17TH JULY & 31ST JULY 2021
510 USD + 249 USD REGISTRATION FEE
2 WEEKS (SATURDAY TO SATURDAY)
17 YEARS OLD ON START DATE
INDIA INTRO EXPERIENCE
PMGY’s India Intro Experience is a 15 day adventure and volunteer program, based in Kerala in India. On this 2 week adventure, you will spend your first 5 days making a positive impact as a volunteer in India, teaching English within the local community. The remainder of your time on this India Intro Experience will be spent exploring the tropical greenery of the region. You will take in breathtaking views of backwaters, rolling hills and tea plantations, making it the ultimate volunteer travel opportunity.
WORK WITH CHILDREN, SUPPORTING COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT IN INDIA
LEARN ABOUT LOCAL COMMUNITIES IN A DEVELOPING COUNTRY
SLEEP ON A HOUSEBOAT DRIFTING THROUGH KERALA’S BEAUTIFUL BACKWATERS
TREK THROUGH MUNNAR – KERALA’S PRINCIPAL TEA-GROWING REGION
WANDER THROUGH DELIGHTFULLY ATMOSPHERIC KOCHI
STRIKE A YOGA POSE FOR REST AND RECUPERATION
EAT LOTS OF FOOD, GLORIOUS FOOD! INDIAN FOOD IS FULL OF COLOUR, SPICE AND FLAVOUR
APPRECIATE KERALA’S PEACEFUL, SERENE AND LAID BACK ATMOSPHERE
LEARN ABOUT LOCAL HISTORY THROUGH TRADITIONAL KATHAKALI AND MARTIAL ART SHOWS
MAKE FRIENDS FOR LIFE ON THIS ULTIMATE TRAVEL AND VOLUNTEER PROGRAM IN INDIA
SUMMARY OF THE INDIA INTRO EXPERIENCE
The India Intro Experience offers ambitious individuals the opportunity to join together and embark on a thrilling adventure across India. Our local team provides a structured, fast-paced and thrilling group itinerary across a number of amazing sites around the country. Your group will also dedicate time to volunteering projects to give back to local communities, developing and showcasing your skills. On the India Intro Experience, you will arrive into India on a set date, joining your group before travelling and volunteering across a 2 week period. This makes the Intro Travel Experiences ideal for anyone who wishes to explore and engage in new experiences in the company of others.
Individuals on this experience trip have a unique chance to engage in a variety of exciting activities. From teaching in schools to cruising through the region’s backwaters and trekking through tea plantations – there is something for everyone! Across this 15 day itinerary, be prepared for breathtaking sites, friends for life and complete cultural immersion. The adventure is perfect for anyone looking to travel within a safe, structured and social environment.
From one destination to the next, you won’t need to worry about a thing. All your in-country transport and accommodation will be arranged by our local teams. This helps to ensure that your experience abroad is as smooth as possible. Our team will arrange numerous activities for you to enjoy and engage in during your trip. For any spare time, our local experts will be able to help you discover the impressive range of activities you can get involved in during your trip to India. A portion of your time will also be dedicated to making a difference within a community in India. This will allow you to put your skills and enthusiasm into practice to make a meaningful difference to local communities overseas.
The trip’s group set-up makes the India Intro Experience an exceptional social occasion. You have the chance to meet individuals from across the globe, forming friendships that will last a lifetime. You will stay together for your entire adventure, sharing moments and memories that will stay with you forever. You will also have the chance to immerse yourself with members of the local community, making your time in India even more special.
Kerala or ‘God’s Own Country’ is a world away from the frenzy of the north with a languid network of glistening backwaters and spice and tea-covered hills. Together, the region offers beautiful beaches, trips through peaceful lagoons and canals, hill stations, wildlife sanctuaries and complex cultural customs. It’s a much gentler and more relaxed side of India, particularly compared to the North.
The PMGY India Intro Experience is an enriching, inspiring and unforgettable journey – India will shift the way you see the world. Travelling as a group will make the experience all the more memorable too. Our experienced and fun tour guides will not only make sure you’re well looked after but are able to learn all about the background of the places you’ll see.
The group will spend one-week performing volunteer work in India, specifically Kerala. 28% of the Indian population lives below the poverty line and many in slums. And although Indian culture places a major emphasis on education, unfortunately, the education system is still a work in progress.
The India Intro Experience group will usually work on the same project together. We try and provide some flexibility when it comes to the project option in the experience. However, we request participants to remain flexible and proactive in our volunteering opportunities. Volunteers in India will often spend their time on project supporting local people in schools of Fort Kochi. There is a great need for international volunteer support, particularly with a nominal teacher to student ratios.
The journey to the project may be up to 1 hour to and from the volunteer accommodation. However, this will ultimately depend on the exact project setting at the time. In the mornings, you will usually teach English in a local school. The children are typically aged between 8-10 years. Details of the project will be outlined in full during your orientation. It will be the responsibility of the group to plan and run their own lessons. This will require levels of high pro-activeness and engagement from the group to ensure that the classes as productive and fun as possible. In the afternoons, you may be able to help out at a childcare project. You can, therefore, expect to volunteer for around 4-6 hours per day. This is usually between the times of 8:30am-12:30pm. Please note that PMGY staff will not be directly present on the school site, rather international volunteers are expected to work alongside the local school teachers.
OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER
Itinerary Schedule – The itineraries for our PMGY experience trips are subject to change, as a result of unforeseen circumstances. We will always do our best to notify participants of changes in advance of the program start date. However, activities day to day during time in-country also remain subject to unanticipated changes.
The itinerary above is subject to change, as a result of unforeseen circumstances. We will always do our best to notify participants of changes in advance of the program start date. However, activities during time in-country also remain subject to unanticipated changes.
Project Flexibility – Participants on the India Inreo Experience are advised to be flexible when it comes to the India volunteer program aspect of the trip. The type of volunteering experience and location can differ as it is often dependent on factors such as the size of the group, the need at the time and volunteers’ project preference. So the volunteering program is finalised when in India and our local team will run through the options for this accordingly.
Please make sure you arrive into Cochin International Airport in Kerala (COK) on the selected Saturday start date. You will finish the trip in Kochi and therefore will need to book your return/onward flight from Cochin International Airport (airport code COK) on the final day of your trip – which is a Saturday.
Day 1 (Saturday) Arrival
On-arrival into Cochin International Airport you will be collected from the airport by a member of our local team or an appointed driver who will take you to your homestay in Fort Kochi.
On-arrival into Cochin International Airport, you will be collected by a member of our local team or an appointed driver who will take you to your homestay in Fort Kochi. During the journey from the to the homestay, there is the opportunity to stop at a nearby supermarket. This will allow you to purchase food items for lunch during the week. If you need to exchange money prior to this supermarket visit, you can request this from the team member.
Once the group have settled into their rooms at the homestay, our local team will give you an introduction to the PMGY Kerala program. We will also go out for dinner together and have a walking tour of Fort Kochi.
Meals included: Breakfast & Dinner
Day 2 (Sunday) Orientation
Today is your orientation day in Fort Kochi. We will tell you all about life in Kerala and go through all the essential information you need to know, such as safety, transport, money matters etc. We’ll also go through your itinerary for the next two weeks and answer any questions you may have.
A portion of your orientation will be dedicated to your volunteer project. The team will talk you through your project to outline expectations and volunteer responsibility. Our coordinators will go through your work schedule and discuss how you can get involved in the project. Following this, there will be an opportunity to exchange money.
After lunch, we will explore the parts of Fort Kochi that we didn’t manage to see the evening before. Fort Kochi is such a beautiful and laid-back place it’s really enjoyable just having a leisurely stroll around the city.
Meals included: Breakfast & Dinner
Day 3 (Monday) Start New Project
Monday is the beginning of your volunteering placement in Kerala. In the mornings, you will usually teach English in a local school. The children are typically aged between 8-10 years. We will explain how to get from your homestay to the project and back. Your project transport is provided and included in your Program Fee. You will be travelling to the project with other members of the group, so you will never be alone. The journey should be up to around 45 minutes each way to and from the project. However, this will ultimately depend on the exact project setting at the time.
During your orientation, the local team will have outlined to you the aims of the teaching project. However, it will be the responsibility of the group to plan and run their own lessons. This will require levels of high pro-activeness and engagement from the group to ensure that the classes as productive and fun as possible. Please note that PMGY staff will not be directly present on the school site, rather volunteers are expected to work alongside the local school teachers.
In the afternoons, you may be able to help out at a childcare project. You can therefore expect to volunteer for around 4 to 6 hours per day. Your evening is then free to plan the remainder of your lessons and relax with your peers.
Meals included: Breakfast & Dinner
Day 4 (Tuesday) Project Work
You will spend the day volunteering. That evening we will take you to a Martial Arts show, followed by a Kathakali performance. The first show will last 1 hour, whilst the second will last approximately 2 hours. Together, these shows will provide the group with a fascinating insight into Keralan history.
Kathakali (“story play”) is the classical dance-drama of Kerala, which dates from the 17th century and is rooted in Hindu mythology. Kathakali has a unique combination of literature, music, painting, acting and dance, and draws heavily from drama and is danced with elaborate masks and costumes.
Meals included: Breakfast & Dinner
Day 5 (Wednesday) Project Work
Volunteering during the day. In the evening, We have arranged a cooking class for the group, so tonight you’ll be preparing your own dinner! One of the best parts of travelling is the food and Kerala is world-renowned for its amazing cuisine. Bringing back a food story, a new ingredient or a recipe is a great thing to take away from your time with PMGY in Fort Kochi. Who will be the Master Chef of the group?
Meals included: Breakfast & Dinner
Day 6 (Thursday) Project Work
Volunteering during the day. During the evening, the group will venture into town to watch a Bollywood movie. How will it compare to Hollywood?
Meals included: Breakfast & Dinner
Day 7 (Friday) Project Work
Today is your last day at the project. It is time to say goodbye to the children and staff you’ve supported over the week. The evening is free for you to relax and replenish energy levels before you set off on our next adventure the following day.
Meals included: Breakfast & Dinner
Days 8-9 (Saturday-Sunday) The Backwaters
Today we are heading to Kerala’s legendary ‘Backwaters’. The backwaters are a maze of winding rivers, canals and lakes stretching nearly 50 miles from Quilon (Kollam) in the south to Kochi in the north. Traditionally used as one of the main transportation alleys, today the backwaters offer a picturesque and tranquil experience for visitors.
After breakfast, we will take the bus to either Allepey or Kumarakom, before boarding the houseboat and starting our cruise of the backwaters. As a group, you will decide whether to spend the day on a large wooden canoe, or the night on a houseboat. Whichever option you choose, you will trail the backwaters on a boat, with spectacular scenery along the way. The views are lined with dense tropical greenery and rural Keralan communities that are completely hidden from the road.
Should the group chose to stay on the houseboat, we will spend the evenings under a starlit sky. In the morning, we will take breakfast on the boat and then make our way back by bus to Fort Kochi, arriving back in the afternoon. The remainder of the day is free for you to relax or explore.
You can chill out by the pool at a nearby hotel or even take an Ayurveda Massage. Ayurveda is one of the world’s oldest holistic (whole-body) healing systems.
Developed thousands of years ago in India, the technique is based on the belief that health and wellness depend on a delicate balance between the mind, body, and spirit. The primary focus of Ayurveda medicine is to promote good health, rather than fight disease. These can be easily arranged and there are some great places located within walking distance from the groups’ accommodation.
Meals included: Breakfast & Dinner
Days 10-13 (Monday-Thursday) Munnar
It’s time to see a completely different side of India, the spectacular hill station of Munnar, “where the sounds echo, the mountains play with the clouds, the rivers caress the land, and the tea plantations kiss the earth – Munnar is that piece of God’s Own Country!”
Munnar, 80 miles east of Kochi, is the centre of Kerala’s principal tea-growing region and South India’s prime hill retreat. With it also a hotspot for adventure travel, there are some amazing trekking opportunities in Munnar and the views are just spectacular.
After breakfast on Monday, we’ll travel to Munnar by private car. We will visit a tea plantation, a spice plantation and a number of beautiful waterfalls. In the evening, we will then check into our homestay, Green Magic Home. The views in this homestay couldn’t be more spectacular, overlooking lush, green tea-plantations, up high in the mountains.
The following morning, it’s time to put your walking shoes on as we begin our hike! We’ll trek for the whole day, stopping off regularly throughout to take in the breathtaking views surrounding us. We’ll trek through tea plantations and forests, taking in the beautiful scenery that surrounds us. Over the course of the day, we may even be lucky enough to spot some wildlife – this could include wild elephants!
On Wednesday morning we will continue our trek. After completing this around mid-afternoon, we will head back to our homestay in Munnar and put our feet up for the rest of the day!
On Thursday morning we will take a private car back to Fort Kochi. The remainder of the day is free for you to relax or explore. Yoga is very popular in Fort Kochi – if you have any energy left after your busy day, you might choose to give it a go.
Meals included: Breakfast & Dinner
Day 14 (Friday) Free Day & Farewell Party
It’s your last full day of the PMGY India Intro Experience. This means that it is time to purchase any last-minute souvenirs and enjoy your last day together with the group. There are some great places in Fort Kochi to buy gifts and souvenirs – our local team will show you where to go! In the evening we will have a farewell dinner back at the homestay, with all PMGY Kerala staff and the group.
Meals included: Breakfast & Dinner
Day 15 (Saturday) Fly Home
It’s time to go our separate ways! Saturday is your final day on the India Intro Experience travel- volunteer trip. You should book your return/onward flight to depart out of Cochin International Airport (airport code COK). Your return airport transfer is not included in the Program Fee. Our local team can help you arrange a taxi back to the airport with one of our appointed drivers. The journey takes around 1.5 hours.
It’s been an incredible journey for everyone…see you on another PMGY experience trip next year?
Meals included: Breakfast & Dinner
* This itinerary is subject to change as a result of unforeseen circumstances.
CHOOSING AN EXPERIENCE TRIP
What are the program start dates for the India Intro Experience?
The program start dates for the India Intro Experience trip are as follows –
17th July 2021
31st July 2021
16th July 2022
30th July 2022
Can people from outside of the UK or USA join PMGY?
Of course! Although PMGY was founded in the UK, with offices now extending between the UK and US, we welcome participants of all nationalities onto our programs. Within the last decade, we have hosted tens of thousands of volunteers and travel lovers from across the globe. From France to Italy, Mexico to India, Namibia to Russia and Ireland to China – these are only a handful of the countries participants have joined us from! We want everyone from across the world to have an equal opportunity at experiencing a different perspective on life, and make friends across the world.
Why are PMGY’s fees so much more affordable than other travel organisations?
The PMGY International Team works hard to ensure that our fees are kept as low as possible. Consequently, this makes our experiences as affordable and accessible without sacrificing the safety and quality of the overall experience.
Registration Fees to join our programs are assigned to the high levels of comprehensive support that we are renowned for. This includes telephone and online support staff available 24 hours each day, as well as detailed hand-guides and interactive webinars. Therefore, the remaining Program Fees to join the program go directly to our in-country teams, covering everything for your time in India. In general, these fees are reflected in your accommodation, meals, airport pick-up, in-country support and project upkeep during your time abroad. Furthermore, we make sure our fees are transparent, which is something our participants really appreciate.
Similar organisations offer fancy brochures, run large high-street offices and are usually owned by larger travel organisations with many shareholders. As a result, participants are charged an extremely high price to cover all of these overheads. Therefore, at PMGY, we have embraced the online age by focusing everything around an online presence. We have done away with out-dated brochures, an unnecessary high street presence and we are an independent organisation without any outside financial interests.
What are the requirements to join the trip in India?
PMGY welcomes India Intro Experience participants of all nationalities, religions and backgrounds. The minimum age to join the program is 17 and there is no upper age limit. Furthermore, all participants need to have a good level of English, although it does not need to be your first language. Of course, you do not need to speak the local language. However, you will find that learning a few words in your days with us in India will go a long way.
All India Intro Experience participants must be able to provide a clean criminal background check in advance of joining us abroad. Thus, we are unable to accept anyone who has any previous criminal convictions. In general, no formal experience or qualifications are required for the projects, just lots of energy, enthusiasm and preparation! However, medical and healthcare projects usually require additional documentation before participation begins in-country.
Travelling and volunteering overseas can be both physically and mentally challenging. Therefore, all participants must be fit in both areas. Consequently, if you have any medical/mental health conditions that may affect your participation overseas, then these must be declared to us during your online application. If you have any queries regarding your suitability to participate, we recommend that you contact us before committing to the program.
What date should I arrive and leave the India Intro Experience?
For your trip to India, you should book your flights to Cochin International Airport in Kochi on the Saturday start date. The airport code is COK. You will be met at the airport by a member of the local team or an appointed driver, who will be holding a named sign. They will take you to your accommodation where you will spend the rest of your day at leisure.
The program ends on the Saturday of your final week. Therefore, you must depart the accommodation on this day.
Are there any age restrictions to be a participant in India?
In order to join the India Intro Experience, you need to be at least 17 on the program start date. Generally, the average age range of participants is 17-25.
There is no upper age limit to our programs, and in the past, we have hosted participants up to the age of 70-years old. Whilst we have found that our more mature participants get a lot from the experience, at times individuals have found it more challenging to integrate with a younger crowd. Furthermore, some participants have perhaps expected a higher level of accommodation, the structure within the local community, and general overall communication at the project setup. Consequently, whilst we welcome participants of all ages, we stress that all participants should remain open-minded and flexible. Additionally, participants must appreciate that the majority of our participants are across the 17-25 age range.
When should I apply to join the India Intro Experience?
For the majority of our programs, you can apply at any time. However, we advise that you apply as soon as possible to ensure we have availability on the program. This is since some of our programs only have limited capacity, meaning that spaces get filled very quickly. Therefore, it is particularly important that you apply in good time if you’re looking to travel between our peak period of June and August. This is because spaces can fill up very quickly during this period. Furthermore, please only apply if you are 100% committed to joining the program. You need to apply online by locating the “Apply Now” button on the individual project page. This will guide you through our online Application Process.
Indeed, once you have applied and confirmed your place on the program, it may be possible to change your start dates and this will not incur a fee. However, please note that this will be subject to availability and any changes should be made at least 60 days prior to your start date.
Can I join the program abroad with my friend/parent/boyfriend/girlfriend?
You’re more than welcome to travel with friends, family members or with a boyfriend/girlfriend. If required, we can make sure that you stay in the same accommodation and if relevant, volunteer at the same project. However, please note the majority of our accommodation is on a single-sex basis. Consequently, we cannot guarantee that you would be able to be placed in the same room.
Please outline in the ‘Special Requirements’ box of your online application if you’d like to make sure you’re placed alongside another applicant/s.
Is it safe to travel to PMGY destinations?
Although our participants work in the developing world, we work hard to ensure that our host locations are safe. Firstly, participant safety in each of our destinations is monitored regularly. Each of our programs has been inspected by a member of the PMGY International Team. Additionally, PMGY closely follows advice published by the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Alongside the frequent contact we have with our local teams, we are able to ensure that our participants are never placed in unstable or unsafe regions.
The PMGY International Team have visited and participated in every program we offer. Thus, we have carefully inspected every little detail of our set-up, from the living conditions to local neighbourhoods and even the food you’ll be eating. Through these checks, we are able to ensure that all of our projects are up to scratch. Furthermore, all of our local teams are experienced development professionals, with years of experience hosting international travellers. They are PMGY’s representatives on the ground and assist participants 24/7 throughout their stay. Our teams are therefore always on-hand to assist in any emergencies that may occur. Additionally, our 24 hour international emergency telephone line is always accessible. PMGY’s in-country staff also have access to local medical professionals should these be required during a participant’s time with us.
When you join the India Intro Experience, we will send you a Volunteer Handbook. This document addresses a range of issues such as health, safety, visas and dress codes. For any unanswered or specific questions, PMGY offers a comprehensive support network, with online and telephone support staff available 24 hours each day. Our advisers welcome participants to ask as many questions as needed for them to effectively prepare for their trip overseas. On a monthly basis, our International Team also hosts both an Introductory Webinar and Safety Webinar. These are interactive opportunities for international participants to learn more about our projects and managing their safety overseas.
When you arrive in-country, you’ll be given a comprehensive introduction to the general program and your specific project. During this session, our team will also cover important safety advice specific to your country. You’ll also be given the opportunity to purchase a local SIM-card. This is something we strongly suggest, so you’re contactable at all times. In like manner, we will provide you with a full list of the important contact numbers that you’ll need to know.
Although we cannot guarantee your experience to be 100% trouble-free we have taken all the necessary precautions to make sure each program is as safe as possible.
When do I pay for my experience program? Can I pay in instalments?
In order to confirm your place on the India Intro Experience, you need to pay a 1 USD deposit within 7 days of your application being successful. Consequently, you are only required to pay the deposit once we can guarantee you a place on the program. The remaining fee is then due no less than 60 days prior to your program start date. The only exception to this is for applications made 60 days or less in advance of the program start date. In these instances, the full balance must be paid within 7 days of being accepted in order to secure your place. We will notify you by email that you have been successful in your application. This usually takes 24-48 hours from the application being submitted.
Payments made in advance of the 60 day window can be made in one lump sum or in several instalments. If you chose to take our insurance, or book a flight with PMGY, then these must be paid for (in full) at the time of booking. Payments can be made directly through our website using all major debit and credit cards. We will outline instructions to make payment in our email communication with you. Please note credit card payments are subject to a 3% additional fee to cover the bank charges that PMGY incur. Bank transfers can be accepted by UK participants only.
Can I use India Intro Experience as part of a university or college placement?
It is certainly possible to use India Intro Experience as part of your university or college placement. However, PMGY is unable to guarantee that the India Intro Experience will fulfil the requirements of your establishment. Therefore, participants are encouraged to speak to a member of the International Team to establish whether the required parameters can be met. This should be done in advance of applying to the program. When appropriate, school/college/university representatives are welcome to contact PMGY to discuss further the suitability of the program in meeting the participant’s requirements.
First of all, the PMGY International Team are able to complete paperwork after Real India Experience participants have confirmed their place on the program. Additionally, project staff in India can also sign-off any paperwork that is required by your course tutors. However, while our team will do their best to complete any paperwork, we are unable to guarantee that we will be able to comply with every learning objective and requirement or your university/college. PMGY regularly receives medical, nursing, childcare and psychology placement students on our projects globally, with ties with some leading universities.
If you’re a course tutor and would like further information about how one of PMGY’s programs could meet the placement requirements for your course, please contact us directly to schedule a meeting.
BEFORE YOU DEPART
Do you offer an online TEFL course?
For PMGY volunteers teaching English in India, the only real ‘qualifications’ you need are bags of energy, commitment and enthusiasm. However, if you’d like a chance to do some preparation work before you hit the classroom, we’ve got the perfect introductory online TEFL course for English language teaching abroad.
At only 60 hours and completed online, this course is obviously hugely convenient. The course can be done in your own time, at your own pace and you don’t even need to leave the house! You have got a whopping 75 days to complete the course, so there is no rush and you can fit it in when you can. Obviously, an hour here and there certainly adds up. Therefore there really is no pressure.
Once completed, you’ll not only have acquired key skills for teaching English abroad but also an internationally accredited certificate. If you find that teaching really is your calling, this course can be built upon with more modules in the future. There are 5 modules to this 60 hour course, covering aspects including ‘The Roles of the Teacher’ and ‘Lesson Planning’.
The cost of the course is 120 USD. If you’ve already signed up for one of our programs and would like to enrol on the online TEFL course then please contact us.
Can I fundraise for my India Intro Experience trip?
With PMGY, the money our participants pay goes towards the structure you receive on the India program. The fundamentals of this cover aspects such as accommodation, airport pick-ups, around the clock support from our international and in-country teams, pre-departure training as well as the implementation and monitoring of the projects.
We do our best to keep our program costs as low and affordable as possible, without sacrificing on quality and safety. However, with flights, travel insurance and spending money to factor into your overall budget, you may find you need a little bit of help with the finances. Consequently, a large number of PMGY participants decide to fundraise for their trip. In these instances, we recommend that participants on the India Intro Experience set up an online fundraising page to notify friends and family of your trip.
PMGY have partnered with the online crowdfunding website GoGetFunding for participants to create a personalised fundraising page for their trip. This professional online fundraising service allows you to set financial goals and get the message across about what you’re doing. You can also share your PMGY fundraising page across various social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to spread the word.
Can I raise money for the projects?
The PMGY Foundation is a UK registered charity (1169415). This charity has been created to help provide financial aid and assistance to projects we work with on an ongoing basis. Importantly, the objective of the PMGY Foundation is prevention or relief of poverty for people living in the communities we support. This is achieved by providing or assisting the provision of education, training, healthcare and general living support. Therefore, we hope that the support offered by the PMGY Foundation helps to enable individuals to generate a sustainable income and be self-sufficient. Consequently, donations made to the PMGY Foundation will be directed to the projects most in need. This is determined by the trustees of the charity during our International Team overseas visits.
If you are looking to help raise money directly for the PMGY Foundation, you can do so via our Virgin Money Giving fundraising page. 100% of all money raised will be donated directly to the projects we support around the world. However, please note that participants are unable to raise money through the PMGY Foundation to help finance the cost of their trip overseas. For India Intro Experience participants looking for further information on how to raise money for their trip abroad, please visit our fundraising page.
How do I register for your online webinars?
Every Tuesday at 4pm (London time), the PMGY International Team hosts one of four pre-departure webinars. These last approximately 45 minutes each and importantly provide participants in India with invaluable advice on their upcoming trip. The webinars are hosted by a member of our International Team, who all have extensive knowledge of our projects around the globe. You can attend (and even ask questions) from anywhere in the world, simply by logging in through your own computer. All you need is a computer, a good internet connection and a pair of headphones. In addition to this, if any family or friends would like to attend the session as well, they are more than welcome to do so.
For individuals who have not yet signed up to one of our programs, but would like to learn more about us, we encourage you to join our Introductory Webinar. Across 45 minutes, a member of the International team will introduce you to the concept of volunteering abroad, our destinations and both social and safety aspects of our programs.
For individuals on the India Intro Experience who have already confirmed their place on the program, there are three for you to choose from. Please note that you need to sign up for the webinar a few days in advance.
Travel Essentials Pre-Departure Webinar – covers all the basics.
Program Preparation Webinar – covers specifically childcare and teaching community work programs.
Safety & Wellbeing Overseas Webinar – covers the risks associated with overseas travel and how you can keep as safe as possible.
Will I require vaccinations and malaria tablets for my trip?
It is possible that as an India Intro Experience participant, you may require a course of vaccinations in preparation for your trip to India. However, unfortunately, PMGY is unable to legally advise on these matters, since we are not medical experts. Therefore, it is vital that you contact your local doctor or travel clinic a few months in advance of your intended travel. Your local doctor/nurse will be able to advise you on vaccinations and malaria prevention you may need for entry into your program destination. Additional information can be found on the NHS Fit For Travel website.
How do I arrange my flights to India?
When you apply to join a trip with PMGY, we cannot guarantee your place on the program immediately. Indeed, on receiving an application, we have to liaise with our local team to ensure there is space available on the program and to assess your suitability for the specific project. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you do not make any flight and/or travel arrangements until your program has been confirmed by us in writing. Of course, once your place on the India Intro Experience has been confirmed, you are then free to book your flights either with PMGY or through a third-party travel agent.
After confirming your place on a PMGY program, we strongly advise that you book your flights as early as possible. This is since it will help ensure that you get the lowest airfare. You can choose to book your flights independently or we can help you with arranging them. PMGY has a wealth of experience in travelling to and from our host countries. Therefore, we know the most affordable ways to travel and the best airlines to use. PMGY have an ATOL Licence to ensure any flights booked through us are financially secured by the Civil Aviation Authority. Therefore, if you would like any assistance booking your flight, you can request an optional flight quote during your online application. Alternatively, feel free to contact us on the phone or by email.
Do you offer travel insurance?
Importantly, having an appropriate travel insurance policy during your time abroad is essential. Therefore, it is mandatory for all of our participants to be appropriately covered across all of their trip dates. This includes your travel to and from the host country, as well as any onward travel. Although PMGY does everything to ensure your trip is safe, inevitably things can go wrong. Therefore, having a travel insurance policy in place helps you effectively deal with any problems you may encounter during your time away.
We have partnered up with the insurance company Endsleigh to create an affordable and comprehensive optional policy. This has been designed with our participants in mind, to cover our participants for all of their travel essentials. The policy is available to anyone across the globe, up to the age of 65 years. The document will cover you for your time on any PMGY destination and any onward travel (excluding the US and Canada). You can purchase PMGY Travel Insurance during your online application or you can contact us directly to arrange it.
Please note that PMGY Travel Insurance is purchased in week-long blocks. Therefore, you should carefully identify how many days you’ll be away for, including the date you depart and return to your home country. Indeed, this will ensure that you select the correct duration of travel insurance. For example, if you’re travelling for 29 days in total, you’ll need a 5 week policy, not a 4 week policy.
How do I obtain a background check?
To join the India Intro Experience, you’ll need to provide us with a clean DBS or Police Check before you travel. This is a check must be issued by an official Governmental or Police Body. PMGY have a commitment to the projects we support to ensure the participants we send are trustworthy and of sound moral character. Consequently, we are unable to accept participants who have had any previous criminal convictions.
If you hold a current DBS or Police Check, then we can accept this, providing it is clear and issued no more than 18 months prior to your program start date. You will need to upload a copy of this to your online portal after confirming your place on the program. Furthermore, the DBS or Police Check must be submitted to us no less than 21 days prior to your program start date.
If you don’t have a valid DBS check (also known as CRB or Police Check), then you will need to apply for one. UK participants need to apply for a “Basic Disclosure” through Gov.uk (which serves all people in the UK). This costs 23 GBP and takes around 15 working days to process. Full information on how to obtain a CRB check through Gov.uk is outlined in the Volunteer Handbook, received once you have confirmed your place on the India Intro Experience.
For India Intro Experience participants from the US, you can apply for a background check through US Criminal Checks. It costs 17.95 USD and is usually processed immediately. Alternatively, you are welcome to arrange your own background check through your local Sheriff’s Office or governmental body.
For all other international participants, we recommend you obtain a Police/Criminal Background Check through your local police station or official governmental body.
When will I receive my Volunteer Handbook?
All participants in India will receive a PMGY Volunteer Handbook once they have paid their deposit and confirmed their place on the program. We will send you an email entitled ‘Welcome to PMGY’ which will include a link where you can download the Volunteer Handbook. Please note that we do not send a hard copy of the PMGY Volunteer Handbook.
This Handbook contains everything you need to know to prepare for your India Intro Experience. Ranging from what to pack to how to obtain a visa, we do our best to ensure you are ready to hit the ground running. Therefore, it is really important that you read through the Volunteer Handbook carefully once you’ve downloaded it. If you find any of your questions unanswered after reading through this, then our team are always on hand to assist you. You can contact us via email, telephone, Skype, Facebook, online chat…whatever works best for you!
ON YOUR TRIP
Can I arrange a private room?
All of our accommodation options on the India program involve sharing a room with other participants (usually same-sex). Unfortunately, we are unable to arrange private room options for our participants on the India Intro Experience.
Can you cater for my dietary requirements?
Our teams will do their best to cater for any dietary requirements. However, this cannot be guaranteed on the India Intro Experience. Consequently, there may be instances where you need to purchase alternative ingredients at your own expense. Any dietary requirements should be noted within your application and re-iterated to the local team on arrival into the country. Importantly, any concerns for major requirements should be raised with the PMGY International Team before confirming your place on the program.
Are there any public holidays that affect project availability?
We aim to communicate as clearly and accurately as possible all holidays that impact project availability. This information can be found via our Holiday Dates page and in the Volunteer Handbook. However, due to the nature of developing countries, holidays can often be sporadic or prone to change. In turn, these can unexpectedly affect project availability. Therefore in such instances, we ask our participants to be flexible and appreciative of this. These periods often provide participants in India with a unique experience to enjoy the festivities and holidays themselves. However, our local teams will always do their best to find alternative project work if applicable/possible.
What is the dress code on the India Intro Experience?
Dress code varies from country-to-country and sometimes from project-to-project. Importantly, we ask that our participants adopt a smart and responsible image during their time in the communities. Of course, we will outline the specific dress code requirements in your Volunteer Handbook so you know exactly what to pack. In addition to this, our local team will also brief you during your in-country orientation on arrival into India.
The general rule of thumb for girls is to cover shoulders, chest, stomach and thighs. In a like matter, for men, shorts should not lie above the knee and shirts should cover shoulders. Whilst we do not wish to impose strict regulations on our participants, we do ask that you respect the local culture during your travels. Moreover, dressing appropriately will earn you the respect of the people you’ll be working with. Therefore, our Volunteer Handbooks, outline preferred dress-codes in detail.
Additionally, it’s also a good idea to take some nicer clothes for the weekends and special occasions. However, please avoid tight and very short clothing. You should also avoid clothing that may have potentially offensive slogans on it. Tattoos and piercings should be covered where possible if your program includes a volunteer placement, particularly if you’re working with children.
How much spending money will I need?
The amount of extra spending money you should take with you as an India Intro Experience participant can depend on a multitude of factors. Considerations include what you undertake during your free time and how many souvenirs you purchase! Therefore, if you plan to go for a safari in Tanzania or perhaps go trekking in South Africa, you will need to budget accordingly. However, for general expenses and some independent travel, you should find 100-150 USD per week a suitable amount.
Will I be able to travel whilst on the program?
Your India Intro Experience trip involves travelling across India with your group. You will follow a set itinerary across your time on the trip. This means that there is no opportunity to take part in any independent travel across the trip dates.
Before booking your flights, we recommend that you look into travel opportunities across dates either side of your trip. It is always great to spend some time travelling and seeing more of the country you wish to explore.
On the India Intro Experience, you will spend your time across two homestays (and one houseboat!). It is common for homeowners in Kerala to rent out rooms in their homes for visitors to stay. PMGY’s homestays are typically owned by our in-country coordinators, located in safe and friendly neighbourhoods. Most of your time on this travel and volunteer trip to India will be based in Fort Kochi. Fort Kochi is a charming area with a very laid back way of life. You’ll find all the essential amenities you may require, such as supermarkets and ATMs. The volunteer project is often located in or close to Fort Kochi. You will also spend three nights in Munnar – Kerala’s prime tea-growing region. The accommodation here is therefore based more rurally.
The homestays are all similar in standards. The group will stay together to ensure a good social experience. You will share a room with other people from the group, which will be same-sex unless shared by friends or couples. Rooms are en-suite and the bathrooms have a western flushing toilet and showers. Hot water is usually available, however, cannot be guaranteed. The rooms have fans and whilst some may have air conditioning, this will often be at an extra expense. All windows have mosquito nets to keep mosquitos out. The homestays are basic but comfortable.
Some homestays used across India Intro Experience have Wi-Fi, but this is not guaranteed and cannot be requested. In Fort Kochi, there will numerous internet cafes in the local community within walking distance. Wi-Fi in these locations may be free or be available for purchase at a nominal fee. Volunteers in India are also recommended to purchase a local SIM card in-country to use with an unlocked mobile phone. This will allow internet data packages to be purchased as an alternative for Wi-Fi. Each homestay will have a communal area for international volunteers to relax and socialise. In Fort Kochi, laundry services will be available within the town for a small fee. Individuals on a volunteer trip to India are recommended to bring a small padlock. However, volunteers are encouraged to only bring essential items during their travel and volunteer work in India. There will be fridge space within the accommodation for volunteers to cool items they need to keep chilled. Please note that power cuts are fairly commonplace in India although they tend not to last more than a couple of hours.
In each homestay, the homeowner will also live at the home with their family. However, they will live on a separate floor to volunteers and so you’ll have your own living space/privacy. Homes are gated and the local family is on-call 24/7 to assist you. Alcohol is not permitted within the homestay and reasonable curfews are imposed. Our local team will either live within the homestay or live locally, making them only ever a phone call away. Most of our volunteer projects in India are not within walking distance of the Volunteer House. In these cases, our local team will transport you to and from the project each day. The cost of this service is included in your Program Fee for the India Intro Experience. Transport to our volunteering opportunities in India will usually be by car or minibus.
PEOPLE PER ROOM
SINGLE SEX ROOMS
WESTERN BATHROOM FACILITIES
NEAREST ATM & SHOPS
During your travel and volunteer trip to India, you will be provided with breakfast and dinner each day. This will usually be hostel at your homestay, although some evening meals may be at a local restaurant. Typical breakfast options include eggs, toast, cereal, fruits and tea/coffee. Dinner will largely be vegetarian although meat and fish may be available from time to time.
Lunch is not included in your Program Fee and must, therefore, be purchased at your own expense. Some international volunteers choose to prepare lunches at the homestays using items purchased from local supermarkets. Alternatively, you can opt for local restaurants where you can pick up some authentic Keralan dishes. There are also a number of cafes that offer western options, which will be slightly more expensive. Our local team will show you the best places to eat.
Here is an example of the meals you can expect:
* Our team will do their best to cater for any dietary requirements. However, this cannot be guaranteed. This means that there may be instances where you need to purchase alternative ingredients at your own expense. Any dietary requirements should be noted within your application and re-iterated to the local team on arrival into the country. Any concerns for major requirements should be raised with the PMGY International Team before confirming your place on the program.
* These fees apply to each individual application.
In order to confirm your place on a PMGY program, you need to pay a deposit of 1 USD. The remaining fee is then due no less than 60 days prior to your program start date. During this period if you need to make a change to your trip (destination, program or date) then this can be facilitated free of charge.
You’re only required to pay your deposit once we can guarantee you a place on the program. If you’re applying within 60 days of your program start date then you’ll need to pay the full amount to confirm your place. We will notify you by email that you have been successful in your application and you must pay the relevant fee to confirm your spot within the next 7 days.
Any remaining payments must be made no less than 60 days prior to your start date. This payment can be made in one lump sum or in several instalments. If you chose to take our insurance or book a flight with PMGY then these must be paid for (in full) at the time of booking.
Payments can be made directly through our website using all major debit and credit cards. We will outline instructions to make payment in our email communication with you. Please note credit card payments are subject to a 3% additional fee to cover the bank charges that PMGY incur.
OPTIONAL TRIPLE CARBON OFFSET SCHEME – 40 USD
PMGY provide participants with the opportunity to contribute towards our Triple Carbon Offset Scheme. This not only helps eliminate your carbon footprint but helps the planet with a positive contribution every time you fly. The Triple Offset Idea for volunteers in India works as follows –
🇰🇪 Kenya – 40 mango trees are planted in Kenya. These are capable of absorbing the total carbon emissions for a volunteer trip to India and also help provide a sustainable income for local farmers.
🇮🇳 India – 80 days of access to a solar cooker are provided to a family in India. This means the family don’t have to spend on firewood and thus reduce their dependence on trees.
🇺🇸 USA – 1.25kg of rescued meals are provided to the homeless in the USA. This recycles wasted food reduces methane emission from food waste which is equivalent to 1lb of CO2 emissions.
This optional add-on can be added during the online application process or can even be added on at a later date. The offset platform is provided by our charity, the PMGY Foundation and ensures that 100% of contributions are put towards high impact projects around the world.
VOLUNTEER IN INDIA REVIEWS
MEALS (BREAKFAST & DINNER)
AIRPORT PICK UP
PRIVATE TRANSPORT TO TOURIST SITES
PRIVATE TRANSPORT TO/FROM PROJECT
BACKWATER BOAT TOUR
TREKKING IN MUNNAR
TEA PLANTATIONS & WATERFALLS
24 HOUR IN-COUNTRY SUPPORT
24 HOUR EMERGENCY SUPPORT
DEDICATED PMGY TRAVEL MENTOR
EMAIL & TELEPHONE SUPPORT
LIVE PRE-DEPARTURE WEBINARS
100% FINANCIAL PROTECTION
REGULAR PROGRAM INSPECTION
CERTIFICATE OF COMPLETION
WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED
RETURN AIRPORT TRANSFER
CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECK
TRIPLE CARBON OFFSET SCHEME
OPTIONAL 40 USD PAYMENT
TREES PLANTED IN KENYA
DAYS OF SOLAR ACCESS IN INDIA
HOMELESS MEALS PROVIDED IN USA