Recently on the blog I’ve been spending a lot of time talking about the Western hemisphere, so today we’re going for a little change of pace with our organizational spotlight. It might be because I’m in the midst of reading a book about mountain climbing, or because I am still hearing all about my friend’s recent trip to India, but today I’m going to do something a little different, and round-up some India-based volunteer organizations and work placements. Instead of the usual in-depth profile, I’m going to try to pack a bunch of information about some great programs that have been recommended to me, and we’ll take it from there!
When you start looking for work abroad jobs in India, you’ll notice that the first few hits will be focused on teaching English. There is an incredibly high demand for TEFL and TESL instructors in India, and many other parts of Asia. But why India, if most citizens learn the language from a young age? It has to do with the increasingly global workforce – business people working in India are looking to perfect their English, and who better than native speakers to do it?
Sorting through all of these can be overwhelming, so let’s start with some of the more popular agencies.
First of all, it’s important to make the distinction between an organization that conducts TEFL courses to students and assists with finding a job and an actual job placement organization. Places like the TEFL Institute, charge a fee to certify you in TEFL or TESOL, then help you find a job right after you graduate. For a fee they take care of room and board, plus the cost of the course. Not bad if you’re looking to get your feet wet in-country before you commit to an actual job (as opposed to getting and online certification). Others like TEFL International and American TESOL Institute (which, oddly, actual gives TEFL certifications) guarantee placements, in a school/workplace hybrid model.
Without any first hand knowledge of these organizations, I’m pretty pleased with what I saw on the TEFL International website (even though aesthetically it’s kind of overwhelming). They are a nonprofit organization, which (ideally) means that they aren’t only interested in their financial bottom line when it comes to signing people up for the courses and placing them in internships and jobs. They operate around the world in 20+ locations, but in India are based in Kolkata. It looks like their model works because of big partnerships with local corporations that are in need of English teachers, which means that this organization seems to lean towards teaching the business client. And one of their partners is Disney!
Outside of teaching English, there are many other opportunities to volunteer and work abroad in India. The Ladakh Project, sponsored by the International Society for Ecology and Culture, is set deep in the Himalayas, and recruits volunteers to work on a local farm, and to see first hand the effects of globalization of society that rely heavily on local ecology to make their living. And there is a great first-hand account of the volunteer experience over at Transitions Abroad.
For those with some business experience who are looking to bulk up the resume there is Next, a professional training organization with sites in cities across India. They recruit and hire people from the United States, Australia, Canada the UK and New Zealand to conduct business skills training class in India.
And last but not least, here is one of the coolest-sounding jobs I’ve seen in a long time: Livescouting for Sport Events in India! Before you get to excited, I’ll give you the quick take: the job is ideal for people who already live in India and are familiar with Indian sports and teams. They specifically say “you don’t need to be an expert, but you need to know the rules. ” But if you’re someone who is looking at living in India in the longer term (maybe as a teacher or volunteer) and you have developed a taste for the local sports, you can make up to 35 euro per game attending sporting events and reporting on statistics in real time for Sports Data AG.
That’s really just a sampling of all of the great volunteer and work opportunities available in India. As one of the largest and most densely populated countries in the world, you can bet that there are many, many more where they came from. So if you are dreaming of ascending the worlds highest peaks like I have been lately, perhaps you can satisfy your curiosity by getting a little closer to them!