Rebecca Wu - 2013 Program Participant
What inspired you to volunteer abroad?
I was 18 at that time and suffered the most difficult period in my life. I just want to change an environment and get out of my comfort zone. Try to be positive, giving something back to the community, experiencing different cultures and meeting new people. You will never know who will inspire you and change your life!
Why did you choose IVHQ?
I choose IVHQ because it is a well-organised organization which I can trust. It is highly affordable even for students. Their services are comprehensive and amazing before, during, or even after your programme. Also, IVHQ has a large variety of projects which you can choose from.
What was your favorite part about Kathmandu?
The favorite parts of Kathmandu are definitely the rich culture, friendly people, and low budget!
What surprised you most about Nepal?
Being one of the poorest countries in this world, Nepal is also standing on the top in terms of national happiness, which surprised me most and made me reconsider the relationship between income and happiness.
What makes volunteering in Nepal special?
I would say the culture and the children! Nepal is one of the poorest countries in this world, which made my stay tough. However, the culture is so unique and so different from where I am from. Everything is beyond your expectation, which is great. Additionally, the host family and the children I have worked with made me feel at home. I miss them a lot!
How did local staff support you throughout your program?
They picked me up from the airport, carried my heavy luggage, settled me down in a comfortable guest hostel before I arrived at Children's Home (the orphanage I worked with). They also provide interesting orientation for international volunteers; it includes cultural and language introduction, group exercising, and exploring the local area. Generally, the local staff supported me through the whole journey and they are really kind.
What's one thing you wish you would have done differently?
I wish I could stay there longer, sharing more of my life experiences and knowledge to the children.
What was a typical day like for you as a volunteer in Nepal?
In the morning, I got up, woke the children up and got them dressed up. My host family would provide breakfast for me and I had breakfast with the family members and the lovely children. Then I sent some of the children to the local special school. Some of the children are disabled and have a wheelchair. I took care of them, played games with them, and taught them English and maths during the day. At night I sent them to sleep.
What was your favorite thing to do outside of your placement?
My favorite is explore the city, and even the country. My host family would recommend really traditional things to do, which was great!
What was it like living with a host family?
I loved it. I love staying with locals, having real conversations which you can gain insight of the language, culture, and the community. You really get to know more about how people live in the area.
Me with the lovely kids when I volunteered in Nepal
How difficult was it to communicate with locals?
It was not difficult to communicate with locals compared to what I expected before I actually arrived at Kathmandu. On the street, everyone I met would smile to me and said “Namaste,” or hello in Nepali. The local coordinator is really friendly and taught me some basic Nepali, which made everything much easier.
What was the hardest part about volunteering abroad?
The hardest part for me is that it was my first time going abroad and there were so many uncertainties I could not foresee. Additionally, knowing that Nepal is living below the line made me even more worried about my project in Kathmandu.
What is one thing you wish you would have known before volunteering abroad?
I wish I would have known more about the local orphanage I worked with and the children before I volunteered abroad, so I can know what to prepare and make the most of my time there.
How has volunteering abroad in Nepal changed who you are?
It made me become more positive and proactive towards my own life. I always want to give something back after that programme with IVHQ. I want to travel and explore the world.
I have found my passion and know what I want to do with my own life.
What do you feel the biggest benefit of volunteering abroad is?
I know it sounds like cliche, but I would say it again. The biggest benefit of volunteering abroad is to jump out of your comfort zone, embrace challenges and uncertainties, meet new people, try to understand the diversity and new cultures. Also, it will unknowingly change the way you see this world and see yourself.
If you could volunteer abroad again, where would you go?
I would go to Nepal again, and other countries such as Cambodia and Vietnam.
Would you recommend IVHQ to others?
I would highly recommend IVHQ to others. It is highly affordable and their great work makes you feel comfortable and confident throughout your whole projects. Just give it a go and you will not regret!