FAQs by Volunteers regarding life in New Delhi

Q1: Where will I live and who will pay for it?
Q2: What if I have relatives with whom I would like to stay?
Q3: Will this be a safe experience for me?
Q4: How will I get around the city?
Q5: Communication/Technology?
Q6: I am interested in a career in medicine, will I be able to work in a completely clinical setting?
Q7: How is a volunteer matched with an NGO?
Q8: What is a typical day for an AVSAR volunteer?
Q9: I don't speak Hindi, will that make it difficult for me to see patients or contribute to the group?
Q10: What is the weather like in Delhi?
Q11: How much can I expect to spend?
Q12: What type of cloths should I get ?
Q13: How to look after my health?
Q14: What about the local time in India?

1. Where will I live and who will pay for it?

The organization takes care of your accommodations, though it is very modest in nature, you will be facilitated with all Western amenities. In exchange for the extensive and comprehensive support offered by AVSAR (please see FAQ), you will be expected to pay for your own accommodations (approximately $500 for the month). AVSAR Home Base is a modest apartment with provisions for safety and comfort. This apartment has 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a living room and a kitchen. AVSAR keeps costs low for volunteers by seeking donations from friends, family, and enthusiastic supporters. If you know of someone who you would like for us to approach who may be interested in helping subsidize this expense, please contact us at info@goyalmd.com (e.g., private donors, physicians, community associations, Rotary Clubs, cultural organizations, major philanthropic resources, etc…). If you would like to be a part of the email campaign to help raise funds, please let us know.

2. What if I have relatives with whom I would like to stay?

The AVSAR experience is an experience of intensive service to the underprivileged. We believe the value of an AVSAR volunteer is that he/she has is interested in this experience for the simple purpose that it is about providing service to the community; and not about spending time with family and friends. During this time of service, we do understand that volunteers may need to rest and recharge by taking some time for themselves or by visiting family, but volunteers are expected to budget their time appropriately, (which will only be after the completion of the days work) so that they can return to the AVSAR Home Base in the evening. Volunteers are allotted 2 vacation days each month they are part of the program. In other words, all volunteers are expected to stay together at the AVSAR Home Base (unless it is the Saturday night of their vacation weekend, national holidays of the country, etc.).

3. Will this be a safe experience for me?

You are obviously responsible for your own safety. While Delhi is a big city, it is not known to be extremely safe. It is very unlikely that you would ever be in any personal danger during your experience (unless you ignore our advice. There are some safety tips that are set by the Delhi Police that are as under:

  1. Carry your wallet in an inside jacket pocket or side trouser pocket, never in the rear pocket.
  2. Carry pocketbooks in the bend of your elbow, held close to your body. If there is a long strap, wrap it around the bag. Carry credit cards and cash in your pockets.
  3. Keep pocketbooks on your lap when dining out, not dangling over the back of a chair. Avoid placing pocketbooks on hooks on the back of a fitting room or bathroom door, where someone can easily reach over and removed them.
  4. Leave valuables and important papers, such as jewelry and passports, secured in your hotel's safe deposit box. Never leave these items unattended in your room or carry large sums of cash on your person.
  5. Be wary of unexpected persons coming to your hotel room. Never open the door to unsolicited room service or maintenance people. Contact the front desk if you have any doubts.
  6. If you schedule a meeting with a potential client, research the company and the individual with whom you are meeting. Meet in a public place, such as a restaurant.
  7. Make sure that luggage is only given to a member of the hotel's bell staff and a receipt is issued for stored luggage. Never leave luggage or other expensive items, unattended at airports or taxi stands.
  8. Kindly contact on counter "May I help you" available in "Arrival Hall" at airport for help and guidance.
  9. Prefer pre-paid Taxi Booth for hired transportation, since it is governed by DELHI TRAFFIC POLICE. In this system you have to pay in advance for Taxi Fare which is already approved by Delhi Transport Authority, Govt. of India for each destination in Delhi.
  10. Adequate numbers of police officers are deputed in proper uniform outside the Arrival Hall and parking area. You can contact nearest police officer to intimate about undesirable elements and touts in your observation. However, police is taking utmost care, vigilance and surveillance over these elements; still it is felt that we can eliminate these elements effectively with passenger’s active participation in the drive.
  11. In addition to above, police officers in plain clothes are also deputed to keep watch on suspicious movements. Therefore, you should never entertain the touts and unscrupulous persons to avoid harassment.
  12. Preplan your destination in Delhi regarding your stay and tourism in Delhi. Never take advice of Taxi Drivers regarding your stay/tourism in Delhi. Please strict to believe the information of Police Officers, "May I help you" counter, or any other Govt. recognised information Centres like Delhi Tourism, DTC, etc.
  13. If you face any harassment or law and order problem in Delhi, you can dial 100 numbers from nearest telephone for police assistance.
But once you have left the Home Base to your relatives or friends place, AVSAR will not be responsible for your safety.

4. How will I get around the city?

Two options: Public transportation (bus and train) or car (taxi or private).

Your housing is located in a central area, which allows quick access to various modes of transportation (metro trains, taxis, buses, three wheeler) to most points throughout the city.

Public transportation can be a great option that saves time and money. Traveling by bus will costs you Rs.2 to Rs.10 each way ($1 = Rs. 46). The maximum charge of Metro trains is around Rs. 22.

Auto- Richshaw (three wheeler in black and yellow top) charge are Rs. 8 for the first kilometer and thereafter Rs. 3.50 for every additional kilometer. 25% more is charged as Night Charges (from 11.00 p.m. to 5.00 a.m.). Rs. 10/ language except handbags, etc.

Taxis are readily available throughout the city. It costs Rs. 13 for the first kilometer and Rs. 7 for each additional kilometer. 25% more is charged as Night Charges (from 11.00 p.m. to 5.00 a.m.). Rs. 10/ language except handbags, etc

An a/c car with a driver can be arranged for less than the cost of renting a car in the U.S. This would have to be arranged in advance.

5. Communication/Technology:

Internet cafés are inexpensive (Rs. 10 to Rs. 20 per hour) and offer a high-speed internet connection and are readily available. If you bring your laptop, you can connect from home (good speed). For conducting research and checking email, there are computers available at the AVSAR Home Base with a high-speed internet connection. For printing documents and papers there are several good internet cafes that charge between Rs. 4-10 for printouts. You can bring your own GSM mobile phone from the states (be sure to bring your unlock code as well) and buy a prepaid SIM card when you get here. That will allow you to call anywhere in the world for a reasonable price. Or you can rent a phone from us when you get here for approximately $15/mo (including $7 talk-time).

You can find phone booths almost everywhere and offer very economical means to call anywhere in the world.

H1>6. I am interested in a career in medicine, will I be able to work in a completely clinical setting? AVSAR emphasizes the value of “helping where the help is needed”. This means when you apply to AVSAR, we screen your application and match it with the needs of the NGOs. While you may get exposure to medical clinics and camps, please know this will NOT be a purely clinical experience. Those seeking such an experience are asked to look into volunteering at hospitals or through other organizations. As you get exposure to an NGO, you will be able to OBSERVE in the clinics and work on a public health project. This is NOT a clinical rotation.

7. How is a volunteer matched with an NGO?

The value of the AVSAR program is that we are able to do a grassroots needs assessment of the particular needs of the NGO. You may have some skills on your resume that you take for granted, but will be of enormous value to the NGO. According to volunteer skills, NGOs needs, project timelines, number of volunteer months, and language; volunteers are placed with our partner NGOs. When you prioritize your preferences, we take that into consideration for a valuable volunteer experience for all.

8. What is a typical day for an AVSAR volunteer?

As stated on the website previously, AVSAR expects the volunteer to be committed to an experience of service while they are in India. Depending on your project, this means long days in the field, community, or clinics; meetings two times a week with AVSAR staff; Hindi tutoring three days a week for those who are not fluent or wish to increase their fluency; daily journal writing, peer topic presentations, long commute time in and around Delhi; and project tasks for AVSAR in addition to tasks for your partner NGO. Delhi weather can also impact the work, especially in the monsoon season. This essentially means that if you have family in the area, you should not expect to see them too often as we have packed schedule every month. Because 1 month is such a short time, we hope all volunteers maximize their experience in order to have a maximum benefit to the partner NGO. To see a sample month’s schedule, please click here.

9. I don't speak Hindi, will that make it difficult for me to see patients or contribute to the group?

If you don’t speak the language, of course it can make the experience challenging; however, the doctors working for our partner NGOs, as well as the office staff and personnel all speak English fluently. They are very willing to translate for you when needed. Also, you will receive some basic language materials to read prior to your arrival into Delhi. You will also have language-training during your orientation as well as throughout the month (by tutors who are hired by AVSAR). We encourage accepted candidates to begin their Hindi study before arriving in India. The tutor is meant to be a guide, so all effort put in by the volunteer will make this a better experience.

While language can be a barrier, we hope that it will not discourage you from applying for an experience that you will likely look back on without any regrets.

10. What is the weather like in Delhi?

Temperatures in the summer months (April – July) are hot and can touch 40 degrees centigrade (112.5 °F) in the daytime. The rains season generally start in June/July, so you are requested to carry rainproof gear/umbrella. In winter the temperature may go down to 4- 6 degree centigrade

11. How much can I expect to spend?

If you must have a figure, expect to spend approximately $1800 for one month (depending on the time of year, your preferences in cuisine, transportation, etc…). The ticket will cost approximately $1100 to $1300 from the US, and as mentioned above accommodation will cost $400 per month. Mobile phones can be rented from us for $15 during the first month (comes with $7 of talk-time charged on the phone), and then $8 rental fee for each additional month.

12.What type of cloths should I get ?

Informal. Given the hot weather conditions, we suggest you carry light cotton, loose clothes so that you do not feel uncomfortable in the summers and good quantity of woolen cloths for the winters. We also suggest that you be prepared to be modestly dressed (especially women) in order to avoid attracting unnecessary attention. Cotton trousers, half sleeved or long sleeved shirts etc are recommended, as are scarves/hats for protection from the sun. Knee length skirts, spaghetti tank tops are not advised, neither are shorts. Shoes- we suggest you carry one pair of sneakers and a pair of open toes sandals/flip flops.

13. How to look after my health?

Mosquitoes are common in the summer months and malaria and waterborne diseases can affect those who are not careful with the water they drink. Avoid drinking water from an unknown source, we recommend you drink bottled/mineral water (which costs approximately 10-20 rupees) which is widely available in every town/city. Carry a first aid kit with medicines for things like headaches, diarrhoea etc. Pharmacies or chemists are available in every little town and here, but if you are on any special medication for an existing problem, we recommend you carry adequate supply of this medication for the duration of your stay. First aid kit will also be available in the AVSAR Home Base, though it will be only basic medicines. Avoid eating cut fruit or exposed food from outside. Hot cooked meals are the safest option as is uncut fruit that you cut and clean yourself.

14. What about the local time in India?

Indian Standard Time (IST) is 5 hours and 30 minutes ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

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