Written on: 26/07/2012 by g2-styles
I had heard about plan my gap year through a friend from a different university and decided to check it out. Had always been interested in volunteering abroad and just never had enough money or courage to actually get around to doing it. But now i've done it i wish i had done it years earlier. I was deciding between Cambodia, Nepal and India and just thought i'd throw myself in and choose India. Plan my gap year were amazing, i must have called them about 20 times with different questions and they had answers for everything as their workers have been on the trips themselves so you know your getting correct answers. The process of the application and payment and everything was very straight forward and simple. They sent me a booklet with EVERYTHING i needed to know to prepare for my trip to india and sent me a personal form with my host family and volunteering projects details so i knew what i was doing before i get there. I cannot fault the English side of plan my gap year at all. However, when i arrived in india it was all a bit of confusion and just total lack of communication and organisation. Now i understand that is just their culture! and you have to expect it. But when we arrived we just had two indian men with a pmgy sign at the airport which we then followed and took us to our host family without saying anything. We then arrived and a quick introduction was made and then were given time to sleep. There was no in country orientation which we were expecting. I went alone however i met two scottish girls who were 18, doing the medical internship, however they were not meant to be staying in the same place as me, but ended up staying there for the two weeks they had booked anyway. I was meant to be working in the alice in wonderland orphanage, however i was told on the sunday night after i had arrived i was working in the slums (something i was worried about as i hadn't had those jabs) but i wasn't too bothered, a good experience. However it was very daunting as i was taken there the first day by the indian uncle in the host family and then the other days i was only dropped off there which i just took on and go on with it but would be very scary and daunting for someone who hasn't travelled before. i thoroughly enjoyed my time at the slum project and i stayed there for the two weeks i spent in faridabad. I did get the chance to visit the orphanage a couple of times over the two weeks but i would have liked to have gone more. Also i was only working 9-12 everyday, i understand it was hot and hard to work with no fans or air con, but i would have liked to have worked longer to feel like i had helped more. The two scottish girls had experienced some problems and confusion with their hospital too and didn't feel comfortable or happy with the lack of organisation within india after we had arrived and after the great service we had received from the english pmgy, so we called the company and brought these issues to their attention. They were great and got on to it straight away and sorted the girls hospital problems and got someone to go with me in to the slums (i wasn't to bothered by it as i had gotten comfortable with the area in which i was working by the time we told the english pmgy but thought it was very good they cared about the safety and sorted the issues so quickly). I was mean to be working in faridabad for 3 weeks however i decided i wanted to move around a little and after these problems at the beginning, it made me very homesick and wanted to move around to keep busy to take my mind off it. So i spent two weeks in faridabad and in week in dharamsala which is in the north of india (about 10 hours north of delhi). I loved it there and recommend anyone to go there, the place is beautiful in the mountains and i worked for the Tibetan hope centre, doing conversation classes with Tibetans to teach them english. The experience was amazing and i got to learn so much about the struggle the tebetans have against china and you really get dragged in to the culture and the fight for their freedom. I can safely say i will be returning there as soon as i can! I have told pmgy about this experience and I believe they are looking into the projects up there. Overall, the experience was one of a kind and i will most definitely be returning to india. PMGY were amazing and would recommend them to anyone whether in a group, a pair or alone. You will feel in safe hands the whole time and if there are any problems, as long as you tell them they will be sorted instantly. I will be using PMGY again (after i've saved for my next trip), maybe next time to cambodia or nepal!
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