On a previous post, Jake told the story of how his wife convinced him to join her on a service program. Now, Jake shares about his first time volunteering in India. 

Why India?

In my circles of academic/student recruitment, many of my comrades who worked the scene in China almost always were doing some work in India.  I hadn’t yet, and this felt like a great time to pull the trigger on a place where I was already so very fond of the food, curious about the culture, and definitely interested in pairing up with my wife for a new adventure together.  Neither of us had ever been… so, India was the choice.  We signed up for Chennai!

first time volunteering in India

Jake teaching in India.

First time volunteering in India

I wasn’t sure exactly what I would find, or how the city of Chennai would feel to me.  Images on a computer search are about as far as I went in preparation for the trip.  Clearly the India team and Global offers the appropriate preparation materials, but getting there and actually seeing the crowds and decorative lights of the airport at 2:30am was telling of the adventure ahead.

Things are crowded in India.  I knew this much ahead of time.  However, it has felt manageable to me.  Of course, I wouldn’t dare drive in this country (well… maybe I’d give it a try after a lengthier stay) but being driven and seeing the traffic, the people, the different vehicles, the animals, and the array of colors dusted by the movement of the city were fascinating.  I really felt like I was in the thick of it, whether walking or in an automobile.

I knew I would be working with children.  Being in education as a profession, I was eager to learn of the differences and similarities between our cultures and systems.  I expected to eat interesting and new foods as well.

“On both fronts… I was not disappointed with my first time volunteering in India.”

first time volunteering in India

Finding cattle in the streets is not uncommon in India.

first time volunteering in India

Some of the women volunteers work with in India.

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