Since India is still considered a developing country in many parts it is often difficult for foreign nationals to find work here. Most who visit India and other Asian countries on gap years do so once having built up enough resources to fund the trip by working in the UK or in Europe beforehand and take part in volunteer projects to feel part of the development process of this country. As is the case with other Asian countries, job and volunteer opportunities are mainly focused on teaching English, usually in schools. The organisations below are just a handful of companies who welcome volunteers every year to take part in their projects.
Volunteers with i-to-i in India go to Bangalore, Calcutta, Santiniketan, or Jaipur. There are a range of opportunities available, in each place there are placements for teaching English, but also in journalism, in hospitals, at media centres, and community and conservational-based programmes. Volunteers are usually provided with accommodation which is self-catering. Some, but not all, of i-to-i’s schemes are paid and usually last for twelve months; TEFL training is usually given.
VentureCo organises a 16-week itinerary for its programme of travel and work around India. The first couple of weeks are spent in what is known as ‘cultural orientation’ consisting of visiting various places guided by a team who introduce you to the culture and traditions of the country. The next five weeks take place on an aid project in the Rajasthan desert involving practical work to help develop the community. Sandwiching this and the second project is a four-week expedition through the Thae Desert, Shekhawati village, part of the Himalayas, and rafting on the Ganges. The expedition requires teamwork and organisation in its challenges where you will be expected to lead and plan your journey. After this work begins again on an aid project, similar to the first, in Bandhavgarh which lasts two weeks, before a final expedition through Nepal to the Everest base. Programmes with VentureCo are self-funded and can cost you up to �5000, which includes travel, food, accommodation, transport, and fees for the activities themselves.
GAP Activity Projects Ltd
GAP is an organisation specifically aimed at gap year students wanting to travel and make a difference to people in their year out. GAP projects in India focus on teaching English, work in schools, and care work. Teachers of English are needed in the Tibetan Community, not only in schools but also monasteries and community centres. As well as the usual placements as English language assistants in schools, volunteers also work in drama, music, and sports classes. GAP organises training for those wanting to do work in schools. Care work can range from placements in orphanages and hospitals, to centres for mentally and physically disabled children and adults. Volunteers are provided with food and accommodation by GAP but are expected to pay for all flights and insurance etc.
The Project Trust currently offers three opportunities for volunteer placements in India. Volunteers can go to Samska, Sanghamitra, or Arthik Samata Mandal, all jobs are in primary and secondary schools as teachers, office workers, and helpers in running extracurricular activities such as drama and music. Programmes usually last for twelve months. Volunteers must be aged between 17 and 19 and a half years old and are expected to raise �3850 themselves to fund their project, this includes all expenses for living costs, travel, donations etc.
Projects Abroad runs one month or more long programmes where volunteers spend eighteen hours each week teaching English to schoolchildren, taking part in animal care, or even work in the local media. Accommodation is provided either with host families, or living with other teachers in local hostels.
Interserve organises missionary programmes for Christians to travel to parts of Asia to teach, care, and take part in church work. Projects can last up to ten months and you are expected to pay for travel, insurance, and accommodation etc.
Projects Abroad has all kinds of information for those teaching english in a foreign country
I-to-I organise working holidays throughout the world
Ventureco Worldwide sets up working holidays which develop local communities
GAP are the leading provider of year abroad courses
Project Trust is a voluntary organisation which teaches english to children