Teach English in the Himalayan Foothills - iSPiiCE

1 - 52 weeks
13 travelers saved this program

Hosted by

Varun Verma
Program Coordinator

About This Program

Choosing an iSPiiCE program is an excellent way to share in a combined volunteering and adventure travel experience. Volunteers work at a grass roots level on exciting and worthwhile projects and are given the opportunity to immerse themselves in Indian culture and lifestyle.


  • Enjoy projects are in the stunning Dharamsla region of Himachal Pradesh
  • On off days, hike Dharamsala's snow-capped peaks and lush green valleys
  • Take trips to the Dalai Lama Monastery
  • Morning or Evening yoga classes
  • Walk around the Kangra Tea Gardens

Your mission as an iSPiiCE education volunteer is to help communities and children who have fewer opportunities, using your skills and talents to help them to learn and grow. iSPiiCE focus on education initiatives for community development believing education to be at the root of social reform. Poor education standards, illiteracy, and high student dropout rates are some of the more glaring issues for educational reform in India.

During the week, a typical day will follow this schedule:
7:30 am: Wake up and enjoy a chai
7:45 am: Yoga class (60 minutes)
9:00 am: Breakfast and work preparation
10:30 am: Program 1 (2 hours)
12:45 pm: Break for lunch and work preparation
2:00 pm: Program 2 (2 hours)
4:30 pm: Afternoon chai and work preparation
7:00 pm: Dinner
7:30 pm: Relax, go shopping, prepare for tomorrow's programs

iSpiice volunteers will have weekends free and can participate in add-on tours to popular destinations in the regoin.

What's Included
  • Meet and greet at New Delhi Airport
  • One night stay at hotel in Delhi
  • Bus or train transfer from Delhi to Dharamsala
  • Accommodation at the iSpiice volunteer house
  • Daily private car transfers (to and from work placements)
  • Meals
  • Program materials
  • 24/7 support from the iSpiice team
What's Not Included
  • International and domestic flights
  • Add-on tours such as Taj Mahal, Himalayan Trekking, Jaipur + Taj Mahal, Golden Temple and Manali Adventure Trip.

iSpiice Volunteer House and Programs are situated in the villages of Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh. This location is known the world over as a tourist destination. It is known for the magnificent scenes, beautiful climate, snow capped Himalayan mountains and tea gardens surrounding the area and being home to the Dalai Lama – he gives public teachings at his temple in McLeod Ganj throughout the year.

Accommodation is large house in rural Dharamsala. The house is comfortable and the location is beautiful with access to all local amenities. Accommodation is very communal – food is eaten together and bathrooms and living spaces are shared. The number of people you will share with depends entirely on the number of volunteers we have in the house, but the maximum number of people in a room is 4. And in case you were wondering we have western toilets and hot water.


We have fabulous cook that make authentic home style Indian food for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day (all of which are included in your Placement Fees). We mainly serve vegetarian food (lentils, vegetable curries, eggs, rice, and Indian breads) but can cater to any dietary requirements if you give us some warning. Our volunteers miss the iSpiice food when they’re back in their home countries.

Video and Photos

Pricing and Availability


based on 14 reviews
  • Benefits 9
  • Support 9.6
  • Fun 8.9
  • Facilities 9.4
  • Safety 9.5
Showing 1 - 14 of 14
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Great Experience.

“I am so grateful to have been able to support this outstanding organization. The iSpiice team is making a noticeable difference in the community and I am thankful to have been a part of it. Everything was so carefully organised and cared.The iSpiice team is so dedicated to their jobs and everyone in the community is thankful for your hard work. I can honestly recommend iSpiice for anyone who wants to volunteer in India.”

How can this program be improved?
I will not change anything!
Yes, I recommend this program
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Not coming back

I must confess that overall my experience here was disappointing and far away for what has been presented in the borchures.The experience had both good and bad parts, of course, but the latter proved to be stronger. Among the good things I can think of the contact with the lovely, curious children, the breathtaking landscapes and the care of the staff for our safety. The programme however cost way too much for what it has offered. I later found out that the site facilitating contact between the organization and volunteers takes away no less than 40%, which is a hug amount that basically goes to the profit of some third party. Then I was very dissatisfied with the room. I myself am highly allergic to mold and humidity and unfortunately the place I stayed in was full of it. I understand it was monsoon season but the room had a broken fan, cracked walls full of mold, a dirty rusty bathroom and everything was soaked. The bedsheets were disgusting and looked like they hadn't been washed in a very long time. The matresses were also in a very bad state. Basically everything was deteriorated and dirty. My request to swap the room at least with one with a working fan went ungranted so in just a few days I found myself troubled by my sinusitis which has prevented me from focusing on other important things. During the trips I stayed at very cheap hotels which also had numerous problems (dirt, ants, very bad neighborhood). Again, quality was not reflected in the huge amount of money I paid for the project. Now about the school. It was baffling to me to see the deplorable state of the children's space and I wonder why nothing has been invested so far in the community. I tried asking questions to the organization's manager but I was given vague answers. The children were adorable but the classes were quite disorganized. Because volunteers come and go and everyone has other ideas about what's to be taught, it can get really confusing for them. Ok, let's say that is somehow understandable and we have to adapt to the needs and resources, but the fact that the accomodation is in such poor condition has no excuse whatsoever. They could at least pay for someone to clean once a week. The kitchen also looked horribly dirty. All I would have liked was cleanliness and a decent room. As for the impact, I am not sure how much I was able to help. I am seriously questioning the utility of short-term volunteering projects as I can see both from my experience and from others' that local communities don't really benefit from them. You get there, have the chance to explore a little and talk to people, but it's not enough. The programme should have included more hours per day, 6 or 7. We had gaps when there simply was nothing to do. The kids at school should also be better monitored, maybe with diaries assessing their levels and what has been done so far. My impression overall was that the organization was not interested in such aspects. Everything seemed a huge improvisation. And to repeat, what annoyed me most was the lack of respect for the guests perfectly reflected in the VERY poor quality of the accomodation. As you can also see below. In the future I will most definitely try to find something directly, no intermediaries because otherwise it's a big scam!

How can this program be improved?
Response from iSPiiCE

Dear Irina,

Thank you for sharing the review. We will be careful from now on about the accommodation.

So sorry to hear your experience wasn't good with iSpiice.

No, I don't recommend this program
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Nice Place for teaching

It was my life changing experience after joining iSpiice. I can say with complete honesty that this was one of the best experiences of my life. I had always wanted to go to India and am so pleased that I chose to do it with iSpiice.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Immersion in India

I volunteered for six weeks in iSpiice and it was a nice and safe way to discover the North part of India and also delicious culinary specialties. I have wonderful images stored in my head of beautiful children and magical memories of trips I had the opportunity to to alone during weekends.

How can this program be improved?
- Have a clearer program about the skills pupils have already acquired and which skills we should work on (grammar, vocabulary, ... -> a clear list of topics seen and those that need to be study)
- Work in more than one school and more than one slum
- Don't write on the website that you can help women when you can't in reality
Yes, I recommend this program
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Authentic India

I believe iSPiiCE is one of the most authentic ways to experience the beautiful country of India. The staff is supportive and ensures your safety at all times, while allowing you to interact in the community. Teaching computer skills, English, and helping at daycare centers provided me with wonderful memories! The students were respectful and very enthusiastic! On the weekends, my group was led on wonderful excursions: from a trek in the Himalayan Mountains to a visit to the Taj Mahal! I strongly recommend iSPiiCE and I hope I can return someday!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Mature Volunteers

I was 65 years old and a recently retired School Business Manager when l flew out to India to help on three projects. Teaching touch typing to young married women in one of the ladies own homes. What a delight, eager to learn, supportive of each others efforts and very curious about my background. They all worked very hard on the lessons and improved daily.

Playgroup or Angarawi and ten little children learning through play. We used playdough, rhyme, books and music and they played some of there own games out, 'stalking tiger' and 'cattle in the stall', such fun.

Primary School, more formal lessons. Children well mannered, respectful and hungry for knowledge.

In return l was guided to places of interest off the beaten track, housed on a beautiful farm and given a room overlooking the Himalayas. Our food was cooked here with local produce, delicious.

I had a life enhancing experience and would recommend this organisation without reservation.

How can this program be improved?
It was perfect, l was well looked after throughout.
Yes, I recommend this program
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An incredible oppurtunity

I would recommend iSPiiCE to any person wanting to volunteer abroad. After spending three weeks with the program I have been exposed to many new and wonderful experiences. The organisation, hospitality and warmth the team has demonstrated has made this experience an absolute pleasure.

A highlight that I will always remember is working with the children in the slums and being greeted each day by their genuine smiles and openness to learn.

How can this program be improved?
I do not feel anything needs to be improved with this program.
Yes, I recommend this program
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A wonderful experience

HAving spent 3 weeks volunteering with Ispiice, I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone looking for a rewarding experience teaching abroad.

From the minute I stepped off the plane, Ispiice were there to ensure all my needs were met. The friendly, generous staff really looked after me as I adjusted to the different culture and traditions in India.

A highlight was working with the children who have a desire to learn that can not be matched. A strength of the program is it is well balanced giving the volunteer ample free time to explore and enjoy the local community and culture.

Only one regret - I did not stay longer.

John Rodgers

How can this program be improved?
I honestly can't think of any improvements.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Magnificent experience

iSpiice opened my eyes to a whole new way of life. We worked in local nuseries, schools and community groups in the foothills of the Himalayan mountains with some of the warmest and most welcoming people. At each work area we were welcomed with warm smiles and cups of Indian chai. The area we lived and worked was spectacular and waking up to the magnificent Himalayan mountains each day was really something to cherish. In free time we got to explore the local area, seeing lots of beautiful temples and visiting the town were the Dalai Lama lives. I had so many fun and rewarding experiences at iSpiice and I truly miss it with all my heart.

Yes, I recommend this program
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First Indian Experience

My time volunteering with ispiice was my first trip to India, and Asia. I was worried about how I would adjust to living in India but ispiice really helped this transition from when they picked me up from the airport in Delhi. Time at ispiice basecamp and volunteering in the communities made me feel totally immersed in the local culture in Dharamsala from watching bollywood movies to helping out with field work in the local village. It was extremely rewarding teaching the students and helped inspire me to pursue a career in teaching beyond my volunteering experience.

You can read more about my time with ispiice on my blog www.eleanorandtheelephants.blogspot.co.nz

Yes, I recommend this program
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Great experience!

Choosing to volunteer at Ispiice was one of the best decisions of my life. I got to learn a lot and the people were very welcoming. The food they provided with was delicious and healthy and volunteering always brought joy! Overall it was a great experience!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Wonderful Volunteer Experience

I had a wonderful time! I was really able to connect with my students, the iSpiice staff, and my fellow volunteers. I highly suggest volunteering with a local organization like this one, because they truly understand, and are a part of, the community.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Rewarding and Inspiring

My time with iSpiice has been extraordinary. The team are generous and supportive 24/7, teaching street children has been challenging but rewarding and I have seen so many enchanting sights of India.

Yes, I recommend this program
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I LOVE iSPiiCE; I Will Return!

I traveled with a group of ten students to serve with iSPiiCE during January 2012. Upon returning to my university, my supervisor asked me about my experience. I simply replied: "I have returned a different person than when I left."

The staff at iSPiice are simply amazing; they provided for our every need! They were gracious, patient and hospitable. Most of all, they were a fun group of folks to be with. Being 55 I experienced the trip differently from my 20-year old college students, and the staff ensured that all of us grained tremendously and felt engaged. They made certain that we encountered that perfect balance of adventure and support.

I simply cannot say enough about this program, the organizational leaders, and the people I worked with in India. I vow to return!

How can this program be improved?
I wish I had been better prepared mentally for the travel to the program. The flight from the US, the long, long, long train ride (our train took 11 hours getting there), and then a car ride.

Nothing the program could have done about this.

Our return trip was easily because I knew what we would face...and the return train only took about eight hours...such is the way with trains in India.

Other than that, the program itself was ABSOLUTELY PERFECT!
Yes, I recommend this program

Questions & Answers

All my living costs were met by iiSpice from Delhi onwards. Meals, travel and accommodation are all in so you only need money for personal spending. I also used my bank card for cash and *buying larger items so that I was not carrying large amounts of money. * I bought some jewelry, stayed in the Tibetan hotel in McLoud Gange overlooking the Tibetan Temple and took advantage of a massage in a...


Meet the Staff

About iSPiiCE

iSPiiCE (Integrated Social Program in Indian Child Education) is a voluntary social organisation that builds partnerships between International volunteers and rural Indian communities. With 80% of India’s population living in rural areas an iSPiiCE...