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India Community Development Experience for Groups

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

A very meaningful experience in India

This trip has shown me so much about the importance of patience. Patience for yourself, your peers, the people you are working with etc. I am so happy to have met the people I did on this trip. To my eyes, it is not the work that I did or the cultural immersion that taught me the most, but the people that were involved in these things the wonderful things I have experienced remind me to put myself out there.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

A life-changing experience

This trip has been a life-changing experience. I started the trip unsure of how I would adapt to Indian culture, I have found myself loving learning about more. Their customs, music, and especially food. I realised that there are aspects about myself that are present no matter where I am in the world, but also that I am more adaptable than I thought I was. In terms of my leadership session, I thought this was extremely helpful in developing my leadership skills. Although It was challenging I learned how to balance assertiveness with compassion. I also learned that the idea of development varies depending on context.

I would recommend GVI because I think it Does a great job of focusing on work, but also remembering that understanding the culture is important.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Social Life

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

I would recommend GVI

I have learned more about myself through my time in Kerala than I ever imagined. When I arrived, I knew I would be teaching and so I was excited to work with children and learn about the community in Kochi. In the past 8 weeks however, I have pushed myself physically and emotionally. I’m grateful that GVI provided so many cultural enrichment opportunities to us, through which I have been able to understand our community better. Development is not just about helping out in an area, it’s about learning to value the positive aspects of the community and using that knowledge to improve the negative aspects. It’s a team effort, in which there are many crucial roles. I would recommend GVI because they’ve worked so hard to help my team come together, have valuable community resources, learn through service and experience meaningful personal growth.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Social Life

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

India and GVI taught me a lot

To methodically map out the most important and formative things that happened in the past 2 months, I will make a list of the sources of information.

Jess→ Jess was an excellent leader. I learned a ton of info about leadership from her example and conversation. She was an excellent facilitator of group dialogue and thusly pushed our group to share, be respectful and be vulnerable. I learned a lot about myself thanks to Jess.

Jutter, Jolly, Zeno, Staff → Jess wasn’t the only one who set an amazing example. The aforementioned staff members plus others I’m forgetting, cultivated a welcoming atmosphere of safety and care without coddling. Jutter and Jolly also helped us with our cultural adjustment.

St. Louis → Working at St. Louis was a lesson in sustainable development and understanding. Working in the garden when we so desperately wanted to be inside with the kids was a lesson in patience, but in the end we created something much more useful.

My Group → The friendships and knowledge I gained from my group is great. Much more than that, however, under the leadership of Jess, I learned how to successfully work in a group. That will prove to be an invaluable skill as I move forward.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Social Life

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

This program made me into a better version of myself

When I first applied for a volunteering position, I was very sceptical of the entire idea, but now, after having gone through this experience, I’m very happy to say that it definitely taught me a lot. Firstly, it taught me that I have great skills that are worth being put to use. Working with the kids & working in the garden was very empowering, encouraging me to be more diligent, more open-minded, all in all a better version of myself.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

I've learned a lot from this trip

This trip changed me mentally, physically and emotionally and through that I became stronger and more flexible. I’ve learned a lot about a culture I felt entirely unfamiliar with at the start and now I feel comfortable here. I’ve learned about various meanings of development and specifically how it applies and relates to our projects and location. Regarding volunteering, I’ve been challenged to think about the ‘white saviour complex’ and how we can still be helpful.

I would recommend GVI because things were well organised and we had good and comfortable accommodations and a great leader in Jess.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

I have learned more about who I am as a person

On this trip I have learned more than I could ever have expected. I have participated in various cultural activities including henna, Bollywood dancing, dragon boat race, Kathikili and martial arts. I have learned some Malyalam, explored Kochi, made friends wit locals and learned cultural norms. During my 2 months here with the support of my leaders, presentations about culture and international development, and experience I learned about the importance of sustainable development and proper volunteering. Beyond all of this I have also learned an immense amount about myself. I have been challenged, mentally, physically and emotionally but I wouldn’t change that for the world. I have learned more about who I am as a person.

I would absolutely recommend GVI to anyone and everyone!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

I recommend GVI 100%

I have learned a lot about Indian culture during my time here. I am more aware of cultural differences and I have become exposed to the world of development. I have learned to work with everyone on our team to accomplish our volunteering/development goals. Our enrichment activities helped me learn about Kerala & India outside of Fort Kochi. I have learned that I am very goal orientated and hard working. I would definitely recommend GVI to someone looking to volunteer abroad because I had a great time and enjoyed our projects.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

I would absolutely continue working with GVI in the future

I learned that culture cannot be imposed on this trip. It is impossible to affect change if the culture you are in is not receptive to changing. In order to ‘make a difference’, as a volunteer I was forced to teach our project partners and communities how to change themselves. I learned that is the key to sustainable impact. I would recommend GVI as it is a great organisation that makes change more tangible for volunteers because of the pre-arranged project partnerships. I would absolutely continue working with GVI in the future on other international projects.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

I’ve learned more than I ever imagined I would

I didn’t know that some of my best teachers in life would come from such unexpected places. I had started the trip unsure of how impactful this trip would be on my own life philosophies, on my understanding and personal development. However, from teaching, I had learned a great deal about patience, humility and happiness. I was a bit uninformed, thinking that teaching wouldn’t be so hard but it made me realise just how much effort it takes to be a good teacher. From everyone I met, I learned to find happiness in the small things and how happiness can come from anywhere.

I most definitely would recommend GVI because the organisation of projects, accommodation and resources were exceptional. I always felt at home with the genuine care and love that surrounded me. The team leaders always worked so hard to ensure that we were enjoying ourselves and having the best experience we could. On top of fantastic project planning, we also did a lot of enrichment like Malaylam lessons, Yoga, martial arts, cooking, trips to Munnas, Bollywood dancing and sightseeing. My time in India was amazing and it was all thanks to the efforts to GVI.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Cultural immersion

My most positive experience was the Cultural immersion. We have been given a plethora of opportunities to participate in community activities and therefore learn more about the host community and its people.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

I will miss everyone very much!

I have loved meeting people from the community and working with students and different beneficiaries at the schools. I have learned so much from them and have found myself growing in patience, love, and friendship. I will miss everyone very much!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

It gave me some deep insights on volunteering

It gave me some deep insights on volunteering, as an activity that can definitely help a community. I really enjoyed learning about the technicalities of getting community partners and assessing the needs in order to maximize the experience.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

The best aspect of this program has been the people I have met

The best aspect of this program has been the people I have met. I have met some really genuine and caring people like our own team leader, Jess, who would always resolve any problems we faced, and our mason, Jolly, at St. Louis who always labored tirelessly.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

The whole trip was fantastic for me

The whole trip was fantastic for me. The standard of accommodation was much higher than I expected, having travelled all over India before. The new base in India is a lovely house and it's located close to the city of Udaipur. I loved teaching the classes and was given the necessary support and training to put together lesson plans and work in the school and daycare centre. The majority of other volunteers were like minded and wonderful to work alongside. There was a good mix of social events and volunteer activities. The intro to Hindi lessons were interesting and helped when teaching (even with a years prior study in Hindi I found this useful because it related directly to the activities we were doing in school) Channel Youth is well organised and the staff are very supportive and involved.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

The experience was great

It was so well organised, accommodation was great, the people were amazing. The program staff mad everything fantastic and were very helpful. The experience was great. the quality of the accommodation was much better than GVI led me to believe it would be - after reading the field manual i was prepared for the worst.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

A country I'd never been to before

My most positive experience in the duration of my stay in the program of GVI was having the opportunity to do some different work through teaching and visiting India, a country I'd never been to before.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Teaching kids was very rewarding

Teaching kids during the program of GVI was very rewarding. My most positive experience was the positive impact the program makes in the community and most of all were the smiles on children's faces!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Accurate and truthful

The support of GVI before and during my trip in India was consistent and the information I was given of this community development & street children project that led me to choose GVI was accurate and truthful.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Immersive GVI program in India

GVI programs always allow me to immerse myself in the local culture much more deeply than if I was just an ordinary tourist. The opportunity to meet and interact with local people and teach kids was sublime.

  • GVI responded to this review March 24, 2016 at 9:11 AM

    Hi Jie,

    This is great to hear! It is definitely what we aim for in all our projects around the world.

    Thanks for taking the time to review us :)

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

It was great

I loved getting immediately involved in the culture and community during the program of GVI. It was great when travelling alone to have everything so well organised and to meet so many wonderful people.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

I learnt as much from them (if not more) than they learnt from me

I loved spending time with the children during my stay in the teach street children abroad program of GVI in India. They are so amazing, I learnt as much from them (if not more) than they learnt from me.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Fantastic

The social side - all the staff were very welcoming and the other volunteers were great. I instantly felt at home and happy with those with whom I was working. There was a lot of support given by the coordinators and the organisation was fantastic. I was particularly impressed with the side trips - transport was sorted for us and everything went very smoothly, allowing me to enjoy it to the full.

  • GVI responded to this review March 24, 2016 at 9:12 AM

    Hi Katie,

    Thanks for taking the time out to review us!

    It's great to hear that your experience went so smoothly and how much you enjoyed it. Hope to have you back soon :)

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

I felt instantly at home

All the volunteers were really friendly and I felt instantly at home. I absolutely loved working with the children and was amazed to see just how much of a difference could be made in a matter of weeks. I grew incredibly attached to the children and would love to go back in the future.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

I felt that the programme actually was worthwhile

I felt that the programme actually was worthwhile. Most volunteers stayed on for at least a month - I was only there 2 weeks so couldn't see the marked improvements that they would see. Even so, teaching English at the day care centre in the mornings I could see changes in the second week... and not just with the children but with some of the mothers who brought them as well.

Institution Affiliates:

World Youth Student & Educational Travel Confederation