To an outsider, Pokhara might seem like paradise. It is nestled pristinely in Pokhara Valley on the banks of Lake Phewa, overshadowed by the mighty snowcapped peaks of the Himalayas. There is a large expat population at any given time, since the city is a popular launching point for treks, and it is one of the least expensive cities in the world to live in to boot. Learning from foreign teachers can be a great opportunity for locals, and teaching abroad in Pokhara will likely turn out to be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life.
Teaching Jobs in Pokhara
Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world and, especially after the recent earthquakes, education can go a long way in helping locals lighten the burden of poverty. Teaching English in Pokhara is the most common form of placement, as learning English is becoming a necessary skill in today’s globalizing job market. Knowing how to speak English can open up a whole world of professional opportunities for Nepalese students, so it English skills are highly valued.
Usually foreign teachers who teach English in Pokhara will have a classroom assistant to help them communicate, so knowing Nepali is not a requirement to teach abroad in Pokhara. That being said, picking up as much of the local language as you can will demonstrate to students that you are making an effort, just like them. You will find quickly during any teaching job in Pokhara that the learning goes both ways, you may learn just as much from your students as they learn from you.
Some teaching jobs in Pokhara require that teachers to be TEFL certified, while others are more lax with specific teaching requirements. If you do not want to teach English in Pokhara, then it is also possible to teach other subjects, such as math and science. Teaching jobs in Pokhara tend to last for one or two years, and are offered inside the city as well as in nearby rural villages.
Life in Pokhara
For those not accustomed to life in a developing country, adapting to life as a teacher in Pokhara will come with its fair share of culture shock. Beginning with the bumpy seven hour bus ride from Kathmandu, you will quickly realize that Nepal’s infrastructure is still in the early stages of development and the tolls of the earthquakes in April and May 2015 are still freshly apparent. This means that certain luxuries will not always be available; Wi-Fi, air conditioning, and electricity can sometimes be offered, but is usually on the fritz in Pokhara. Although, because it is a big city, your basic necessities will always be taken care of.
Soon too, you will realize that a simpler life is often a happier life. Free from distraction and the pressure of always being connected, teaching in Pokhara can be a welcome break from the fast paced life of the industrialized world. This is one of the most valuable lessons one can take away from life in Nepal: letting go, appreciating the beauty of where you are, and enjoying the company of those around you.
Nature lovers will also find living and teaching abroad in Pokhara to be a revelation. You will be within short distance of three of the highest mountains of the world, and the trekking in Pokhara is world renowned, although not as advised since the earthquakes. Kayaking, paragliding, boating, these are all easily accessible activities for anyone teaching abroad in Pokhara!
Salary & Costs
You can find both paid and unpaid/volunteer teaching jobs in Pokhara, depending on your qualifications and the type of placement you choose. In either case, the good news is that living in Pokhara is extremely affordable for foreigners from most developed nations. Food and transportation will rarely cost you more than a couple of dollars at a time, giving you the opportunity to save big, if you decide to teach abroad in Pokhara in a paid position, and not spend too much.
Accommodation & Visas
Foreign teachers who teach in Pokhara usually live in homestays or in their own apartments. Real estate is very affordable, but often teachers will still choose to live with roommates or a host family for the cultural and social experience both options offer. Do not anticipate your accommodations to be overly luxurious, but you can expect to live comfortably while teaching in Pokhara.
Nepal’s visa policy is very lax. Usually you can obtain the proper visa you will need upon arrival, then renew if you need to in country. Just make sure to consult with your employer or placement provider about the costs of visas so you can bring enough cash to the airport to pay for your entry.
Benefits & Challenges
Get Away. There is hardly a better place to escape from stress than high up in the Himalayas. Wherever you are at in your career, taking a break to breath the fresh air of Nepal and choosing to teach abroad in Pokhara will be extremely reinvigorating.
Teach and Learn. Since many Nepalese lack access to a solid education, local students can benefit a lot from the efforts of foreign teachers to instruct any subject. At the same time, teachers will learn incredible life lessons from their pupils in return!
Natural Beauty. Rolling green mountains, clear lakes, snowcapped peaks in the distance, this is the scene you will wake up to every morning while teaching abroad in Pokhara; although it may be a city, nature is never too far away.