Local students will be setting off to Nepal for the trip of a lifetime, allowing them to experience another culture and take part in volunteer work.
Eight students from Rotorua - six from Rotorua Lakes High School and two from John Paul College - will travel to Nepal next Saturday as part of the Kiwi Holiday Adventure Aid and Travel (KHAAT) Nepal programme.
Altogether, 10 New Zealand students will be making the trip, along with four guides.
KHAAT founder Olivia Dean said the trip was 17 days in total for youth aged 16 to 20 years.
She said it would involve both volunteering and a trek of about five days in Annapurna.
"This is the first year, so it's pretty exciting."
She said they would be painting the interior of two schools for the volunteer work, joined by Nepalese students for one.
"This is a great opportunity for our young New Zealanders to engage with Nepalese their own age."
Miss Dean said although travelling out to the rural schools could take up to three hours each way, "there's so much to see along the way that's different to New Zealand".
They would also have the chance to do some sightseeing, she said.
"It's a whirlwind."
Miss Dean said $150 from of each student's trip cost would be donated to Sunsar Maya - the first after-school programme in Nepal to provide art and music classes, health check-ups and daily nutritious meals.
She said the students were encouraged to fundraise for their trip.
"This is all part of this character-building experience as they learn to tell a story and put themselves out there in front of others."
She said the experience the students would have on the trip, by stepping out of their comfort zone and seeing a very different culture and way of living, would build their character, compassion, self-confidence, and worldly awareness.
"They will also have a new-found appreciation for New Zealand and gratitude for all they have here."
She said the students would also get a character reference written up for them from the trip, which they would be able to include in their CVs.
"I'm just really excited to get the trip off the ground and hope it's successful."
For more information visit www.kiwikhaat.co.nz.