Michaela Conway - High School Specials, Care & Community in Nepal
At first traveling over 50,000 miles away to a country so far from home seemed quite daunting. However, as a whole my two weeks in Nepal was honestly one of the best experiences of my life and something I will always treasure. Throughout my time I developed many fond memories, met so many new people and in the end became a stronger person. Together with three of my best friends from school we took the leap of faith with Projects Abroad and made our way to Nepal in the summer of 2012.
One of the main reasons why we decided to go to Nepal was because of the experience it offered. The culture and traditions seemed extremely appealing to us and each day we grew more eager to learn more about this country. However it wasn’t until we touched down in Nepal’s capital city Kathmandu we realized just how amazing this country actually was. The fond memories of this country bring a smile to my face even just as I reminisce.
Arriving in Nepal
Following thirty hours of traveling, three tiring flights, and multiple complicated airport security checks we eventually completed our journey to Kathmandu. At first I have to admit the culture shock is quite overwhelming, however moving out in through the open doors into the light and sunshine of Nepal you begin to appreciate the true beauty of this country.
We were then met by two of Projects Abroad friendliest staff, they accompanied us over to the taxis, made sure we had water and were comfortable in our vehicle. The staff Projects Abroad provide throughout your trip are incredible, they are some of the nicest people you will ever meet and they most definitely make your experience remarkable.
In this taxi we then met some of the other people who were taking part in the High School Specials which we would spend our two weeks working with. This was one of the best outcomes of this trip; learning how to meet new people and gaining new friendships.
I have to admit the people we were placed with where so lovely and welcoming. Your new friends and the Projects Abroad team became your new family throughout these two weeks as we equally helped each other through tough times and laughed together throughout the fun times.
My placement and accommodation in Nepal
Over our two weeks we worked closely with the Himilla School, working to build a playground for the inspiring children, together with the other High School Special group and also with some of the locals we met. In this school they didn’t really have all the up-to-date equipment we would have at home so we adapted to their traditions and culture by carrying stones, sand and bricks using large baskets and supporting them via our head strength.
This part of the experience was quite tricky as I am not very strong! However, seeing the smiling faces of the children every day and at the end of the project made it all worthwhile. Being able to give this community something back was superb as I can’t even being to explain what this opportunity gave me and also how it has and will continue to shape my life in the future.
Another experience which most definitely touched me was visiting the local orphanage and meeting the children who live there. These children are some of the nicest kids I think I will ever meet in my life and their life stories are inspirational. The people who cared for the children invited us in with open arms and also added to our Nepali experience by teaching us how to make their traditional dish of momo’s! Meeting these people and being welcomed into their beautiful home was a heart-warming experience and I will always remember their kind generosity and beautiful smiling faces.
Travels at the weekend
On the weekends we then got the opportunity to visit some of Nepal’s most fantastic tourist attractions. We visited the local temples, the National Rehabilitation Centre and also Chitwan National park. This was one experience which I can say I will most definitely not forget!
Waking up knowing you were only seconds away from a National Park is one thing however actually getting the opportunity to take part in the incredible opportunities in the jungle is another. In Chitwan we stayed in a hotel on the edge of the rainforest, which was lovely, however, beyond the gates of this hotel was a complete new world waiting for us to adventure into.
We arrived on the Thursday and by the Saturday I had completed many things which I never thought I would have experienced in my life. These experiences are absolutely amazing; however, it is just a small example of what you would get out of the experience if you decided to go to Nepal!
As a whole the only word I have to sum up my experience in Nepal is ‘AMAZING’. I would most definitely advise anyone who is considering going away with Projects Abroad to go on the High School Special to Nepal. I absolutely loved my time in Nepal and can only hope to go again in the near future!