Volunteer Programs,Travel and Work in India

FAQ’S

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Q: Can I make changes to my itinerary or extend my stay after I have booked my trip with The Green Lion?

A: The Green Lion will try to accommodate any changes to your original booking.However as each trip and time table is custom made for you, taking into consideration various factors such as the need for volunteers at various projects,availability of rooms at our centers or home stays, etc. changes will be made only if it is convenient and possible.

Q: Will I receive any information before I arrive in India?

A: Yes, you will receive a pre-departure information pack based on the details you have given us and the options that you have chosen.

Q: Do I have to come from India to volunteer with The Green Lion?

A: No, The Green Lion embraces diversity. We welcome volunteers from all over the world and from all different backgrounds.

Q: Does the Green Lion provide insurance cover?

A: No, we do not provide any sort of insurance cover. Please make sure you have the required travel insurance and any other required or necessary insurance before you leave your country.

Q: How old do I have to be?

A: This depends on which options you choose; we run school exchange programs,voluntary projects and adventure opportunities. So please check against the options you have asked for, however an age of 16 years and older is advised. There is no upper age limit however and we welcome senior members on our programs.

Q: Can I come on my own or do I have to come as part of a group?

A: This would depend entirely on you. You can come as part of a group, with a friend, with family or on your own. If you are coming on your own don’t worry, as you will make loads of great friends, as volunteers, participants, Green Lion staff and the Indian culture in general is very friendly and open.

Q: Will The Green Lion arrange my visa?

A: No, you will have to arrange your own visa from your local Indian embassy and it must be valid and the correct type before you leave your country.

Q: Will I have to arrange my own travel to India?

A: Yes, and please inform us of you travel plans as soon as you make them (at least two weeks before arriving in India) including how and when you are arriving in India. We will arrange where and when to meet you. This may be at the airport or if you are already traveling in India this may be at another location. While you are with The Green Lion we will ensure all your travel with us is taken care of.

Q: Where will I be staying?

A: While you are with The Green Lion, all your accommodation will be provided for.However it will depend on what options you choose as to where you stay. We will mainly accommodate you at a Green Lion centre, which will mostly be dormitory style accommodation and rooms on a shared basis. Whichever your accommodation may be it will be clean, tidy and secure with all the basic modern amenities. You may be sharing a room with other volunteers or if you request in advance we could arrange for you to have your own room. But you will always have a member of staff to call on should you need anything.

Q: Do the centers have washing machines?

A: No, you will be washing your clothes by hand. However in some locations there are laundry services which you can pay to use, please check in advance if you need a laundry service.

Q: Is the consumption of alcohol allowed at the centers or at the host family house?

A: We do not allow drinking alcohol inside our centers and ask you to respect that.Drinking alcohol in a host family home would be disrespectful if it is not offered by the family themselves. However, we do want people to be able to relax and unwind or be able to get ready for a night out, so light drinking of alcohol outside centre buildings within the confines of the centre compounds is allowed. Please speak to your centre staff as some centers have restrictions on times and locations. These restrictions also apply for smoking.

Q: What type of food can I expect while I am with The Green Lion?

A: All of our centers mainly serve vegetarian food and provide you with safe filtered drinking water. You may occasionally be served non-vegetarian food. We constantly change our menus so that you will not have to keep eating the same food over and over. Please do not drink water out of taps like you might do at home. We advise you drink only from bottled water while you are outside the centre, unless our staff advise otherwise. The Green Lion will provide you with 3 meals a day. Unless otherwise stated on your pre-departure information pack.

Q: Where is my project based in India?

A: This depends on which option you pick; we have centres in Goa, Shimla,Madikeri and Udaipur. But if you pick an option such as trekking for example, then you may be in a tent or local guest house. So please read all program information (before you book) and pre-departure information carefully.

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Q: Do I need to be fit/in shape for my project?

A: It is always best to maintain a healthy and active body however it is not a pre requisite for volunteering but you should be ready to work hard (please ensure you read all the information about your volunteering project carefully before you book it). We would suggest that you understand what level of fitness may be required for trekking by reading your pre-departure information pack.

Q: How can I prepare mentally?

A: The introduction week covers issues such as adapting to a new culture, culture shock, etc and helps people ease themselves into Indian culture. We ask that you also read your pre-departure information pack, which will give you specific information for your tailored trip. Often simple things can be really helpful like learning some basic phrases in the language of the country you are visiting (ensure you know which one they speak where you are going), watching a few Bollywood films, reading up on Indian history/ culture, if you are going to be teaching maybe getting some basic lesson plans together (we do have a how to guide for teaching at every centre, which includes lesson planning so don’t worry), even try some Indian cooking at home with friends or family.

Q: Will I be working with Indian people or on western projects?

A: Our projects are designed to benefit local communities and wider circles. You may be working alongside other Green Lion volunteers who come from all over the world. But the project and its staff will be Indian.

Q: When will my project start?

A: All of our volunteering projects are on-going (some may be on hold/closed during holidays or festivals), other options are tailored to you (weather permitting) so the more information you give us the more we can help you arrange your perfect trip with ease.

Q: What to bring & what to expect?

A: This is just a minimal list Bring along lots of enthusiasm and good spirit, it will be excellent for a great experience!!!

  • Adequate clothes. Sometimes it may get rainy, or cold. If you are a volunteer, sometimes a bit of formal wear is appreciated.
  • Mosquito nets and mosquito repellent.
  • Your mobile phone (it is convenient to buy a local sim card for your mobile phone).
  • Something from back home (posters, music, postcards, map, videos, food) to introduce your country to your hosts and the other participants.
  • Medicines you may require: Please bring all the prescription medicine that you may have to regularly take with you. We suggest you meet with your general practitioner/Doctor before your trip for advice on what medicines to carry. You may also bring a simple first aid kit with you.
  • A sleeping bag: just in case it is required.
  • A torch.
  • A photo or video camera (essential for good memories!).
  • Sun tan/Sun screen lotion and a hat.

Also important is that you have photocopies of your passport/ visa, insurance and tickets. We advise you to travel light. Avoid heavy luggage, which weighs you down. Most necessities can also be bought in India for relatively cheaper prices.

Q: What should I wear? Is there a dress code?

A: Please be aware that although your dress code depends on which options you choose and what time of the year it is there are some basic points to observe. Men in India usually dress smart in formal trousers and formal shirts, young people wear Jeans and T-shirts. Women may have their mid riff (stomach) exposed but not their chests, they rarely wear tight fitting clothing or short skirts. When in doubt it is best to observe how local people dress and copy them, they will take this as a great compliment and a sign of respect to their culture.

Q: What if something goes wrong? What do I do in an emergency?

A: The first point of contact for you on any Green Lion program will be the coordinator on the ground. In, most cases support staff will be present all round the clock to help and assist you. We will also give you emergency contact numbers and details of other Green Lion staff members you may need to contact.

Q: What medication do I need?

A: Please consult with your doctor and give your doctor full details of where you will be going, how long for and what work you will be doing.

Q: How will I keep in contact with my friends and family while I am in India with The Green Lion?

A: All of our centers have their own computers with internet connections and easy access to local internet cafés and with lots of international phone booths around you will have no problem reaching loved ones. We will also show you where the post office is and advise you about sending packages overseas if you wish to do so.Our staff will also help you to get a mobile phone while you are in India (as using a mobile phone from outside India can become very expensive or may not work) to make it easy to keep in touch with coordinators, volunteers and other friends you may make.

Q: How much money should I carry with me?

A: There are often lots of banks and ATMs around which accept visa, etc. But it is always best to tell your bank where you are going and to make sure your card will work when you arrive. We suggest you carry $50 - $100 with you, in case of an eventuality or emergency.

Q Can I smoke Marijuana/ Cannabis?

A: No, all drugs (unless prescription) are illegal in India, anyone caught using or in possession of drugs will be asked to leave the centre and The Green Lion on the spot without refund of the program fee.