Volunteer Opportunity: VSN In Nepal
One of the TEFL Logue’s New Year’s Resolutions is to include profiles of organizations through which already qualified or potential future EFL teachers can volunteer. Volunteer Society Nepal, which I found on Idealist.org, will be first. Of course I will make an effort to avoid selecting organizations to profile which I get a bad feeling about, but please keep in mind that while I have the insight of an EFL teacher and some experience volunteering internationally, I know no more about this organization (nor the other ones I will profile) than what is stated on the website. Let the TEFL Logue be your starting point, and if you’re interested, take the time and make the effort to fully investigate any opportunity before you sign up.
VSN matches volunteers from a variety of countries to different projects in Nepal – teaching English, teaching at a school for deaf children, women’s issues, and construction, to name just a few.
The non-profit organization was founded in 2002 by a team of development workers, including both foreign and local volunteers and VSN continues to involve both international and local volunteers in projects, providing training and giving volunteers valuable work experience in a developing country.
To look specifically at one program – the teaching in schools project – volunteers who have a good command of English and enthusiasm receive basic TEFL training and observe a local teacher until they feel comfortable supporting the teacher and eventually leading the class. Students range from 5 to 16 years old and volunteers are useful because Nepali schools are often underfunded and some local English teachers have only a basic knowledge of English – so English-speaking (not necessarily native English speaking) volunteers give school children a chance to utilize the language. It’s not all fun and games though: classes can have up to 50 students.
Volunteers do play a placement fee upon arrival (not before), which VSN details here, and receive both training in the area they work in and Nepali language training, plus accomodation with a local family which you can read about here. Be on the lookout for a TEFL Logue post on the topic Why Should I Pay To Volunteer? in the near future.