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Where Should I Volunteer In India?

Volunteering in India - should I choose Delhi or Dharamsala

Regardless of whether you are intrigued by the adrenaline rush of Delhi, drawn in by the peaceful atmosphere of Dharamsala, or curious about the laid back vibes of Kerala, choosing to volunteer in India with International Volunteer HQ will be the best decision you make in 2018!

India is on the bucket list for many, and not without reason. The culture is intriguing, colourful and diverse and when combined with a vast variety of natural and manmade sights, it keeps even the most seasoned traveler busy. Not to mention this is the land of curries, roti and samosas! On the other hand, choosing where in India to volunteer is not as easy.

To help you decide between the two volunteer programs, we’ve compiled some standout characteristics of the Delhi, Dharamsala and Kerala volunteer experiences:

Reasons you won’t regret choosing Delhi…

  • The utter excitement and joy of the kids in the slum schools when volunteers come to teach
  • The chance to enjoy comfortable apartment living alongside other volunteers, while only being a metro ride away from the hustle and bustle of Old Delhi, spice markets and bazaars
  • Delicious food – there are endless authentic Indian food stalls and restaurants to be explored in Delhi
  • This is an easy location for weekend trips far and wide, whether you want to visit Goa, Amritsar, Agra or Varanasi it is simple to arrange transport from Delhi

Exploring India - Delhi with IVHQ

Reasons why Dharamsala is for you…

  • The peaceful atmosphere of living among the foothills of the Himalayas
  • The intriguing Tibetan culture and the unique opportunity to live with local Indian and Tibetan families in their family home
  • The ability to engage with a diverse range of the community through education, healthcare, yoga and eco-agriculture
  • Nearby Bir, is a world renowned paragliding location – just imagine the sheer beauty of seeing this area from above, let alone the adrenaline!
  • There is a slight chance you may actually come face to face with the Dalai Lama – who resides in a monastery near the volunteer accommodations

Exploring India - Dharamsala with IVHQ

Reasons why Kerala is calling your name…

  • The beautiful network of backwaters and rolling tea plantations, just asking to be explored
  • Experiencing Fort Kochi, full of old colonial buildings and unique art cafes
  • Opportunity to visit world class surf beaches and refreshing yoga classes
  • For medical students, there is access to world-class healthcare systems and professionals, providing a unique learning experience in the dentistry and medical/nursing fields
  • Helping with the progressive stance of Kerala in enabling equal opportunities for women through providing education in English and vocational skills

Exploring India - Kerala with IVHQ

If you’re torn between these three locations, and would be happy to volunteer in any of them, the climate could make the decision for you!

The summer months in India (April to August) can bring heat and humidity that is so extreme that it can often become unbearable. The volunteer accommodation in Delhi is equipped with fans, however power cuts are not uncommon. In recent years, Delhi has experienced some of the hottest summers on record, and placements where volunteers work during the day generally do not have air conditioning or fans.

The IVHQ Dharamsala, India volunteer program is located at a higher altitude, which means it is much cooler and more temperate. Our recommendation is that if you are indifferent between the two programs, the Dharamsala program will be more pleasant from April through to August. However, if you are not adverse to the heat, you will be fine on the Delhi program.

On the flipside, winters can be very cold in Dharamsala, and heating is minimal in the accommodation. It is definitely necessary to layer up your winter woollies and bring a sleeping bag to supplement your bedding if you would prefer Dharamsala, and are volunteering in winter. Alternatively, you might be more drawn to Delhi during this time, which offers more warmer temperatures.

Kerala has a tropical climate, with an average temperature of 86°F (30°C) throughout the year, making it a very comfortable destination. November until March can be hot and dry, but not as hot as Delhi is, just more humid. A perfect middle-ground, temperature-wise, between Delhi and Dharamsala.

Exploring an Indian Market with IVHQ

Still can’t decide?

You could sign up for three programs back to back to allow you to experience the best of all worlds; otherwise, Contact us to speak with one of our Volunteer Travel Experts about your options or learn more about each program on the Delhi, Dharamsla or Kerala webpages.

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How to get started

Pick a destination + project and apply for free
Meet your personal volunteer travel expert
Pay the registration fee to secure your place and upgrade your MyIVHQ account
Get ready to volunteer abroad, we’ll support you every step of the way!