Gap Year in India
Are you looking for a responsible way to travel? Or perhaps you want to broaden your horizons with travel that really matters? Become a gap year volunteer in India and make the most out of your year out with meaningful travel that has a positive impact on the world around us. Our volunteer programs are available from as short as 2 weeks to 4 weeks and are completely flexible so they can be combined with other volunteering experiences or other destinations so you can find the perfect gap year program to fit in with your travel plans.
Our gap year in India takes you to North or South India depending on your preference, and will allow you to see, experience and immerse yourself in a completely different culture whilst giving back to the poor, disadvantaged communities around you. By donating your time to local schools, orphanages and community centres as you travel and sightsee, you can touch the lives of those you meet and you can make a positive impact as you leave your footprint behind.
This volunteering program is all about people and it’s our mission to work with compassionate volunteers like you to help make a difference to communities. Not only will you do your bit as you explore new places, but we’re sure you’ll meet some pretty amazing people along the way too’¦
Your time will be divided between volunteering in schools or community centres and embarking on exciting travel in India. You will be briefed on arrival and you will receive a rough schedule in advance and our team are here to provide project support from start to finish. Your volunteering work will involve working closely with children, aged between 4 years and 16 years. And you will spend time teaching English to groups of children during class time and these classes will involve creative teaching/learning through songs, nursery rhymes, story-telling or activity based learning. You may also get the chance to work one on one with individuals who need the extra help and attention.
This program is available in Kerala, South India or Kolkata, North India. And the children you will be teaching will be from poor and disadvantaged backgrounds in the rural areas of India. Whilst resources may not be plenty and classroom conditions may be cramped, the smiling faces of the children who are desperate to learn will surely leave a lasting memory.
Our gap year also gives you the option to add in a two week India tour where you can see the Taj Mahal, Delhi, Jaipur and end up on the party beaches of Goa!
This Program is suitable for high school groups, university students and families.
All The Details
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All our rates are in GBP £. If you want to extend your gap year in India to more than 2 weeks mail email@example.com. We need a minimum of 2 to 4 persons to run this gap year program.
1 Week volunteering and 1 week North India Tour
2 weeks volunteering and 2 weeks North India Tour (Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, to Goa)
- Pre-departure guide – to prepare you for your trip
- Pick-up and drop from the nearest airport
- Accommodation and Meals (Breakfast and Lunch)
- Experienced bilingual local staff team
- Location orientation and project training with the local Program Manager
- Project resources – e.g. school curriculums and books, past volunteer notes
- 24 hour support in your location for emergencies
- Transport to the project site when needed
North India Tour Includes:
- 3* Hotel Accommodation and daily breakfast at coffee shop or restuarant
- All transfers and sightseeing
- Air Conditioned vehicle tranport
- Vehicle Costs, Fuel charges and other permits
- English speaking guide in Agra and Delhi
- Assistance by our rep on arrival and departure
- All government taxes
Whats Not Included in your program fee :
- Flights to the program destinations
- Medical and travel insurance
- Visa costs
- Personal shopping and gratuities
- Local excursions
- Project materials that you personally need *
*We provide basic resources, school books, online resources, and use of our computers for further online research for project ideas. Please bring your own resources from home if needed. Photocopying and printing or buying materials you need for projects is at your own expense.
North India Tour Excludes:
- Flights to Delhi and Goa
- Any Monument entrance fees
- Personal shopping, laundry and telephone bills
- Gratuities to guide and driver
- Lunch and Dinner
Local Team On Ground
Geetha Raj: Kerala Program Manager
Geetha is the backbone of our programs in Kerala. Her friendliness, generosity and warmth towards every volunteer will leave you feeling extra special. Having worked as local journalist for almost 10 years, Geetha grew a passion for community development work, and is very forward thinking. She is instrumental in Kerala Program development. A born leader, Geetha will give you the direction you will need to succeed as a volunteer. Her team will look after all your needs from the time you enter Kerala to the time you leave.
Shalini Deo: Kolkata Program Coordinator
Shalini has spent a decade as a corporate trainer for language and behavioural skills for IT, banking to hospitality sectors. She is founder of New Agragati, a self help group which empowers 140 women by skill training and employment. Her passion to contribute to society introduced Shalini to us. She conducts cultural orientation and immersion programs, language courses and helps volunteers adjust better in India and particularly Kolkata. Shalini is basically super awesome to have around.
Reaching India and other bits..
- For Kerala your arrival airport is Cochin International Airport (COK)
- For Kolkata your arrival airport is Kolkata Netaji Subash Chandra Bose Airport (CCU)
- If you need help to book flights or insurance fill in the form here.
- We recommend you apply for Visas before you arrive. Our Volunteer Guide will give you guidance on how to get your visas.
- Vaccinations are important. We recommend you visit your local travel clinic to find out what vaccines you should take.
- We work with the Foreign & Commonwealth Office for travel to India. Goto www.gov.uk/knowbeforeyougo to find out how best to avoid trouble when abroad. Packed with essential travel advice and tips, the website also offers up-to-date country information.
- We understand it can be difficult to pay for your flights, program fees and other travel costs. Many fundraise for their journey. If you need ideas and a platform for fundraising ideas ask us!
- For support on any of the above email us firstname.lastname@example.org
A Day in the life of a Gap Volunteer:
07:00AM: Wake up and go for yoga class
09:00 to 09:45 AM: Refresh and join other volunteers for a homely breakfast on our rooftop
10:00-12:00PM: Volunteer with other volunteers with our local coordinator helping you.
12:00 to 14:00PM: Lunch time at home.
14:00 to 16:00PM: More volunteering and lesson planning time
17:00 PM: Goto one of the local cafes in Fort Kochi or go for a sunset on the beach
18:00PM: Meet up with other volunteers and grab dinner at a local cafe and chill out
20:00PM: Hang out by the rooftop with other volunteers until bed time!
Discover India Tour:
If you choose to do a two week tour of North India you will get a chance to discover the best of India. Our two week tour plan is as follows:
What Happens When I Arrive?
Living Arrangements for Gap Volunteers:
Accommodation will be arranged and checked by Volunteering Journeys and we always select safe, clean and comfortable housing for our volunteers. We promote community living for a happy, healthy social life so rooms and houses will be shared with other gap year students on the program. So you don’t have to worry about not making friends ‘“ you will have plenty of people to socialise with during your trip.
Rooms come with fans and en-suite bathrooms and upgrades (air conditioned rooms or private rooms) are also available upon request. Meals are provided daily and will be tasty local cuisines, and any project transport will be pre-arranged for your convenience.
With a lot of female volunteers joining this program we ensure that our accommodation is 100% safe with no one living with you besides other volunteers.
Health and Safety :
When you join our programs you can be assured we have carried out Risk Assessments to identify potential safety and health risks on projects and in the community. We share this information with you in our pre departure documents and on arrival. Our local staff are well trained and we provide 24/7 emergency numbers to all participants.
Volunteering Journeys Foundation:
Through our commitment to responsible tourism we have developed the Volunteering Journey’s Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of people and communities around the world through supporting local charities, local organisations and community projects in the places that we work in. 100% of each donation goes directly to support our projects. Go to our Donation page for details.
Volunteers Love Us!
‘My experience in India was absolutely fantastic. Having never done anything like this before, Volunteering Journeys made sure I settled in well and supported me throughout my time. Being placed with an amazing family gave me the chance to experience Indian culture first hand. I was part of the Disabled Childcare Programs for two weeks. Although short, I felt the time I spent was so valuable for the children. If this is something that you are interested in I would 100% recommend it. The memories, friendships and experiences you will develop will be ones that you will never forget.’
‘The teaching experience was second to none. I was overwhelmed by the respect and politeness all the children have, which made it some much easier to work with them, even with the language barrier. The amazing thing about the schools I visited was that all the children are like little sponges, they absorb everything you say, teach and do! It’s quite outstanding how much they gain from just a small conversation in the playground or in the class room.
So in general if you are questioning whether you want to volunteer and you don’t know what company to go with, it has the be Volunteering Journeys. You will be well looked after, gain an immense experience and make friends for life!!!’
‘I took a short sabbatical from work in November 2013 and decided to come to India. I was helping at a small school in Fort Kochi, teaching English, Maths, Science and the odd nursery rhyme. The school where I volunteered had amazing teachers and the kids were great. Ridhi and the team organised everything brilliantly – from cycling tours to the backwaters, to hosting me with a family that made my stay feel like home. If you’re going to volunteer in India then I highly recommend Volunteering Journeys’
“J’ai passé deux mois formidables à Kochi en travaillant comme volontaire avec Volunteering Journeys. Deux mois de ma vie que je n’oublierais jamais. J’ai rencontré des gens incroyables et participé à des projets qui me tenaient vraiment à coeur. J’ai pu voir l’aboutissement de mes efforts et le sourire sur le visage des enfants. Une expérience magique que je recommande à tous. Merci Rainbow”
‘I spent 3 wonderful weeks with the Volunteering Journeys team in Kerala, it marked the beginning of almost 2 months adventuring through India, and I can say without a doubt it was one of my favourite experiences of my time spent in incredible India! From the moment my plane landed and I was greeted by a friendly face and whisked away to a wonderful home, the local staff were incredibly welcoming, helpful, supportive and great fun to be around!
I spent my time volunteering in 2 local schools, assisting with English studies. The enthusiasm and joy with which the children approach their days will ensure you never want to leave!I cannot recommend Volunteering Journeys highly enough, it was such a joyful introduction to India – it’s culture, people and crazy beautiful way of life. You will leave with some fond memories and firm friendships’
‘I volunteered by teaching English both at a school and at an all girls’ orphanage for two months. It has been the best experience of my life so far. I really got to know the children I was teaching and seeing the children’s English improve over my time was an incredible feeling. From being introduced to yoga to tasting delicious flavoursome Indian cuisine and living in “God’s own country”, has left me eager to return. I have made friends across the World who made my time spent in Kerala unforgettable. I highly recommend volunteering with Volunteering Journeys; Kerala is beautiful and you will gain fun memories.’
‘I spent two weeks running an art workshop which was absolutely fantastic. The children were so enthusiastic and bustled about with paste and paint, putting together the most amazing creations. They were not used to producing collaborative work and were thrilled when their individual efforts achieved a glorious whole. Their personalities really shone through and I became very fond of them in the short time I was with them. Thank you to Volunteering Journeys for enabling me to have such a wonderful experience!’
‘There is some kind of magic that happens when you’re in India. The climate, the people, the warm welcome, the happiness in every person, the culture, it’s simply inspiring. On top of that having a group of friendly, thoughtful organizers guiding me through the program made my time volunteering with Volunteering Journeys one of the most memorable moments in my life.
If anyone reading this is considering becoming a volunteer, don’t hesitate, become a volunteer. It will be the most rewarding experience and adventure of your life. I assure you that you will have a vital impact on the community, the place and the children. I would recommend Volunteering Journeys without hesitation. Well organized and hassle free adventure. You get help and guidance with everything you need. Kerala was my destination. Safe, beautiful and very friendly. Just do it and have an adventure of your life!’
“Volunteering at the schools was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. Once again the friendships you create are irreplaceable. Admittedly, the first few days were scary, in the sense that my partner and I were only 18 & 20 yrs old and we were teaching women and children a language that was not their first. However the persistence and willingness of Indians is not to be tested. Each of our students put in 100% and naturally we became very personal with everyone and these women and children taught us much more. We came out of this experience with more than we had ever anticipated. It can’t be put into words just how much we learnt from volunteering. Ever aspect of our lives and mindset has changed.”
‘I think it was quite an eye opening experience to kind of see how people live and enjoy their lives very differently to what we do probably in UK. Even though comparatively they didn’t have as much, the children still came to school with a smile on their face and they were really keen to learn. They were ever so happy and always had a smile on their face regardless of the circumstances that they are living in, and I think that was an amazing experience for us to take back. We have comparatively much more wealth in the UK and we have much more available at our fingertips. Yet we were quite not so happy’
‘We decided to volunteer as part of our family vacation. It was the perfect balance: making a contribution but not being asked to do too much, with Volunteering Journeys staff with us every step of the way to help, support, clarify, etc. I was also impressed that they didn’t feed us a line about how we were changing the world in a week; I knew going in that *we* would be the ones most changed, and the staff’s perspective’s was the same: we were making an impact by showing we cared and sharing experiences, which hopefully meant something to a lot of people.’