1 Who is a Volunteer ?
2 Why volunteer ?
3 What do I need to qualify for a volunteer program ?
4 What kind of volunteer work is available ?
5 What is the duration of the volunteer program ?
6 What do I do in the free time ?
7 I cannot speak English. Can I become a volunteer ?
8 Is there any program during the festival season ?
9 What are the living arrangements at the time of volunteering ?
10 Can I come with friends or with my spouse ?
11 What support and guidance can I expect ?
12 When and how do I  pay the program fee ?
13 How many volunteers are there on site at the same time ?
14 What is included in the program fee ?
15 What happens if I get sick during the volunteer program ?
16 How can I adjust to a new culture ?
17 Why should you pay to work as a volunteer ?  

15. What happens if I get sick during the volunteer program ?
Volunteering India gives you every information about what precautionary measures to be taken about your health. However, in case of any requirement, medical care is available in all the villages recently. The rural people in India are very caring about foreign visitors and the host family feels a strong responsibility about your health. However, Volunteers with serious and chronicle health disorders should bring along with you necessary medicine keeping in view your long term health condition. It should be noted here that health care in rural India is not what you would expect comparing the medical standards in western countries. Further, we recommend you purchasing an international health insurance policy before you come to India.

Back To Top

16. How can I adjust to a new culture?
The orientation given to you before volunteer program will prepare you mentally to mingle with new culture and society. But however, some very sensitive persons may feel a culture shock. Here we give a brief description about what Culture Shock is, what are its symptoms, and how to deal with it.
Culture shock is the physical and emotional discomfort one suffers when coming to live in another country or a place different from the place of origin. Although, one can experience pain from culture shock; it is also an opportunity for redefining one's life objectives. It is a great opportunity for learning and acquiring new perspectives. Culture shock can make one develop a better understanding of oneself and stimulate personal creativity.

• Sadness, loneliness, melancholy
• Preoccupation with health.
• Insomnia, desire to sleep too much or too little
• Anger, irritability and unwillingness to interact with others
• Trying too hard to learn everything in the new culture
• Lack of confidence
• Feelings of insecurity or inferiority.
• Developing stereotypes about the new culture
• Developing obsessions such as over-cleanliness
• Longing for family
• Feelings of being lost, overlooked, exploited or abused.

Different phases of culture shock:

Initially the new arrival may feel overjoyed and delighted by all of the new things encountered. everything you bump into would be new and exciting.
Afterwards, a person may face some difficult times in daily life. For example, communication difficulties may occur such as not being understood. In this stage, there may be feelings of discontent, impatience, anger, sadness, and feeling incompetence. This happens when a person is trying to adapt to an entirely new culture. During this period of transition from old methods to those of the new place, one would encounter strong feelings of dissatisfaction.

In the next phase the volunteer gains some understanding of the new culture. A new feeling of pleasure and sense of humor may be experienced. One would feel a certain emotional balance. The new arrival may not feel as lost and starts to have a feeling of direction. The individual is more familiar with the environment and wants to belong.
Finally, the person realizes that the new culture, just as every other thing in life, has good and bad things to offer. The person starts to define him/herself and establish goals for living.
How to deal with culture shock:

Most of the people can easily adjust to new culture without facing much trouble. However here we give some tips that will help you to cope with this type of situation.
• Don't forget the good things you already have.
• Remember, there are always resources that you can use
• Don't try too hard. Just be relaxed and observe as the things go on. Soon you would understand that everything
   is normal.
• Relaxation and meditation are proven to have very good effect.
• Maintain contact with your ethnic group. This will give you a feeling of belonging and you will reduce your
  feelings of loneliness and alienation.
• Find ways to live with the things that don't satisfy you 100%.
• Keep in touch with your family and friends. Phone calls or e-mail contact would make you feel less isolated.
• Keep yourself busy doing things you enjoy. When you have free time, visit museums, temples and tours local
  sites of interest.
• Spending time with children gives you unparalleled mental peace and happiness.

Of all, you should understand that a slight feeling of culture shock is natural and the fact should be overviewed positively. Volunteers returning from abroad often describe the process of culture shock is a necessary maturing experience.

Back To Top

17. Why should you pay to work as a volunteer?

A question arises that why should a volunteer pay even after rendering services to the host organization and community.

To put it briefly – Volunteering India charges its volunteers to fulfill two aims:

1. To meet the expenses to guide and support volunteers, i.e. food, transportation accommodation, etc.
2. To maintain the organizational setup that is necessary to run volunteer programs.

Volunteering India is a non-profit, non-government, social service organization. The organization does not get any funds or resources from government or sponsors. Contributions from volunteers are the only source of the organization’s income. This income would be spent in many channels that would ultimately meet the above two aims.

One can clearly see the many expenses involved in organizing a volunteer program i.e., local transportation, costs of pre-program training, staff salaries, payment to host family, payments to co-coordinators from local NGO’s, providing communication facilities like internet etc., These are just operating costs… on the other side of the coin, there is the actual cost of volunteer program.

Volunteers are, when taken into account the monetary value of their services, are more of a burden than an advantage. But the enthusiasm of the volunteers to serve and the motivation they cause leads to a sustained change in depressed lives. This makes their services invaluable. In order to give the volunteers the maximum of travel pleasure and satisfaction of fulfilled service, the organization has to invest a lot, both materially and mentally. The various ways where the contribution from volunteers go are listed here:

Staff Salaries & Administration:
Volunteering India maintains full time staff to guide volunteers and manage volunteer programs.

Volunteer recruitment: Recruiting international volunteers involve many costs like advertising thru internet, developing a website, publishing brochures, newsletters etc.

Ties with local NGO’s:
Volunteering India maintains close relationships with local NGO’s. These NGO’s provide a valuable service to help the volunteer access to the rural India and interact with the people and culture. Obviously they are to be paid for their services.

Local Transport: Volunteering India takes the responsibility of volunteer’s local transportation so long as they work in the project. Otherwise the local travel would be tiresome, especially when you can’t speak the language.

Training to volunteers: No volunteer could at once enter the field of work without proper training and orientation. The volunteers are to be trained in two aspects – first to understand the language and etiquette and learn how to interact with people; secondly they should be given proper guidance in the actual work of volunteer project, whether it is teaching children or working in a field.

Food and accommodation: Every volunteer is given proper accommodation and hygienic Indian cuisine. They are generally set up with a host family to give the volunteer the complete satisfaction of interacting with the local culture. A stipend would be given to the host family.

Volunteer Project: The last but not the least, is the volunteer project for what very purpose the whole organizational setup exists. Some portion of every volunteer’s contribution goes to the material needs of the project. The volunteer project includes different types of costs depending on the type of work undertaken, for example, purchase of farming material, plants, medical equipment, building material etc.

The Volunteering India and the other local NGO’s that form the part of volunteer network are not in a position to sponsor volunteer trip or bear the costs of hosting volunteers. Had they be in a position to do this, it would surely be more beneficial for them to hire local persons. Here one should understand that the actual motive of the project is not just building a school or planting some trees, but motivating people to access opportunities for a sustained improvement in the standard of their lives. Only a self motivated and enthusiastic volunteer can do this.

Back To Top


Please enter your name & email
Id to subscribe for newsletter:

 Volunteer Stories

When I first arrived in India, it felt like every little thing was so different from back home- the sights, the sounds, the smells, the people, the animals; every moment was a new adventure, and I was always excited to see what would happen next! I volunteered teaching English to rescued child laborers in a rural village near Jaipur.

Read More....


SPESD, A-26 (C-1), Bhartiya Path, Kanti Chandra Road, Bani Park, Jaipur-302016 (INDIA)
Copyright Reserved (C) 2006-07 Volunteering India