The program will focus on improving basic human rights through educational development, infrastructure improvement, and reciprocal cultural exchange, and will take place in Kerala, India, a sliver of a state in India’s deep south that is shaped by its landscape – almost 600km of fascinating Arabian Sea coast and beaches, a network of backwaters, and the spice and tea-covered hills of the Western Ghats.
Kerala is home to exotic wildlife and is a place of vibrant traditions, such as Kathakali plays and snake-boat races. As with the rest of India, it also hosts extreme economic disparities for communities who live well below the breadline, with little access to formal education, income opportunities, and decent hygiene standards.
These projects range in content suitable for students studying academic disciplines such as:
- Women’s Empowerment
- Sports and Exercise
- Sustainable Agriculture
- Global Health.
Example project activities include:
- Providing sports therapy at special needs schools and teaching PE classes;
- Vocational training for mentally ill adults;
- Women’s empowerment workshops and advocacy/awareness workshops with men;
- Maintaining sustainable vegetable or sensory gardens;
- Teaching life-skills and English to primary/secondary schoolers and adults;
- Teacher training workshops.
On this trip I have learned more than I could ever have expected. During my 2 months here with the support of my leaders, presentations about culture and international development, I learned about the importance of sustainable development. Beyond all of this I have also learned an immense amount about myself. I have been challenged, mentally, physically and emotionally but I wouldn’t change that for the world. I would absolutely recommend GVI to anyone and everyone!
What's Not Included
This inter-disciplinary program introduces students to international service-learning and sustainable development in content and practice, in Kerala, India. Through lectures, discussion, research, service, and reflection (beginning two weeks prior to their departure and continuing two weeks after their return home), students in this course engage in meaningful, context-driven service-learning at home and abroad. Emphasis will be placed on relating long-term project goals with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and engaging in daily reflection surrounding the experience, which will be led by qualified group facilitators who are trained to enhance individual student development. The program curriculum will be tailored to your students’ academic needs as well as any faculty requirements.
A GVI service-learning program provides students with the opportunity to live and work within the “classroom” of their chosen field of study, and to develop professional capacities associated with intercultural competency, global citizenship, teamwork, problem-solving, and leadership. By participating in this program, students will be prepared to contribute to solutions for critical global issues related to sustainable development within a local community, and alongside an international team.
- 24-hour emergency phone
- 24-hour in-country support
- A dedicated course co-ordinator
- Access to Alumni Services and Discounts
- Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
- All necessary project equipment and materials
- All necessary project training by experienced staff
- Flight bookings service on request
- In-country transport costs
- Insurance on request
- Location orientation
- Long term experienced staff
- Meals while on project (except on work placements for long term internships)
- Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
- Welcome meeting
What's Not Included
- Additional drinks and gratuities
- Extra local excursions
- International and domestic airport taxes
- Medical and travel insurance
- Personal kit
- Police or background check (where necessary)
- Visa costs
The objectives for each GVI project are based on specific United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. In Kerala, students will largely contribute to need-based community development projects in Kerala’s surrounding township areas that primarily improve the general infrastructure and learning environments for local disadvantaged children.
India's short, mid, and long-term objectives
All of our programs have short, mid and long-term objectives that fit with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. This enables us to report on our collaborative impact across the world in a streamlined manner, measuring which UN SDGs we are making a substantial contribution to. Furthermore, this will help our local partners and communities measure and visualize their contribution to the UN SDGs.Upon arrival to base, you will be educated about the history of the UN SDGs. You will learn about the specific goals of your location, the long-, mid- and short-term objectives, and also clarification of how your personal, shorter-term involvement contributes to these goals on a global level.
Our aim is to educate you on local and global issues, so that you continue to act as active global citizens after your program, helping to fulfil our mission of building a global network of people united by their passion to make a difference.
Learn about the long-term objectives you will be contributing to in India:
1. Increase women's opportunities in Kerala
2. Ensure healthy lives, well-being and promote opportunities and equality for those with special needs in Kerala
3. Enable the absolute development of children and young adults in Kerala by providing support and training in LSBE (life skills base education)
This program varies in duration, depending on project requirements as well as cultural expeditions or activities. The below outlines a one week in-country program; however, your in-country service can run for as many weeks as set by your academic curriculum, objectives, and requirements.
Two weeks prior to departure, students will be assigned readings and assignments. These assignments make sure they have a basic cultural understanding of Kerala and it’s local conservation-based issues; a foundational understanding of international service learning and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals; and begin a dialogue surrounding global engagement. Materials will be chosen based on collaboration with the group’s educational leader to ensure the work fits within the group’s in-class curriculum.
Day 1- Arrival at Kochi Airport and Transfer to Base
On arrival the group will be met at Kochi International Airport by a GVI appointed driver. We recommend that flights are booked to arrive first thing in the morning so as to maximize time spent in-country. Students and accompanying teachers will be transferred to their accommodation by GVI’s driver and given time to settle in and rest before meeting for an afternoon orientation session with the GVI field team. During the orientation, the week’s logistics, duties, and responsibilities will be explained. This session will also include familiarization with the Emergency Action Plans and Health and Safety Risks as well as an overview of GVI and our overall local and global goals.
Day 2- Welcome and Orientation
The team will be given an orientation tour around the city of Kochi, where they will be based throughout the service element of the trip. In the evening, a reflection period will take place in which participants will debrief and review their initial reactions and observations on the experience and location.
Day 3-5- Daily Structure: Service, Education, and Reflection
Students will report daily to the project construction sites where they will work side-by-side local community members and our partner organizations. Specific projects will depend on the needs of the centers at the time, and could involve engagement in construction and renovation projects, as well as creative activities, basic healthcare and hygiene programs, and sports development initiatives.
All service elements will be connected to a greater understanding of the cultural context in which the students are working. Assignments, in the form of lectures, readings, written response papers, journal entries, group presentations, and miscellaneous creative projects will be conducted daily to enhance student learning from their service involvement. Daily reflection sessions will act as the bridge that connects and helps to synthesize the many aspects of the experience.
Particular emphasis will be placed on the ways in which participants are working towards achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Students will critically examine their part in this process, by analyzing their contributions, challenges, and observations.
Day 6- Cultural Day
Understanding Kerala, India’s diverse and stunning culture, means that exploration is an important component of the experience. Options for the day could include: a traditional Keralan Kathakali dance show; a backwaters tour on one of Kerala’s beautiful and iconic houseboats; a safari outing to the Periyar Forest and National Park for a chance to spot elephants and monkeys (and tigers if you’re lucky); or a visit to the sea side village of Marari (40-minute drive away), which boasts beautiful sandy beaches lined with coconut trees. Activities will be determined based on the interests and educational goals of the group.
Day 7- A Fond Farewell
GVI field staff transfer the team back to the airport and bid them a fond farewell! GVI will endeavour to keep the group informed of any updates there might be in the field, with particular reference to the projects volunteers contributed to during their time in India.
Students will continue to engage with active reflection and educational expansion two weeks after leaving Quepos, with emphasis placed on incorporating the international experience, and insights gained which are then applied to the students’ home context. Assignments will involve generating ideas to continue global engagement, connecting the experience to personal and career goals, and reflecting on the insights gained while in the field.