The program orientation begins on the first and third Monday of each month, and volunteers need to arrive in Delhi on the Sunday before orientation.
After you have registered for the program, please book your flights to arrive at the New Delhi International Airport (DEL). Your airport pick-up is included in your Program Fee.
When you arrive, you will be greeted at the airport by a member of the local team and transported to the volunteer accommodation in Faridabad, on the southern outskirts of Delhi. Your accommodation is covered by your Program Fee and includes the night before your program orientation.
If you are traveling in India prior to your volunteer program, we can arrange for you to be picked up in Delhi on the day before your program orientation.
There are two options for orientation in India. The first option is a standard half-day orientation that starts on your selected start date and covers everything you need to know for your volunteer program in Delhi – Introduction to India, Indian Customs, Language Training Details, Rules and Expectations, Safety, Travel Opportunities in India, Introduction to your Project and Placement. The orientation will also give you a chance to meet other volunteers and swap contact details for weekend travel and socializing.
The second option is a 1-week language and cultural orientation in Delhi, which takes place during the first week of your program. This orientation week begins on your selected start date and your volunteer program will start the following week. If you wish to participate in the 1-week orientation, you must indicate this on your application form when you apply for the program. Your IVHQ Program Manager will then add this to your file after you register, as you need to book a place and pay for this prior to departing for India. Orientation week is very popular among IVHQ volunteers and we recommend all volunteers take advantage of this week, as it is a great way to help settle the culture shock you can face when arriving in India.
Day 1 (Monday): Volunteers are provided with an introduction to India and an introduction to the program staff and procedures. Topics discussed include History of India, Religion, Caste System, Marriage, Festivals, Dress/Clothing, Family Values, Safety Issues, Food, Transportation and Travel Opportunities. You will also be given your orientation week schedule and provided details about your volunteer project and accommodation, to follow after the orientation week. The afternoon will conclude with an introduction to the Hindi language. The morning session will be provided to those who choose the half-day orientation.
Day 2 (Tuesday): New Delhi Sightseeing (5 to 7 hours) – Lotus Baha’I Temple, Humayun’s Tomb and Qutub Minar. All entrance fees are covered in your orientation week fee.
Day 3 (Wednesday): Hindi Language Lesson (approximately 3 hours), learning basic letters, greetings and useful vocabulary and expressions, which will help assist you at your volunteer placement. In the afternoon, volunteers are taken to see a new Bollywood Hindi film. Movie tickets are included in your orientation week fee.
Day 4 (Thursday): Old Delhi Sightseeing – India Gate, Red Fort, Bangla Shahib Gurudwara (Shikh People’s temple) and Raj Ghat (Gandhi Samadhi’s Cremation). All entrance fees are covered in your orientation week fee.
Day 5 (Friday): Hindi Language Lesson (approximately 3 hours), covering additional words and vocabulary to assist you with your volunteer work. In the evening, volunteers explore the local markets, visit Internet cafes, practice Hindi, or visit restaurants together.
Day 6 (Saturday): Taj Mahal Tour (optional add-on), which includes an air conditioned car or van from Delhi to Agra and back, state insurance, driver, parking and toll taxes, breakfast, lunch and a guide. Entrance fees to the Taj Mahal are not included in your orientation week fee and must be paid separately. You can expect to pay 1100 Rupees (US$16) for the entry ticket at the gate when you arrive. For those not taking the Taj Mahal Tour, you will be free to explore Delhi and visit the local markets.
Day 7 (Sunday): Hindi Language Lesson in the morning. In the afternoon, the local team will introduce you to your placement and you can take this time to plan your lessons for classes the following day.
The orientation week fee is US$220 (approximately CA$284). Accommodation and three meals per day are covered during this time. The Taj Mahal Tour on 6th day costs an extra US$100 (approximately CA$129).