Once enrolled, you will have the chance to select the volunteer opportunity that's most interesting to you. Volunteers will always receive their first preference. The only exception to this will be when there are national or school holidays, or there are exceptional circumstances.
In primary schools in Dharamsala, rote memorization is the primary teaching method, and the building infrastructure is poor, with sanitation and nutrition being primary challenges. Students are too often unsupported by both parents and teachers in meeting higher educational goals, as the local employment opportunities are primary made up of skilled and unskilled labor. Volunteers make a significant difference in both primary and early childhood education settings by introducing creative and engaging activities and teaching methods, as well as English language lessons, to support young students in achieving a solid footing in their educational path to continue to secondary school, and beyond.
Home to the Dalai Lama, a vibrant Indian community, and several thousand Tibetan refugees, the misty highlands of Dharamsala are a stark contrast to the buzzing cities found elsewhere in India. Dharamsala's mountainside perch among the clouds gives this rural locale a moving and mysterial quality.
On your gap year in Dharamsala with CCS, you will find two very distinct neighborhoods: Lower Dharamsala and Upper Dharamsala. As the seat of the Tibetan government in exile and the Tibetan community, Upper Dharamsala enjoys more access to resources and services than Lower Dharamsala. This is in part due to the community’s connection to international aid. In Lower Dharamsala, you’ll find an Indian community that gets little to no attention from international aid organizations, and because of this, lacks some of the most basic social services.
On your CCS gap year in Dharamsala, your volunteer work will focus on the lower section, alongside organizations whose efforts support children’s education and women’s rights.
Read more about the India volunteer experience on our blog.
On a CCS Gap Year in Dharamsala, India, you'll live out an amazing adventure in one of the world’s most awe-inspiring, historically significant settings. Perched among the clouds on the Himalayan mountainside, the rural locale of Dharamsala has a moving and mysterious quality. “Dharamsala” loosely translates to “spiritual dwelling,” a resting house for pilgrims. The area is home to a vibrant Indian community and several thousand Tibetan refugees—including His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Programs are available for 1-12 weeks with program fees starting at $2490.