Cross-Cultural Solutions: Volunteer Abroad in India

This program is no longer offered. View more programs from Cross-Cultural Solutions.

Video and Photos

Visiting the Taj Mahal with fellow volunteers on my free time!
Volunteering with Magic Bus India, the local NGO partnered with CCS. I taught English and Interview Skills to teenagers.
Our room at the Home Base--an apartment flat in an upper middle class neighborhood in New Delhi. The accommodations were clean, comfortable, and very "homey!" I loved our home base.
Woman in India
Woman in India


Poverty in India is a historical reality. With close to 533 million (40%) of the population expected to live in urban areas by 2025, the vulnerability of India’s cities should be gripping the world’s attention. Parents struggling to cope in the slums of Delhi have to weigh the merits of providing their children with an education against the need for children to contribute to the household income. 45% of people living in poverty are illiterate and only 15% of children complete secondary school. Without education, future generations face continuing the cycle of poverty.

Join CCS to volunteer in Delhi as we fight urban poverty and its impact on the education of vulnerable children and girls, and deliver public health campaigns to those that lack adequate health care.

Questions & Answers

The CCS program fee is comprehensive, covering all your needs once you arrive in-country, from accommodations in the CCS Home-Base to the full support of the CCS in-country staff to all meals and Cultural & Learning Activities. Volunteers are responsible for their own flight costs, as well as free time activities (except for CCS High School Volunteer Abroad programs, which includes these staff-led...


based on 20 reviews
  • Impact 8.4
  • Support 9
  • Fun 8
  • Value 8.1
  • Safety 9.5
Showing 16 - 20 of 20
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing experience with CCS in India

I enjoyed every single part of my trip with CCS to India. It was a unique experience, and I have to say it was definitely worth it. I not only made an impact on the children I worked with, but I also made friends, learned about a different culture and visited unbelievable places.

Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Supportive, safe way to quickly get to know the country from the inside

I had three places on my bucket list, in order: India, China, Africa. I had traveled a lot in my life, lived abroad in Europe for school, and been to Japan, Korea, and Taiwan for business. Yet India seemed another planet, and I did not feel I could go alone. I had just a few weeks to give, but I wanted to quickly delve deep and understand the country. A volunteer vacation seemed the perfect choice.

After much research, I settled on Cross Cultural Solutions. I’m so glad I did. CCS provides as much or as little support as you need. The key difference is the “cultural” part. CCS places major emphasis on having face-to-face interaction with locals, so all the volunteer jobs are putting you in those situations, rather than working side by side with other volunteers only. I loved it. Also, CCS is highly sensitive to the local community, so healthy rules prevent us from upsetting the local economic ecosystems – for example, we’re not allowed to give gifts or money to those we help, for many good reasons. Other organizations aren’t always so farsighted and responsible.

They pick you up at the airport and provide local housing, commensurate with how the locals live. They have a cook that provides all meals that are good, safe, and also localized. And the staff goes out of its way to be helpful. They provide cultural training, like language lessons, teaching cricket, cooking classes, and there are field trips, all to give you a deep understanding of the local culture. And we’re encouraged and supported to go out exploring on our own.

In Dharamsala, my job was teaching English to elementary school kids in a remote hilltop school - the school had no electricity or plumbing, just cement floors, wall and ceiling. No desks, kids sat on the floor. And they didn't speak ANY English. I was thrown in with them, and I had no experience teaching. But, it was a fabulous experience! Talk about getting to know the country quickly, as a local, not a tourist. In the evenings, there was time to roam up to Mcloud Gange, where the Tibetan community has its center in exile.

What's one thing I wish I'd known before going? Luckily, I heard this from other volunteers before going on my first CCS volunteer trip to India - you are somewhat left to your own devices in your volunteer gig. So you have to do your own preparation. CCS works hard to secure volunteer spots, but they may change at the last minute. The staff can't be up to speed on all the jobs and train you much, so as the other volunteers attest, you do your best based on your own skills and wits that you bring. It's fine. In India, my job was teaching kids, and I had never done that before. I don't think I was very good, but the kids and teacher seemed to love my efforts and I learned so much. In China, where I went a year later, teaching the teachers was simple - they just wanted conversation, so the prep materials I'd brought weren't needed. Talk to previous volunteers before you go. CCS will connect you with them.

I plan to go to Tanzania or South Africa with CCS soon. This is really an outstanding program. I can’t say enough about it.

Photo of Kimberly O'Connor
Yes, I recommend this program

Best Experience Ever!

I volunteered in Palampur, India in summer 2009. I worked in a daycare there. During that time I got to learn Hindi, wear the local clothing, visit a tea plantation, see beautiful Hindu and Buddhist temples, meet Tibetan monks, and so much more! I absolutely loved it, and met some great people I still keep in contact with. I also grew to enjoy Indian food, which I had not been familiar with before going! The staff was great and very friendly and I always felt very safe and looked after. The accommodations were great too! They planned a lot of fun cultural activities for us and allowed enough free time to do some independent exploring.

I had such a good time in India that the following summer I returned through CCS with two friends from college. This time we were in Dharamsala, and I worked in a women's group. I loved the new volunteer experience and would definitely do a women's group again. Being in Dharamsala was awesome, there was so much to see and do and great food to eat! The staff there were just as wonderful as in Palampur. My only regret was not staying longer! This time I got to take a weekend trip to Manali, and am so glad I took that chance too. I really couldn't have asked for a better trip and am looking forward to my next volunteer experience.

Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Loved (Almost) Every Minute of CCS India

After a full-on cultural immersion experience in Vietnam (complete with riding on the backs of motorcycles with locals and trying to sleep to the sound of horking neighbours), I was ready to experience India with just a few more of the comforts of home.

Waiting for me at the airport (late on a Saturday night) to collect me from my 6 hour flight from Hong Kong, was a staff member and a driver from Cross-Cultural Solutions. From the moment, I stepped into the back of the SUV and got handed my welcome package, the staff at CCS took care of all of the little challenges and irritations of travel. They whisked myself and two of my fellow arriving volunteers to our humble flat (3 bedrooms - 8 people) near the Hauz Khas area of the city and got us settled into our orientation, sight seeing, and language lessons the next day.

In many ways, doing another CCS program felt an awful lot like coming home. After my 6 week program in Cape Town last year, I knew how the model of volunteer work, cultural exchange, and free time worked and it felt like I had simply arrived in a grittier, dustier, more polluted Cape Town (with even more amazing food and a completely different culture). Outside of a little bug I think I picked up on the plane, I got to skip the worst of the Delhi Belly and ate like a queen for 3 weeks.

My placement at Mother Teresa's Home for the Dying and the Destitute was more challenging that I expected. I had never worked with physically or mentally challenged people before and I think the culture shock of the placement was more intense than the culture shock of arriving in Delhi (keep in mind that I had spent the previous month in the wonderful chaos of Vietnam). I felt grateful to have had another CCS volunteer at the placement to show me around as well as the support of the staff in the Program Office to help me ease into my work. By my third week, I had settled into the routine of nail cutting, feeding, and spending time with a group of 70-80 women and left feeling so grateful for the opportunity I had to spend time with such an inspiring group of patients.

So far, Delhi has been one of my favourite places to volunteer because there is a great need for support, but there is also so much to learn from the culture and the people. With CCS, you will learn to speak basic Hindi, volunteer at an established NGO, see beautiful mosques and temples, learn about the history of the country in terms of politics and women's empowerment, and get a crash course in India's diverse religions and customs. You will also have enough free time to make a weekend trip to Agra to see the Taj Mahal, which is now one of the best memories of my life. I would return to New Delhi in a heartbeat and I think CCS does such a fantastic job of making India accessible to even the most novice of international volunteers.

My only two pieces of advice:
1. Keep your nails short because outbreaks of lice are rampant and even if you wash your hands, you can easily carry the little buggers around under you nails. You don't want to end up spending your last afternoon in New Delhi with de-lousing chemicals on your head (one of the few moments I didn't enjoy so much).
2. Buy extra pairs of the drawstring Indian pants because you will probably bring home a few extra pounds with you. The food coming out of the CCS kitchen is fantastic and hard to eat it with any kind kind of moderation (or maybe that is just me and my lack of will power when it comes to Indian food)...

Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Teaching in Delhi was rewarding

I did the CCS program in 2007 and really enjoyed it. CCS provided us a flat in a local neighborhood and cooked all of our food for us and provided all transportation. They took extremely good care of us and ensured that it wasn't just us giving our time, but the staff equally focused on educating us during out time there. They brought in speakers every week to talk about specific topics about India and the culture. I felt like I really learned about India more than any other country I visisted.

The volunteer work was rewarding and my placement was perfect. However my other flatmates had varied experiences. I wasn't provided many resources to do my ESL teaching and spent a lot of time coming up with lesson plans and working very hard at ensuring the students really learned something. However - I did like the amount of freedom I had in running the class how I wanted. You must be a self starter and take initiative to make the most out of this placement.

The program is expensive though - but they provide a lot of value in taking care of you in Delhi.