September 21, 2022, by Rebekah
Global Placement Grant – Volunteering with Travelteer in Nepal
by Emily Humphries, 2nd Year, Law LLB Hons
I was given the opportunity to travel to Nepal as a part of the Global Placement Grant with the University of Nottingham, and in accepting the chance to go, I had the most incredible and worthwhile experience. As a law student, I am focused towards achieving justice and aim to create order. However, the work experience in Nepal allowed for me to see this mindset from another angle and led me to be a part of a team that made a real impact on global issues.
I was a volunteer with Travelteer, a company that allows for impactful volunteer work to be done alongside travelling within Asia. I was part of the Community Development Team, where we worked within local schools. Our aim was to assist the schools in their most needed areas, which included teaching English lessons, painting and decorating, construction, and plantation. Although the work could be difficult, especially amongst language barriers and remote locations with little resources, it was incredibly rewarding to see the children and staff of the schools benefit so much from the work we completed.
The weeks of volunteering were certainly difficult, with the days being filled with work and little free time on the evenings, but weekends were free time, and I was able to experience the beautiful Nepali culture and environment. Taking part in meditation classes, hikes to temples and eating authentic Nepalese cuisine was wonderful, but what I enjoyed the most was the beauty of the mountainous landscape and the sight of the amazing Himalayas. Something I will never forget is paragliding over the mountains and lakes of the town Pokhara, and I will always be grateful for the University for providing me with that experience.
The work experience was so worthwhile and has certainly given me a new approach to my degree. The application process is straightforward to complete and is worth completing for the incredible opportunities it can lead to. I feel like this trip has led me to become a more rounded person, with seeing examples of poverty and lack of education that make me so grateful for what I have. What I found most challenging was leaving, as I wish I could have volunteered for a good few more weeks as the work became so meaningful to me, yet I knew I had already had the best time and hopefully many other students can follow me and also have a similar experience.
Top tips for undertaking overseas placements:
- Immerse yourself into the local culture even if it is rather removed from what you are used to; it will allow you to have a more rounded experience and will help you enjoy your trip more.
- In times of great difficulty, try to appreciate what you have- with things that are not so pleasant, such as poor bathroom facilities, leech bites and monsoon weather, I learnt that I am privileged to live in a country where these things do not affect me.
- Remember to reflect how this experience is shaping both you as a person and impacting upon your learning at university; make links with things you have studied and how it relates to what you are doing.
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