We are final year medical students from the UK and we organised our medical elective with Volunteer Society Nepal this summer. Right from the beginning Ajamber was so helpful in organizing our placement in Nepal.
When we arrived in Nepal we were given Nepali language lessons by Shakti who helped us with basic phrases that we could use during our trip. He also took us around some beautiful cultural sights of Kathmandu, including Boudhanath and the Swoyambhunath Stupa (Monkey Temple). On Sunday we were taken to look around the projects that VSN do. We heard about the amazing work VSN do, including teaching children, helping the intellectually disabled children at its care center, women literacy program and providing shelter for children at a child care center.
On Monday we met our host family who were lovely! They catered to all our needs (WiFi and hot water included) and we were able to see what family life in Nepal is really like. We always had very varied, delicious Nepali dishes with our host family – aama (Nepali for mum) was a great chef! Our host family also helped us to catch the correct local buses (which could be quite crowded!).
We started our work at the hospital after our cultural and language training at VSN. We were based at Kathmandu Model Hospital in Neurosurgery and Paediatrics. It was fascinating to see the similarities and differences between healthcare in Nepal and the UK. Our teams at the hospital were very welcoming and we learned a lot during our time there. We were also able to volunteer at a local clinic in Kathmandu which VSN also organized for us, close to our home. It was an interesting experience, especially from an infectious diseases point of view.
On our free days we visited many places around Kathmandu. We went for hiking with a group in a national park close to the Kathmandu city.
After our time in Kathmandu we went to Pokhara by bus- which VSN again organized for us. We went on a short trek in Pokhara up to Australia Camp organized by VSN and were able to see some lovely views. Pokhara is a beautiful city and we recommend a trip there to anyone coming to Nepal!
Overall we couldn’t speak any more highly of VSN and we’d recommend them to anyone planning on visiting Nepal. They are very organized and always have their volunteers’ best interests in mind. You can also see where all their money goes and that they make a real impact upon the community. Thank you VSN!
University of Leeds, UK