Trek to Teach is a dynamic opportunity in Nepal for students looking for full immersion in their host culture and for the opportunity to work hands-on with local populations. Interns teach English and culture to students in picturesque rural Himalayan villages near Annapurna and Langtang.
The Trek to Teach internship is well-suited to a variety of backgrounds, and students are placed in a unique cross-cultural and professional environment which allows for significant personal growth. Interns experience the assemblage of music, architecture, religion, and literature that make up Nepali country and have an unbridled opportunity to learn about the country and culture with every interaction.
Trek to Teach is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that aims to help improve the education system of Himalayan Nepal. They do this by sending needed supplies and western interns to the villages nestled in the shadows of the world’s tallest mountains. The dream started in 2009 when founder Brad Hurvitz, took a break from teaching in a school in rural India to trek in Nepal. He noticed the Nepali students trekking uphill for hours to and from school and was inspired by their dedication and efforts towards education.
The students living in the Nepali Himalayas are youthful and eager to learn. The majority of their teachers are from similar villages and can provide them the information they must learn from the text books, but there is so much more to life! The stories interns share outside of the classroom and the information taught in the classroom can have an uplifting and lasting impression upon every student encountered.
Interns are greeted at the airport in Kathmandu (the capital of Nepal) and receive an orientation to the country’s culture, language, and education system. Interns then begin their trip to their village destination in the regions of Annapurna or Langtang. Interns trek one to four days to arrive at their village and this trip helps interns to fully understand and appreciate the location and its beauty.
The trek to the villages is considered to be one of the most beautiful hikes many travelers have taken. Trekkers pass through countless waterfalls and several small villages. The trail boasts views of some of the tallest mountains in the world and the sights are breathtaking in every direction. The trek is no ‘walk-in-the-park’ and can be very strenuous! At some points, paths include steep inclines for a couple of hours at a time. If hiking for hours and challenging your body and mind is invigorating, Trek to Teach encourages you to join them! Read more about Trek to Teach at their website.
Interns are placed in schools either in the Annapurna or Langtang regions of Nepal. Interns generally have many different tasks to accomplish, with teaching English being the primary task. Schools may ask for assistance with math and computer instruction as well. The intern will lead one to three English classes per day with students between the ages of 8 and 15. The first few days are typically taught in the presence of the students’ regular English teacher, and interns generally lead the classes after the first week. Teaching comes with several responsibilities, including assigning homework, grading homework, and creating and evaluating exams to measure learning. The more creative forms of teaching, the more effective and memorable the teacher will be. Teaching activities will be introduced by Trek to Teach for interns to utilize throughout the internship.
The students are eager to learn not just about language, but also about culture, literature, sports, music, and art after school. They look to their western teachers for direction with their studies and for inspiration in their lives. The students are eager to learn about the intern, and they will be interested in why a foreign teacher will be teaching in their school. Any skills the intern has to offer, will be curiously inquired about by several interested students.
Experience working as a teacher, counselor, or camp leader is preferred. Experience working in developing countries is encouraged.
Successful applicants should:
The Trek to Teach host site fee covers airport pick-up, internship-related transportation costs, in-country training and support, a guided trek to your internship site(s), room and board, and funding for your Nepali school for the purchase of textbooks and improvement of instruction and facilities. Interns are responsible for any additional costs associated with optional treks or activities (including those during school breaks).
In the villages, interns typically live in family-run guesthouses near the school village. If interested, the intern may have the opportunity to help the family farm, cook, and carry out daily duties. Western backpackers flow through the villages and guesthouses, but most do not remain in the same location for more than a few nights.
“I look back now at my time in Nepal and wish I was still there. There is a certain magic about the place and culture of the people that is indescribable. I taught five English classes a day for seven weeks in Chhomrong and trekked for a total of eleven days throughout the journey. I had the opportunity to go paragliding in the city, Pokhara, and spent my first Christmas away from home with a member of my team in the city, Kathmandu. I woke up every morning to a sunny clear view of the Annapurna Himalayan Mountains. I met people from all over the world at my guesthouse. The students I taught at school made my job exciting, fun, and challenging, in the end they stole my heart completely. I miss it so much already, in my farewell speech I said this is not a goodbye it is a see you again soon.”
-Alexa, University of Oregon
“The internship provided great benefit to me, especially in creating my interest in nonprofit work. Before the internship, I for some reason had the idea that such work would be boring, but my experience in Nepal was energizing. I never before experienced such agency to do good, to decide on the necessity of a significant project and to then accomplish it. In addition to teaching, I also spent time working on the internal structure and documentation of the organization. I was tasked with work like developing the materials the organization uses to orient new interns, revising the relationships between interns and various members of the staff, and identifying new strategies by which the organization could more effectively reach its goals. As an intern who had experienced every part of the program, I was uniquely positioned to constructively critique my organization, and through regular contact with other members of the organization I ensured that my advice was specific, reasonable, agreeable, and achievable. I found myself able to use my skills in writing to effective, important ends, and to accumulate a body of experience and finished work using those skills.”
– Adrian, University of Oregon
“My professional goals were to experience a different view of school and education, make a difference in the way English is taught, and gain teaching experience. Things at work have been going well there was a break for a festival so I will be getting back in the grove of things this week. So far my experience has completely aligned with my professional goals. Nepal’s education system is completely different than the US. The resources here are limiting. Teachers have the textbooks and that’s about it, aside from the computer lab that is used on occasion but I haven’t had the chance to shadow a class in the lab and see what they do with the computers. As far as “making a difference” which is a fairly broad goal, I feel that I have sparked new ideas for the teachers and it’s awesome to see them trying to use the techniques that I show them.”
-Ashley, University of Oregon
“I took this opportunity abroad to say to myself ‘forget it’ and threw my introverted personality out the window because I knew I was only going to be in my village for a short amount of time. I took the opportunity to spend as much time with my host family in the kitchen (where they all worked and talked) to learn more about Gurung (the dominant local ethnic group in the region) and Nepali culture, language, and food. They enjoyed the extra company and they liked the fact that I was capable of helping out as well. As a result I learned quite a bit of Nepali language and how to cook delicious meals.”
– Fatihah, University of Washington
“The two personality traits I’ve learned and discovered most about myself is that I am more bold and spontaneous than I thought. I use to very be organized and had to have everything planned out. I am the total opposite in Nepal. The U.S. Tony would be stressed and not happy with how I am living. I’ve changed because of my teachings in Kathmandu and Ghandruk. I am bold in the sense that I am confident with my teachings and start conversations with trekkers and tourists daily. Nepal has made me more fun and appreciative of my life. I couldn’t be happier with who I am and what I’ve done. Nepal has been a great and fun experience for me.”
– Anthony, Oregon State University
“I am a Family and Human services major so my coursework prepared me very well for my internship in Nepal. We cover a lot of information on how to be culturally aware and culturally diverse in a lot of my classes so that really helped me a lot. But we also cover a lot dealing with how different styles of learning can affect students. I used that knowledge every single day in the classroom. I have also been fortunate enough to be able to walk to class with my students every day and that is when I don’t have to have my teacher hat on. I can have my friend or my traveler hat on. My students hold my hand on the way to class every day and it is amazing.”
– Darian, University of Oregon
Summer: January 25
Fall: April 15
Winter: September 1
Spring: November 15
- Interns from all academic backgrounds are eligible
- Experience or interest in education, teaching English, and working with children is strongly preferred
- High degree of flexibility and cross-cultural sensitivity is required