Interning in New Delhi can be a definitive experience for adventurous individuals in any field of work. Tucked away in the Himalayas, India is an entire subcontinent, with over 1.2 billion people and a tremendous array of cultural diversity. The bustling capital of New Delhi is where the nation’s parts all comes together. By interning in Delhi, individuals will gain both valuable work experience in a rapidly emerging city and exposure to an entirely different society, which challenges notions of how the world works. Complete an internship in New Delhi and you will not only learn to think outside the box - you will break out of the box completely.
There are a large variety of internships in New Delhi within the fields of infrastructural and community development. India is a country pushing forward from a history of economic and social complacency tied up in the caste system. The country is modernizing quickly, yet a lot of planning and work is required, especially in the major cities where many of the country’s poorest continuously migrate to. Healthcare, Social Rights, Urban Planning, and Education internships are all popular areas for internship placements in New Delhi.
In the more developed economic sector, Delhi’s thriving Tourism and Information Technology industries also offer a wealth of internship opportunities. Most internships last from a few weeks to months long, though many include orientations and cultural immersion activities before the actual work begins. New Delhi is a very different sort of place, so international interns will likely be granted a grace period to acclimate to the new pace of life.
English is the language of education as well as business in metropolitan India, so individuals who intern in New Delhi will have an easier language transition to an extent. Still it may be good to pick up a bit of Hindi while interning in India, to communicate with locals and show new co-workers that you are making the effort to assimilate.
India remains a relatively conservative society which expects individual’s to show respect towards elders and social superiors. So treat your internship in New Delhi as a learning experience and be aware of your position in the organizational hierarchy. But more importantly relax - Indians are incredibly hospitable, genuine, humorous people, and will do all they can to make you feel right at home in your new environment.
Life in New Delhi
“Intense” is one of the words most commonly used to describe life in New Delhi - followed by chaotic, harmonious, beautiful, ugly, and just about every other juxtaposition you could think of to describe an experience which is all at once overwhelming and unceasingly inspirational. There is no way to appropriately portray what life in New Delhi will be like - you have to make the leap yourself and intern in New Delhi to know..
Interns in New Delhi will find themselves living amongst apparent poverty, yet be able to lead a cheap and comfortable lifestyle in the midst of India’s developing economy. Many transactions will take place in New Delhi’s informal market sector, meaning that you will get very good at bartering. Transportation throughout the city is extremely convenient; auto-rickshaws will affordably take you door-to-door anywhere in the city and Delhi also boasts a brand new metro system which can be equally as inexpensive and convenient.
Walking the streets you may come across ancient ruins, makeshift slums, and brand new mega malls, often within the same mile-long stretch. New Delhi is a city which has continuously built upon itself for many centuries, making every day a new exploration of civil development. Just remember to bring water and a change of shirt - New Delhi can be oppressively hot and humid in the summer months.
Salary & Costs
Those who participate in internships in New Delhi will find themselves living comfortably. Prices are held very low because much of the city remains in poverty, an unfortunate reality behind the city’s everyday affordability to foreigners. But the positive result is that interns will never have to spend more than a few dollars for meals or rickshaw rides.
It may be a kind gesture to carry with you loose change or extra food for beggars, but beware of scams. Irregardless of what you decide, do not let money control your experience of New Delhi. Let your heart guide you and don’t be offended if you are ripped off. Odds are those few extra rupees are more valuable to the other party.
Though there are some paid internships offered in New Delhi, more likely be part of a volunteer internship program in which you will be compensated for your work with housing, meals, and/or a stipend. Compensation depends largely on your field of work. Just as elsewhere in the world, interns working in public service areas, such as in community development or women’s rights, are less likely to receive pay for their services than interns working for private companies.
Accommodation & Visas
Homestays are quite popular, though as an intern in New Delhi you will likely be offered the opportunity for individual or group apartment living as well. Homestays can be a great way to develop intimate relations with an Indian family and gain an authentic experience of the local culture. You will also likely be invited to many festivals, religious ceremonies, and family gatherings, on top of enjoying regularly home-cooked meals. Apartment living is a good option for a more independent existence in New Delhi, though real estate can be expensive in the nicer areas. Enlist the help of your program provider when searching for the housing option that is right for you.
As a foreign national you will likely need a visa to intern abroad in India. The visa type required will vary depending on the length of your stay and whether your internship in New Delhi is paid or not. Your program will likely offer a guiding hand in obtaining a visa, but in the mean time check out GoAbroad’s Embassy Directory for the specific policy toward for your country of origin. It is important to begin the visa process early to avoid any unneeded stressors or hiccups late in the game.
Benefits & Challenges
India is an enigma. It is a highly diverse and complex society, a region containing one-fifth of the world’s population, yet was only recently granted an autonomous national identity, within the last century.
Since New Delhi is the nation’s political capital, you will come to experience a patchwork of different customs, lifestyles, and religions - all of which can be completely and entirely new to international interns.
By interning abroad in New Delhi, you will have the chance to positively impact developing communities in need, while absorbing an experience which will alter your stance on who you are in relation to the world at large.