In the last few decades, the situation in Nepal has been up and down to say the least, making it tricky for a culture of language learning to take place. After coming out of the civil war and finding stability, the earthquake of 2015 was certainly a setback that the country didn’t need. However, things have come on since then and most areas of Nepal are safe to visit, with a new constitution to bring political peace. The demand for TEFL teachers in Nepal is now on the rise, although fewer than 1% of the population speak English as a second language. About 44% of the population speak Nepali as a first language, but there are more than 120 mother tongue languages in this country, which also boasts the same number of distinct ethnic groups.
Like many foreign countries, the desire to learn English mainly comes from the younger generation who are hoping to succeed in international business and work abroad. Apart from teaching English in schools, business English is also increasingly widely sought after and is an alternative option for TEFL teachers in Nepal. While paid work is hard to come by, the rewards for teaching English as a volunteer in Nepal are plentiful. With some of the greatest heights of the Himalayas as its backdrop, Nepal is a place of outstanding beauty and awe. Landlocked between the two powerful nations of India and China, Nepal is a romantic destination for TEFL teachers and popular for backpackers and first time TEFLers. It’s an amazingly diverse country, and the friendliness and openness of the Nepali people is something most TEFL teachers are enchanted by.
- Popular locations for TEFL jobs: Kathmandu, Pokhara, and Chitwan
- Average salary for EFL teachers: Almost all positions are voluntary
- TEFL qualification requirements: A 120-hour TEFL qualification is recommended for most positions
- Prerequisite university degree: Not usually required for voluntary positions
- Term times: The school year starts between the 10 and 17 April each year (after the New Year celebrations)
- Currency: Nepalese Rupee (NPR)
- Language: Nepali
- Teaching programmes: Volunteering, International Schools, Business English
- Age restrictions: None
- Previous teaching experience: Not usually necessary
Most teaching opportunities in Nepal are for volunteer work, making it a great place for newbie TEFL teachers to start out and get a bit of experience under their belt. Many positions provide accommodation in the form of living with a host family or in volunteer dorms. Living as a volunteer teacher in Nepal you can immerse yourself in the culture and learn from the expertise of more experienced volunteers and team leaders. While you might anticipate that English proficiency will be very low in Nepal, in the 2020 data of EF English First’s English Proficiency Index, Nepal ranked a 60 out of 100 countries, which isn’t too bad and about the middle for countries in Asia. All the same, if you haven’t taught before, getting at least a 120-hour online TEFL before you travel to teach will boost your confidence and give you a grounding in how the TEFL classroom works, as well as teaching you some games and activities you can use when you’re teaching in Nepal.
Requirements for teaching English in Nepal
|Country||Avg. monthly salary||Degree required||Start of term||Teaching experience||Housing & flights included||Suitable for non-native English speakers||Age restrictions|
|Teach in Nepal||Voluntary||No||April||No||Sometimes||Yes||None|
For about £500 a month you can easily get by in Nepal, so it’s easy to see why backpackers and TEFL newbies are able to stay in this country without breaking the bank. Most organised volunteering programs will have a standard participation fee, which usually covers your accommodation and food, but not your flight out there. So, if you can, it’s best to go for a longer stint so you can get the most for your money rather than paying the same flight fee for a shorter trip.
If you volunteer as part of an organised group, make sure you choose a company that gives you plenty of time to explore this amazing country. While in Nepal you’ll want to see Buddhist monuments such as the Boudhanath Stupa, Peace Temple, and the Swayambhunath Temple. As well as natural wonders such as the Sarangkot Mountains and the Phewa Lake, and, of course, Mount Everest. Nepali food that’ll should be on your sampling hit list includes dal bhat (rice with lentils and side dishes, a typical home cooked meal), yomari (a dish made from rice flour), momo dumplings, and spicy chatpate.
- Accommodation: £217 – £252 / $303 – $353
- Utilities: £27 / $38
- Health insurance: Cost of typical visit to a GP: £8 / $11
- Monthly transport pass: £9 / $12
- Basic dinner out for two: £11 / $15
- Cappuccino in expat area: £1.64 / $2.30
- A beer in a pub: £3.12 / $4.36
- 1 litre of milk: £0.54 / $0.75
- 2 litres of Coca-Cola: £1.23 / $1.72
(living costs sourced from Expatistan)