REQUEST A CALL BACK

UK: +44 (0)1903 502595 | USA: 1-603-574-4935 info@travellersworldwide.com

INDIA

TEACH UNDERPRIVILEGED CHILDREN IN SCHOOLS IN MADURAI

You'll teach English and, if you'd like to, you can combine this with Art, Science, Drama, Maths, Computer Science, Art & Crafts, or Sports. You'll assist a teacher for up to a week and once you gain confidence and feel comfortable in the classroom, you'll be able to become involved in lesson planning and take classes on your own.

Teaching in India is a sheer joy. The children are enthusiastic, polite and eager to learn! We provide you with a Teaching Guide and suggestions on inexpensive resources to take with you. You can teach a range of subjects in combination, or teach English or Art only. The choice is yours. This is a completely flexible project; we place you in the most suitable school depending on your specifications and interests.

CELEBRATE THE PONGAL FESTIVAL AND GET 10% DISCOUNT TO SPEND!

The Pongal Festival is from 14 to 17 January 2018. If you book a placement so that you are there for the Festival, we'll give you 10% discount off your project to spend :-)

Yes, 10% OFF ALL PROJECTS if you book to be in Madurai at the time of the Festival!

Read about the Pongal Festival

If you book online, the regular price will appear, but don't worry, the discount will be applied on your invoice on confirmation of booking. Cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer or discount. Terms & Conditions apply. E&OE Excepted.

SUMMARY: THE BASICS

Price: £795 (approx. US$990) for 1 week
£945 (approx. US$1,175) for 2 weeks
£1,095 (approx. US$1,360) for 3 weeks
£1,245 (approx. US$1,545) for 4 weeks
£125 (US$160) for each additional week.
Excludes flights. Please see Full Price List & prices in other currencies
Duration: From 1 week to 12 weeks or longer. Subject to visa requirements.
Start Dates: All year round - you choose your start and finish dates (subject to school holidays – see dates below).
Requirements: Minimum age 17. You don't need any qualifications to do this project, just a good love of children and a desire to help them.
What's included: Arranging your Programme
Full pre-departure support and assistance
Payment Protection insurance
Accommodation and Food (excluding lunch)
Meeting you at the nearest Airport
Transfer to your accommodation
Daily transport to and from your Project
Local in-country team support and backup
24-hr emergency support
Certificate of Completion
What's not included: Flights, Insurance, Cost of Visas, Return transfer to the airport.
Who can do this Project? All projects are open to all nationalities and all ages over 17.
Suitable for gap years or those taking a year out, grown-up gappers, career breakers, anyone interested in caring for children, teaching or working with children overseas while doing voluntary work, projects abroad or study abroad.
Also available as a summer placement or short break in India, or for those interested in TEFL teaching.

WHAT YOU'LL GAIN FROM DOING THIS PROJECT

  • An exciting opportunity to travel, see the world and experience a foreign culture first-hand.
  • New skills, more confidence and invaluable personal and professional development.
  • The enormous satisfaction of helping disadvantaged children and knowing that you made a difference to them.
  • An opportunity to take a break from the traditional academic track or your current career path in order to gain life experience and global cultural awareness
  • An entry on your CV or Résumé that will enhance your career opportunities and make you stand out from the crowd.
  • Make friends, form relationships and build memories that will last a lifetime.
  • Opportunities to enjoy some exciting adventure and cultural activities while on your programme.
  • And best of all ... an unforgettable experience!
BOOK NOW! SEE ALL PROJECTS IN INDIA info@travellersworldwide.com

QUOTE ME |
ANY QUESTIONS?

Please fill in the form below. If you haven't heard from us within one working day, please check your Junk Mail / Spam folder.

Please tick the 'I'm not a robot' box below. It helps to stop spam. Then don't forget to click the SUBMIT button afterwards. Thank you :-)
BACK TO TOP

WORK CONTENT AND DESCRIPTION

I have gained so much from teaching the children. I have learned some of the subtleties of teaching – how to get the best out of both the confident and quiet students and how to keep a class motivated by using a wide range of activities from writing on the board to role-playing and singing. Kirsty McIver

Our teaching projects are based in nursery, primary and secondary schools in Madurai. Our secondary schools are mainly ‘Matriculation’ schools where it is compulsory that all lessons are taught in English. You will be introduced to the Principal on your first day and they will discuss your teaching programme with you and try to incorporate your own interests and specialities into your teaching schedule.

You'll assist a teacher for up to a week and once you gain confidence and feel comfortable in the classroom, you'll be able to become involved in lesson planning and take classes on your own. We provide you with a Teaching Guide and suggestions on inexpensive resources to take with you. You can teach a range of subjects in combination, or teach English or Art only. The choice is yours.

Children are always fascinated with volunteers and want to learn as much as possible about you. They love to hear stories about you, your family and where you are from so it is ideal to take pictures, maps, magazine articles and photos of your family and friends with you. You can also use these as excellent resources for a lesson to promote discussion and interest. "The children at the school have been the best thing about my placement. They are polite, courteous and so interested in me and my life in England. They have worked so well in lessons and they treat me like a celebrity! I shall really miss them” (Johanne Steward)

Our schools in Madurai need the help and are overwhelmingly appreciative and grateful to all volunteers. Not only will you be giving invaluable teaching and education to the school, your involvement with the children will bring immense satisfaction and enjoyment!

TEACHING DRAMA, SPORTS AND OTHER SUBJECTS:
If you have some know-how, some initiative and lots of enthusiasm, you can also get involved with teaching DRAMA. You can choose to teach for an hour per day and combine this with teaching English or you can teach this as a full time project. Teaching art subjects is an excellent way of engaging children’s imaginations and encourages them to communicate with few constraints. What’s more, it is very satisfying to watch their confidence grow as they learn and develop new skills.

We also offer a full time football coaching project and an exclusive full time sports project where you are able to coach badminton, volleyball, throw ball, cricket, football and tennis. If you have a preference for another sport please let us know at the time of booking and we will try our best to accommodate you.

SUMMER CAMPS:
During the summer holidays many of the schools offer SUMMER CAMPS to the students. Teaching of conversational English during this holiday is available to approximately 60 students who attend the camp. These camps normally take place on the school grounds and are an opportunity to give more informal lessons. They can also be combined with playing sports or putting together a play. Therefore the camps are much more relaxed and not quite so structured. They a lot of fun! and the kids adore them!

Teaching is not available during the other holiday periods, so please take the above dates into account when planning your placement. On the other hand, if a holiday falls during your proposed placement, you could use this time to do any independent travelling and sightseeing.

SCHOOL HOLIDAYS:
Please keep in mind that school holidays can change unexpectedly with very little notice given. Although at times this can be quite inconvenient, most of our volunteers use the opportunity to travel around and explore the country.

  • First Term Vacation: 26 September to 6 October 2015
  • Gandhi’s birthday: 2 October 2015
  • Bakrid: 3 October 2015
  • Diwali Holiday: 21 to 23 October 2015
  • Second Term Vacation: 24 December 2015 to 3 January 2016
  • Pongal Holiday: 14 to 17 January 2016
  • Republic Day: 26 January 2016
  • Good Friday: 25 March 2016
  • Summer Vacation: 11 April to 4 June 2016
  • Idu’l Fitr : 5 July 2016
  • Independence Day: 15 August 2016

Exam Periods: (approx):

  • Quarterly Exams: 18 to 25 September 2015
  • Half Yearly Exams: 10 to 23 December 2015
  • Annual Exams: 2 to 11 April 2016 (although teaching is limited from Mid March)

ACCOMMODATION

For a complete Indian experience we arrange for you to stay with one of wonderful host families. All of our hosts are very welcoming and not only will be made to feel part of the family, you’ll also gain a great insight into Indian culture and customs. Many of our volunteers remain friends with their host families long after they leave India and in some cases they return to the country later especially to visit their family.

You may share a room with up to 2 other volunteers and in most of the houses you'll have an en-suite, Western-style bathroom. Most of the showers in our host accommodation are cold water only – however your hosts will boil water for you on request.

Wi-Fi / Internet: There are no internet facilities in the host family accommodation, but less than 1 minute walk away there is an internet café and costs less than £1 an hour.

All of our host family houses are close together and just a few minutes’ walk away from internet cafes, banks and snack shops and just a short auto ride into the centre of town.

FOOD:
Breakfast and dinner will be provided and prepared for you by the family and is mainly local fare allowing you to taste a varied selection of delicious south Indian dishes and exotic fruits. You will need to make provision for your own lunch.

BOOK NOW! SEE ALL PROJECTS IN INDIA info@travellersworldwide.com
Accommodation host family house on the India Volunteering Projects
This beautiful Host Family home, seen from the outside, is the one most used for our volunteers in India.
Teaching a volunteer some Indian cooking
Anitha (left), Travellers' India Manager, shows one of our volunteers some of the arts of Indian cooking!
BACK TO TOP

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

YOUR SAFETY, SUPPORT AND BACKUP:
Read important information about the Support & Backup you receive before you leave and during your programme.

Read about the Safety and Security measures we take to ensure your safety and wellbeing while on our programme.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU BOOK YOUR PLACEMENT?
Once you have applied for a placement, we'll contact you and send you our Welcome Pack. You'll also receive Log-on details and password for our Volunteer Extranet where you'll have access to all the documentation and information which we've put together to facilitate preparations for your adventure! Your Project Co-ordinator for your country will liaise with you throughout the arrangements process, as well as while you're on your placement and on your return home.

The documents you'll have access to also include a Country Factfile, Safety Guide and any manuals that may assist you on your particular programme (e.g. Teaching Guide, Sports Manuals, Enrichment Suggestions for Animal Care, etc.). We do all we can to make your stay one that you'll never forget. This is a truly awesome, elegant and beautiful country.

On Arrival, your Introduction to the Country:
When you arrive you will be welcomed by a member of our team who will take you to your accommodation and introduce you to everyone. During your first few days you'll be given an induction so that you can learn about the country and its culture, as well as other useful information, like how to use the transport system, banks, safety issues, tipping, and lots more.

VOLUNTEERING WITH CHILDREN AND VULNERABLE ADULTS
As well as protecting all our volunteers, Travellers Worldwide is committed to all our projects and dedicated to practices which protect children and vulnerable adults from harm. Read Travellers' Child Care and Vulnerable Adults Policy.

BOOK NOW! SEE ALL PROJECTS IN INDIA info@travellersworldwide.com DOWNLOAD THIS INFORMATION in .pdf How to Fundraise for your Program

ANY QUESTIONS?

Please with any questions and include your phone number, if possible, to help us give you the best possible response.

We'll get back to you very shortly, but if you haven't heard from us within one working day, please check your Junk Mail / Spam folder. Thank you.

A volunteer in front of the amazing Meenakshi Temple in Madurai
A volunteer in front of the amazing Meenakshi Temple in Madurai. It's stunning and not fully appreciated until you get there and see it.!
BACK TO TOP

OPTIONAL ADD-ON ACTIVITIES:

Make the most of your time there! To help you do that, we've put together some exciting activities, courses and tours that you can add to your itinerary. These are designed to be fun, but also to enable you to learn, and expand your personal and professional development enjoyment ... but mostly for your enjoyment! :-)

Rickshaw Tour of the City in India

CYCLE RICKSHAW TOUR OF MADURAI:
Prices:
One person: £18 for the 3-hour tour
Two people sharing: £11 for the 3-hour tour.

Relax and take in the sights with your personal rickshaw driver! You'll be picked up from your accommodation at 10am and you'll visit the Gandhi Museum, the Palace and take in the beautiful flower market, vegetable market, bamboo market and also get to see basket weaving. This is a fun way to see some of the cultural sights of Madurai that you wouldn't see otherwise.

The tour will last for 3 hours and you will be dropped back at your accommodation at 1pm. The tour doesn't allow time to enter the Palace or the Gandhi Museum, but you can arrange to visit these at another time.

Don’t forget to take your camera - your carriage awaits!

Book Now


Bollywood Dancing Lessons in India

BOLLYWOOD DANCE CLASSES:
Price: £39 for 4-Week dance course (12 hrs), concurrent with your main project. 12 lessons in total (3 x 1-hour lessons a week), excludes transport.

Bollywood dance classes - a fun way of learning some fantastic moves, whilst at the same keep keeping fit! All levels are catered for and the lessons are taken at one of Madurai’s leading dance studios. Three private Bollywood classes per week, each lasting one hour. The course location is only 20 minutes by auto from your accommodation. By the end of the course you will have learnt a dance routine to a whole song from an Indian movie.

Bollywood is the largest film producer in India and one of the largest in the world. Bride and Prejudice is typical of the modern day films, with love, romance, singing, flamboyant costumes and hypnotic dancing. The teacher has over 10 years' experience teaching Bollywood Dance and has put on a number of productions in Madurai and around Tamil Nadu.

Book Now

Indian Cookery Lessons

INDIAN COOKERY CLASSES:
Prices:
1 Cookery class running concurrently with your project (1 Lesson spread over two days): £38.
A One Month Cookery Course (4 Lessons, one a week): £115

Our cooking classes are held by a local trained cook who currently teaches cooking in a school in Madurai. Classes are held after 3.30pm and for one cooking session, 2 days are required. You'll make a total of 8 dishes consisting of a rice or bread dish; a meat and a vegetable dish and a dessert. Vegetarians can choose 2 vegetable dishes.

You'll choose your menu beforehand and the teacher will take you shopping to the local market. You'll prepare and eat the first of your 4 dishes. The following day you'll again make 4 dishes of your choice and then enjoy tucking into your sumptuous meal.

If you're interested in discovering more about cooking, you can take a month of classes (one session each week for 4 weeks). If food is one of life’s pleasures for you, then this opportunity is not to be missed!

Book Now

Tamil Language Lessons

TAMIL LANGUAGE COURSES:

  • 2-Week Tamil course: Price: £40
  • 4-Week Tamil course: Price: £80
  • 8-Week Tamil course: Price: £160
  • 12-Week Tamil course: Price: £240

Vanakam - Welcome! Don’t miss this exciting opportunity to learn Tamil, the official language of Tamil Nadu with one to one lessons with a private tutor. These language lessons are available to do at the same time as your main project. Learning a little Tamil will enrich your time here immeasurably, enabling you to converse with the locals, order a drink in a restaurant and not forgetting watching all the Tamil dramas on TV!

Your lessons will be individually tailored to your requirements and are conducted at the home of a local retired Lecturer who worked at Madurai Kamaraj University in Madurai for 27 years. Whatever your level/requirements, the teacher is dedicated in helping you achieve your goals. For the 2-Week or longer course, lessons will normally be held Monday to Friday for one hour each day. All you need to take is your own notebook and stationery. Please note that transport to and from the class is not included in the cost.

Book Now

Yoga and Meditation Classes

YOGA AND MEDITATION COURSES:
Prices:
2-Week Yoga and Meditation Combined Course: £44
4-Week Yoga and Meditation Combined Course: £88
8-Week Yoga and Meditation Combined Course: £176
Excludes transport.

Meditation is a mind-body practice and you'll learn to relax your body and mind and create a focused awareness to bring you stillness and inner peace. Your lessons will be conducted at the home of a lady teacher who has more than 7 years' experience as a Yoga Practitioner and Trainer. The courses comprise one x 1-hour lesson per day, Monday to Friday only. The 2 week course will consist of the following:

  • Asanas (posture)
  • Pranayama
  • Kriya
  • Meditation

The 4 and 8 week courses will consist of the same as above, but includes Surya Namaskar.

Book Now

Terms and Conditions apply for Add-Ons, please see here.

SEE ALL PROJECTS IN INDIA info@travellersworldwide.com

BACK TO TOP

LOCATION | SIGHTSEEING:

INDIA REALLY HAS IT ALL, from the hot sultry deserts of Rajasthan, the Taj Mahal and the majestic Himalayas in the north, to the idyllic palm fringed beaches and ancient temples of the south, plus a multitude of wildlife parks! The way to best enjoy India is to absorb it - the warmth of the people, the beauty, the smells, the food, and the wonderful hospitality!

LOCATION: MADURAI:
Many of our projects are based in the bustling city of Madurai in the southern state of Tamil Nadu. Madurai is known by many names; ‘Jasmine city’ for the famous jasmine flowers that are cultivated here, ‘the city of Nectar’, Legend tells of a river of nectar that flowed after blessing from Lord Shiva, and the ‘Temple City’.

Madurai really does have a temple or shrine on practically every street but it is most famed for the Sri Meenakshi Sundeswarar Temple. Pilgrims and tourists alike flock to visit the temple and approximately 10,000 visit every day! The temple is named after goddess Meenakshi. It was built in the 17th century and is an enormous structure with 5 outer towers crammed full of idols and animals. The inner courtyard contains another 7 towers, again all highly adorned. It will take your breath away.

Madurai is located on Vaigai River and was the capital of Pandyan rulers till the 14th century. It is full of cultural diversity and life revolves around the awe inspiring Sri Meenakshi Sundareswarar temple, awash with pilgrims, market stalls and tourist shops.

Children will stop you on the streets to chat to you and shake your hand and even ask for your autograph! You will be in demand everywhere you go and you’ll feel like a celebrity, such is the warmth of the Indian people. If you’re after an overwhelming experience, then Madurai is a certainty for this!

KERALA:
KERALA has been named ""Gods own Country" by the locals for its stunning scenery, wildlife, beautiful beaches, picture postcard towns and the breaktaking backwaters. It is also the home of Ayurveda medicine, an ancient system using essential oils and vigorous massage to aid medical complaints or just for pampering - a one hour massage is an unforgettably relaxing experience.

Kerala also has one of the best wildlife parks in the country; Periyar. A huge array of activities are on offer, jungle trekking and jeep safari’s which take you off the beaten track in the hope of spotting an elusive tiger although you are more likely to see elephants, boar, monkeys and many species of birds. You can also take an elephant ride, boat ride, visit spice and tea plantations, watch martial arts – it’s an action packed weekend and only 4 hours from Madurai!

TRAVEL:

Read about Travel arrangements and what happens when you arrive in your new country.

BOOK NOW! SEE ALL PROJECTS IN INDIA info@travellersworldwide.com
A volunteer in front of the amazing Meenakshi Temple in Madurai
A volunteer in front of the amazing Meenakshi Temple in Madurai. It's stunning and not fully appreciated until you get there and see it.!
BACK TO TOP
REVIEWS AND FEEDBACK:

VINCENT BONETTO
Canadian
Teaching Children in Schools in Madurai
Plus Coaching Sports

Madurai is a wonderful city. When I arrived, I immediately noticed all the colors present everywhere. Very different from Montreal where it is mostly grey. In Madurai, I fell like there is life everywhere. About the placement, everyone we meet is extremely nice and welcoming. A truly great experience.

I am becoming more capable to handle and teach relatively large groups of children. I felt more organised in the sense that I know more what I have to do and when I have to do it.

Everything has been great, but I really enjoy the fact that we are free to do what we want in our free time. If we are tired, we can rest and if we are feeling adventurous, we can go explore the city out of the tourist areas.

I would recommend this placement. This was an amazing experience for me and I would definitively, recommend this placement to anyone who wants to do a similar project. The type of person this placement would suit is someone who is open to new experiences and who is active and energetic. Since everyone is so accommodating, this placement can suit anyone as long as they enjoy sports or fitness activities ... The host family is welcoming and understanding. When you start knowing them better, the trip becomes much more fun since they recommended more things and activities to do. It essentially become living with friends.

THOMAS GAUVIN
Canadian
Teaching Children in Schools in Madurai
Plus Coaching Sports

Madurai: It’s a nice city, full of temples and very culturally focused. Main attraction is the Sri Meenakshi temple and the rest of the city surrounds it. Many colors, odurs and the sounds are omnipresent in this city. The people are nice if you meet them with a host parent. Otherwise, they want to sell you something.

Placement: All 3 schools were quite welcoming. We were often offered snacks and the teachers are very glad of our work. Many times they went out if their way to give us more coaching opportunities. The children are very energetic! Some are annoying, some are little angels, nothing is surprising here!

I fell have gained leadership, organisation, cultural awareness, fun, patience.

Leadership: In my opinion, you shouldn’t be the boss of the class but rather the leader. The classmates are your team and together you must learn and improve, which is what I did during my placement.

Organisation: we have clearly developed our organisation as we have had to be on schedule, even during our evening activities.

Cultural awareness: We have learned much, especially the way people think here. I love the Indian mindset.

Patience: I have had to stay patient with the annoying kids and found new ways to make them behave.

Fun: Throughout my placement, I have had a lot of fun. I was smiling and joking with the children as I tried to learn a Tamil word I couldn’t pronounce.

I also now know how to teach a class and have a week schedule with every new game and an hourly schedule with every activity during a period.

Without a doubt, the best thing about my placement has been the people arranging thus placement. Anitha and Lakshmanan have been extremely helpful going out of their way to help me (repair my camera). Furthermore, the gym teachers were always happy and inviting. They often arranged for us to have more coaching opportunities which is something I truly appreciated.

I would recommend this placement. The current host family is perfect. If would be impossible to have better! The school teaching is quite entertaining and you can always have a good laugh with the children. This placement would suit sporty people who practice a sport they can teach at home. An aspiring gym-teacher ... The placement was great! We are rushing to get though everything we planned for the trip.

GERALDINE BORG
Maltese
Care for Children in an Orphanage in Madurai
Plus Teaching Children in Schools

I'm not sure how my love for India began, but I do know that I had been wanting to visit India for the past seven years. Finally, the time to realise this dream came this Summer. I decided to combine voluntary work there, with some travelling during weekends and after my placements. Via the internet, I came across Travellers. Emails and phone calls ensued and everything was sorted!

Nothing I had read, watched or heard could have prepared me enough for the reality of India. India is another world, incredible in all ways. I soon accepted the fact that my feet and nails would never be completely clean, that the hooting is incessant and that I was to be awoken early everyday by squawking crows, cheerful chipmunks, and noisy sellers and prayers! This charming city I made my new home in, is a place without road signs or garbage bins; where men wear ‘skirts’ and women do all the hard labour; where there are power cuts everyday; where people eat strange food, with their right hands; where people have time to stand around and stare; where no one grumbles; and where everyone welcomes you.

For one month, I taught conversational English at an underprivileged primary school every morning; and worked at an Orphanage every afternoon. At the school I taught 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th standards everyday. Each lesson was approximately 40 minutes and through a variety of topics, the children would practise saying different things. I used to buy materials from the stationer in our road and the supermarket close by. I especially enjoyed topics that allowed me to introduce different cultures, such as the lessons on manners and customs; and lifestyles, with 4th and 5th standards; and those that allowed me to refer to India, such as when using famous Indian people to talk about different professions.

My placement at the Orphanage was an eye-opener into the different standards of medical care in the East. As a psychology graduate and psychotherapist it was very interesting for me to observe the children's relational and attachment patterns, form of play, and milestones reached. There were other volunteers at the orphanage, and their company and their teaching me how to change 'napkins', bottle feed and burp the babies, made all the difference! It may seem like a cliché, but in India, I forgot myself – my problems and the life I no longer recognised back home – and found myself. Meaning that I embraced a new way of being and a new purpose to my life. For me there is nothing more rewarding than teaching children who are genuinely hungry to learn.

My Indian students’ politeness, respect and eagerness touched my heart everyday. The orphans taught me how one can have nothing and be happy, because indeed we don’t actually need anything to be happy. Happiness is after all, an internal state of being. Furthermore, having the opportunity to travel both throughout my placement (with my kid sisters, the other three volunteers who lived with me :), and for two weeks after, on my own, enabled me to truly experience the awe-inspiring diversity and contrasts India is so known for.

Feeling joyful and peaceful inside, everyday; and being honestly happy with all that I am and have, was one of my main personal experiences in India. Returning to Malta was extremely hard for me and I believe part of me is still there, in South Street, Singarayar Colony - greeting the barefooted-children, admiring the colourful saris and absorbing every aspect of fascinating India.

I will never forget my warm host mother and the wonderful volunteers, who became my new family; the welcoming, friendly school principal and teachers; all the amazing students and resilient orphans; and the very helpful Travellers staff. It's these people who made my time in Madurai so very special.

LYDIA TYRRELL
Irish
Teaching Children in Schools in Madurai

I suppose the story that sums up my experience is the fact that I didn't want to leave. I had done 3 months teaching and as Annual exams were approaching I got very worried because I really didn't want to finish, but teaching wasn't really an option as the children would be busy with exams.

It was the whole experience that I didn't want to end though - life with my host family, meeting other volunteers in Madurai, going away at weekends........ So Karen [Travellers India Project Co-Ordinator] suggested that I change projects. That is how I came to be working in the orphanage. I got a completely different experience that I never expected to have and I had an amazing time. Although in the end I had to leave, I braced myself for it and I am still so thankful that I got to stay on longer. I am still going to do some travelling, but I felt my time was better spent in Madurai than travelling for two whole months.

I was very happy with the information I got. Everything seemed to be covered, from information on the family, on the school and on the country. There was even important information that I wouldn't have even known to ask about. I can't think of anything that I wished I had known or that I wasn't prepared for by the pack or by Karen.....

I'm still baffled by how hard Karen works. Any little query I had she was able to help me with immediately. Any time, day or night she has been there, even when she isn't needed for company and support. It wouldn't be the same without her. Even a couple of weeks after my placement has finished and she still makes sure I'm okay and offers me help if I need it. She has made India a much less scary place for me. It was one hundred times more than I expected. I felt totally supported by the team at all times and I am thrilled with the experience I have had.

ALEX CRESSWELL
British
Care for Children in an Orphanage in Madurai
Plus Teaching English to Children in Schools

Hi Karen [Travellers Team], My bags arrived in Madurai on Friday morning :) I was in Mamallapuram this weekend with Holly and Alyss so Anita and Lakshmanan [Travellers team] were kind enough to collect them for me! They have been fantastic, I would have been very lost without them.

My projects are wonderful. The orphanage has been eye opening for me, with lots and lots of new experiences. You definitely get thrown in at the deep end but I am thoroughly enjoying it. Even if it means I am up at 6.15 every morning. I start the school properly tomorrow so I will let you know how it goes. I have just been to visit the Headmistress to speak to her about what I will be doing and the impact it should have upon the children conversational English.

I have felt completely supported the whole time I have been here. Everybody (including strangers) are very kind and helpful. I know if I have any questions or troubles I have lots of people to help me on the end of the phone etc. I have also been able to help the sisters at the orphanage with their English. I am having a great time...

Madurai is really nice, which allows you to have a close look at Indian life and culture without feeling overwhelmed or unsafe due to the size of the city. The orphanage is a lovely place which highly appreciates your work. The staff are lovely and welcoming. The school again is a nice place with welcoming staff.

I feel I have gained confidence, understanding of different cultures + traditions, working with people from different backgrounds, teaching experience and care experience. I am enjoying the school because it is allowing me to gain a deeper understanding of Indian life and culture whilst gaining more teaching experience. The orphanage is fantastic as I am able to really help and make a difference. The children and staff are really welcoming and thoroughly appreciate what you do.

I would recommend both placements to future volunteers. The placement would suit a person who is:
Orphanage – kind, caring, hardworking, someone who wants to help, someone who loves children and is confident around children.
School – confident, who wants to learn more about the culture, hardworking.

NICOLA SCOTT
British
Teaching Children in Schools in Madurai

I'm coming towards the end of my placement in Madurai and what a fantastic time I've had! The school has been great, the teachers really made me feel welcome. I was always being invited to their houses and even went shopping with them!

Yesterday was my last day and I was sad to go. The teachers bought me a chudidar and bangles to remember them by, and all the kids were giving me ''Happy Journey" cards and asking me to come back one day!

I was teaching ages 8 - 13 and they were great fun. My lessons were quite informal and I tried to choose topics that interested them, they have their own teachers to do the boring stuff with! They loved it when we did a lesson on cinema and I could talk about their favourite Tamil films!

Living here has made me feel part of the community, we are always recognised especially in the internet place, the phone shop and the bakery! South India is a beautiful place and we've had some great weekends in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Last weekend we were in Kanyakumari, the southern most point of the country, and went paddling in the sacred meeting point of the Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean and Bay of Bengal. We were having a lovely time but whilst we were posing for photos I noticed my shoes floating off to sea and had to go chasing after them......

Tomorrow, Robin and I are leaving Madurai and travelling up to Chennai via Pondicherry and Mahabilapuram before our flight home next week. It will be strange to go and know we are never coming back, but I've had an amazing experience here which I will always remember!

A teaching placement is suitable for anyone who is looking for a challenge because although it is very rewarding it is not always easy, also people who are eager to learn about another culture because there is much opportunity for talking to the children and the teachers. The placement has given me the experience of living in a very different country and helped me become more aware and understanding of other cultures. Teaching conversational English has given me the confidence to work at a challenge and use my initiative to help overcome any difficulties I encounter. It has been a valuable and memorable experience. Thank you!!

Can you describe a typical day?
The car would come to take me to school at half past 8. Every morning there would be an assembly before lessons began at 9.05. There were 8 lessons a day, of which I would be teaching 2/3. During the mid-morning break (10.25-10.35) a man from the canteen would come round to sell us samosas and chai! The lunch break was half an hour, most teachers would eat in their classrooms with the children and I ate with the few who didn’t have their own classes. We all shared our food with each other!

The day would finish at 3.15 unless there was a special function for the teachers after school, such as my leaving gathering on the last day!

CATHERINE WILLIAMS
British
Teaching Children in Schools in Madurai

I am gaining immeasurable amounts of experience over a whole spectrum of issues and primarily, excellent experience of teaching which will aid my PGCE application. I feel that I am gaining experience of another culture first hand, experience of life and learning a lot about myself too. The placement in India has challenged me in so many ways. I have a much deeper sense of gratitude for my life at home now. It is very unique to live in another country for a protracted period and embrace a different way of life. After all, you don't learn about a country just through a textbook!

The best thing about the about the placement is the children, their enthusiasm and energy has been delightful. I would most definitely recommend this placement. I abhor clichés but this really is an experience of a lifetime, miss at your peril!

This placement would suit someone who is enthusiastic and enjoys working with children. This may seem an obvious point to make but I really do feel it is important (for the volunteer as much as the children) that the volunteer has had some kind of pervious experience of teaching or working with children; to gain the most from the placement. The teachers expect you to plan lessons and teach straight away. Without previous experience and added culture shock, I can imagine it possibly being quite daunting.

Can you describe a typical day?
School begins at 9:10 and finishes at 16:00. There are 7 periods of teaching in the school day and I teach for 4 of those per day. During my free periods I interact with other staff and plan lessons. Lessons are a mixture of my own material and syllabus expected to be studied by the school.

Lunch time is 12:25-12:50. I alternate between sitting with the secondary school teachers and with the primary teachers and their students.

I've tried to throw myself into the whole experience to gain the most enjoyment and I can eat successfully with my right hand now!

PAUL WHITE
British
Teaching Children in Schools in Madurai

I am alive and well and back at home! Had a wonderful time and am missing the food and weather already. The principal, the teachers, and indeed everybody in Kerala, went out of their way to make me feel welcome. I altered my itinerary at the end and went to Kodaikanal and Periyar rather than Ooty. It was one of the major highlights of the trip, trekking through the Periyar forest and seeing wild elephants drinking by the lake - so it was a good decision. I stayed in some excellent hotels, should you require any recommendations.

I hear you have someone going out for five months, he's a lucky man, I'll be happy to talk to him should you wish.

Thanks again for arranging such an excellent trip, hopefully it won't be the last (I quite fancy Sri Lanka)..... I've also given your details to a language teacher friend.

CATHERINE WILLIAMS
British
Teaching Children in Schools in Madurai

Having done a placement where I have become part of a community and lived in the same way in which they do, I feel I have gained a greater understanding of the Indian culture and people compared to what I would have learnt as a passing tourist. The best thing about my placement would be getting to know both the children and staff at my school. They allow a real insight into seeing how friendly and open the Indian culture really is.

Although hard at times, I found the teaching to be both rewarding and very enjoyable. The children are very charismatic and desperate to get to know more about you.

I would recommend this placement to others, especially those with a bit of 'get up and go' as there is the opportunity to travel quite a bit at weekends thus the right person could have an amazing time. In order for someone to really make the most of their placement and to see a bit of India they would have to be adventurous, patient and have a desire to know more about the country and its people.

Can you describe a typical day?
My Auto driver, Ramu, drops me off at school where lessons start at 8.30. On average I have three 45 - minute lessons per day but this does vary. At 2.30pm Ramu is waiting at the school gates to take me home as school has finished for the day. In the afternoons we generally go to the 'Akash Club', which has a lovely swimming pool and a gym if you are feeling particularly energetic. From 5 - 6pm we have our yoga lessons on the rooftop of our yoga teacher's house, which is very enlightening! Then we have supper around 8.30pm made for us by our cook Sumiti, which is always very tasty.

KIRSTY McIVER
British
Teaching Children in Schools in Madurai

I woke up the morning after Boxing Day and knew two things: that I wanted to go to India very soon, and that I wanted to teach English. Travellers Worldwide made that happen for me and in the space of 6 weeks from making the initial phone call, I was being met at Madurai airport by Karen and Pradeep.

From that moment I had an Indian family, and from the moment I was welcomed into school I had an Indian life!

I woke up in an Indian home to the sound of early morning street sellers and the calling to prayer at the local mosque, I travelled the morning streets with the rest of Madurai in an auto (driven daily by Ramu, the wonderful Travellers auto driver), I spent all day surrounded by children beside themselves with excitement to learn from me, learning more from them than they could ever know.

I spent the afternoons and evenings strolling the bazaars or round the neighbourhood, seeing our friends in the tailor's market or the juice stall or the internet cafe, then home for dinner and family time in the house with Anitha's family and the other volunteers. Every other day Karen [Travellers' India Co-ordinator] popped round to Anitha's, I popped round to Karen's (just down the road), we went to Coffee Day (when you go, you'll know) with Karen or Karen met us in town for a leisurely dinner on one of the rooftop restaurants. At the weekends, I went away, to the coast (Varkala, Mamallapuram) or the mountains (Kodai), to escape the intense heat and crowds of the city.

With Travellers, I really lived in India. With the lifestyle and routine described above, I never felt like a tourist trying to scratch under the surface, because I was already there. I lived and taught in Madurai for a month. I did it because I wanted to really get to know India through the eyes of an Indian, and because I wanted to help the children speak the best English possible.

What I got out of it was so much more than that, because the Indian people and the children gave so much back. I can't recommend it enough!

CRAIG ECKERSLEY
British
Teaching Children in Schools in Madurai

Our main aim was to teach the pupils English grammar and pronunciation by talking and reading to them and then giving them opportunities to speak. Additionally, we would teach them about our British and European cultures. Usually I started a lesson by asking the pupils to ask me questions. This provided the starting point for conversations about issues such as our families and friends, our life stories, our education and profession, our home, our country and its landscape and climate, and our traditions. If the pupils were reluctant to volunteer any questions, my alternative course of action was to borrow a textbook and read from it. Towards the end of our stay, the senior students asked me to talk in detail about physics and aeronautics, and I gave some very impressive lectures.

We spent Christmas in Kanyakumari, the southernmost place in India, where the Arabian Sea, the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal meet. I found it very peculiar when I became sunburnt on Christmas Eve. The countryside in Tamil Nadu was different than in Kerala: it was more mountainous and less forested and wild boars used to run loose in the streets.

After Boxing Day, we spent three days in Thampanoor, in the centre of Trivandrum, where we met the Principal and his driver. On the first day we attended a sports event at a very large school in the outside of Trivandrum. The day after, we went on a boat tour on the backwaters, which became very exciting when the boat's motor stopped. Fortunately it eventually started again and we got back to dry land, after which we visited Trivandrum Zoo.

We spent the New Year in Kovalam, a popular beach resort south of Trivandrum. It was again an unusual experience when we celebrated the Millennium New Year's Eve sitting on the beach in our shirtsleeves. We went to a beachfront restaurant every night and watched the sun set over the Arabian Sea. At night, we would see faint lights on the horizon as people spent the night out at sea in their fishing boats.

We were always very popular at events such as the Christmas Function and visits from the Bishop, when we were always asked to give readings, make speeches or present awards.

Most of the state was covered in coconut palm forests, even in the towns and cities. There were also numerous mango, jack fruit, papaya and pineapple trees, to name a few. The most common birds were crows, sparrows and mina birds, although we sometimes saw beautiful blue and brown kingfishers, much larger than the ones that we would see in Britain. Once, while we were sitting on the roof of the Girls' Hostel watching distant thunderstorms, I saw a green parrot flying through the trees. At night, small bats would fly around in large numbers, although I did occasionally see large ones.

During our last few days, the staff and pupils gave us numerous charming votes of appreciation and we received many beautiful presents. Anyone planning to visit India should not expect to have a cosy time or to live in comfort. However, what one should expect is to see to and live in a completely different world, to be integrated into welcome into a warm, friendly community and to do something worthwhile for other people, for which one will be highly respected.

KASIA MARKIEWICZ
British
Teaching Children in Schools in Madurai
Plus Coaching Swimming

I did a variety of projects in India - a teaching placement in Madurai, teaching Swimming and English in two different schools and crafts in a deaf school. I wanted to have this experience because I had never been to India or travelled on my own. Being there I met lots of lovely people who also went with Travellers.

My placement was fantastic, working with the children in India and meeting so many new people through it. Giving something back to the schools and community is such a great feeling and the smiles on the children's faces are unforgettable. I gained a life changing experience, teaching, living and meeting people in India and would definitely do it again. It has been the most incredible 2 months.

ROBIN MUKHERJEE
British
Teaching Children in Schools in Madurai

I'm having a great time here in Madurai and cannot believe I'm almost half way through the placement already! I'm really enjoying the routine of school during the day and bakery straight after to stock up on cakes and pringles!

The day at school generally consists of taking lessons and free periods where I plan lessons. I'm doing kindergarten to 9th standard and the little ones are certainly a challenge! There is quite a language barrier between me and the staff (and children!) but the teachers are still very friendly. The school servant doesn't speak a word of English but she always greets me with a smile every morning.

The children (younger ones mainly) can be quite badly behaved but that's part of the challenge and experience. Most are eager to learn and like to run up to me and show their work!

It's all good and I'm already thinking about future placements!

SHARON PERRY
British
Teaching Children in Schools in Madurai

Wow I can’t believe that I have been here 3 months, but the time has flown by and life has been full of surprises. The kids have been great making the experience so worthwhile. Memories are plentiful and words can never fully express how my time here has been. A smile is warming but their “hello’s” are more. Shaking hands with strangers never feels odd here.The auto drivers are very willing to help you photograph the sights – make full use of these free and friendly guides. They love that you are interested enough to record their city/country.

Travel and see Periyar – a truly fantastic experience – riding the elephant. Kanyakumari is another must – to dip your toes in the 3 oceans. But always come back to “COFFEE DAY” if only to cool off.

Enjoy your time here, I hope you have as much fun and laughter as I have!

COSIMA CRAWLEY and LAURA LLEWELYN
British
Teaching Children in Schools in Madurai

We arrived in Madurai just over a week ago and there is lots to tell! Our journey was long but smooth running. Pradeep met us at the airport and we drove a sleepy journey to Madurai. The house we are staying in is perfect and we are having the best time.

The school we are teaching in is exactly what we had hoped for and all the teachers are very kind and thoughtful. It is a little bit daunting standing in front of a class for the first time but I think we are getting on okay and the children are very sweet and polite.

What struck us straight away about India was the number of people! As we drove through Trivandrum we saw so many things that it was hard to take it all in! And no one seems to be in a hurry - they're often just hanging out. The driving is another extraordinary aspect. There seems to be no road signs and no particular side of the road for traffic to stick to. Just to add to this chaos, cows wander aimlessly down the middle of the road while cars and bikes lethally swerve around them! We are now becoming immune to this and England will seem ridiculously tame!

CLAIRE DASCOMBE
British
Teaching Children in Schools in Madurai

Everything's going really well and I've settled in now - it's strange how quickly things become familiar! The volunteer house is really nice and certainly exceeded my expectations! The 6 of us are all getting on well and have had several weekends away which has given us an opportunity to explore more of south India.

Found the teaching really hard work at first, especially noise and discipline, but again I feel as though my management of these factors is improving. Overall I'm very happy with the placement.

ALEX CANN
British
Teaching Children in Schools in Madurai

The staff at were very accommodating and had me teaching by the end of my second day at the school. I taught anything from cricket or football to Drama and English.

Many of the children seemed totally fed up with learning their standard material just to pass exams and seemed to love having something different to do. I found that the kids loved a lesson listening to different forms of Western music. They took real enjoyment from doing drama games and despite some difficulties in the language barrier, always gave it their best effort.

I really really enjoyed my time and would definitely consider going back to do another placement.

ENNA GAHIA
British
Teaching Children in Schools in Madurai

The placement is going well. The school is better off than others, but does have very basic resources. The children are very friendly and excited. I feel like a movie star! The older children are keen to learn about London which they have heard off. They are not familiar with Britain.

As a teacher I have found the lack of resources and whole class teaching quite challenging, but I am learning to improvise e.g using a piece of chalk as a microphone and moving furniture back so we can sit in a circle. The teachers have been welcoming and are also interested in the UK and how things are done there. They are also interested in my background as my family are from Gujerat, India. Whenever I am asked where I am from, I answer London. The reply usually is 'but you look Indian'.

I do wish I could stay longer as some of the younger children have just started to feel comfortable with me and one of the older classes are so interested in finding things out about me and my life in the UK. I have talked about teaching methods at home and tried to think of how they can be applied here given the lack of resources. I'm not sure if they truly get it though.

I am leaving most of my resources that I brought and have stuck a couple of alphabet and number posters on the wall, much to the children's delight. The teachers are worried that the children will tear it and want to put it away or place it high on the wall, out of reach. I insisted on leaving it there explaining that it needs to be at their eye level. I have also displayed some of the children in school notice board and some in the classrooms. Lots of excitement there!

So as you can see. I am not ready to leave! I am sure I will keep in touch with the school as several teachers have already exchanged addresses and e-mail adresses with me and Standard 4 class wanted my address too, so I gave my school in London and they all copied it into their books!