Program & Schedule
On this project, you will get your hands dirty with construction projects. Our main focus when constructing is working at the hearing impaired school allocated to the poor. This project takes place in the city of Udaipur where we are located at. Despite the previous efforts, the work here is far from done and we continue to renovate pathways, toilets, walls, etc. Moreover, those with artistic talents can help decorate the walls by creating images and sketches of their home countries and cultures. We have the feeling that this will be a nice way of reflecting the hard and good work that has been done by our participants over the past years.
Other construction efforts might be carried out in the local village (renovating and building houses and sanitation facilities) or working on construction projects at the local hospitals - this very much depends on the needs of any particular time and so our participants will be using their construction skills where they are most needed!
Aims & Objectives
This project aims to improve the quality of life for underprivileged citizens in and around Udaipur. The construction projects greatly improve the environment of the poverty-stricken people within this area.
Monday to Friday
You will begin with a meeting with the coordinator, discussing what is required during your stay at the project. There is a focus on light construction work and you will be expected to help paint the school buildings, make tables & chairs, construct and renovate the playground, make pathways, build toilets, repair the school wall and help build the new classrooms. Construction and renovation work is available in more places when required in the local area.This schedule can be changed and/or amended depending on weather conditions, local conditions and unforeseen circumstances.
Participant Criteria & 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
- Due to the active nature of this program, a decent level of fitness is required.
- Participants below the age of 18 should have parental consent.
- Participants above the age of 65 should have medical clearance.
Living & Location
The Royal city of Udaipur located in the state of Rajasthan is commonly called the Venice of the East and nicknamed ‘the city of lakes’ is located in the princely state of Rajasthan. Primarily known for its art and architecture, it has temples dating as far back as 950 AD and palaces dating back to the Rajput era. Fans of The Jungle Book and James Bond films may recognize Udaipur as the birthplace of Bagheera and the location for the Roger Moore starrer Octopussy. Drawing several million tourists a year, it has loads to offer in terms of art, architecture, culture and cuisine. With all of this and more, Udaipur is one of the cities everyone should visit at least once in their lives.
There is a mini library where you can read, a beautiful garden to relax in and dining and lounge areas where you can hang out with fellow participants.
Furthermore, there is a refrigerator which you are welcome to use to store food and beverages.
The meals are a mix of Western and Indian food, consisting mainly of vegetarian dishes including rice and vegetables. You can expect to have a chicken dish about twice per week. You can also use the kitchen facilities to cook for yourself or eat out at any of the local restaurants.
Our house is located five kilometers away from the city center, where you can find anything you might need.
The nearest ATM and supermarket are located a 15 minute walk away from our accommodation.
Activities & Events
No scheduled activities outside the program.
Sights & Surroundings
Jaisalmer, a gigantic sandcastle that remains inhabited and has mesmerized people from all over the world. With ninety nine bastions, the castle encircles shops, a palace and more.
Pushkar, a Hindu pilgrimage town that is set around a holy late and home to one of the few Brahma temples, over fifty bathing ghats and over 400 temples. The main street is a long bazaar, where you can find any souvenir you can think of to bring back home.
Jodhpur, dubbed “The Blue City” for its blue-tinted edifices, Jodhpur is considered an architectural masterpiece due to its ever-photogenic streets and Mehrangarh, a magnificent fort that towers over the town.
Jaipur, a colorful and flamboyant city made famous by the Hawa Mahal, a pink-toned building that towers over the main bazaar and was historically built for royal women to be able to see festivals without being on the streets.
Ajmer, famous for its Islamic heritage and for containing one of India’s most important Muslim pilgrimage centers. In Ajmer, you’ll be able to find examples of Muslim architecture such as the Jain golden temples.
From this location we provide free transport to your next program at the following location(s):
- Northwest by Southwest
Name: Republic of India (Bhārat Gaṇarājya)
Population: 1.252 billion
Capital: New Delhi
Language: Hindi, English and 22 other officially recognized languages
Currency: Indian Rupee (INR)
Time zone: UTC +5:30
India is known for its pyramid-like temples, its colorful streets and it’s crowded cities. This country represents the most vivid and large culture in the world. From the golden triangle of Delhi, Jaipur and Agra to the coast where Ayurveda medicine was born, India offers a 360 degree journey through the most magical lands. Known for being the second most populated country in the world, India will show you the faces of thousands of Hindu gods in its very vast collection of temples all throughout the country. The land of colors and smiles is ready to take you on your next adventure whether road tripping or helping out in local communities, this sub-continent will amaze your senses. India will shift the way you see the world.
With over a billion citizens in this large country, India’s literacy rate is around 60% for women and 80% for men. Their principal language is Hindi and English is also commonly used in major cities. Delhi, the capital of India, is what many would call the real deal when travelling through the country. It is one of the biggest and most populated cities in the whole world with up to 25 million citizens. Delhi is known for its amazing cuisine and its new modality of “street food”, which means restaurants with every specialty you can imagine are available to you all throughout the city! Chennai is another of the biggest cities in India, known as the “Detroit of India” for its automobile industry. If you are looking for a quieter spot Kerala is the centre of lifestyle, art, architecture, language and literature in all of the country!
POINTS TO REMEMBER
- Do always carry a copy of your passport and other identification cards.
- Do carry a personal first-aid kit, a tube of mosquito repellent, sun lotion and always bottled or filtered water. Do consume as much fluids as you can.
- Be civil with the local transport, especially with tuk-tuk.
- Do be aware that water is used instead of toilet paper in India. However, you need to buy some toilet paper in big cities or big towns as it is difficult to get in small places.
- Do try to be clean and neatly dressed. Decent western clothes or Indian clothes are preferable. Your cloths can be loose but should not be too revealing, as this might draw unnecessary attention. You are liable to be judged by your appearance and will be treated accordingly.
- Do try the traditional Indian food! If you find it difficult to get used to it, you can stock up on tinned food, biscuits, fruits etc… after arriving here. But always wash the fruit before eating it.
- On long train journeys avoid buying food on the trains or platforms. Buy your train tickets well in advance before your travel.
- In the non-urban areas, food is eaten on the floor, sitting cross legged. Shoes/sandals should not be brought near the place of eating. Neither is cutlery used – only the fingers of the right hand are. Hands should be thoroughly cleaned before and after the meal.
- Do keep in touch with our coordinators during the all time of your stay and inform them about any changes, illnesses or leaving times from your project.
- Do be hospitable, friendly and kind. It costs nothing.
- “NAMASTE”- folding your hands together in a praying gesture is the traditional form of greeting. Women usually use this form of greeting while men usually do also shake hands.
- Do expect the unexpected.
- Don’t go out without informing your coordinators. Always tell them where you are going to, whom you are going to meet and when you are expected to be back. Don’t come home late.
- Don’t consume alcohol or smoke in the house or at project sites. Smoking is strictly prohibited at project site. Don’t make use of any items in your project / house without obtaining prior permission. E.g.: international telephone calls.
- Don’t stay secluded – spend enough time with other participants. Always try to socialize and play an active role in the day-to-day affairs. Also help with the daily household chores.
- Don’t enter the house with footwear. This is just the case in some households.
- Don’t hitch hike. It is not safe to hitch a ride from anyone at anytime. Avoid always.
- Don’t give your address or telephone number just because people ask for it. Before you give your address to someone, make sure you want to remain in touch with them.
- Don’t accept food or drinks from strangers on trains or elsewhere. Try to travel with someone, so that you can watch out for each other. But if you travel alone, don’t lose sight of your belongings. Take only as much money as you need and don’t take out your money belt in front of people.
- Don’t visit any stranger’s home alone.
- Don’t publicly display your emotions at the project site or in public places (kissing or hugging, etc.). This is not accepted in the Indian society.
- Don’t force your culture on others, always be ready to accept and learn. Your learning experience in India will depend on your will to adapt.
***Try not to become paranoid after reading all these tips. Everybody in India is not out to cheat you. It pays to be cautious but use your own judgments and instinct.***
India as a country is already very various and the same can be said about the food. Every state and every region is having its own dishes and ways of cooking, it even differs from religion to religion. The main differences you can see in the food from the north and the south.
The basis of an Indian meal usually is rice (in the south) and wheat in form of a special flat bread (in the north). Generally this is eaten with Dhal (lentils), Sabzi (vegetables), fish or meat and chutney. After the meal you can choose between the lots of different Indian sweets.
A thali is the all-purpose Indian dish. This product of South-India is also found in other parts of the country and consists of a metal plate with a number of small metal bowls filled with a variety of curry, vegetable dishes, a couple of papads, puris or chapattis and a mountain of rice. Thalis are consistently tasty rather cheap and 100% filling.
Many coastal areas have excellent seafood freshly caught and cooked in many different ways. But one will also find that every region has its special preparation for chicken, being it tandoori, kebab and so on.
Chaat is the general term for snacks, besides that India shares a huge variety of sweets that can be found on every corner and which are extremely sweet for a foreigners taste. Believe it or not, there is no such thing as curry in India; it is an English invention to cover the whole range of Indian food spicing. Spices are blended in a certain combination to produce Masala in various mixes.
Despite typical Indian food a great selection of foods from other parts of the world can be found here. The Chinese and Thai influence blesses us with marvelous dishes in a number of restaurants all over the subcontinent. Also found are continental restaurants which are becoming increasingly popular in all major cities. And sometimes even a taste of Europe can be enjoyed here such as an Italian Pasta restaurant, a French pastry or a German bakery.
GENERAL TRAVEL INFORMATION
Passport & Visa
Your passport should be valid for at least minimum 6 months after the return date for issuing a Visa. Regular Tourist Visas are given for either 3 or 6 months at the nearest Indian Embassy/Consulate. Your purpose of visit should be TOURISTIC, nothing else. The visa is given from the date of issue and not from the dates you mention in the application. Extension of this visa in India is not possible. This can only be done in Indian Embassies that are located outside India. All visitors must have a return ticket. Upon arrival, please give a copy of your passport, visa & your air ticket. It will be kept safely in our office, so that it could help you in case you lose the originals.
Most participants choose to depart from India by means of flying. The departure fee at the airport is included in the flight ticket so you will not need to cover this fee.
Vaccinations: All updated information about vaccinations is available at: www.who.org (The World Health Organization’s website). There is no compulsory vaccination to enter India. However, it is recommended to undertake the following: Diphtheria, Poliomyelitis, Tetanus, Hepatitis A and B, Typhoid. Please consult your doctor and the above-mentioned website of the W.H.O. for updates and special warnings.
Allergies: Please inform us of any allergies you may have, so that the team leaders and coordinators are prepared and special arrangements can be made for you.
You are required to subscribe to a health or travel insurance before arrival to India. It should be valid for the entire period of your stay outside your country. For more details, contact your sending organization.
The participants will have to arrange for their own transportation costs from our Center to the airport or to their next location as per their travel plans.
The national currency of India is the Rupee.
***Kindly check the exchange rates on Google as the prices keep fluctuating***
How to access your money in India?
You are allowed to bring up to 10,000 US Dollars into the country (without having to declare it at the customs office upon arrival).
All moneychangers in India accept US Dollars, Euros, and G.B. Pounds. Please be aware that some of them take a commission for the service. Always check before exchanging any money. The official exchange rates are available on all major newspapers daily.
Most major cities and tourist centers accept credit cards, with MasterCard, American Express and Visa being the most widely accepted. Cash advances on major credit cards can be made at various banks. For details about whether you can access home accounts in India, inquire at your bank before leaving. Credit cards are accepted at almost all top-end hotels and at many mid-range ones, however, only a handful of budget hotels/restaurants/shops accept them.
At ATMs: be aware that your bank is likely to impose higher charges on international transactions, so once in India it’s generally more economical to withdraw large amounts of money than make lots of small transactions. Always check in advance with your home bank whether your card can indeed access banking networks in India and if so, what the charge per transaction is and whether they have schemes to minimize these.
If you run out of money it can be transferred in no time (at a charge of course) via Thomas Cook’s Money gram service or at Western Union, both of which have branches throughout India. To collect cash, bring your passport and the name and reference number of the person who sent the funds.
Many parts of the country have good communications infrastructure. You will be able to easily send and receive emails and call internationally through the many internet cafes and WiFi enabled shops in India. You can also use a mobile phone. If you bring a mobile phone that is SIM card compatible you can get a SIM card and an Indian mobile number for approximately US$5 which is great for keeping in touch with other participants and also home. Both International and local/long distance calls can be made. NB: The country code of India is +91. You will be guided on this during your orientation.
GETTING THERE & AWAY
If possible try and book as far in advance as possible. Often airlines will offer cheaper seats on the first few seats sold to encourage sales.
Also get quotes from two or three local travel agents. Sometimes travel agents can get special offers from airlines which are better than the airlines are offering on their website.
India has several Airlines flying in and out of the country. Airlines include; Indian Airlines, Jet Airways, Emirates, British Airways, Air France, Thai Airways, Singapore Airlines, Lufthansa, Qatar Airways, Etihad, Cathay Pacific, Air France and Oman Air . Comprehensive travel agents in your home country will check all these options to find you the best deals.
Please read the following text before you start meditating about your expectations:
(From a participants: a message to all other participants…)
“Your Expectations are your worst enemy?!”
What do you expect from your India experience?
- To learn about a new culture?
- To eat good food?
- To take part in a political and/or humanitarian act?
- To receive support and to help others?
- To work within a dynamic team?
- To change the world? Or simply to have fun?
However, if these expectations are not met, how will this make you feel? Disappointed? Frustrated? Useless? Or just let down?
Imagine having NO expectations, meeting your new experience with an open-mind…. Will this enhance and enrich your experience? YES! It will give you the freedom to be accepting. It will give you the chance to discover and for you to enjoy your wonderful personal experience as an open minded, wide-eyed person.
Some people say to participate in social work is a completely unselfish act. Is it? Is it not about self-discovery, learning and exchange? To live within a different culture and work alongside local people could this be a unique experience for you? Should we as people from the developed world enforce our views and ways on the developing countries? Should we say ‘our’ way is better? Or should we learn, assist, train and experience? And should this exchange happen for both parties, the participants and the local community?
So finally, does this cultural experience enable us to then teach, inspire and enthuse others, either at home or on our travels? As a participant you have helped in producing an end result, whether it is helping to build a wall, painting boats, teaching English or contributing to Eco Tourism in a village. But, is the process you go through to achieve this aim just as important as the end product? Maybe even more so?!
Our Lives are all individual journeys. The chance to choose the social path is a great opportunity! To discuss and interact with like-minded people from different parts of the world means self-development for all. To venture into this experience with an accepting, open-mind will help us leave and live as adaptable, developing human beings. And so, the environment enables this memorable exchange to take place.”
What we expect from you:
We expect all participants to have read and understood this profile. Be on time and stay the entire length of your travel, SO PLEASE PLAN ALL THE PERSONAL TRAVELLING AFTER OR BEFORE YOUR TIME WITH US. Quitting your program before the end of the program term can cause a lot of inconvenience to the the travel plan and the people involved in it.
All Participants should:
- Co-operate with us by adapting to your new culture and for your security
- Show interest and responsibility during your program
- Adjust to the way of life at our center (house) or project
- Realize that the living conditions are many times different than at home (sometimes no warm water due to power failure/air-conditioning/ easy access to international phone or internet/ easy transportation at all times, mosquitoes…etc)
- Be open minded, flexible, leave prejudice behind, and show initiative
- Understand that a lot of time will be spent with local people who do not speak English (very well). Participants should make an effort in trying to communicate in the local language; this shows your interest (and patience!).
- Be creative. Share your thoughts and ideas for the work, discussions, the project, and the work
- Only English is accepted when others are around, even if they do not join in on the conversation
- Your appearance should be presentable at the project. In many cases, a “dress code” is mandatory: long sleeves and pants, no extravagant or minimal clothing.
- Behavior and dress code should be culture sensitive, especially while in the village or schools.
- Cleanliness is very essential and is mandatory.
Moreover, and most important: Being with us means that you are part of a community of participants from all over the world. Your daily enthusiasm, initiative, and the will to improve (the project, the lifestyle and the learning that comes with all contacts between people) are expected. We learn by doing, only by taking initiatives and therefore sometimes making mistakes, we learn.
What you can expect from us:
As a participant, what you can expect is:
- An Airport Pickup and transfer on arrival
- A comprehensive orientation
- Your Basic Board & Lodge is taken care of (food and accommodation)
- Feedback Sessions
- A well experienced tour guide available during an emergency and at all times for support and advice
- a contact person to assist you during the program term
- You can also expect to meet with many young people, have fun, experience, exchange and learn a lot
- Have a safe stay in a foreign country and enjoy the fruit of several years of experience in the field of travel
- A certificate of participation at the end of our program
You will have loads of fun by
- International mix of participants: you get the chance to travel with people and make friends from all over the world
- "At home" experience at the accommodation
- Explore interesting destinations
- Wholesome programs with lots of enjoyable experiences
- Working with welcoming communities
- A wide and exciting range of activities
- Opportunities to relax and energize
The program will create a better version of the participants by:
- The chance to build supreme confidence and bringing changes to your own life
- Developing an appreciation for other ways of thinking and living
- Learning new skills and applying your current skills
- Learning about new cultures, languages and habits
- Developing patience and sense of satisfaction
- Increasing social and interpersonal skills
- Getting renewed creativity, motivation and vision
- Making a difference in another person’s life (a very cool thing to do)
- Developing gratitude for what you already have by working with those who have a lot less
- Sharpening your problem solving skills
What you can’t expect:
- Special food: with respect to the different diets of each one (vegetarian, non-vegetarian, allergies). We provide mostly Indian food. Please don’t expect us to provide foreign/imported food items, or to pay for food and accommodation outside the itinerary.
- Alcohol or cigarettes (of course…).
- Changes in the project during your project week (unless in very special/serious cases).
Recommendations for your Health whilst travelling (VERY IMPORTANT)
- Drink as much water as possible and keep yourself hydrated
- Keep away from junk food, oily food, and street food
- Wear warm clothes
- If you have any personal medications, please follow them regularly
- If you are allergic to any food or anything, please our coordinator know
- Wash your hands thoroughly before you eat anything
- Go very slow on spicy food if you choose to try all types of Indian dishes
Terms and Conditions
Schedule could change to unavoidable circumstances
- The participants are requested to be back at the center or guest houses by 22:30 everyday
- Mode of transportation could change due to unavoidable circumstances
- Participants will not be entertained to hire any vehicles on their own
- Consumption of alcohol are strictly prohibited at all our Centers
- Respect and adhere to our code of conduct
- Our staff are there to support you and to guide you and make your trip memorable, we request you to kindly follow their instructions at all times.
- You will not be allowed to bring outsiders inside our centers, guest houses or hotels
- Please provide your mobile phone number during the time of booking, as this will be useful for us to contact you at the Delhi Airport as this is quite a crowded airport, and we would not want to lose you!
India is so vast that climatic conditions in the far north have little relation to those of the extreme south. While the heat is building up to breaking point on the plains, the people of Ladakh, in the Himalaya, will still be waiting for the snow to melt on the high passes.
India has a three-season year – the hot, the wet and the cool. Generally, the best time to visit is during winter (November to February) although there are regional variations.
Summer (hot): The heat starts to build up on the northern plains of India from around February, and by April or May it really hots up. In central India temperatures of 45C and above are commonplace. Later in May, the first signs of the monsoon are visible in some areas – high humidity, violent electrical storms, short rain-storms and dust storms that turn day into night. The hot season is the time to leave the plains and retreat to the hills, and this is when Himalayan hill stations are at their best (and busiest). By early June, the snow on the passes into Ladakh melts and the roads reopen.
Monsoon (wet): When the monsoon finally arrives, it does not just suddenly appear. After some advance warning, the rain comes in steadily, generally starting around 1 June in the extreme south and sweeping north to cover the whole country by early July. The monsoon doesn’t really cool things down: at first hot dry and dusty weather is simply replaced by hot, humid, muddy conditions. Even so, it’s a welcome relief, not least for farmers who face their busiest time of year as they prepare fields for planting. It doesn’t rain solidly all day during the monsoon, but certainly rains virtually every day the water tend to come down in buckets for a while followed by the sun. The main monsoon comes from the southwest, but the southeast coast is affected by the short and surprisingly wet northeast monsoon, which brings rain from mid-October to the end of December.
Although the monsoon brings life in India, it also brings its share of death. Almost every year there are destructive floods and thousands of people are made homeless. Rivers rise and sweep away road and railway lines and many flights schedules can be disrupted. In recent times, poor monsoon have lead to crippling droughts in many parts of rural India.
Winter (cool): Finally, around October, the monsoon ends for most of the country, and this is when most tourists visit. Generally, it’s not too hot and not too cool (although in October it can still be surprisingly humid in some regions). Delhi and other northern cities become quite cold at night in December and January. It certainly becomes cold in the far north. In the far south, where it never gets truly cool, the temperatures become comfortably warm. Then, around February, the temperatures start to climb again and, before you know it, you’re back in the sweltering hot weather.
Hinduism is a big part of the story and construction of the Indian culture. India is known for its distinctive arts such as architecture, literature and performing arts but in the modern era it has shifted towards the film industry. Bollywood is followed by the Middle East, South Asia and even Russia! Their movies are known for its musical intake and beautiful stories and characters, all, native Indian. One of the things that characterize India the most is its caste system; this model includes the old tradition of arranged marriages and very traditional family values throughout castes and the country. Don’t miss a cricket match when you visit! It is the nation’s favourite sport and a beloved pastime in the country.
Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainism and Zoroastrianism are the major religious communities in the country. According to the 1990 census, Hindus constitute about 83% of the population followed by Muslims with 11% and Christians with 2%. Sikhs constitute about 1.6 %. Buddhists 0.6% Jains 0.3% and Zoroastrians (Parsees) 0.085%, of the 1 billion population. The rest constitute other minor religions. The population of all the 6 major religions has increased but Jainism has increased only marginally. India is a land of bewildering diversity. It is a jigsaw puzzle of people of every faith and religion, living together creating a unique and colorful mosaic. There is a festival for every reason and season. Many festivals celebrate the various harvests, signifying great historical figures and events while much express devotion to the deities of different religions. Every celebration revolves around rituals of prayer, seeking blessings, exchanging goodwill, and decorating houses, wearing new clothes, music, dance and feastings.