In Dharamsala, a city scavenger hunt led by the CCS staff gives you a chance to get to know your new surroundings. Team up with a small group of fellow volunteers and, with the help of your new neighbors, find your way around town to complete a fun challenge. You may be tasked to find a cell phone, buy eggs, or hunt down a travel agency and book a ticket to Amritsar. No matter what the challenge, it's a great way to quickly get comfortable in this welcoming mountain community.
Visit Mcleod Ganj
See how the Tibetan exile community has preserved their culture. McLeod Ganj, located just minutes from the CCS Home-Base, is home to a substantial Tibetan refugee population. Your group may have an opportunity to join an exclusive tour of the Tibetan Library and Archives led by the library's Director, a practicing Tibetan monk. Or, you may travel to a Tibetan art school to visit with students swirling around paint as they contemplate their works in progress.
photo credit: andrzej_w
Hindi Language Lessons
For many volunteers, Hindi language lessons with CCS are a first. In addition to practicing the elegant calligraphy, you’ll practice spoken Hindi as well. No worries on rocketing to the head of the class, a little goes a long way and just the basics can really help you connect with the community. And if you're a little shaky at first, the local people appreciate your attempts, and are very friendly with their corrections.
Cook Indian Cuisine
Whether you're a newbie to Indian cuisine or your favorite dishes all contain the words "tikka" or "tandoori," your taste buds are in for a treat at weekly cooking classes at your CCS Home-Base. Each week, your group will have a chance to prepare an authentic Indian dish alongside the CCS cooks. Wow friends and family when you take the recipe back home to share and casually mention "Oh yeah, that's my famous aloo jeera. No big deal."
Indian History Lesson
With CCS Dharamsala, there is no shortage of incredible guest lecturers. You'll have a chance to talk with a local professor and talented storyteller on the politics, history, and culture of India. You'll also have have the unique opportunity to learn about the history of CCS in India from one of our founding staffers – Bela Singh, the CCS India Director. With CCS lectures and conversations, it's all fair game.
Dance the Odissi
You'll learn all about Odissi, an Indian classical dance, from a renowned Indian dance instructor. She'll share the significance of each part of the dance, from the clothing and instruments, to the music and the moves. Enjoy a private performance by students from her award-winning dance school, followed by an exclusive lesson so you and your fellow volunteers can learn the basics of the oldest surviving dance in all of India.