation with the monks in the monastery, 8:00 breakfast, 9:00 student monks with Lopon-la for Tibetan class, 12:00 lunch, 1:00-2:30 English class, 3:00 tea, and 7:00 dinner. Fridays are half-holidays, so no English class then, and Saturday is the holy day, so you have a full day off. We were also honored to partake in two festival days while we were on project, so there aren't classes those days either -- but you will have your fill of meditation and milk tea and noodles and goodies for sure on those special days! ;-)

Jangbu met us on the last day of our project, and walked us back to Ghat for our last night with his family. We enjoyed our final meal and celebratory chaang with them, and we slept in a bit the next day before our final walk to Lukla to take a night's rest before our flight back to Kathmandu.

*At the time of this writing, I now have three more days to spend here in Kathmandu, and I have priceless memories to share with my good friend, Tim, for many years to come. RCDP (Hom, Biblap, and especially Jangbu during these last 4 weeks) has become a small family to us, and we are more than thankful for the experience they were able to offer us and that we were able to give back to an amazing culture and people. I highly recommend RCDP Nepal, and I hope this review is helpful to any of you considering a volunteer program with this organization.

Program:
Location:
Posted: August 26, 2012
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
By: MYanchak
Age:
31

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