Travel or Volunteer Abroad: Different Experiences in Urban and Rural Locations

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International Journalism Volunteer through Cross-Continental Solutions Travels Abroad to Report on the Different Life Experiences between Rural and Urban Life in Nepal.

Affordable Volunteer Abroad, Intern Abroad, Cultural Education, Language Immersion, and Gap Year Programs (International Journalism)

International Journalism (Affordable Volunteer Abroad, Intern Abroad, Culture/Language Immersion, and Gap Year Programs)

International journalism projects offer great opportunities for those interested in photography, editing, interviewing, and reporting news from around the world.

Many travelers going abroad must choose whether they want to spend the majority of their time in the countryside, or in the city. Both choices are not without their appeal, but this decision will lead to completely different international experiences. Roxanne Leung from Canada traveled to Nepal to volunteer abroad as an international journalist through Cross-Continental Solutions. Roxanne recently produced a photo essay depicting the different life experiences of Kathmandu's countryside and city.

Life in the city, with its overcrowded streets, polluted air, and bustling commotion, differs dramatically from the pastoral, idyllic countryside. The serene mountains enclosed in floating fog surround one such village located close to Thankot Checkpost off the Tribhuvan Highway. In late July, the terraced rice paddies form ascending stairs of lush greenery to the mountains. During the day, the breeze races through the leaves, like invisible gods playing tag across the land. Punctuating the row upon row of fields are individual brick houses, each painted a different colour, further adding to the charm of the countryside.

The sun-soaked village’s inhabitants will often stare at visitors who are obviously foreign to their small community, but they offer heartwarming "namaste" salutations when greeted. Many of the youth can act as helpful English translators, since they learn both Nepali and English in school. In the morning and late afternoon, these students can be seen dispersing throughout the various pathways to and from school, in crisp uniforms and neatly combed hair.

Though the view is breathtaking, the atmosphere clear and quiet, and the land rich with nature, even the countryside shows signs of human environmental impact. Trash lines the dirt roads, as if a layer of waste might help the dirt roads become smoother for travel. The alternative to littering is not much better, as piles of collected garbage are routinely burned, regardless of the toxicity of the material.

Spending time in the countryside allows one to see a calmer side of Nepal and its people. Women carrying babies while strolling in the fields, men conversing by their small shops selling biscuits and chocolate to children, and even stray dogs lazing in a corner are common sights of peace and tranquility. Life may not necessarily be easy for these inhabitants, but they are a gracious people with earnest smiles and a noticeable look of content in their eyes.

The city is not without its benefits though, as it offers some of the richest historical and religious attractions in the world for tourists visiting Kathmandu. World famous stupas and fascinating markets featuring all kinds of goods are available in a vast array and high concentration. It can be both spectacular and overwhelming to the unaccustomed. From Swayambhunath to Boudhnath, Kathmandu hosts grand Buddhist and Hindu temples, illustrating how culturally ingrained religion is.

Visually, the city is a dense collection of offices and shops sandwiched between and on top of one another. Tourist districts like Thamel offer labyrinthine alleyways with open doors and beckoning signs. Colour seems to be enjoyed by all and is expressed in women's clothing (such as the kurta and salwar or saris), doors of buildings, and even truck designs. The roads are perhaps the most terrifying parts of the city, as perilous driving seems to be the gold standard. All of these aspects combine to allow for exhilarating explorations and adventures within the city.

Juxtaposition of life in these two regions shows a dichotomy within Kathmandu. One is not better than the other as both offer different experiences and impart on any visitor an immense level of satisfaction.

About Cross-Continental Solutions:

Cross-Continental Solutions provides quality yet affordable volunteer abroad, intern abroad, cultural education, language immersion, and gap year programs. Many college students can take international internships for school credit. It is unique in that participants live and work side by side with the locals, thereby offering an exceptional cross-cultural experience for those who wish to make a difference. Covering a wide range of needs, opportunities are available in areas such as: Teaching, Healthcare, Community Development, Business Coaching, HIV work, Care-giving, Orphanage Work, Journalism, Photography, Wildlife, Agriculture, Environmental, Micro-financing, Tourism, Marketing, and more. International journalism projects offer great opportunities for those interested in photography, editing, interviewing, and reporting news from around the world. Programs are available at many locations around the world, including Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Explore the options or plan a life-changing trip at http://www.CrossContinental.org.

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Jian Leslie
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