Hi I'm Grace, a nursing student from New Zealand. I spent a month volunteering in Palampur through volunteering India and Antipodeans.
Volunteering in a country very different to my own was a challenging and rewarding experience. As usual, you go with the expectation that you will be able to make a difference in people's lives, and they end up teaching you far more than you could offer them. I spent 3 weeks working in Karan Hospital in Palampur. It takes a bit of time to get over the culture shock, get used to the hospital routine and gain the trust of local staff, but after awhile we started to slot into the life and rhythm of the place. This meant we were able to go beyond observing and asking questions, to assisting with minor procedures. Not being Hindi speakers ourselves, it was harder to make a real difference for the people coming through the hospital but what we learned from the experience is priceless.
Palampur itself is nestled up in the mountains, and we had a lovely view of them from our volunteer house. It was great living with other volunteers and getting to know them, as well as living in a community with such friendly people. It was a great experience being able to live in, and be a part of the local community.
During our time off we also got to go on great adventures, seeing a bit more of the Himachel and surrounding regions, and getting to do things like Paragliding and mountain walks. The local partners, Bobby and Amit were great at doing all they could to make sure our placements were the best they could be for us, as well as giving us a good game of badminton and keeping us well entertained in the evenings.
Overall this was a great experience, and a good way to both, get to know some of the culture and people in the area, and to see this part of India. I would definitely recommend this experience to anyone wanting to learn lots and meet new people, as well as those who want to experience the everyday India, as well as it's attractions.