U18 Teaching and Cultural Experience - Volunteer Reviews

INDIA

Read what our volunteers say about their time volunteering

Find out more about the Under 18 Teaching and Cultural Experience 

Volunteer reviews (see below for parent reviews)

Amber – 2018

“Whilst in India the volunteer group helped to support a local primary school. We were each given a class to teach for the two weeks and planned lessons in basic maths and English. The kids were great and very clever so the language barrier wasn't a problem at all and I felt we really made some progress with them. We also visited the children from the local rag picking community. Whilst there we played games and made crafts with the children which they seemed to love. It was quite hard at first when we visited these children as they were extremely underprivileged but I loved every minute we spent with them as you could see how much they appreciated our time and attention.

In our free time we immersed ourselves in Indian culture and were taken on amazing trips to see the country. The sleeper train to the Taj Mahal was a big worry of mine at first, however it was actually pretty exciting and I don't think I have laughed as hard in such a long time!! It was of course worth every minute on the train to see the Taj Mahal the following morning!! We visited many temples which were all beautiful to see and shopping in Udaipur centre seemed to be a favourite of our group's!! Neha, Gaurav and Ravi were such welcoming people and I loved staying with them in the volunteer house; Heer (Ravi's daughter) was so cute and we loved singing along with her to Twinkle Twinkle and Incy Wincy Spider!! Neha taught us all how to cook Indian food as well as lessons in Bollywood dancing and Henna. I can't actually believe how much we managed to fit into the two weeks we were there but I loved every minute of it!!

What did you find most rewarding?

Working with the primary school children was so rewarding. Our class was very smart from the outset however we could see how much progress they had made by the end of the two weeks, particularly with those who had initially struggled. It was also so touching to see that the kids were genuinely sad to hear we were leaving and gave us huge hugs before letting us go.

What did you find most challenging?

Visiting the rag picking community was particularly difficult for me as it was hard to see the conditions the children lived in and the cultural differences between their community and the UK were huge. Many of the older children loved to chat with us whilst the younger ones loved climbing all over us and constantly wanted throwing up in the air!! This made it clear just how much they appreciated our visit and our time which was very touching to experience.

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?

Just throw yourself into everything you do on the trip and try to take as much out of it as possible. Many of the activities are a "once-ina-lifetime" moment so don't let it pass you by and appreciate every single day because the two weeks fly by!!

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer?

I have heard friends talk about the company and when I looked into it further it had so many great reviews.

Gemma was a great team leader and really made the trip so much more enjoyable!! Thank you!”

Hetta – 2018

“We spent two weeks just outside of Udaipur, which is one of the most vibrant and friendly cities I've been lucky enough to visit, living with volunteers on both the under 18 trip and over eighteen placements. Our hosts; Gaurav, Ravi, and Neha were extremely welcoming, leading us in the volunteering projects and teaching us in cooking, henna and Hindi classes. We spent the mornings working in a primary school a five-minute drive from the accommodation. I taught the second grade with eight children aged 7- 8 in my class they were the most grateful children and the smiles on their faces every time we walked through the gates was so rewarding. They learned extremely quickly and their English improved significantly throughout the placement.

In the afternoon we worked on a community outreach project involving children who are unable to attend school due to their parents requiring them to work combined with their traditional values. The children were excited by any activity we had planned and despite the language barriers the bonds you make with some of the children are really special. Also speaking to the boys and girls at a similar age to us not only enabled me to see their lives from a more relative perspective but revealed to me how this project is already changing the mind sets of the next generation making them more open-minded to receiving help from NGOs and POD eventually leading them to allow their children to attend school.

We also attended a disabled children's school where some girls who were deaf and dance using the rhythm if the music felt through the ground to their feet taught us to dance this was an amazing experience and the girls' laughter when we were all falling over trying to copy them was fantastic. We also did arts and crafts with them and helped them create peacocks; one boy had no arms and watching him draw and put together a 3D paper peacock displayed the work the schools and NGOs put in to help the children achieve their potential despite their physical or mental impairments as well as the individual resilience of each child.

What did you find most rewarding?

Going into school each morning and have the children running to the gates smiling, waving and shouting "Dede" (meaning big sister) as you walked in.

What did you find most challenging?

The heat- it got very hot.

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer?

It seemed ethical, safe and to have done large amounts of research into each project.”

Christina – 2018

“The Under 18 Cultural trip to India was unlike any experience I have ever been through. POD made sure myself and my group were all prepared prior to the trip and more importantly, our amazing guide Gemma was there to help us throughout the 2 weeks. I was able to really throw myself into the amazing culture of India through building connections with the kids and understanding their lifestyle. I would highly recommend this trip!

What did you find most rewarding?

Teaching the children new school material

What did you find most challenging?

The language barrier

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?

Go into the trip with a fresh mind as there's a lot to take in.”

Laura – 2018

“Overall the trip was an experience of a lifetime, and exceeded my expectations fully. It was so rewarding, working with the rag pickers and at the school and was just so much fun. Neha, Ravi and Gaurav were so welcoming and provided us with comfort and help wherever needed. Gemma also added to the experience with her positivity and support. On top of this, visiting local sights and the night train to the Taj Mahal was amazing- I even enjoyed the night train, after worrying about it! Definitely book this trip without any doubts or worries, as it was just so enjoyable.

What did you find most rewarding?

I loved seeing the improvements amongst the school children in their Maths and English, and also found doing crafts and games with the rag pickers so much fun!

What did you find most challenging?

A few of the children in the younger years were definitely a handful, but that only made their successes more rewarding.

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?

My best advice would be to forget about any worries you have, and just book the trip! I guarantee that the other under 18s will all be as nervous as you, and that together you will enjoy the venture and also make friendships and memories that last a lifetime. Also make sure you bring any English snacks you think you'll crave- you'll probably be wanting them a few days in!

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer?

I really wanted to do volunteering and found that Pod offered volunteering for under 18s, in India, a country I always wanted to visit.”

Kellan – 2018

“My trip to India through POD was without doubt one of the best experiences of my life. Both the other volunteers and the family we stayed with were welcoming and the local knowledge of Gaurav and Ravi really made the trip special

What did you find most rewarding?

Working with the ragpickers community to provide crafting opportunities for the children

What did you find most challenging?

Working with a classroom of children who don’t speak English, although I thoroughly enjoyed it

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?

Bring a few snacks, the food isn’t to everyone’s taste although I thought it was excellent.

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer?

Recommended by a friend.”

Anna – 2018

“Every day was different and there was always new challenges and activities to enjoy; the school kids would be so happy to see you and so eager to learn that it always made you so happy to see how much they value their education. However it was hard trying to juggle all of the different abilities effectively, with some kids needing more help than others. The best part of the day was going to see the ragpickers, who were so fun and full of life - be warned that they will tire you out with how much energy they have!

What did you find most rewarding?

Playing with the ragpickers

What did you find most challenging?

Trying to balance the children’s different ability levels in the classroom

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?

Bring extra clothes you don’t need so that the local team can give them to the ragpickers

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer?

My friend went on one of the other volunteering trips and recommended it to me.”

Parent reviews

Nan – 2018

“We were looking for a volunteering opportunity for our son and came across several organisations. Pod offered something very hands on with plenty of opportunity for volunteers to interact with the community. Our son liked this and so did we. The information before booking was thorough and detailed and helpful and when we met The Pod Leader, Gemma, at the airport we thought everything seemed calm, friendly and organised. We knew Jo was having an excellent time when he texted from India - he loved teaching the children and being with the community, and staying just outside Udaipur in what he described as a fairly rural place. He really had an excellent time.”

Bansi – 2018

“POD are a truly exceptional group of people. Everything is seamless and made easy for both volunteer and parent. The updates and photos received by Gemma whilst my son was on his experience were brilliant. He has come back truly loving his whole time. Thanks POD.

My son has just come back from the U18 Udaipur trip. Any qualms and worries he had before he left have been forgotten as he has truly met some wonderful people shared some amazing memories and all whilst making the lives of the beautiful children a little more enjoyable and fun. I would send my daughter to a POD organised trip without a moment’s hesitation.”

Maree – 2018

“Offering the 2-week U18 trip has given Laura the opportunity to have a realistic taster of what it might be like to spend a longer period on a charity trip post 6th Form, to support children in the third world. I thoroughly support POD providing this opportunity, and making me, as a parent, feel comfortable that my daughter would be supported whilst away. This trip has even helped Laura focus on an alternative career path, at a perfect time, when she still has the chance to alter 6th Form subject choices.

What advice would you give other parents considering sending their child to volunteer overseas?

If your child shows an interest in this sort of trip, actively encourage them to take part!”

Lorraine – 2018 

“Connie had a wonderful trip and the staff were very good when I called HO with a concern. 

A really good trip that our daughter has raved about since getting home and would like to go back and live there! 

When I called the office with concerns about a health issue with Connie it was dealt with immediately and very effectively with no fuss.

Would you recommend Pod Volunteer? Yes”

Find out more about the Under 18 Teaching and Cultural Experience

AWARDS AND ACCREDITATIONS

  • Tourism Concern
  • Association of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust
  • Right Tourism
  • DOFE
  • theguardian
  • the independent
  • Sunday Times
  • Year Out Group
  • Best Volunteering Organisation
  • Wall Street Journal