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Return to India

Volunteer in India

Recruitment Director, Ian Birbeck is spending 2 months working in the India office this summer. Here’s his report:

‘I have just spent my first week back in India working with Projects Abroad. It is always a culture shock.

I first visited India in 1988 for three weeks on my gap year. I returned to India to work for Projects Abroad for four months in 1999 in Sivakasi. I returned for a brief trip in 2005. Every time the experience is a shock and surprise. You expect to be more prepared but you forget the way this amazing country works.

The country hits you as you leave the plane with the heat, dust and smells. You then get in a car or a rickshaw and are hit by the crazy driving but without any of the road rage you encounter in the west. The noise of 100 rickshaw driver’s horns. The people are so welcoming. The colorful saris, the cheerful greetings from strangers asking “Where are you coming from?” The incomprehensible shakes of the head. The heat of the ground as you take off your shoes to enter the temples.

You enter the restaurant and encounter a vast number of smells and sights. A shrine in the corner, a group of men in earnest discussion, a smiling waiter. What should you order? Eating with the right hand remains a challenge. Idly or dosai, parotha or nan. Too many choices.

The advertising experts have used the phrase “Incredible India!” I think they are right. Come and visit. Nothing will prepare you for it.’

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