Rotorua students have returned from a "life changing" and "unforgettable" trip to Nepal, where they volunteered and went sightseeing.

Eight students from Rotorua; six from Rotorua Lakes High School and two from John Paul College, travelled to Nepal last month as part of the Kiwi Holiday Adventure Aid and Travel (KHAAT) Nepal programme.

Ten New Zealand students made the trip, along with four guides.

The trip was 17 days in total for youths aged 16 to 20. It involved both volunteering and a trek of about five days in Annapurna.


KHAAT founder Olivia Dean said the trip was "a roaring success".

"It was such a diverse and enlightening experience."

Miss Dean said the students served dinner to the homeless, taught children about New Zealand, painted the interiors of classrooms and murals on the exterior, experienced a taste of the Dashain festival, challenged themselves physically and mentally trekking, and interacted with children who were "so happy and loving, yet living with very little and without families".

Robbie Wong-Toi, 17, from John Paul College and Amy Jordan, 17, from Rotorua Lakes High School said the volunteering and interaction with children was a lot of fun and rewarding.

They said the urban environment was completely different and really busy, and that the people were really nice.

Amy said she made a lot of new friends and got to know her peers.

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Robbie said the experience gave him a desire to start giving to those who did not have much.

They both said they would like to go back and spend more time in Nepal, and recommended others do the programme.

Rotorua students who travelled to Nepal:

* Six from Rotorua Lakes High School

* Two from John Paul College