Alec Wright – From Boulder, Colorado to New Delhi, India – Internship 2017

6 November 2017

Alec Wright is from the United States and interned at a teaching and education organization in New Delhi, India.

Alec has always been fascinated by Indian culture, which made New Delhi a great option and also came highly recommended by one of his family members. Like many first time travelers to India, Alec thought he would have a hard time navigating through the city and dealing with crime and unsafe conditions. However, like all people who fall in love with the bustling city, his experience was exactly the opposite.

A typical day at his host organization included observing teachers giving lessons,  teaching some of the classes and spending time getting to know the learners. Alec loved interacting with the kids and staff and became close friends with the volunteers at his work organization. 

The biggest lesson that Alec takes away from his internship and learning journey is that grasping the attention of a large energetic classroom is not about overpowering and being strict, but rather about being respectful and genuine. Engaging with the kids on a true and genuine level, and caring about their education, will enable you to get your lesson across successfully. He had learned that one needs to possess qualities such as being light-hearted, open-minded, tolerant and especially patient with large classrooms of eager children.

Alec on an intern outing with fellow interns Sherin and Jess (left) and New Delhi Programme advisor, Vidushi.

Some of the major highlights of his trip included visiting the Taj Mahal and traveling to Nepal. Although the heat was difficult to deal with and he ran into communication mishaps at times because he did not speak Hindi, everything from his internship to his travel experience went smoothly. if I could… played an integral part in arranging great accommodation where he felt at home instantly, and enjoyed spending time with the host family and friends. The biggest treat? The delicious food that he enjoyed while exploring the vibrant city.

Alec has returned home to the USA where he will be completing his degree and is hoping to further travel the world soon!

Sherin Varghese – Oxford to New Dehli – Internship 2017

26 October 2017

Sherin Varghese, from the UK, has completed her Psychology Internship in New Delhi, India through the if i could… internship program.  Before leaving the UK, Sherin’s impression about New Delhi was filled with warnings from friends and family about her safely in New Delhi, however, her academic research required her to go. What followed over the next few months was a surprising and life-altering experience in  

One of her most memorable moments was her arrival in New Delhi. Feeling lost and scared on her first day, she met Vidushi, the if i could… program advisor who gave her a warm welcome and became a great support. Vidushi led the orientation and was a social butterfly who introduced everyone else she crossed paths with. Sherin soon realized that many of the preconceptions were untrue and she started to get out, explore and having fun.

Sherin’s day as an intern typically included assisting in office work, meeting patients, making trips to hospitals and de-addiction centres, working on different projects and providing valuable feedback to personnel. A major highlight of her trip was meeting local children through her work, with as well as forming close connections with other interns. “Being part of an organisation that makes such a big difference and working with them has been a life-changing experience for me and keeping that connection is what I will take home with me,” she says of her internship at the host organisation.

Sherin had expressed New Delhi in 5 words/phrases:

FOOD, HISTORICAL PLACES, MEETING NEW PEOPLE, TRAVELING OUTSIDE NEW DELHI & SHOPPING!

Sherin had praised if i could… staff for planning and organizing a perfect trip and placing her in a perfect internship. Her one thing not to miss in New Delhi – the FOOD!  

Sherin’s dream is to start an NGO in India and after her learning journey within the development sector in India, she has gained better understandings and learnings of how to practically reach her dream. Sherin is heading back to Oxford University where she will complete her Doctorate and then start making her dreams come true.

She leaves other interns with the most important advice: “EAT A LOT OF FOOD, SHOP YOUR HEART OUT AND HAVE FUN!”

21 Visa-free African countries to intern and volunteer

23 October 2017

Are you looking for an adventure aboard for your next summer internship, or are you looking for a volunteer experience of a lifetime? Well, why not travel to Africa? Jackie Edwards tells us about her African adventures that will leave you inspired to book tickets for the whole family!

Galloping with Antelopes and the Kids: Planning an African Safari Trip
Watching the zebras and the lions across the landscape while my girls smile and laugh with joy is a moment of a lifetime. As a mother of two little girls, we spent a lot of time in wildlife parks during our trip to Africa. We visited Kruger National Park in South Africa and the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. We even got to do a cruise along the Chobe River in Botswana. It was an experience like no other, and my daughters have grown immensely because of it.

Preparing for our adventure
A year before the trip, I asked my daughters where they wanted to go for a vacation and they told me “the zoo”. They didn’t care where they went, as long as there were animals. So, I suggested we go right to the source and save for a trip to Africa. After showing the girls some pictures, they were over the moon. We decided to cut back on toys, new clothes, eating out, and Christmas gifts. And honestly, the girls would have done anything to see those animals. They learned a lot during the time we saved and learned a lot more during our trip about the animals they love so much.

After saving money, it was very easy for us to decide on what countries to visit, as well as obtaining a visa, being an American citizen. We simply just followed the animals. If you want to take part in your own African safari with your animal-loving kids (or friends!), check out these parks and visa-free African countries for a US passport.

Kruger National Park, South Africa

One of the largest game reserves in Africa, Kruger National Park was my kids favourite. Because of their high population of the Big 5 African animals such as lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants and buffalos, you are sure to spot every animal you want to see. Their diversity of animals is unrivalled.

We decided to stay in the park in one of their many camps, and it was incredible. You wake up to the animals right outside your home, and you really feel as though you’re at one with them. My kids loved watching them roam free and were so interested in learning all they could about their animal neighbours.

All you need to enjoy the experience – besides money of course – is an American passport valid for 30 days with at least two blank pages and you can stay for a maximum of 90 days.  

Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

Known for its Great Wildebeest migration, Serengeti National Park is a must for children and adults alike. Considered a UNESCO World Heritage site, it has the oldest ecosystem on the planet and the kids learned a lot about how we all live together in the world.

Not only did they see the wildebeest, but they were also immersed in cat country. Serengeti has Africa’s largest population of lions and the kids loved recounting scenes from the Lion King as they watched the lions in their natural habitat.

To visit Tanzania, you can get a visa on arrival. You will need a passport valid for at least 6 months, a roundtrip ticket, and proof of enough funds for your stay.

Chobe National Park, Botswana

Called “The Land of the Giants”, Chobe National Park has Africa’s largest elephant population. It also has an abundance of giants and leopards, as well as beautiful birdlife.

Here, we decided to do something different and embarked on a river cruise through the Chobe River. We had a top-notch guide that made our journey through the safari magical. The tour was very private and we got a personal view of the predators and prey that make up the water ecosystem. You really do feel as though you’re an explorer, encountering the land for the first time.

Botswana is luckily another visa-free country. You will need an American passport that is valid for at least 6 months after your travels.

Enjoy your Adventure

Wherever you decide to go, you and your kids are sure to have a blast exploring the beautiful continent of Africa. They will learn a lot about wildlife, the African culture, and themselves. Travelling is surely the best thing we can do for our kids to help them grow and learn.  The continent is full of volunteer and internship opportunities for students of all ages. Not only is it full of opportunities, but with the world’s fourth most powerful passport, US citizens can enter many countries visa-free.

So, for a hassle-free and breath-taking volunteer experience, check out one of these visas on arrival or visa-free African countries for Americans.  

Botswana – Americans can stay in Botswana for a maximum of three months with a passport that is valid for at least six months after entry into the country. A visa is required if you hold a temporary travel document and it must be obtained before arrival.

Comoros Islands – A visa can be obtained on arrival for a fee. The fees are $60 for 45 days, $250 for one year, and $500 for ten years.

Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) – With a passport valid for six months, Americans can obtain a visa on arrival.

Djibouti – Americans can obtain a visa on arrival for $90. It is not guaranteed though so it is best for you to obtain one before travel. The maximum stay in Djibouti on a visa is one month.

Egypt – It is recommended that you obtain a visa before your flight to Egypt. The 30-day visa is available on arrival for $25, or $35 for multiple entry visas, but immigration officials have been known to refuse entry to travellers with no explanation if they do not hold a visa prior to arrival.

Equatorial Guinea – A visa is not required to enter the country for 90 days but you might have to fill out a visa application on arrival so it is best to bring passport photos. You may also need to provide proof of funds for your visit.

Lesotho – For a stay up to 180 days, Americans will need a passport valid for at least three months. It is advised that you bring your vaccination cards as a yellow fever vaccination may be required for entry.

Malawi – A single entry visa can be purchased for $75 on entry. The visa is valid for three months. You may also need to declare all foreign currency on arrival as you are not allowed to leave with more foreign currency than you arrived with. Business or volunteering may not be permitted under a tourist visa so it’s important that you receive the right one.

Mauritius – All that is needed to stay in Mauritius for a maximum of six months is a valid US passport.

Morocco – A valid passport with at least one blank page is required for a 90-day visa.

Namibia – A US passport valid for at least six months will allow you to stay in Namibia for a maximum of three months.

Rwanda – A passport valid for six months and $30 can get you a 30-day visa on arrival. If you plan to stay more than 30 days, you must apply for a permit through the Immigration Office. You are strictly forbidden from volunteering or partaking in business or internships while on a tourist visa so you must apply for a work visa.

Senegal – A valid passport with at least one blank page will gain you entry into Senegal for up to three months.

Seychelles – You do not need a visa to stay for a month. However your passport must be valid and you will need proof of a return ticket, sufficient funds for your trip, and confirmation of accommodation.

South Africa – Immigration in South Africa is strictly enforced. You must have a passport valid for at least 30 days with at least two blank passport pages. You can stay a maximum of ninety days and breaking the rules can result in being detained, deported, or banned from South Africa.

Swaziland – If you have a valid passport and two blank visa pages, then you can travel to Swaziland for 30 days. If you travel through South Africa to get to Swaziland though, you will need an additional two blank pages in your passport.

Tanzania – Once you arrive in the country, you can receive a visa on arrival if you have a valid passport with at least one blank page. You must also show confirmation of a return ticket and sufficient funds for your stay.

Togo – A visa can be obtained for $30 on arrival. It is only valid for seven days but can be extended before the days are up. You will, however, have to leave your passport for a couple of days with immigration.

Tunisia – You may visit Tunisia for a maximum stay of ninety days with a valid passport and one blank visa page.

Zambia – With a passport that is valid for six months and has two blank pages, you can visit Zambia for ninety days. However, volunteers and interns must travel on a business visa. You will be incarcerated and deported if you volunteer or work under a tourist visa.

Zimbabwe – A valid US passport and two blank visa pages will get you a single entry 30-day visa for $30 on arrival. You can also obtain a 60-day multi-entry visa for about $60. If you need to extend your trip, be sure to contact the Immigration Office before the end of your visa period.

It is important that you contact the relevant country’s embassy before you travel as visa requirements are subject to change. Be sure to ask about any restrictions to include vaccination requirements and volunteer requirements. You need to be sure that you are receiving a visa that will allow you to volunteer in your country of choice. Other than that, your passport will grant you entry to a number of African countries for your travel abroad. if i could… offers many incredible volunteering and internship opportunities, so send us an email and we can start planning your next adventure!

About the author: Now working as a writer, Jackie Edwards started her career in the leisure industry, but after becoming a mom refocused and decided to spend more time with her family. When she’s not writing, she volunteers for a number of local mental health charities and also has a menagerie of pets to look after.

#internadvice questions from our community

13 September 2017

It is #wanderlust Wednesday and as part of our #internadvice series we are chatting to you live today about development sector internships in New Delhi. We have already received some great questions that we will be covering later:

1. I only speak English, will I be okay? From Amanda

2. Where will I live if I’m interning in New Delhi? From James

3. I’m not currently studying development studies but would like to have a development sector internship. I’m a Journalism and Media student, is there a space for me and my skills? From Dave

4. How much experience do I need to intern? From Lindiwe

5. What areas of development in ND require the most attention and where can I be of most use? From Emily

Our program advisor Vidushi Malhotra will be answering questions from 18:00 – 18:30 SAST. We look forward to seeing you all there! Join the conversation. 

Meet your if i could… program advisor, Chloë 

29 August 2017

We are excited to introduce Chloë Liebenberg as your Program Advisor for Cape Town and New Delhi.

 

Born to travel
I have travel hard-wired into me. My parents blessed and cursed me with an incredible curiosity about the world and its diverse cultures.

When I had asked about people living in far away places they showed me images of remote villages in Tibet, and my bedtime stories came from a book filled with traditional stories from around the world. I used this same book years later to teach little people about how we as humans we are more alike than we are different.

My father is a storyteller by trade, and my mother curates the bits and pieces from their extensive travels in their home in South Africa so that a visual journey of their explorations is shared with all who are welcomed there. This is where I learned that the world is so much more than the constructs imposed upon us as little people. I learned that questions fuel questions and that one’s opinions are formed by one’s experiences, and that the scope of experience is vast.

Teaching around the world
I studied education and specialised in curriculum development and special education. I encouraged children to ask big questions and expect big answers right from Kindergarten all the way to 12th grade.

I have lived and worked in incredible spaces and learned to ask my own big questions and expect big answers that informed my teaching and contributed to life-changing experiences. I lived in Bangladesh and traveled most of Southeast Asia and the Sub Continent where many of my visits felt like homecomings because of the stories and artifacts I had heard and played with as a child. I came home a little to breathe and my wanderlust sent me to live in Mexico where I explored a language and culture so far from my own and fell in love with the subtleties of wordplay and the fierce cultural pride of the Mexican people.

If I could..wander the ancient temple complex of Angor Wat again – I didn’t spend nearly enough time there and I would love to go back! 

If I could…eat street food every day I would be a very happy girl! My favourites include pretty much all the street food in Beijing (oh my goodness, especially wild mushrooms grilled over hot coals!), aloo shingara (a samosa filled with potato, chili, and peanuts) from the vendor who sets up mid-morning every day at Gulshan 2 circle in Dhaka, Gai Bing (grilled chicken skewers) in Bangkok, quesadilla con flor de calabasa ( corn tortilla with cheese and pan fried squash flowers) from the vegetable market on Avenida Revolucion in Pachuca.

If I could…do meaningful things in every place that I visit, I would leave knowing more about the place I’ve visited and who I am. I spent an afternoon speaking to a man who’d lost his legs to a landmine in Cambodia – he sat on a cart and sold pirated books. We drank coffee together and debated the deeper message behind “the Life of Pi”. I learned about humility and again about hearing another perspective, especially based on a profoundly different experience. 

If I could…offer you some travel advice try everything twice! Explore off the beaten track, meet the locals, have at least a ‘no thank you bite’ of every new food you can – then talk to the person who made it for you and find out a myriad of incredible things about culture and tradition, ask questions, be kind, share with others and you’ll have so much shared with you!

Contact us for more information