GoAbroad Interview

Vidushi Malhorta - New Delhi Program Advisor

Vidushi Malhotra

Vidushi is a social entrepreneur who has curated and executed various projects in India, South Africa, and Bhutan. At if i could…, she focuses on providing strategic expertise on program design and showing world changers around her vibrant home city of New Delhi. Vidushi is also a founding member at Startup Safari, a travel immersion program that connects young global entrepreneurial minds to the fastest growing startup ecosystems around the world.

Two girls at the India Gate
Visiting India Gate with Alejandra - our version of the Arc de Triomphe...

How did you get involved with if i could…?

I was looking to work for a vibrant and exciting organisation in Cape Town and I luckily happened to come across if i could… on more than one online platform. The work if i could… was doing with young people really fascinated me and made me reach out to them for a job. When I was offered a role, I moved from New Delhi to Cape Town and have since been a part of the happy family ever since.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I love connecting with new and young people from different parts of the world, and my role allows me to do so.

How do you help participants prepare for their time abroad?

The team at if i could… collectively works on creating and constantly updating relevant content for our participants who are traveling to a new country and are going to experience a new culture. My role also entails answering all queries related to India - the weather, the food, the transport, the accommodation, and everything else participants need to know before they arrive. 

Tourists at the India Gate
And making sure Jessica and Alec take in the India Gate War Memorial too.

Why is New Delhi a great place for international experience in the world today?

New Delhi is a modern city with colonial-era buildings and exotic architecture that almost makes time travel possible. Home to the largest multinational companies, development agencies, and non-governmental organisations, New Delhi today is known to be one of the most advanced capital cities and business hubs in the world. The city is equipped with modern infrastructure, efficient transport system, world class healthcare facilities, and much more. The spicy food, the amazing hospitality, and the extremely talented pool of hard-working people only add to the charm in making it a great place for a holistic international experience.   

What are some of the biggest myths widely held about India and how do you help debunk these through your work?

Girls at a crafts market in New Delhi, India
Exploring some beautiful Indian crafts at the market

The most commonly feared myth is that India is an unsafe country, especially for women. While we agree that most places today are unsafe to a certain extent, we at if i could… make sure our participants are briefed in advance and upon arriving in India about safety precautions and things not to do in order to avoid any mishap. For the same reason, we make it a point to find safe accommodation for our participants, preferably a homestay, and also orient them about the city and public transport during the first few days after their arrival.  

What is the most frequently asked question you receive? What is your response? 

What clothes to pack. I always tell participants to be mindful of the fact that India is still a culturally traditional country, and while it’s okay to wear almost anything in the cities, it is preferred to dress modestly when traveling to smaller towns and villages for work. People in India can make you feel uncomfortable just with one stare at your attire.  

If you could tell participants one thing before their departure, what would it be?

India is a warm and welcoming country with people waiting to be friends with you. All you need to do is offer your finger and an Indian will hold your hand and walk you all the way through your journey. 

Tourists having dinner in New Delhi, India
Showing Alejandra one of our favourite local hangouts

When participants return home, what about their experience do you hope stays with them forever? 

I always hope for the participants to go back home feeling happy and satisfied with the contribution they made to their host organisation and to the country and this feeling of having done something worthwhile stay with them. Also, to remember that they are one of the very few people in this world that decided to step completely out of their comfort zone and do something only a few get the privilege to.