When I was 20 years old I decided to travel to one of the most populous and interesting countries in the whole world – India. Oh, and did I mention that I went alone? I volunteered for a healthcare project in New Delhi where we helped patients in a slum clinic. Read on to find out more.
I was born in a smallish town in England that wasn’t really known for much other than an old, bent church. Growing up I’d never really experienced city life but as I became older and more independent, I started to travel more on my own. I fell in love with London – it’s busy streets, abundance of cafes and restaurants as well as the almost uncountable things to do. I found it refreshing after being in my small town for so long.
After a few years of exploring London, I was feeling ambitious. So ambitious, in fact, that I decided to visit New Delhi all on my own for 3 weeks.
What Program Did I Do?
I’d been studying at university for a while and was nearing the end of my second year. I was studying for a degree in Biomedical Science. By now, I was starting to think about jobs and summer internships but the more I researched them, the more I read about all the ‘experience’ I should have. At that point, I had no experience so I started contacting hospitals to try and get some work experience. Days and weeks passed. Nothing. Not even the care home near my house could offer me any work experience. It was getting later and all the places were already full. This led me to start researching volunteering abroad and I ended up choosing a healthcare program based in New Delhi, India.
The company was IVHQ and from the research that I’d done, they seemed the most reasonably priced. At first, I thought it was strange to have to pay so much money to volunteer when essentially you were doing a job for free but IVHQ were very open about where the money went. I signed up for the healthcare program. This involved working in a clinic in the slums of New Delhi. It was open to medical students only and we were to be helping patients, offering advice and distributing medicine. It sounded perfect for me as I was eager to travel and eager to get more experience.
IVHQ offered this program in many different countries, so why did I choose India? Good question. India has always been a country that has fascinated me. I’d grown up with grandparents who adored India – they had visited over 15 times and loved it so much. This had led me to want to see it for myself to find out why they loved it so much. The year before my trip, they had flown out there and stayed for a whole month, just exploring the country they loved. They visited everything – they were even staying in the same hotel as Prince William and Kate at one point!
After years and years of hearing the stories of their adventures in India, I decided it was finally time for me to make mine and embark on my own adventure – my Indian dream.
At this point in time, I still had a few months ahead of me before I headed out to India, however, I had a lot of preparation to do. From buying new clothes to getting vaccines, I did it all.
One thing I got asked very often leading up to my trip was “aren’t you scared?”. Almost everyone I’d told had asked me this very question. My answer? Absolutely not. I’m still not really sure why I was so at ease. I’d read up a lot about India before hand and I’d heard numerous tales – some good and some bad. Somehow, I knew I’d be fine and I was right – I had the most incredible adventure.