In the month of January 2019, FSL-India Kundapur hosted 9 Long Term Volunteers, i.e. 5 from France, 2 from Germany, 1 from Sweden and 1 from Finland at our CEL (Centre for Experiential Living), Kundapur for a week-long orientation. At every orientation, our volunteers are taken through different practical, theoretical and outdoor sessions for their successful journey in India.
Some sessions include conflict management, roles and responsibilities, Culture and Indian lifestyle, Safety guidelines, an introduction to their project and preparation with the coordinator. The roles and responsibilities session started with asking questions on the definition of volunteerism and the required qualities for a volunteer. Group activities, energisers and group bonding games were well appreciated. Every evening, we organised different events for the exchange of ICL (intercultural learning) like Henna application and watching a Bollywood movie. FSL-India also organised some cultural activities in the free time like a tour to Kundapur.
Hanan Aboushakra, Sweden: In the second part of the session, our volunteers went on a project visit to a nearby local school and they presented their country by preparing charts. They taught the children some games and songs and had a great time with them. During the afternoon session, our volunteers were asked to discuss their roles and responsibilities towards different stake holders, i.e. FSL-India, the project and their HF. After the volunteer’s presentation, FSL-India’s facilitator presented Roles and Responsibilities of FSL-India’s Coordinator, Project and HF towards the volunteers.
Laura Kirsi Maria Saukkonen, Finland: In total, I was very happy with the orientation in Kundapur. The atmosphere was warm and welcoming, people were extremely friendly, accommodation quarters were cozy, food was indescribably delicious and lessons about life as a volunteer in India, about Indian cultures and language were informative.
There were some things that could have been mentioned to the volunteers already before arrival, such as that the nights are extremely cold, there may be occasional short periods of water shortages (meaning that while everyone got to shower at least once a day, it was not always at the time of their choosing), and that it would be good to start packing already in the morning of the last day because the exact time of leaving may change.
Nonetheless, everything worked out well in the end and I was left with happy memories of the orientation. There were many great activities, but maybe the most I enjoyed were the movie and giving a presentation, as well as organising games for the children at a local school. The movie was a great way to relax a bit while at the same time, absorbing also some information about Indian culture and the visit to the local school provided truly valuable practical experience.
Orane Feuvrier, France: I really enjoyed the orientation. The sessions are very useful as they give us practical information on different topics (life in India, host family, education system). The place is nice and the food tasty. It was interesting to meet other volunteers and the staff is very welcoming and willing to help with administrative stuff and to answer our questions. Thank you FSL-India!