You will travel to the tropical state of Kerala in Southern India, and work alongside local teachers to teach orphans and disadvantaged children while working towards gaining extra qualifications.
As an intern, you will provide a vital long-term presence, working in local slum schools and care centres, and assisting children with extra lessons to help them to improve their English skills, either in a classroom environment, small group tuition or one-on-one tutoring.
After the 12 week training phase conducted on our project in India, you will start your work placement with a partner organisation or assist the GVI team in the operation and management of our project. With both pathways, you will work alongside professional teams, gaining valuable experience throughout. This internship, run in close collaboration with the community, offers the opportunity for you to gain experience in a teaching environment, giving you a base for developing your own career.
After a successful internship, qualifying candidates may be given the opportunity to work for GVI or selected partner organisations in India or in other countries around the world where GVI operate. Field work positions can be paid or unpaid, range in duration from one month to one year, and availability varies. Qualification for possible GVI positions is at the sole discretion of Global Vision International.
All internships are geared at developing your leadership and role model skills, allowing you to develop a variety of key soft and hard skills that will put you a step ahead the rest of the pack. GVI have been running community development, education, and conservation projects since 1997 and our highly experienced field staff will help you gain and improve vital skill sets to improve your future job prospects.
"Working so closely with the children, feeling really needed in the lessons and helping both children and the teacher, forming relationships and getting to know the kids and becoming so close as a volunteer group has been the best aspect of the program."
What's Not Included
Life on the Internship
Your First 12 Weeks
The majority of your time during the week will be spent in school leading some lessons, small group tuition or one-on-one sessions. Although working with children is extremely rewarding, your days can be long. The various roles and tasks you are expected to undertake can include leading various games and educational activities, where you will be expected to lesson plan for these classes in order to lead an effective lesson for the children.
But while days in the school can be long, your weekends are free for you to explore the enchanting surrounding region to sample a slice of local life or even support our local henna artist and immerse yourself in the Indian culture.
After your initial phase of volunteering on the project, you will move onto your work placement, either with GVI or with one of our local project partners. There will be more responsibility on you as an intern to assist with volunteers lesson planning and reporting skills, as well as your own classroom teaching and management. You will gain an insight into the coordination and running of educational workshops as well as general management and running of the projects in India.
You will stay in basic but comfortable accommodation in a central location with shared dormitory style rooms and provided meals.
What's Not Included
This programme and your contribution, aim to help children from impoverished communities improve their lives by giving them a better education and improved English language skills that will drastically improve their potential employment opportunities later in life.
As an intern, you will be expected to lead by example to both the children and other volunteers, and your support and enthusiasm will encourage more children to stay in school.
The long term goals of these programmes are to attempt to combat the cycle of poverty which is so prevalent in the communities with which GVI work, while offering children the possibility of a brighter future.
How this project makes a difference:
Most jobs require the ability to speak English, but if students drop out of school they lose out on the opportunity to learn.
GVI provides English teachers and funding for the school so that the students can improve their English skills, assisting the teachers and providing the children with the required educational support so they can look towards a better future for themselves and their families.
After your initial phase of volunteering on the project, you will move onto your work placement, either with GVI or with one of our local project partners.
There will be more responsibility on you as an intern to assist with volunteers lesson planning and reporting skills, as well as your own classroom teaching and management. You will gain an insight into the coordination and running of educational workshops as well as general management and running of the projects in India.
What's Not Included
Volunteering with GVI not only allows you to participate in programmes assisting disadvantaged communities or endangered ecosystems, but it also offers wonderful opportunities to travel in the local area in your downtime or further afield either before or after your programme. Many decide to travel after volunteering, solidifying the lifetime friendships established during the programme.
Our long-term field staff are a great source of advice and are here to help you make the most of your time abroad. Remember to ask about discounts on local activities and side trips through your association with GVI. Our Kerala field teams have helped us put together the following information on trips and travel options in India!
Included Side Trips
You will embark on an orientation of Fort Kochi during your arrival weekend, seeing the main tourist sites of the local town, as well as the many hidden treasures. You will also be taken to a traditional Keralan Kathakali dance show, which will open your eyes up to the wonders of India and its culture.
Optional Side Trips
Kerala offers a variety of different adventure trips from trekking to rafting, kayaking and even diving in some of the most beautiful locations that India has to offer. Close to base in Fort Kochi, the 14th century Chinese fishing nets, St Francis Church and an amazing array of boutique art galleries, cafes, and restaurants make for an amazing cultural experience.
One of Kerala’s finest attractions popular with our volunteers is the backwaters tour, an experience of breathtaking beauty and serenity as you snake through the incredible landscape on a houseboat. You can stay overnight, eat amazing local cuisine, and gaze at the sunset: a perfect weekend getaway.
The Periyar Forest and National Park offers safari outings and a chance to spot elephants, monkeys, and tigers if you’re lucky, combined with some spectacular scenery along the way. For the more active, you can get even closer to it all with a number of trekking options.
Kerala can boast some incredible beaches within reasonable distances from your base. Marari is a short 40-minute drive with beautiful sandy beaches lined with coconut trees while Varkala is a little further with restaurants and cafés perched spectacularly on cliffs offering incredible views of the ocean.
And if tea is your poison then this is the location for you…tea plantations stretching as far as the eye can see and jaw-dropping views of mountain ranges and valleys await. There are sightseeing and trekking options available (depending on seasons) for the adventurous, or you can just sit and relax, breathe the fresh mountain air, and soak it all in.
Further Traveling Opportunities
For those with a little more time on their hands, you may want to consider some of the following. The Taj Mahal will be top of most India bucket lists but beyond this famous landmark; the quaint hill stations in Darjeeling; the Ganges at Varanasi; the desert and fort palaces of Jaisalmer and Udaipur; safari at Kanha National Park (home of Kipling’s ‘Jungle Book’); the lively nightlife of Mumbai; or the laid back atmosphere of Goa will leave you with an everlasting experience of India.
Transport Coordinator and Translator
Meet Jutten, our local Transport Coordinator and Translator here at our hub in India. Being a native of the country, he was asked to drive the tuk-tuk and coordinate the other tuk-tuks for the volunteers in Kerala. Later he was offered to be a official staff member and was thrilled to take the job.
He has worked with all of the projects here in Kerala. "I like to work with both the sports and health projects, because I enjoy seeing the beneficiaries happy and satisfied."
Before working with GVI he was a package tour driver as an English/Hindi/Tamil speaking tour guide. Since joining us he has taken great pride in his work and is enjoying meeting all the volunteers. "I like to see people happy. All the people that I meet through working here are treating me as their own."
Assistant Director of Programs
Meet Jill, our Assistant Director of Programs and line manager for Thailand, Laos, India, Nepal, Australia and Kenya programs. ‘Manow’ (lime), as she’s locally known in Thailand where she's based, taught English, environmental education and art in the USA and Thailand before joining us to set up a TEFL and Community Development Expedition. “I haven’t looked back since!”
When Jill isn’t working, she likes reading or doing just about anything energetic. “I devour books, love cooking and enjoy finding some time to get some exercise – yoga, dancing and aerobics are some of my faves.”
What does Jill like most about her job? “It’s great to see volunteers rising above the cultural and language barriers between themselves and the communities. That, and every day is completely different, which is the way I like it- it keeps me from getting bored.” Being ‘allergic’ to being bored has led to Manow doing some pretty amazing things. “I once ended up spending a week living in a cave with some Buddhist monks while I helped them build a small adobe monk hut.”
Meet Lucy, our Base Manager here in Kerala. As wildlife conservation student, she initially joined GVI as a wildlife conservation intern to gain practical experience before staying on as a part of the team. Lucy has worked on our former Shimoni hub as long-term staff member before moving to India.
What does Lucy think volunteers bring to the projects? ” Without a doubt, the programs would not be able to run without the volunteers. The sheer amount of data volunteers help us to collect is immense, and so vitally important.”
Lucy’s highlights since working for GVI? “Setting up a new partner project in Kenya’s Western province, where I worked with a grassroots community group in Kenya’s last rainforest was amazing."
Meet Zeno, our Country Director in India. He used to work on Crocodile Morphology and Ecology and has even trekked the Sierra Madre mountain range in the North of the Philippines in search of one of the last members of a critically endangered freshwater crocodile population. Zeno used to be our Country Director in Kenya a few years ago before moving to India.
His most memorable moments since he started working with GVI? Was discovering a population of ‘hidden’ African Skimmer Birds at Lake Turkana, which turned to represent almost 40 percent of the world population. “That, and when my cat left a snake at my bed as a ‘present’, which turned out to be a new species for Kenya!”
His favourite aspect of his job? ”Seeing people being in awe of everything new around them, realising and completely accepting how different their world of experiences suddenly has become.”