India is a popular destination for a gap year, to the point that you may even think that it’s passé. However, no matter how well you think you know what an Indian gap year would be like, a country as diverse and energetic as India will always have a few surprises up its sleeve.
Below is a glimpse into 25 of the most surprising things you will discover should you head to India as part of your gap year– why not read through and see if you find yourself tempted?
#1 – India isn’t as crowded as you think it is.
When we picture India, many of us imagine densely-packed streets, huge throngs of traffic, and more people than you could ever possibly count.
While India is undoubtedly a busy country, it’s not quite as busy as you might think. Every city in the world is busy, so India’s are too, but the suburban and rural areas are peaceful, tranquil, and sparsely populated in places.
#2 – India is a varied gap year in and of itself.
India is such a large country that it offers a variety of different gap year experiences inside a single country’s borders. You can enjoy a beach holiday, head for the mountains, volunteer with those in need of assistance, and so much more– it’s possible to experience a hugely varied gap year without ever leaving the country.
#3 – There is no one “Indian cuisine”
People readily associate India with curry, and assume that what they might order from an Indian restaurant is typical of the country.
However it depends where you travel– from the Portuguese-influenced, seafood-based specialities of Goa to the more lightly-spiced dishes in the South and much, much more, there are countless different Indian cuisines.
#4 – 97% of students say a gap year broadened their mind.
Forbes found that 97% of students who took a gap year found that the experience broadened their mind and, in many ways, made them a better person.
No country can have this kind of trans formative impact on you like India, so if you want to expand your horizons, India is an ideal choice.
#5 – You may experience homesickness.
As wonderful as India is, it’s important to acknowledge you will experience periods of homesickness. This will manifest in a variety of different ways. At times you may find yourself wishing for the soothing familiarity of western culture; at others you will miss your family and friends.
It’s important not to expect India to be able to erase the usual issues with homesickness that gap year travellers tend to face; keep a good perspective and you should manage just fine.
#6 – An Indian gap year is what you design it to be.
If you don’t want to do the same old things that every other gap year traveller experiences, then that’s fine– India is such a varied country that you’ll undoubtedly find something that interests you personally. You can pick and choose what you want to do, so don’t let anyone dictate to you what an Indian gap year should be– an Indian gap year is entirely what you make it.
#7 – You can take a gap year at any age, for any reason.
When we talk about gap years, most of us imagine travelling in the year between finishing high school and embarking on university. However, India has plenty to offer older travellers too, so be encouraged to take a year out whenever it suits you so that you can explore the country in all of its glory.
#8 – You’ll have the chance to meet with fellow travellers and share tips.
One of the great things about India is that it’s such a popular gap year destination that you will never want for company. You’ll meet plenty of fellow travellers who will be more than happy to share a host of tips and tricks with you.
#9 – You’ll likely need to have vaccinations.
Check with your doctor which injections you will need; these can vary depending on the time of year you are travelling and your previous inoculation history. However, it’s safe to assume that you will need some vaccinations, so do your research prior to booking your trip.
#10 – You don’t have to backpack if you don’t want to.
Backpacking might be the conventional way of travelling through India on a gap year, but you can manage your own luggage and transport however you choose. You could even take minimal clothes and look to buy outfits as you travel, which gives you a great chance to experience local dress.
#11 – There’s plenty of luxury facilities should you want to use them.
Heading out on a gap year in India doesn’t necessarily mean you have to sleep in hostels; there’s plenty of luxury hotels and facilities if you find yourself in need of a break.
#12 – There are a huge number of different volunteering opportunities throughout the country.
If you want to volunteer as part of your gap year, there are a wide range of options to choose from. You could try your hand at teaching English as a second language, or work with women in an effort to improve empowerment– there’s so many choices, you’re bound to find something that works for you.
#13 – India has a variety of climates you may experience.
Don’t assume that the weather will be hot and humid; check local climate information before travelling so you can be sure you have the right clothes with you.
#14 – You can go mountain climbing in India.
If you want adventure as part of your gap year, then mountain climbing in the Himalayas is the perfect way to achieve this.
#15 – There’s a huge number of beaches to explore.
If you’re a fan of beaches, you’ll absolutely love India. The country features over 7,500 km of coastline, so you’ll never be short of a new beach to try!
#16 – You’ll likely experience some form of culture shock.
India is a wonderful country to visit, but there’s no doubt that you will experience some form of culture shock. It’s a bustling, thriving country, but there are also levels of poverty you will not have experienced before, and it may take you a few days to adjust to the change of pace you experience.
#17 – India is close to a number of great countries if you want to travel further.
Sri Lanka, Nepal, Thailand, and Malaysia are all within relatively easy reach from India, so it makes for a great base if you want to explore the region in more detail.
#18 – You need to be careful with the drinking water.
Stick to bottled water rather than drinking from the tap if you want to avoid stomach complaints.
#19 – English is used more commonly than you might expect.
If you’re concerned about navigating through the country without learning some of the language, then don’t worry: English is common in India, and is actually one of the official languages of the country, so you’ll be fine.
#20 – India has a huge number of festivals to experience.
India has a large number of festivals throughout the year, so there’s a high chance you can combine the time you spend in India with one of these festivals. Here’s a quick overview of upcoming festivals, along with the relevant dates for the next year:
#21 – Finding food is easy for vegetarians.
There are a huge number of vegetarian options throughout India due to religious practices in the country, so vegetarians will find themselves spoilt for choice.
#22 – You’ll learn how to haggle like an expert.
Bargaining and haggling is standard practice in India, so don’t be afraid to ask for the best price– in fact, vendors will expect you to do so! It’s always worth trying to haggle for goods during your stay, and doing so could save you a fortune.
#23 – You’ll become accustomed to heavy street noise and horns.
Indian streets are incredibly noisy, which will feel overwhelming when you first get there. The endless blare of car horns is hard to ignore, and the sheer volume of traffic can also cause problems when you first arrive. However, you’ll be surprised to just how quickly you adjust and learn to filter out extraneous noise that isn’t relevant to what you are doing.
#24 – Your lungs will love travelling in India.
One of the best things about taking a holiday to India is how good it is for your health– most particularly, your lungs. Smoking is illegal in public places in India, so you can travel freely without fear of health repercussions.
#25 – You’ll definitely want to go back.
A huge number of people who travel to India find that they can’t help but want to return to the country again and again. There’s so much to see and explore that a single visit just isn’t enough, and the need for volunteers means you will always be welcome should you wish to visit again.
India is a wonderful, thriving country that offers a diverse travelling experience that brings myriad benefits to any gap year. India should be top of the list when you’re considering gap year experiences; you’re guaranteed to have a wonderful time, and experience things that will stay with you for years to come.
Visit https://www.volunteerindiaispiice.com for more details.