Application - Information
When should I apply for a volunteer/internship assignment in India?
Global Crossroad has offered volunteer/internship assignments in India since 2003. We are able to place volunteers on the 1st or 3rd Monday of any month, year round. We recommend applying at least two months in advance, as there is an ever-increasing volume of applications. If your application must be expedited for quicker placement, please contact our office for more information.
What happens once I submit my documents and application to Global Crossroad?
Once Global Crossroad receives and reviews your completed application, it is then forwarded to our In-Country Coordinator in India who will then finalize a personal assignment as per your qualifications, experience and requests. Your finalized placement details are forwarded to you upon completion.
How long does it take to process my application?
The application process may take up to 2-4 weeks – occasionally longer given the time of year and influx of applications to your chosen country. However, in the event that an applicant requires quicker placement due to time constraints, we request you contact Global Crossroad's offices prior to submitting an application.
What documents do I need to submit with my application?
The only initial documentation required is our completed application form, which can be found online (http://www.globalcrossroad.com/apply). We reserve the right to request further information or documentation; however, in most situations information contained in the application is sufficient. Applicants have the option to either submit their application online or download the application from the website and submit the completed form to Global Crossroad's USA-based offices by either mail or fax.
Are there any necessary requirements to participate in the India based volunteer programs? In most volunteer projects, the only qualifications are:
- An open-mind, a willingness to teach others as well a passion for helping those in need.
- Enthusiasm for living abroad, meeting new people and embracing varied cultures.
- Be in good mental and physical health.
Securing a tourist visa is the volunteer's responsibility and Global Crossroad requires all volunteers to obtain a tourist visa before departing for India.
Please call our office or contact your nearest India embassy to learn more about visa, visa fees and visa extensions. Much information can be learned online by searching out India's embassy or consulate.
Who manages the volunteer projects in India?
Global Crossroad's in-country Coordinator in India is responsible for researching appropriate volunteer projects as per the qualifications, skills and interests of the applicants.
What are the daily schedules of the projects?
Project schedules vary for each project in India. Most projects are from Monday to Friday, for approximately 4-5 hours a day. Most volunteers have the weekends and evenings off to sightsee or explore India on their own.
Where are the projects located?
Programs in India will take place in and around Delhi or Jaipur. Review the details of your project on our website or in your placement documents for the particular city or area to which you will be travelling.
What is the language spoken in India?
The principal official language of the Republic of India is Standard Hindi, while English is the secondary official language.
When are the India based assignments available?
Global Crossroad programs are available year round and begin on the 1st or 3rd Monday of every month.
How long can I volunteer in India?
We normally suggest participants volunteer for a 2-12 weeks timeframe. In general, most countries do not allow those travelling on a tourist visa to stay longer than 12 weeks. If you would like to stay longer, please contact our offices to discuss your options.
Arrival and Departure Information
Who will arrange my flight to India?
International flight coordination and payment of international airfare is a volunteer's responsibility.
At which airport should I arrive?
All volunteers must arrive at Delhi, India (Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport).
If my assignment begins on Monday, when should I arrive in India?
Please arrive the day before your assignment begins. If you wish to arrive earlier, your accommodation and meals will be your responsibility. Please review your assignment start day details in your personal placement information package we will forward to you.
Will someone pick me from the airport? If so, how will I know who they are and where they are?
You will be greeted up at the airport, but you must send your travel itinerary to our India in-country Coordinator and to us at Global Crossroad's offices before your arrival in India. You will be met by a local staff member or our in-country coordinator. They will be holding a sign with your name, awaiting your arrival outside of the airport.
If you miss our representative due to flight delay or confusion, please call the in-country coordinator number provided in your placement details. This rarely happens, but be prepared by keeping this important information with you as you travel. Make sure you look carefully for your pick-up representative, as it is normally busy outside of the airport.
What should I do if my flight is delayed?
- Try to call our India in-country coordinator from the airport to notify him/her of the possible delayed arrival time.
- Check your placement instructions pertaining to details of hotels that have been recommended for late arrival if your flight will after midnight.
Call/email our India in-country Coordinator once you arrive so that s/he can orchestrate a new pick-up time.
How can I get to my accommodations from the airport if I did not connect with Global Crossroad's local representative in the airport?
In the event that your arrival time is changed/delayed, requiring you to stay overnight in a hotel (or if you failed to meet Global Crossroad's representative at the airport), you should hire a taxi at the airport. Request the taxi deliver you to the hotel designated in your placement details/pre-departure information. Remember to request a receipt from the driver.
IMPORTANT: Ensure that you have contacted Global Crossroad's in-country coordinator BEFORE boarding a taxi. Participants are advised to contact Global Crossroad's India In-Country Coordinator the next day and let him/her know their whereabouts.
What do I need prior to departure from my home country?
- Please make sure that you pack all your necessary documents: passport, copy of passport and at least one other form of picture ID.
- Please bring your volunteer assignment placement details.
- Prepare financially to cover unforeseen expenses up to $50-100 USD/week for extra expenses and travel to your project each day.
- Prepare your mind and spirit for the experience to which you have committed. Culture shock affects everyone and it may be so strong that you want to quit the week after arrival. Take precautions: read about your county/city, study the culture and language(s) and learn about food and customs.
If I want to arrive earlier than when my assignment begins, where do I stay and who will organize the accommodations?
You can arrive up to a week early for your assignment; however, you are responsible for making and paying for these arrangements (including accommodations and food), and must still meet the in-country coordinator at the airport on the designated date.
When should I depart from India?
We ask that participants depart from India on the Saturday following the completion of their assignment.
From which airport shall I depart?
All India volunteers should depart from Delhi, India (Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport) unless you receive other instructions in your placement details.
Who will bring me to the airport for my departure?
GC does not offer airport drop-off services. You will need to arrange a taxi or bus ride to the airport following your assignment's completion. This is a simple process and our India in-country coordinator or your host family will normally be very happy to assist you with the arrangements.
Living Accommodations Information
Who will arrange my accommodations and what are they?
Global Crossroad's weekly fees include management of volunteers' meal plans and accommodations throughout projects and travel options. Three meals a day (breakfast, lunch and dinner) will be provided and consist of local ingredients and feature traditional cuisine choices for India. Our meal program can accommodate vegetarian needs; however, we are not able to provide for other dietary restrictions. Food and drinks outside of mealtimes are the volunteer's responsibility. In most cases, there are restaurants and markets nearby the homes in which our volunteers stay.
In India, most volunteers stay in a Homebase, in an onsite accommodation in the project site or with a host family. The concept of Homebase is a permanent residence set up especially for international volunteers. There are several bedrooms at our Homebase and volunteers will normally share a room with a same gender volunteer. There are community rooms and a television. The environment is very relaxed and social and a great place to unwind after a busy day. The kitchen and bathrooms are shared, and there is running water and "western-style" toilets. The neighborhood is very safe and clean. There are many amenities nearby like internet cafés, grocery stores, restaurants and mass transit stops. Orphanage volunteers in India might have the opportunity to stay with the children as many orphanages provide private rooms for international volunteers. These volunteer rooms will normally be shared with a volunteer of the same gender.
Volunteers may stay with a host family also. Volunteers staying with a host family usually have a single bedroom, but may occasionally share a room with another volunteer of the same gender. Our host families are chosen carefully and are esteemed community members, who have experience in the realm of hosting international travelers. Host family residences are in comfortable, clean and safe neighborhoods and rooms are simply furnished and tidy. Staying with a host family can offer the support system a volunteer will crave during their program and it is a great way to learn about a host country's culture and customs.
A unique and important part of Global Crossroad's successful volunteer abroad programs is our volunteer support in-country. We put safety and comfort first as we deliver enriching and consistent experiences for our international travelers. Our support is multi-faceted while volunteers are in India and our staff is in contact with our volunteers on a regular basis either with face-to-face visits or via phone/email. Key support comes from our country coordinator and in-country field staff. These individuals are employed by our company and committed to ensuring your experience the best it can be. Your chosen project staff and host family offers support as well, and they are familiar with working with international volunteers and accustomed to answering questions and providing guidance. Volunteers also have access to our country coordinator's mobile number for emergencies. With longer assignments, our field staff visits regularly (every 2-4 weeks) to ensure the experience is meeting your expectations. Sometimes an assignment may be too far to visit physically, so staff members will touch-base via phone/email. You are also welcome to stop in the offices at any time. You are never alone.
Specific details regarding accommodations, food and contact details for our local coordinator will be provided in personalized volunteer placement documentation prior to arrival.
Are single rooms available?
Occasionally, in most cases you will share a room with a same-gender volunteer. Please note your request and we will do our best to meet your needs.
If I arrive with my friend, or girlfriend/boyfriend, can we stay together?
In many situations yes, but please contact our office regarding your situation, since it may depend upon individual accommodation availability and time-of-year circumstances. Please be reminded that volunteers of different genders are often not permitted to stay in the same room, unless they are a married couple.
Will there be other foreign volunteers/interns at my placement?
Yes, more often than not, but this depends on the exact assignment and accommodation placement. If you want to travel with a companion or group, we allow and encourage this option. You may be placed with different host families, but these residences will generally be located close (within one to two miles) to each other. Please be reminded that volunteers of different genders will normally not be allowed to stay in the same room, unless they are a married couple.
What are the bathroom facilities like?
Bathroom facilities depend up on the location and project. Most of our host families have running water and western (or modern)-style toilets. However, in a few projects/accommodations there are varying toilet and bathroom situations.
What are the laundry arrangements?
In most cases, laundry will be washed by hand. It is the responsibility of volunteers.
Can I use appliances if I bring them from my home country?
Yes, but you will need an electrical converter. Information for different countries can be found on the internet, for example http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mains_electricity . Your local small appliance specialty or travel retailer can advise you on plugs and voltage converters.
Who manages my meals?
Global Crossroad organizes food and accommodations for the extent of your volunteer assignment.
Can you accommodate special diets?
Global Crossroad can provide both vegetarian and non-vegetarian meals. We cannot accommodate special dietary needs (i.e. diabetics). If you require a special menu beyond vegetarian/vegan needs, you will need to be responsible for your own meals.
Is the running tap water safe for drink?
In most developing countries, tap water is not safe to drink. We recommend that you purchase bottled water for your consumption, but make sure that the cap's seal is not broken! You can also request that your host family boil water for you each day for you to consume.
Are there hot and cold-water facilities available?
Specifics pertaining to availability of hot water will be included in participants' placement details.
Will bottled water be provided?
No, the purchase of bottled water is a volunteer's responsibility.
Health and Safety
How safe is India?
Any international travel requires caution and awareness. We suggest that all volunteers consult their own government advisory office before participating in a Global Crossroad program. International travel does present risks, especially with the modern-day threat of international terrorism. The U.S. State Department issues travel warnings and advisories in many countries for American travelers. These travel advisories and warnings change frequently as situations in each country transform.
- British Foreign Office Advice ( http://www.fco.gov.uk/)
- American State Department Advice ( http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/tw/tw_1764.html)
- Australian Government Advice ( http://www.dfat.gov.au/)
- Canadian Government Advice (http://canada.gc.ca/main_e.html)
What are the principle health risks in India?
We use the Center for Disease Control traveler's health recommendations www.cdc.gov. You should also consult a travel doctor who will be knowledgeable about current epidemics, health risks and recommended vaccinations.
Is the food safe if I buy it from a street vendor?
No! India is still considered a developing country and you should be cautious. While you are in India, food safety should be a major consideration. You can hardly resist the tempting novelty of street vendors and their food variety, but you should abstain. Our suggestion is to avoid eating on the streets until you get familiar with the general situation. The food will likely taste quite different from anything you have had before. Food safety problems can range from chemicals and contaminants, to bacteria as well as some other diseases. In India, poor food cooking, preparation, and storage, as well as improper cleaning and disinfecting of cooking supplies is very common among street vendors. Therefore, we do not suggest buying food from street vendors.
What are the sanitary conditions in India?
- Be prepared and never expect a clean toilet 100% of the time. Carry some tissue in case you need to use the public toilet.
- In India, toilets generally do not do well when flushing large amounts of items or feminine hygiene products so do not flush them and throw them away in the trash.
- In some areas/restaurants, toilet systems are old, have very narrow plumbing and are easily blocked. In these cases, a small basket is usually placed beside the toilet (for your used toilet paper).
- Use hotel lobby toilets; these are everywhere and are tend to be clean. Still, they may not always have toilet paper.
Are ATMs easily available? If yes, which debit and credit cards are accepted?
ATMs linked to international networks are common in most towns and cities in India. However, carry cash or traveler checks as backup in case the ATM system is out of order or you lose or damage your cards.
Credit cards such as American Express, Diners Club, JCB, Master and Visa are accepted at the local large hotels or tourist stores. You also can withdraw cash from most international banks from ATM machines, but $2-4 USD surcharges apply for each transaction.
Ensure that you notify your home bank of your intent to travel to India. This will provide you necessary information and alleviate any confusion at your home bank regarding international transactions (which can result in a cautionary freeze on your account in some cases).
What is the Local Currency and how do I know the exchange rate?
The Indian rupee (INR) is the official currency of the Republic of India. The Indian rupee (Rs) is divided into 100 paise (p), but paise coins are very rare. Coins come in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 25 and 50 paise, and Rs 1, 2 and 5; notes come in Rs 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1000 (this last bill can be hard to use outside banks). The Indian rupee is linked to a group of currencies and its value is generally stable.
You can find current exchange rate information at currency websites like www.xe.com, or by looking in a newspaper like the Wall Street Journal.
Where should I exchange my money?
As per LonelyPlanet.com: "Major currencies such as US dollars, UK pounds and Euros are easy to change throughout India, though some bank branches insist on traveler checks only. A few banks also accept Australian, New Zealand and Canadian dollars, and Swiss francs. Private moneychangers accept a wider range of currencies, but Pakistani, Nepali and Bangladeshi currency can be harder to change away from the border. When travelling off the beaten track, always carry a decent stock of rupees.
Whenever changing money, check every note. Banks staple bills together into bricks, which puts a lot of wear on tear on the currency. Do not accept any filthy, ripped or disintegrating notes, as these may not be accepted as payment. If you get lumbered with such notes, change them to new bills at branches of the Reserve Bank of India in major cities."
Remember, you must present your passport whenever you change currency or traveler checks. Please note: Officially, you cannot take rupees out India. Most volunteers have success exchanging leftover rupees back into their home currency at the airport
How much money should I bring with me?
Global Crossroad manages food and rooms for our volunteers throughout the assignment; therefore, you will not need more money to pay for these expenses. However, if you plan to take part in activities outside of our organization or buy some souvenirs, you will need to bring extra money.
On a side note, you must also remember the fee for visas, which can range from US $50-100 depending on the length of stay. There may also be an airport tax that you pay upon your departure from India. You will want to determine the amount of extra money you bring based on these factors.
Is it safe to carry cash with me?
Carrying cash is not always safe; therefore, do not carry a large surplus of cash with you. It is advised that you carry cash in a money belt with some additional stashed in your wallet.
How do I contact with Global Crossroad's local coordinator?
The contact details of our India in-country Coordinator will be given in final placement sheet. You can contact him by email or telephone; we suggest all volunteers talk with country coordinator before they arrive.
How do I contact my family and friends once I arrive in India?
I International Direct Dialing from India is available in cities. Phone cards are widely available and calls can be made from post offices, hotels and phone booths on the streets. In hotels, local calls are generally charged at a nominal fee. Internet cafes are available in most towns, although they can sometimes be noisy as they are a popular spot for the youth to play online games. You can use any type of communication to call back home.
How can my family members contact me?
Communication options depend on where you are placed. Most placements will have access to a post office, so mail and postcards are an option. If you are in a city placement, there are many places to make international phone calls or access the internet. These details will be provided prior to your departure to India, so you can share communication options with your family and friends before you depart.
Can I bring my telephone from my home country?
Yes, but it may or may not work. You will want to contact your mobile phone provider to make sure that your phone will work while you are in India, but remember that roaming will apply and those charges can be very, very expensive. To avoid them, you may be able to buy a local SIM card to use in your phone. Research and confirm this information before traveling.
Culture & Customs
Is there a special dress code that I should follow while staying in India?
Volunteers should dress conservatively when at their assignments. Jeans and a t-shirt are acceptable. No short-shorts and tank tops please. Remember to consider the regional religious beliefs of India, which may be extremely conservative and revealing clothing is unacceptable - shorts and skirts must be at least knee-length and no one should show their shoulders. Please note: When entering temples, mosques or buildings of religious importance always check what dress attire is required. In most cases, covering your head is required also take off your shoes and be dressed conservatively.
What should I know about religious conduct in India?
India is the birthplace of four of the world's major religious traditions; namely Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism. Throughout its history, spirituality and religion have been vital parts of the country's history and culture. Religious diversity and religious tolerance are well established in the country by law and custom.
Most Indians declare that they practice a religion. According to Wikipedia.com, Hinduism accounted for 80.5% of the population of India. Islam (13.4%), Christianity (2.3%) and Sikhism (1.9%) are the other major religions followed by the people of India. The Muslim population in India is the third largest in the world.
How do I respect the people of India?
Be inclusive and show respect of their culture.
India's culture is rich in customs and traditions. People of India enjoy sharing their customs and traditions with foreigners so feel free to take part with them. You can go with your host family on outings if they ask you to or invite them along with you to go on an outing. Simply helping your family do household chores will be another bonding experience that you can enjoy.
More Information about India
What is weather like in India?
Official Holidays in Nepal
- Official Indian Holidays
- Dec/Jan: Idu'l Zuha/Bakrid (Feast of the Sacrifice)
- 10 Jan: Muharram (Islamic New Year)
- 26 Jan: Republic Day
- Feb: Mahashivratri
- Feb/Mar: Mahavir Jayanthi
- Mar/Apr: Milad-Un-Nabi (Birth of the Prophet)
- 21 Mar: Good Friday
- 24 Mar: Easter Monday
- Apr/May: Buddha Purnima
- 15 Aug: Independence Day
- Sep: Janmashtami
- Sep/Oct: Dussehra (Vijaya Fashami)
- 2 Oct: Mahatma Ghandi's Birthday
- 2 Oct: Id ul Fitr (End of Ramadan)
- Nov: Deepavali or Diwali (Festival of Lights)
- Nov: Guru Nanak's Birthday
- 25 Dec: Christmas Day
- 26 Dec: Boxing Day
- 29 Dec: Muharram (Islamic New Year)
What about tipping in India?
Tipping is not expected but is always appreciated. If you want to tip, 10% percent is generous and will go a long way (with the prevalence of poverty probably much higher than in your home country).
Materials to Bring
- mosquito net
- padlock and chain
- sleeping bag liner and sleeping bag
- pillow case
- water purification tablets
- first-aid kit
- waterproof pouch
- tealight candles (during a power cut these are safer than regular candles)
- collapsible water bottle
- waterproof poncho
- gaffer tape
- universal bath plug
- Towel and personal bath kit
- SPF/sun protection, sunglasses
- Insect net
- Bedding (if noted in placement document)
- Medical first-aid kit
NOTE: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) is generic information and should not be used as a definitive travel guide. Travel information and situations abroad change constantly. Participants should consult Global Crossroad or travel advisors to verify this information.