I chose Work The World for several reasons while researching volunteer opportunities abroad. For example, the well designed website, highlighting the plethora of volunteer fields and huge list of volunteer locations; or the ability to pick the dates you wish to volunteer and having the Work the World staff inform you of availability at certain locations. The Work the World house was also a huge plus, sharing a residence with other healthcare volunteers in a comfortable environment and not being crammed into some local’s house with a dozen other volunteers, like some other volunteer organizations have you do, was awesome. Add in the 24/7 assistance from both the main and local offices, and choosing Work the World seemed like a no-brainer.
The assistance from Work the World was amazing. Before the trip I was in constant contact with the head office, ensuring I had all the proper information and travel details completed. The phone calls between the various staff members and I also ensured I was well informed of everything from the cultural differences to the hospital expectations and dress code, allowing me to be more than prepared for my volunteer opportunity.
Arriving in Kathmandu was more than hectic, thankfully the Work the World Program Manager was there to pick me up at the airport and escort me through the chaos, and safely to the house. After making it safely to the house, we were given a house orientation, talking about everything from the load shedding hours, to what time breakfast and dinner were served, and even the location of fire extinguishers. Thankfully, we never needed the last one. We then had a city orientation. We went to exchange currencies, got a local phone and number to make keeping in contact easier, and then on to the Garden of Dreams, a beautiful oasis located right beside the madness of Thamel.
After lounging around and having tea, we continued to Thamel, passing through various shops and stalls before having a lunch of “momos” at this great restaurant. We then continued on through Thamel, getting various travel adapters and other essential supplies that no one brought, thankfully the program manager was there to show us how to haggle with the business owners. We ended the city orientation across from Durbar Square, a beautiful city landmark, before hopping on a microbus with about a dozen other people and heading home.
The Work the World house was fantastic. It was way bigger than I expected, with an unbelievable view of the city from the roof. Not to mention there were about 4 different terraces that offered a peaceful place to relax outside and enjoy the sights and sounds of the city.
Even though load shedding was a common occurrence, the Program Manager ensured that we had constant Wi-Fi, making those “dark” hours breeze right on by. The staff at the house were unbelievable as well. Both security guards were always right by the gate, keeping us secure, as well as making sure we got back inside the house after late nights out on the town. The housekeeper was outstanding; she was seriously like a cleaning ninja, mopping rooms, making beds and changing sheets, and picking up trash without making any noise except for a “Namaste, sir”. The cook was also amazing, continuously making excellent food every morning and night. He would cook everything from traditional Nepalese dishes to lasagne; on top of that he was always willing to help us practice our Nepali, which I’ll gladly admit was not the best.
there were always various presentations... offering a chance to learn both in the clinical and classroom setting
Everyone in the Radiology department was also great. From the professors to the students to the technologists, everyone was always extremely friendly and willing to help explain the procedures, as well as help me communicate with the patients. They also spoke English, which made things much easier. Whenever I got tired of watching exams and attempting to speak Nepali with patients, there were always various presentations from everyone from 1st year students to Doctoral candidates, these were also in English, offering a chance to learn both in the clinical and classroom setting. I’ll miss everyone I worked within the hospital dearly. My last day there, I brought traditional Nepalese sweets for teacher appreciation day, which was greatly appreciated, and made the pictures I took with the students and staff that much more memorable.
I had several great experiences during my time in Nepal. Aside from the unique cases I was able to see during my time at the hospital, I was also able to get out of the city of Kathmandu and experience what else Nepal had to offer during the weekends. From paragliding in the Himalayas in Pokhara, to going on an Elephant Safari in Chitwan, to even bungee jumping and mountain biking to the Tibetan border at Last Resort, there’s a ton of activities for everyone during your time during the weekends.
For anyone interested in booking a volunteer trip to Kathmandu, I would highly recommend it. The Program Manager is always there to ensure everything at the house and hospital are in order and to your liking, no matter how small the issue. He also has great recommendations for weekend trips and places to see during the weekends. The hospital is great, plus they see such an extraordinary number of patients, ensuring you’ll see some interesting cases. Not to mention Nepal is an outdoors mecca, with a huge number of UNESCO World Heritage sites, ensuring you’ll have plenty to see and do both inside and outside of the hospital.