Volunteering in “Incredible India”
India is often referred to as “Incredible India”. People within the community work as a team, sharing limited resources with such compassion and understanding. The children laugh and giggle, and welcome you into their world with a warm smile. Students volunteering abroad in India with Global Leadership Adventures have the unique opportunity to engage with these kids in day care centers and run a summer camp, all the while learning more about traditional Himalayan culture and the Tibetan exile community.
“Natalie and I were given the second graders to work with and we were put in a small class of only 9 students. It was quite challenging to teach the children the difference between past and present, singular and plural. What we noticed was that the kids were struggling with comprehension of the words. It appeared to us that they could read the words in the workbook but their understanding of the words and sentences were lacking. After lunch we started to discuss topics to get our minds thinking about how we can be our best to provide service to the students of the local school. We shared our thoughts as a group and kept our responses in mind while we created our visions and developed goals. In our teams we finished the sentences “We are teachers who…” And “Our classroom will be a place that…” We decided that we will be teachers who are caring for each student, created a non-intimidating and approachable aura, and bring happiness and inspiration into the classroom. We talked about how we want our classroom to be a place that is organized, full of purpose, color, and enthusiasm.” -Ashley Dyer
“In these day camps, we colored, played games, and taught each other English – and Hindi! Though at first it seems uncomfortable to get used to, soon after we found things in common with each other, played many games, and laughed about all the random, unexpected moments. The children welcomed us as well, and helped us find a different outlook in our own lives.” -Lili Whitelaw and Cassidy Boylan
Many times education and opportunities are taken for granted. GLA India students have the opportunity of further opening their eyes to the importance of education through discussions with local teachers and insightful activities on their teaching styles, visions for their classroom, and group reflections. Students are also immersed in the local culture and traditions. From visiting the largest and oldest dated fort in India, the Kagra Fort, to Norbulingka, a Tibetan Arts Center, students are involved in hands on activities they would not experience elsewhere.
The Himalayan Mountain range offers a unique excursion experience for students to do an 8 kilometer trek! During one weekend, they hike out to a rural village and camp out and live among the semi-nomadic Gaddi people and learn about their culture.
“I found out that kids who go to school have to walk 20 kilometers every day traveling to and from the school-house. This was an astounding fact considering the extent of our griping and moaning with only an 8 kilometer hike. I also learned that locals in need of supplies have to travel all the way to Dharamshala on foot, a journey we made mostly by car. The stuff we learned today further revealed the rigorous work ethic required of the locals.” – Nathan
A volunteer program in India would not be complete without an excursion to the Taj Majal. In 1983, the Taj Mahal became a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the great architectural marvels of the world.
“When I finally caught a glimpse of the historic marvel it absolutely took my breathe away, I mean I was seeing one of the 7 Wonders of the World! The detail of the carvings and inlayed precious and semi- precious stones were mesmerizing.” -Sydney Rodriguez
Everyday in India is filled with new experiences, challenges, and always brings an opportunity to learn. Through service with the local children, hands on cultural workshops and excursions, and opportunities to reflect as a group and individually, students are able to embrace their opportunity abroad to learn and grow in a vibrant and beautiful country.
Want to learn more about the India Service in the Himalayas experience? Check out the program guide and put yourself in the shoes of our volunteers in India.
Curious about what you’d have to pack? Rain boots or sunscreen? Jackets or shorts? Read The Young Leader’s take on the ultimate packing list and get ready for your future travels.