WHY we need you in India
WHAT does Cultural Week Involve?
Why Involvement Volunteers International?
PROJECT NAME: CULTURAL ORIENTATION WEEK
START DATES: WEEKLY (SAT/SUN ARRIVALS)
ACCOMMODATION: VOLUNTEER HOUSE (SHARED ROOMS)
MIN DURATION: ONE WEEK
MIN AGE: 16+
SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS: N/A
Learn more about the local Himalayan culture, and gain an understanding about the traditions, cultural dos and don’ts, the local language, as well as sightseeing around Sikkim’s best spots. You visit Buddhist Monasteries, learn to cook local food, and interact with local people throughout your stay.
It’s also a fantastic chance to meet some like-minded volunteers and to become more comfortable with your surroundings before your project starts.
For a full schedule, please see the drop-down menu below.
The landscape of Sikkim is absolutely beautiful, surrounded by snow-capped Himalayan peaks. Sikkim is a small state in northwest India, bordered by Bhutan, Tibet, and Nepal. Spectacular scenery coupled with Buddhist monasteries are the highlight of this fascinating region.
Introduce you to the local Himalayan culture
Take part in cultural activities
See some of the sights
Food & Accommodation
You will stay in a local volunteer centre, where there is a mini library, a dining room, and lounge area where you can relax with the other volunteers. There is also a lovely garden to relax in your free time.
You will stay in shared rooms of 2-4 people per room, with a fan, hot shower, bed linen and mosquito protection included. There is a refrigerator in the house to store food and beverages you may purchase. Water, Coffee, Tea, and Milk are provided at the house also. ATMS and a supermarket are located a 15-minute walk from the volunteer house.
You will be provided with 3 meals per day during weekdays and 2 per day on weekends. Food will be a mix of Western and Indian food, consisting mainly of vegetarian dishes including rice and vegetables. You can expect to have a chicken dish about twice per week. You can also use the kitchen facilities to cook for yourself or eat out at any of the local restaurants.
- Airport Pickup
- Local Transportation
- 1 Day Orientation
- 24/7 In-Country Support
- Project Materials & Equipment
- Pre-departure Expert Advice
- Preperation Tools & Checklists
- Certificate of Completion
Day 1: Monday
After being introduced to the other volunteers, you will take part in an orientation session which will introduce you to the Sikkimese Nepali culture, do’s and don’ts, social behaviour norms, cultural sensitivity as a traveller in Sikkim and safety precautions during your travel. Have a quick lesson on some of the local phrases to use. Then we go out to visit MG Marg of Gangtok, also known as MG Road (Mahatma Gandhi Road) is the town centre and the main market area. It’s a long stretch of an open-air mall. You will have an orientation tour around the market area.
Day 2: Tuesday
Hike to Tashi View Point – located in Tashi and about 8 km from Gangtok town. It offers a sweeping view of the Kanchenjunga snow peaks on a clear day. The view of the sunrise from here is incredible, with the peaks with changing colours as the sun rises. We will also see Ganesh Tok, the other viewpoint.
Day 3: Wednesday
Today you will learn how to cook traditional Sikkimese Nepali food, as well as a visit to the local market, named Lal bazaar.
Day 4: Thursday
Today we visit Saramsa Garden, a beautiful place to relax and unwind, which is 14 km east of Gangtok, Gangtok Ropeway, Namgyal Institute of Tibetology.
Day 5: Friday
Today we visit the old Place in Sikkim, for an historical tour, and then a visit to the Flower Exhibition Centre (White Hall) and different monasteries.
Day 6: Saturday
Is the end of the tour, and you are free to explore where you want. If you are volunteering, your project will likely start on the Monday.
* This schedule can be changed and/or amended depending on weather conditions, local conditions and unforeseen circumstances.
If you want to gain a head start on your projects and feel comfortable in your new surroundings, before you begin, this week is a fantastic way to do just that! It gives you time to adjust before your project begins, to explore the local area and to learn more about the culture and customs. This can greatly help you to communicate with the locals on your projects.
- 3 meals p/day weekdays / 2 meals p/day weekends
- Arrival airport transfer (Sat/Sun arrivals)
- Filtered drinking water, coffee & tea
- 1 day orientation
- Daily transportation to project
- In country 24/7 support & emergency assistance
- Fundraising support
- University course credits (where applicable)
- Certificate of Completion
- Travel Insurance
- Tours, Souvenirs & spending money
Programs begin every Monday, and volunteers are required to arrive the day prior, for orientation before the project. Your accommodation on the Sunday is included in the program fees.
A free airport pickup is included when arriving to Pakyong Airport, Sikkim (PYG). You must arrive between the hours 08:00 to 20:00 on Sunday.
We can also collect you from Siliguri Bagdogra Airport, Bagdogra (IXB), between 08:00 to 14:00 on Sunday, but this is not included in the fee, so will incur an additional cost.
If arriving outside the pickup times on Sunday, you can book a private transfer for US$50.
If arriving during the week, or on Saturday, we charge US$50 for any extra night’s accommodation before your program, and another US$50 fee for a private transfer.
Alternatively, if arriving early you could wait at the arrival’s terminal for the pickup time, book accommodation at the airport and meet us during the pickup times or make your own way to the project (we will advise on how to do this).
From Pakyong airport to accommodation, it takes approx. 45 minutes by road. From Bagdogra airport, it’s around 5-6+ hours.
Weekends are always free for relaxing or sightseeing of your choice. Our ground operators will help you organise additional trips with special (non tourist) rates which can be paid directly in local currency. As a volunteer you will gain access to local knowledge, opportunities and value you simply would not find if staying as a standard tourist.
- Participants below the age of 18 should have parental consent.
- Participants above the age of 65 should have medical clearance.
India is an eclectic and intoxicating cultural experience like no other! Home of the famous Taj Mahal, the Himalayas, the sacred Ganges river, and over 1 billion people of varying languages, cultures and beleifs, India is sure to push you to the boundaries of your comfort zone.
IVI is focused on establishing sustainable employment and education through volunteering efforts in India. Children in some of the regions we service have not had basic nutritional background. Over 950,000 newborns per year in India die from infections. Education about health for families provides a strong foundation for self-care in the communities we service in India.
India’s climte ranges from tropical down south to alpine up in the northern mountain regions.
From April until the start of October is summer, and in most places in India, is very hot. In June the monsoon rains start in Kerala down south, and move inland. Further north and in the rural areas of Rajasthan, it can get pretty cold from December to January- sometimes as low at minus 5 degrees!
Be prepared for some hot temperatures but if in the Sikkim region, bring along some warmer clothing as it can get cold in the mountains.
India is a country FULL of culture! From the beautiful colours, different religions, ancient traditions and the smells of spices- India is a country like no other. It’s the the second most populous nation after China, with over 1.2 billion people.
The most prominant religions are Hinduism and Buddhism and around 13% of the popualrtion are Muslim. Because there are so many religions, India celebrates a large number of festivals throughout the year. Some of these include Diwali, Holi, Eid and Good Friday.
In India, the cow is considered to be a Holy animal and you will see cars either driving around, or simply waiting if a cow is in the road holding up traffic! In some parts of India it is forbidden to eat meat or drink alcohol.
You will see many temples in India, as well as colourful clothing, particually the sari’s that the local women wear, and many cultural dance shows and activities.
33 Years Non Profit Experience
IVI is an Australian charity & non profit organisation founded in 1989 and is one of the pioneers of overseas volunteering successfully placing over 20,000 volunteers globally.
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