What is it like to volunteer for eight months with Project Trust?

Rory Goldring volunteered as a teacher in Nepal in 2013/14 through Project Trust’s eight month programme. He told us why he chose to volunteer for eight months and what it was like to be one of the first two volunteers in a newly opened country programme:

Project Trust Gap Year Nepal

Project Trust Volunteer Rory Goldring on his gap year in Nepal

I was very grateful for the extra time and space that eight months overseas gave me. A-levels and the end of school are a very manic time and I was really happy to be able spend a whole summer with my friends.

The autumn before you depart as an eight month volunteer is an opportunity to experience something very new and very important: independent adult living in the UK. I worked in a café, made new friends and volunteered in a care home for young disabled adults. A big reason for people to take a gap year is to have some space from the pressured conveyer belt of school – university – work, and living overseas is fantastic for that but is itself very engrossing. Having time in the UK was really valuable and allowed me to be a little more low-key for a while: to reflect on what had happened and to prepare myself properly for what was coming next.

Being the first volunteer at a new project made for an extremely demanding experience but one that was so rewarding that I wouldn’t have changed it for the world. No matter how much information you are provided with beforehand, being the first volunteers meant a lot to do with our exact role and day-to-day life could only be finalised by us when we got there: who we were going to buy our milk from? Which days shall we set up after school clubs on? Why does no one have chairs in their houses here?

Project Trust Gap Year Nepal

Project Trust Volunteer Rory Goldring in Nepal

Crafting our lifestyles and roles in the school for ourselves was an immensely satisfying experience and one that helped us interact with the community. And it was with this community that the greatest pleasures of being the first volunteers in the project lay. No European had lived in the village before and the levels of curiosity were massive but, rather than cause people to shy away, it made the community come forward, speak to us and invite us to their houses.

It took some time for both us and our students to become familiar with the new classroom dynamic and it was only really in the latter stages of our eight months that we felt we were really making good progress. Yet the satisfaction lay, not necessarily in any rise in exam results of the students whilst we were there, but in the knowledge that we have set up something that has huge potential. Having built good relations with community and carved out a role in the school, the volunteers that follow can hit the ground running and make a big impact.