If one thing makes VHS special, then it is the international and open minded working environment. We believe that that is the unique spirit of VHS which makes it a life time experience to be engaged in VHS.
In our philosophy volunteering and internships are a relationship of mutual learning. Staying for a few months abroad, getting engaged in a project and immersing into a different culture is learning experience for young and old same.
For more than 3 years VHS has already been hosting over 90 volunteers and interns from 8 different countries, so that we have also learned a lot about what is needed and at the end of the page/document you find the different forms of engagement. Before this, the next lines should provide you with most of the information you might need in case you are interested in joining the VHS family one day soon.
Accommodation and cost of living
VHS takes care of your accommodation during your stay. We have various kinds of options for you, which range from Rs. 12000 - Rs 20000 (€ 110 - € 170) per month. In most of the cases the costs will be borne by you but VHS will take care of the logistics (for more information on the cost of accommodation, see the different forms of engagement below). Basically you can choose between living in a shared house along with other volunteers and interns or staying in a guest family.
Staying on your own gives you more freedom (as you might be used to it from Europe). You will have your own room and share your bathroom with a second person. In the 4th floor you find a fully equipped common kitchen, a terrace and a washing machine. A room costs in year 2017 per month Rs. 12000 (€ 110) if you live alone in it and Rs. 8000 (€ 80) if you share it with somebody.
The other option is to stay with a guest family, which is of course a unique experience. Normally we only accommodate 1 – 2 persons at once in a family so that you will be fully integrated into their family life. You will be part of any kind of festivals going on and have the possibility to learn about Nepali kitchen from your guest mother. As you will be provided food as well in a family, the costs are a little bit higher and it is € 150.
In the morning VHS will provide you with some small breakfast and tea, as our first classes already starts at 7. Badri - our cook - is preparing lunch every working day in VHS. Most of the time he makes excellent (vegetarian) Daal Bhaat with seasonal vegetables, even if he recently learned also a good recipe for spaghetti with tomato sauce. Beiseite von diesem Essen im VHS sollten Sie ungefähr € 60-100 für das Essen schätzen, wenn Sie planen, durch sich zu kochen und bei lokalem Essen, Saisonfrüchten und Gemüsepflanzen zu bleiben Typical western items like cheese, wine, sour cream, brown bread and other food items have higher prices and will raise your budget accordingly.
Eating outside is also cheap if you know the right spot (and we can show them to you). You can find a plate of fried rice or fried noodles for € 0.60 and a cup of tea with a small snack for € 0.30. If you prefer some western food such as pasta and bread from time to time for a change, it might get a little more expensive but still cheaper than in Europe.
Normally, you do not need local transportation while you are in Bhaktapur and VHS. But you need to ride on a bus, if you plan to take a tour to Kathmandu, which usually costs around € 0.20. If you plan to make a trip to Pokhara by bus from Kathmandu then calculate approx. € 4.00 - € 7.00 in minimum.
To summarize, if you live an average life here, you can manage your expenses around € 150 per month and you may have to spend more than € 250 if you want a nice, cozy and luxurious life with finding yourself and having a good time.
Do I have to pay?
Yes, VHS itself is a German name but it’s also a self-running organization which does not have an international parent organization. This basically means that we are urged to cover all our costs from the student fees and other services and products we have and we try our best to keep them at a reasonable price.
That’s why we charge a fee from every volunteer coming. We use this money for picking you up at the airport, throwing a welcome dinner for you, giving you a cultural introduction seminar of 2 days, showing you around the city, organizing a SIM-card for your and teaching you basic Nepali language that you can bargain in the market as well as to cover direct costs we have related to you like food and tea. This fee also ensures that there is always somebody there to help you in all kind of small and big challenges you face here in Nepal: helping you in your travels, joining you to the hospital, when you are sick, helping you find a motorbike you can rent and so on.
If there is still some money left at the end of your time here, we see the rest of it as a contribution to VHS, which helps us to cross finance various educational and social activities, (http://www.vhsbhaktapur.org/nepalhilfe/en/) which would not be possible otherwise.
I’m working there: why don’t I get paid?
Firstly, we believe that we should first create local employment opportunities to help our locals enhance their livings (an average local salary starts at € 50 for basic jobs up to € 180 for more experienced professionals). As self financed organization we have limited financial resources so that we want to first provide salaries to all the Nepali involved in VHS before we think about paying salaries to somebody abroad. As we acknowledge that some special guest bring such an added value to VHS, we have allocated one long time position for which we can take over the cost of accommodation.
Secondly we believe in the philosophy, that you get paid in form of priceless experience. Volunteering should be seen as a learning situation in which you can grow yourself. Through being part of the VHS family and contributing to our activities, you get a very different exposure to this country as you would ever have it just traveling through this country. From a monetary point of view, there might be from time to time a surplus on our side and sometimes on the side of the volunteer/intern. But as learning cannot be negative, we believe in this philosophy of both sides are having a surplus in the end.
Last but not least, especially for students, who might not have the financial pillow to cover their living costs there are . Contact your university for more information about scholarship which is applicable to you.
Types of engagement
For foreigners coming to VHS we differentiate based on the duration on the one hand and based on the qualification somebody brings on the other hand.
… will stay less than 4 months*
… will stay more than 4 months.
….. brings no special qualification
Short time volunteer
Long time volunteer
.… brings special qualification
Long time interns & special Visitors
* The duration taking into consideration is referring to the real working time in VHS. 4 months of internship include 10 day of holiday, each further month 2.5 more days. Any further absence will be deducted while calculating your involvement (i.e. If you stay for exactly 4 months in Nepal and go for 20 days hiking, you will be considered as short time volunteer / guest trainer ). Also note please that every year is closed in October and November VHS because of the local celebration Tihar and Dashain for approximate 3 weeks. If you join us during this time your stay automatically have a leave of around 3 weeks.
** Each person’s talents are special and valuable. Nevertheless; even if we love to welcome everybody in VHS, we are especially looking for people with the following qualifications, whom we consider then to bring a special qualification:
- Persons with a DaF (Deutsch als Fremdsprache)-education and/or experience
- Persons with Ösd Examiners Liscense
- Trainers and counselors, who can run trainings interesting and requested by Nepalis
(i.e. project management, presentation skills, office management, etc.)
- Educators with an experience in career and job counseling for youth.
- IT-experts (software-developer, hardware, network-technicians)
Designer and media persons (especially video editing)
After two and a half months which I spent at VHS, I have only words of thanks and appreciation for the whole VHS-team. I fully enjoyed my work as a German teacher there.
Moreover, Nepal is a wonderful country, and thanks to my colleagues, I could immerse myself into the culture and local life of Nepali people. I hope that someday I'll visit Bhaktapur again!
It would take a whole book to describe how nice and dedicated is the team in VHS. During the 6 month I spent working there, VHS gave me opportunities to teach and learn. They trusted me with my work and gave me challenging opportunities to improve my skills.
Spending so much time with this team was definitly a life changing experience that I would repeat with no doubt a all.
Cheers to VHS!