PMGY’s Real Asia Encounter takes in Sri Lanka, India and Nepal. We seriously can’t think of a more sublime combination of exotic and fascinating gap year destinations in Asia to volunteer in. An action-packed 6, 9 or 12 weeks lie ahead of you in some of the best places to volunteer abroad!
From the steep mountain ranges of the Himalayas that perch in Nepal, to the tranquil and picturesque island of Sri Lanka, not forgetting the global powerhouse enriched in culture India, Asia has it all. Asia’s abundance in physical diversity and variety is one of its standout features. Volunteer in Asia on this once in a lifetime trip and choose the trip duration, volunteer projects and travel experiences that are right for you.
Your first stop will be Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka may be small but it has 2,000-plus years of culture! Furthermore, the country is home to 8 (yes 8!) Unesco World Heritage Sites as well as endless beaches and lush rainforests! Embrace everything the country represents with its welcoming people, beautiful beaches and oodles of elephants. Finally, get ready for those taste-buds to be tickled as you enjoy some wonderful food and the infamous Sri Lankan tea. Sri Lanka is spectacular, affordable and still uncrowded so now is the time to go!
Your time on this largely undiscovered little island will give you the chance to explore its length and breadth. In addition, you will be able to make a positive impact when volunteering at local projects. PMGY’s development work in Ambalangoda and Wasgamuwa runs throughout the year. There is something for everyone in Sri Lanka. For example, you can teach in our community volunteer project or support on our childcare projects in the afternoons.
In contrast, choose your volunteer project to learn about the Sri Lankan mental health system. You can even choose your gap year programs in Sri Lanka to be more physical with renovation, elephants and sea turtle conservation opportunities. Sri Lanka is the only country you can engage in wildlife conservation projects on the Asia Gap Year experience.
Your second stop is India. Architectural splendours, chaotic street life, tranquil havens and culture shocks are all guaranteed during your time in India. Consequently, there will be lots for you to experience in this vast, endlessly diverse and hugely inspiring country. India’s Golden Triangle comprises the three most visited cities in the country’s north-west – Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. All of these three bustling cities are accessible from our project location.
Jaipur, the capital of the largely desert state of Rajasthan, is home to the iconic Amber Fort. In addition, it boasts some of Asia’s best bazaars. You could spend weeks in Delhi and not see it all! The sprawling, fascinating Indian capital has so much to offer! Agra, once the heart of the Moghul empire, boasts the unparalleled beauty of the Taj Mahal.
Your volunteering choices are very varied. Contribute to the lives of children with learning difficulties. On the other hand, you can choose to teach English to help children reach their full potential. In the same vein, you can choose to gain practical medical experience and insight on elective programs. Finally, during your gap year travel in India, choose your volunteer project to engage in the lives of underprivileged children in children’s homes.
Your final stop is Nepal which has been a hotspot for travellers, dating back many years. Whilst the world has changed, Nepal is still catching up. Certainly, this provides one of the many reasons that make it such a fascinating country. Its landscape is diverse and harsh yet beautiful beyond belief. Many of its people live in poverty yet remain as proud and welcoming as ever. You may leave Nepal at the end of your duration but you are certain never to forget it.
Combine adventure travel with community volunteering as well as ticking off all the ‘must-see’ things in Nepal. You can choose to volunteer and live in a Nepalese Buddhist monastery teaching monks English. As a result of living at the monastery, you will also learn and embrace the monks’ cultures and ways of life.
Alternatively, you can choose to teach young people English in a school community development setting. Finally, choose your volunteer project to make a difference in the lives of underprivileged children.
- Day 1 (Saturday) Arrival
- Day 2 (Sunday) Orientation
- Day 3-6 (Monday-Friday) Volunteering Begins
- Day 7-8 (Saturday-Sunday) Weekend!
- Day 9-28 (Monday-Saturday) The Following Weeks
- Day 29 (Sunday) Goodbye Sri Lanka – Hello India!
- Day 30 (Monday) Orientation
- Day 31-34 (Tuesday-Friday) Volunteering Begins
- Day 35-36 (Saturday-Sunday) Weekend!
- Day 37-56 (Monday-Saturday) The Following Weeks
- Day 57 (Sunday) Goodbye India – Hello Nepal!
- Day 58 (Monday) Orientation
- Day 59-62 (Tuesday-Friday) Volunteering Begins
- Day 63-64 (Saturday-Sunday) Weekend!
- Day 65-83 (Monday-Friday) The Following Weeks
- Day 84 (Saturday) Last Day
Is it safe to travel to PMGY destinations?
Although our volunteers work in the developing world, we always ensure our host locations are safe. Each programme has been extensively researched and has passed our strict vetting process. Our UK team undergo an extensive routine when establishing our in-country infrastructures and we continue to monitor our safety procedures on a regular basis. Furthermore, we monitor the stability of our volunteer destinations on a daily basis. Through our constant contact with consulates and embassies and our reports from our overseas teams, we are able to ensure that our volunteers are never placed in unstable regions.
The PMGY team have visited and participated in every programme we offer and verified them based on our own independent criteria. We carefully inspect every little detail of our set-up. From inspecting the living conditions, checking out the neighbourhoods you’ll be staying in, to tasting the food you’ll be eating – each and every programme we establish has gone through a lengthy and rigorous vetting process. Risk assessments have been written for all areas in which PMGY operate and our experienced local coordinators are always on-hand to manage any emergencies that may occur. Our UK team are always on the road reviewing our risk management procedures in the field and monitoring local conditions.
In emergency situations we have the necessary protocols and equipment in place and we are able to evacuate our volunteers from potential dangers. Our local coordinators are trained to deal with emergency circumstances.
When you join PMGY we will send you a Volunteer Handbook. This document addresses a range of issues such as health, safety, visa issues etc. Furthermore, our UK team are only ever a phone call away should you wish to discuss any aspect of your upcoming programme. When you arrive in-country, you’ll be given a comprehensive safety briefing during your orientation course by our local coordinators. We will go through everything from emergency procedures, how to use local transport and cultural differences. You’ll also be given the opportunity to purchase a local SIM card, something we strongly suggest, so you’re contactable at all times. We will provide you with a full list of the important contact numbers that you’ll need to know.
All our local teams are experienced development professionals who have years of experience in hosting international volunteers. They are our representatives on the ground and will assist you 24/7 throughout your stay. Whether you need to call home, travel at the weekend or require urgent assistance – they are there to support you.
While we cannot guarantee your volunteer experience to be 100% trouble free we have taken all the necessary precautions to make sure each programme is as safe as possible.