Northbrook’s Ethan Steinberg Blogs His Gap Year Teaching English in Nepal

Ethan Steinberg is traveling and serving others during his gap year between high school graduation and starting college at Miami University.

 

Make It Better believes that the following excerpts demonstrates not only the value of a gap year experience, but also reason to be enthusiastic about the future Ethan and others in his generation will build.

I hope all is well. We are having an awesome time in Nepal. Tomorrow we leave for Jomsom where we will begin our trekking around the Annapurna Mts. Our trek should last about 7 days. We are walking from the Northern Part of Nepal (Jomsom/Kagbeni) back down to Pokhara. It should be quite an extravagant journey. We will stop at hot springs and I’m sure we’ll see some gorgeous views of the snow capped Himalayas …

DSCN0307… We have had an outstanding time in Pokhara volunteering. Our English and First Aid classes ran smoothly. It was an eye-opening experience. Although we were teaching, the entire process was a learning experience.

I must say, after spending a week teaching, I have much more respect for teachers and the work they do. Our students were all women trying to make a better life in Nepal. Most of them were older than us—in their 20s.

Seeing the joy and happiness in everyone’s face when they mastered a sentence or even pronounced a word correctly was a wonderful experience. Watching and being involved in helping others succeed is so empowering. Just by taking these few days to teach basic English and first aid skills, I believe, has dramatically changed the lives of these women for the better …

… What I have noticed about the lifestyle in Nepal, is that people do not need massive amounts of material goods to be happy. In fact, I would say that the people here live happier lives than some do in the western world. With our complications and over-exaggerations about the little things, they become a burden for us.

DSCN0535Thus, to reach a happier place we may find solace in taking a step back to enjoy our surroundings, spending less time with the hustle of everyday antics. We must enjoy the journey of life versus focusing on a specific outcome, which, in fact, may never happen. I am not saying that we should not have goals, but perhaps we should put less focus on the goal itself, realize that things do change and our goals may never occur. Furthermore, by spending so much time focused on outcomes, I believe, we fail to recognize the greatness of what is directly in front of us …

… Our timDSCN0686e in Nepal continues to be extremely inspiring and is helping me to grow more compassionate while finding more joy in life. Not only is the landscape absolutely stunning, but the people are friendly, always with a smile on their faces. It is clear that this country has its developmental problems, considering the UN Human Rights Watch vans that we see passing through constantly. But based on the welcoming and friendly attitude of the people, one could easily assume that this place is full of happiness and is no need of “western development.” I by NO means am suggesting that we should not try and help others, but I am simply saying that the people live happily regardless of the “Third World conditions” …