I'm back in the United States now but the time spent in Pondicherry, India volunteering with India Volunteer Care will always remain with me. The people, culture, food, and the opportunity to develop and maintain programs that help create positive change in a community are all amazing gifts to appreciate. This may have been my first volunteer experience abroad, but it certainly won't be my last.
While working with IVC I was involved with two projects/daily operations: developing media content and teaching English for the after school program. These are my main skills, and because IVC allows its volunteers a huge amount of freedom in pursuing their interests, I felt my time was used correctly and efficiently. This freedom is a bit daunting however as each volunteer is responsible for themselves and the projects they're pursuing. Though there are weekly meetings where the staff and volunteers discuss the work completed during the week, no one will force you to give it your all. That conviction comes from within, and, hopefully, a person's desire to create change will drive them to work to their full potential and not take advantage of living safely in a foreign city. Bottom line: a volunteer has the ability to work on ANY project she or he wants, with the full support of the staff, but making the most of that project lies with the volunteer.
In terms of the facilities and Pondicherry itself, the new IVC website gives a very accurate and detailed description of what you can find there (the accommodation provided, the local restaurants, the sights to see). Any other questions about the organization can be found there as well.
Lastly, if a person decides to partner with IVC they will have the amazing opportunity to work with an amazing human being, Rajesh, the Volunteer Coordinator. Though there are other great staff to interact with as well, Rajesh is one of the kindest, warmest, and sincerest persons I have ever met. He will help any volunteer with any possible need they might have, and he is a dear friend to all who know him.