Frequently Asked Questions

When are applications due?

Applications are processed on an on-going and individual basis. Some applicants plan months or years in advance for their travels, while others are eager to arrive as soon as possible. In any case, we are ready to supply you with all of the information you need to know about this important decision and will respond promptly to any questions you have.

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When will I choose my placement?

You might have some preferences after reading our descriptions through correspondence with our Communications Director, however we feel that it is best to wait until you are well into the orientation before making any final choices. Sometimes you will meet another volunteer who you would like to be placed with, and that alone may change your thinking. Other times special holidays cause a disruption in plans when schools or other placement facilities are unexpectedly closed.  Your preference for "In the Valley" or "Out of the Valley" may change after you've had your initial introduction to Nepal.  Once you have decided on a program, all the specifics of that program will be explained to you by one of our Volunteer Coordinators.

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Are there set start dates for volunteering?

We do not have any specific start dates; volunteers are welcome to join us 365 days of the year. Some of our placements do have season specific restrictions (for example, some of those in the high mountains are closed during mid-winter), but we will let you know before you come which are available, and find a placement ideally suited to your talents and preferences.

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How is the weather?

This is dependent upon when and where you are in Nepal. There is a monsoon season that runs roughly from June through September throughout the country. A few rare rains may fall in early October, but by and large that is the start of the dry season. October is one of the best months of the year, with deep blue skies and cooler days and nights.

In Kathmandu the mercury in the summer can soar to 30°C or 86°F, in the valley to 40°C or 104°F in lower elevations. In the winter, daytime temperatures can still reach 20°C or 68°F, but temperatures fall to freezing after nightfall.

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Can I extend my stay after I arrive?

Yes, you are free to extend your length of stay with us at any point. Just let our staff know that you would like to stay longer, and pay the difference in program fees. You’ll also be responsible for extending your visa if necessary.

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Are there opportunities for trekking or exploring the country?

Nepal is known for its incredibly beautiful natural scenery, and many of our volunteers choose to go on a trek of some kind during their time here. We can connect you with a great trekking company to help you find these opportunities. Trekking, rafting, climbing, and other adventures are a great way to see and explore Nepal.

We can also safely store any bags and luggage for you at our volunteer house during the time you are away on your trek.

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What immunizations are needed for Nepal?

Please check with your local travel health departments for the most current information available. The World Health Organization also posts helpful information on their website.  The general list is as follows, though some of these are area-specific because of Nepal's numerous climate zones:

Hepatitis A and B
Yellow fever
Japanese Encephalitis(JE)

Some of these are placement-specific and seasonal, so again refer to your health professional for guidance. Kathmandu is not an at-risk zone for Malaria or JE, although some of the areas to the south of the city are. Doctors often recommend being vaccinated for chicken pox as well if you plan on working with children.

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What medicines are available in Nepal?

Most larger towns have a pharmacist — essentially a minimally trained professional who dispenses both diagnosis and treatment plans—so “buyer beware.” If you know how to self-medicate for simple ailments, you will find most of the proper medicines available. There is also a western-style hospital located in Kathmandu not far from our Volunteer House, in case of emergency or serious illness.

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Can I get university funding or school credit for volunteering?

Depending on your school, class credit or funding may be available to you for your time at Volunteer Nepal. This will need to be set up in advance so that expectations and requirements are clear and that proper documentation can be shared, but we are happy to help. Consult with your university’s study abroad or international service office, and have them contact us directly.

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Why do I have to pay to volunteer?

Your program fee covers your travel to and from the airport, meals, accommodations, orientation and initial sightseeing upon arrival, transportation (and staff accompaniment) to and from your placement, remuneration for your host family and placement site, and staff support.

Identifying reliable and effective NGO’s for volunteer placements in Nepal takes time, resources and an experienced and committed staff. Most NGO’s cannot afford to recruit, support, and manage volunteers, so they rely on volunteer organizations like Volunteer Nepal to do this. We explore new partnerships through careful research and personal contact and, once a placement is established, we continually monitor to ensure there will be benefits for the NGO as well as a meaningful experience for our volunteers. 

The remaining portion of your program fee, on average about 40%, goes directly to supporting Nepal Orphans Home, our parent charity, and its outreach programs.

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Is there anything I can bring for the NOH children or for my placement?

Generally our advice is not to weigh yourself down while traveling. If you notice anything needed by the children or the community you’re working with, it can usually be purchased locally for a much cheaper price — which also has the advantage of supporting local Nepali shops. The Volunteer Nepal staff can assist you in finding and purchasing small gifts for your host family.

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How safe is Nepal?

As it is with developing countries going through the birthing pains of democracy, there is a prevailing uncertainty in the politics of Nepal, best illustrated by occasional street protests. However, the Hindu culture lives by the deeply ingrained philosophy that “guest is God,” and our volunteers are treated with very humbling respect and kindness. The gentle smiles of the Nepalese people touch one’s soul deeply with the most pleasant sensation. The Volunteer Nepal staff and volunteers have become like family, being welcomed home at all our placements.

This said, things can and do change very quickly in Nepal. Once you have applied, we promise to keep you abreast of the safety issues as your time approaches. Your experience while in Nepal is paramount to our success, and we are dedicated to making it meaningful, successful, and safe.

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If you have a question that was not covered here please contact us. We will respond within 24 hours.

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