Planning to volunteer in the land of Gods? Here is your chance to be the harbinger of change. But, there are certain things you need to be aware of before embarking on a journey of volunteering India.
India is a vast country with a diverse culture. From east to west and north to south, the nation is the perfect specimen of unity in diversity. Even though, it is one of the fastest growing economies in the world, the rising population and challenging topographical feature have created economic discrepancy. The situation has led to the emergence of a favorable condition for volunteering.
It was the first time I was volunteering in India and believe it or not, I learnt lots from my experience. Though I was jittery in the initial stage, it helped me gain an insight into the deeper demeanors of life.
Some Tips for Volunteering in India
Before, I started my journey; I made a detailed research about my destination. Its geography, economy, cuisines, culture, people, etc have a holistic effect on your stay in the country. You can find facts about India from several sources on the Internet.
Learn about the popular volunteer programs
If you want to work in the community development program, why try for something else? Is it because someone else did it? Well, the Internet is fraught with information about the different types of work programs in India. You can read all of them and choose the one that suits your purpose the best.
Try new food
There are many food items in the country that have not been able to make it to popular restaurants. Visit places that offer unique dishes cooked and served in clean surroundings. Every region has a specialty of its own and every stall prepares it in a different way. Taste the difference in cuisine. If you are in a dilemma regarding the cleanliness of the food, you can accept invitation to someone’s house and immerse in the magic of spicy Indian cuisine.
Get your usual stack of meds
The change in food habits and pollution may take your system by surprise. It is best to carry your box of medicines, especially those meant for cold, bowel disorders, headache and nausea.
Dress in a conservative manner
Yes, it is true that India is opening up in many aspects. However, there are still many facets, in which she acts conservative, especially in matters of dresses. If you are volunteering in a village, it is always better to adorn loose-fitting outfits. I make it a point to start conservative and slowly open up as the ice breaks. The same attitude goes for male volunteers. Better keep the shirts on. You might have to enter a temple and priests in India do not really like anyone dishonoring their holy sites of worship.
Get your earplugs
With the festival of lights and sounds round the corner, you must bring your earplugs. Diwali is a special festivals celebrated by Indians irrespective of their cultural differences. A whole week is dedicated to lighting and non-stop fireworks. Therefore, if you are volunteering in India during the month of Diwali, you must be extra careful about your eardrums and sweet precious sleep.
Do not shy away from speaking the local language
No one expects you to be fluent in Hindi, the national language or any other local language. However, there is no harm in trying. It shows the people that you are interested in learning their language. Communicating with children helps a lot in learning the local language. You can also enroll in a language class.
Stay away from tap water
I once dared to drink a glass of tap water and trust me, I had to suffer. You have to store water from a water purifier or if circumstances deny this amenity, find a clean well.
You may go vegan for a few months
No wonder cows are seen roaming around in the streets with such confidence. Hindus worship cows. So, do not go about boasting about your beef eating skills in front of Indians. Since, you might have to stay in a locality for sometime; I would suggest you to become a vegetarian for sometime. I promise; Indian vegetarian dishes taste equally good.
Take a look at India
The last but not the least important thing to do is see India. You might not be able to absorb the beauty of the country at a go, but you might just give it a start. There is plenty India can offer to its guests. Starting from its natural resources to cultural diversity, India is a land of many faces.
I just gave you some tips about volunteering in India. Wondering how you would like India? Why don’t you volunteer in the country and experience the beauty of the land by yourself? See it, breathe it in and immerse yourself in a life never unfurled before. What’s your take on the idea?