One of the highlights of this program for volunteers is the opportunity to travel in and around India. In the program’s first year, during the summer of 2006, volunteers traveled to various locations all across the world before and during the program. One popular option that volunteers have is to arrange their flights to India in a way that it stops at the various countries they wish visit before arriving at India. Last summer, many of the volunteers split up into small travel groups that spent a few weeks prior to the program traveling to various places around India, including Delhi, Hyderabad, Agra, Jaipur, as well as other countries including Thailand and Kenya. This has remained a popular tradition among volunteers and the pre-field orientation acts as a time when volunteers can talk with each other about the possibility of pre- traveling with each other.
After the program begins, there are also opportunities to travel in India itself. There are a few long weekends off from teaching in which volunteers were able to travel to more distant locations such as Kerala, to relax on some of India’s finest beaches, and Ooty to drink some of India’s finest tea and enjoy the cooler weather.
As important as it is to go to India to teach about HIV/AIDS and to get involved in related side projects, it is also important to take some time off and see all that India has to offer. Because India does have an amazing amount to offer it is strongly encouraged that volunteers consider which places they would like to visit and plan accordingly. Our goal is that by giving the volunteers ample opportunities to travel, they will be able to truly experience India to its fullest.
As is common when traveling outside the country, all volunteers are strongly encouraged to contact the US State Department about travel restrictions on certain areas of the countries they are intending to visit. While Chennai, and Tamil Nadu, are safe and welcoming to foreigners, it is important to ensure that all people visiting this beautiful country take the proper precautions to ensure their safety. The volunteer coordinators will spend more time on this subject during the pre- field orientation to help the volunteers prepare for an amazing summer abroad.