Language and Orientation Programme (LOP)

Language and Orientation Programme (LOP)

Currently, United Mission to Nepal (UMN) offer a 5-month language and orientation programme for all new long-term personnel coming to Nepal. This begins as soon as you arrive in Kathmandu and you are normally based there for the duration of this. It consists of intensive language study, cultural awareness training as well as information about general living and working in Nepal and the Nepali Church. It is very comprehensive and prepares you well for long-term life here. See below for more detailed information:


Language and Orientation

The purpose of the Language and Orientation Programme (LOP) is to help UMN appointees live and work effectively and joyously in Nepal. The LOP programme therefore combines language study with orientation to Nepal, its customs and to UMN.  
The length of LOP depends on your planned length of service and your prior knowledge of the Nepali language and culture. For a long term UMN appointee (3 years or more) LOP is usually twenty weeks.  If your term is for 2 years, LOP is usually 10 weeks.  The LOP coordinator will be discussing the appropriate length of your LOP with you and your sending organisation.  
The content of your LOP will depend on its length and your personal situation e.g. it will take into consideration your assignment and its location, your children’s needs etc. The main components from which your LOP will be designed are:


1. Language Study

We have different language study modules available, including a basic ‘survival language’ course, a full course in devanagari script and specialised professional modules. Our normal teaching method is classroom based, but community language learning is also included. For those who prefer a much more community based approach, and have completed the LAMP training prior to arrival in Nepal, the LAMP method is also available. If you would like more information on language learning options please contact us at LOP.

2. Orientation Talks and Activities

The purpose of LOP is not just to give an opportunity to learn the language but also to learn about the country and its people. In the orientation we include lectures, discussions and trips with the aim of preparing you to help you feel comfortable interacting with Nepali society and people. Thus orientation includes the following:

  • settling into your initial accommodation and to find the local shops
  • living in Nepal: including health issues, life in projects, working with household help
  • UMN: its history, structure and overview of its work
  • Nepal culture: including Hinduism, Buddhism, adapting to a new culture, ‘do’s and don’ts’ etc
  • Nepali church

3. Accommodation

During your time in LOP you will be living in Kathmandu either in accommodation rented by UMN, ‘house sitting’ for someone on home leave during this time, in a guest house, with a Nepali family, or you may choose to move into your own flat if you are going to be living in Kathmandu after LOP.

4. Nepali Family Stay

We offer the option of living with a Nepali family for all or part of your time in LOP. If you would like to try this option we can arrange accommodation for you with a family who are genuinely eager to get to know you. Staying with a Nepali family not only helps develop friendships, which often remain throughout your time in Nepal, but also gives a valuable opportunity to use the Nepali language and to observe the customs of Nepali family life first hand. 
You will be assigned a private room which you can lock from both inside and outside, but the toilet and bathing facilities will be shared with the rest of the household. If necessary UMN will help you find some basic furniture such as a bed, wardrobe or chest of drawers and mattress, sheets and pillows and containers for boiled drinking water. You should select just a few of your essential belongings to use while you are living in a Nepali home, so as to avoid artificial barriers between you and your hosts. Unfortunately it is usually difficult to find suitable Nepali homes for families with children. 
Staying with a Nepali family implies making a quick adjustment to different food, meal-times, living conditions etc. For example, Nepali families traditionally eat only two heavy meals a day (around 9:00am and after dark).  
If you would like to live with a Nepali family please inform us in LOP before you come, so that we can have it arranged in time.

5. Village Stay or Language Learning Trek

Those doing an LOP of more than 14 weeks are strongly encouraged to spend one to two weeks in a village situation. This gives an opportunity to observe and be part of the life of the ‘real Nepal’. It is also an important part of the language study course as it gives increased opportunity to use the language that you have learned and to hear different voices and accents.  A language helper will accompany you as guide and cultural advisor.

6. Work Orientation

A week of work orientation is included for those in LOP for more than 10 weeks. 
For those who will be assigned outside Kathmandu this is an opportunity not just to see the workplace, but also to get a feel for the location you will be going to. 
Those staying in Kathmandu do not need to take the Work Orientation as one block, but can spread it throughout their LOP time

8. The Basic LOP Course outline

The length of LOP is approximately 10 % of the length of the term in Nepal.  
1 year in Nepal = 4 weeks of LOP
2 years in Nepal = 10 weeks of LOP
3 or more years in Nepal = 20 weeks of LOP

A typical  20 week Basic Course would include the following:

  • Initial Orientation (2-3 days)
  • Language Study and Culture learning experiences  (15-16 weeks)

Typical week during this period:

  • 12 hours of class (3 hours per day for 4 or 5 days so could be up to 15 hrs occasionally)
  • 12-15 hours of study (study time should be equal to class time)
  • 9-12 hours of study
    • 2-5 hours of practice with people (not teachers)
    • 3-8 hours of cultural orientation/excursions/adventures
  • Full time cultural orientation:
  • Work Orientation (1 week)
  • Out of Kathmandu experience (2-3 weeks) such as:  Cluster visit, village stay or language learning trek

Schedules and the order in which the above occur may vary according to

  • Arrival times of the the learner and other learners in LOP
  • Work orientation arrangements
  • Choice of language study method
  • Individual/family needs
  • Special trainings required for project work
  • Political situation
  • Weather

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