Culture Week

Bahir Dar - Ethiopia

Culture Week

Bahir Dar - Ethiopia

Only 420€ per week!

Get to know the traditional, vibrant and still relevant Ethiopian culture. A land steeped in history which unravels in the culture week which will make you fall in love with this land and its people. Nature walks, island hopping, language and cooking classes, Coffee drinking ceremonies and many other things to do and experience, immerse yourself in this culture which will leave you energized and eager to jump into the various projects you have chosen for the next week.

Community Engagement
Physical Demand


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Program Description

Bahir Dar is one of the most popular travel destinations in Ethiopia. It has also has been named as A Learning City in 2015 and as one of the Cities for Peace by UNESCO. Bahir Dar lies around Lake Tana which is now a World Heritage Biosphere Reserve. The lake houses 37 small islands; you will be visiting islands via a boat that has ancient churches that are hundreds of years old. Each of these churches with their striking murals and artistic impressions regales the spectator. They also house ancient scrolls which have significant value to scholars of history and to the general public also.

The local language spoken in Ethiopia is Amharic. Hawkers sell items of local arts and crafts, paintings and many other souvenirs. Go island hopping and get to these ancient churches which are going to give you a unique experience. The Blue Nile Waterfalls is spectacular and one of the most magnificent in Africa which is connected to Lake Tana. The height of the waterfall is a jaw-breaking 150 feet and about half a kilometer wide. There will be four days of immersion in Bahir Dar and one day for project orientation. These five days will act as a catalyst for meeting new participants. And by the end of this week, you will be eager to go to your selected projects.

Aims & Objectives

To introduce you to Bahir Dar’s diverse geographical and cultural environment by fostering a deeper understanding of cultural similarities and differences through experiential learning in Bahir Dar and to help you develop awareness and deeper understanding of its culture.


Monday to Friday

Your culture week in Ethiopia will start with informative sessions on safety, transport, and do’s and don’ts. You will also get to know about the places of interest, local attractions, weekend jaunts, island hopping, a great tradition and heritage and the best things to do while you are in Bahir Dar. Being logistically placed for short visits are Gondar, Lalibela and Axum, all of which are World Heritage Sites. Not forgetting the Simien Mountains and for those who have a penchant for the outdoors a World Heritage Biosphere, Lake Tana.

Highlights during the week include,

  • Attend a session on Ethiopian and Amharic Culture
  • Attend a class to learn simple often needed sentences in Amharic.
  • Get the hang of Ethiopian cuisine. The ingredients needed would be bought by you from the local market.
  • Get to see a cultural program that will give you a fair idea of Amharic folk dances.
  • Visits to the Islands via boat in Lake Tana and step into an ancient backdrop of churches
  • Take a walkabout in the wild around Lake Tana and get a hang of rural Ethiopia.
  • A coffee ceremony that is essential in Ethiopia, using some of the best coffee on offer.
  • Take a day trip and have a picnic set amongst one of Africa’s most famous waterfalls, The Blue Nile waterfalls.
  • Project visit and orientation  

   Note:   This schedule can be changed and/or amended depending on weather conditions, local conditions and unforeseen circumstances.

Participant Criteria & Requirements

Standard Requirements

Minimum age:

Maximum age:

Minimum English level: Basic

CRB required: On Signup

Passport copy required: On Signup

Resume copy required: No

Required qualification: None

Additional Requirements

Yellow fever vaccination is mandatory for all participants arriving in Ethiopia.

For participants below 18, parental consent is required and for participants above 65, medical clearance is required.

Additional Equipment

Dress Code

  • Cover up as much as possible in the spirit of the local culture to avoid embarrassment.
  • Your clothes must not be too short, too tight or too revealing. Kindly make sure your shoulders and legs are covered.
  • Dress professionally since you will be working in a professional environment while teaching the children.
  • It is completely fine to wear western clothes as long as they fit the local standards
  • Be thoughtful of the graphics, symbols or text printed on your clothing and avoid wearing clothing styles that might be inappropriate
  • Be thoughtful to poor communities by not displaying expensive items and clothes
  • Wearing local clothes could help you build a good working relationship with the community


Bahir Dar is a bustling city with palm tree and flower lined roads and is located in the Amhara region where Amharic is widely spoken. Lake Tana, a World Heritage Biosphere Reserve and the Blue Nile Falls are located nearby.

Daily flights connect Bahir Dar to Addis Ababa. Bus services from Addis Ababa to Bahir Dar entail a very comfortable bus journey of 10 hours rewarded with scenic views along the way.

Your accommodation is on the outskirts of Bahir Dar, about 3 to 4 kilometers from the projects, and is part of a gated community. The house overlooks Lake Tana and the Abyssinian Highlands.

About the Accommodation

Your center is located in the outskirts of the town, where you will be staying in a comfortable dorm-style accommodation for the duration of the project. The house is fully furnished, with laundry and store rooms. The center has a well-equipped kitchen. And there is also a cozy living room where you can hang out with the fellow participants and spend time.

Food Arrangements

Your meals will be mainly Ethiopian dishes. Vegetarian dishes will be available most of the days and non-vegetarian twice a week.


Facilities include first aid equipment as well as coordinator support. Supermarkets, cafes, shops, ATMs are available nearby.

Activities & Events

No scheduled activities outside the program.

Sights & Surroundings

Your program will take place from Monday to Friday and weekends will be free for you to explore the city on your own. The places of interest and activities which you can visit during your free time include natural sites, town centers, museums, walking tours and many more. Some of the interesting sites are as follows;

  • Blue Nile Falls
  • The historic city of Gondar
  • Simien Mountains National Park
  • Tana Kirkos


From this location we do not provide free transport to other locations.

Quick Facts

Name: Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

Population: 102 million

Capital: Addis Ababa

Language: Amharic, English

Currency: Birr (ETB)

Time zone: CST (UTC +3)

Country Information

A country with a unique cultural heritage, the home of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church – one of the oldest Christian denominations – and a monarchy that ended only quite recently. Dating to prehistoric times and also having Biblical references, Ethiopia has a rich and varied history. Ethiopians pride themselves of never being colonized except for a five year period during Mussolini's occupation. Coupled with its beautiful highlands and desert it is a traveler’s delight. Addis Ababa the largest city and capital is like any other city with all its modern trappings. Culture, cuisine, wildlife, welcoming hospitality, these and many other experiences await you in this ancient and modern land. As Ethiopians like to say, "Come and enjoy, 13 months of sunshine!"


Predominantly of a tropical monsoon weather, but due to the Ethiopian Highlands which cover most of the country, Ethiopia experiences a climate which is generally considerably cooler than other regions at similar proximity to the Equator. Most of the country's major cities are located at elevations of around 6,500 to 8,000 feet above sea level.

Most major cities and tourist sites in Ethiopia lie at a similar elevation to Addis Ababa and have a comparable climate. In less elevated regions, particularly the lower lying Ethiopian xeric grasslands and shrublands in the east of the country, the climate can be significantly hotter and drier. Dallol, in the Danakil Depression in this eastern zone, has the world's highest average annual temperature of 34 °C (93.2 °F).


From Music and Dance to Attire and Customs, Ethiopia is unique in its own way. The blend of traditional and modern can be seen in its architecture to the way its people dress up and conduct their day to day lives. Steeped in religious roots its culture is as vibrant as any other modern countries’ but its traditions are always visible, never having been hidden or forgotten. The Ethiopian calendar is one of the most unique in the world today that is still being followed. It has 13 months, with 12 months of 30 days each. The last month has 5 days in a common year and 6 days during a leap year.


Various vegetable and meat side dishes and entrees are the main of staples of Ethiopian cuisine, often prepared as a "Wat" or thick stew. One or more servings of wat are placed upon a piece of Injera, a large sourdough flatbread, which is about 20 inches in diameter and made out of fermented Teff flour. Injera is used, always with the right hand, to scoop up the entrees and side dishes. Pork or seafood, aside from fish, is not used, as most Ethiopians have historically adhered to Islam, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, or Judaism, all of which prohibit the consumption of pork. Orthodox Christians observe numerous fasts, such as Lent, during which food is prepared without any meat or dairy products. Another dish served in Ethiopia is Doro Wat, which is a chicken stew with hard boiled eggs.



Air transport is easy and swift in Ethiopia with their national carrier, Ethiopian Airlines which operates across around 30 domestic cities and towns across the country.


The National Railway Network of Ethiopia owned by the Ethiopian Railway Corporation (ERC), which is mostly in planning and construction stage and currently consists of four electrified standard gauge railway lines: the Addis Ababa Light Rail, the Addis Ababa–Djibouti Railway, both of which are operational. The Awash–Weldiya Railway and the Weldiya–Mekelle Railway are under construction.


With around 100,000 kilometers of asphalted roads, Ethiopia is well connected. All of Ethiopia’s cities are served by public transport, including trains and buses. Taxis charge according to the meter.



Construction and Renovation

Culture Week


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