Volunteering in India is a transformative experience that goes beyond simple volunteer work. While the primary motivation for volunteering is to serve others, there are some important life lessons to be gained in the process. When you volunteer somewhere, you get to know the local location and culture over a longer period of time than the typical tourist. We are highlighting five lessons that you can learn while volunteering in India. These lessons will be installed in your heart and you will remember them long after your journey is over. So, before you book air tickets from Canada to India, check out “Volunteering in India: 5 Valuable Life Lessons You Won’t Forget’.
1. You’ll get the hang of the “head bobble” before you know it
India is a leading exporter of the “head bobble.” This is not a head shake or an up-and-down motion. It is in the middle and is best imitated by nodding sideways. Once you’ve noticed it, you’ll spot it everywhere.
It has several meanings and is carried out by all. If it’s a rapid head bobble, the response is typically “yes.” (we say typically since there’s no assurance.) If it’s a bit slower head bobble, the answer may be “no,” “maybe,” or even “I have no idea what you’ve just said to me”. Most of the volunteers have managed to incorporate the head bobble into our daily duties, much to the bewilderment of many locals. So get ready to pick up your own version of it.
2. India’s motto: Embrace the “Three T’s,” where “Things Take Time.
Need to get somewhere by a specific time? Allocate sixty minutes for a group meal. Did you really believe you could get a coffee in under five minutes? Did you anticipate that your lesson would start at the scheduled time? We hate to notify you that things in India take longer than anticipated; you will need to get used to this. You can’t always get worked up about something because it is what it is. Simply put, some things take longer than others, and no one seems to mind. A late start to a meeting? You’ll probably be the first one there. That four p.m. doesn’t really mean 4:00 p.m. is OK.
If you have a deadline, the idea is to either plan extra time—lots of extra time—or reduce your expectations that everything will start on time so that you won’t be as upset when it doesn’t. (Astoundingly, though, the buses do depart the station promptly; you will be shocked to discover that you had barely missed the final bus by five minutes. Even if you manage to catch the bus, delays will still cause you to arrive at a party two hours later than expected. You understand that things take time.)
3. You will master the art of bargaining with tuk-tuk drivers
In India, tuk-tuks are also known as rickshaws. Basically, they are miniature scooter-powered cars that can fit a large number of passengers on one or two benches. A rickshaw has the capacity to carry a single individual or a complete Indian family.
You will become an expert at haggling over rates over time. The “tourist” fare, which may be more than three times the going rate, is what most drivers would attempt to charge. Here’s what you do: find out the going rate by first speaking with a local. Then you laugh, tell him what you really want to pay, and when he offers you anything ridiculous, you turn and leave. This usually leads to a negotiation where the price decreases with your level of surrender. The only danger is that the driver can take off, but don’t worry, there will always be another rickshaw nearby—in fact, it will probably surround you, as is often the case with foreigners. Additionally, you can visit Airfarebooking to find the lowest airfares to Amritsar from Vancouver.
4. You’ll discover the value of avoiding polar questions
You might wonder, what exactly is a polar question? There are just two possible answers to this question: “yes” or “no.” For instance: “Is the temple further down this road?” “Is this water filtered?” “Does the bus leave from here directly?” “Is your hair on fire?” Absolutely or not. The issue? A head nod or a “yes” response indicates that the person does not understand what you are saying.
You initially put your trust in these kind people who share your opinion since it suggests the following: Yes, their hair is on fire, yes, you are heading in the correct way, yes, you can drink this water, yes, you just need to wait here for the bus. What, wait? Naturally, the final query is to find out if the other person truly understands what you’ve spoken. Ways to prevent this? Ask about smoking in their hair, or simply don’t ask polar or leading questions at all.
5. You’ll discover the art of “Indian match.
If you came up to work wearing a bright green and yellow top, green leggings, a green scarf, and a matching hairband, people at home would definitely stare at you. Not because you would look amazing, you would, but more likely because they would be making fun of you behind your back. It would simply not go over well.
However, in Rajasthan, if you’re not that degree of matching, you’re not stylish, as fate would have it. Yes, you read correctly. At first, we found it challenging to adjust to things not matching precisely, but once you give in and acquire the sets, it becomes the best thing ever. Bright colors all day long! We absolutely adore it! Give “Indian matching” a shot, and we promise you’ll fall in love with vivid hues all over again.
To Sum Up
Volunteering in India offers invaluable insights and a transformative experience. It teaches us the importance of resilience, sensitivity, and cross-cultural understanding. Through this experience, we learn the importance of giving back, the elegance of simplicity, and the resilience of unity across diverse cultures. Therefore, if you’re inspired to take on this enlightening experience, consider visiting Airfarebooking to book economical flights to Ahmedabad from Canada, so that you can begin your amazing volunteer tour and make lifelong memories.