Previous Interns and Testimonials

I gained an insight into development work that I would not have had with a big, packaged expedition. I think this will be valuable to me, those around me, and my future career. – Katie Hill

My favourite part of this experience, apart fromt the cultural exchange, was when I could make the kids enjoy themselves. They would smile, laugh, and misbehave. For me, it meant that they could overcome their difficult circumstances and lead happy lives if they were given the necessary level of support, love and commitment. – Helen Taupin

It was a challenging but extremely interesting experience, allowing me to explore my interest in governance and the field of development, whilst experiencing living in Udaipur and visiting its neighbouring cities. – Matthew Maddison

There were many reasons for not volunteering with a packaged expedition. I wanted the experience of working in development but without the group mentality of a working party. I felt this option would give me much more scope for engaging with the local culture. … There were plenty of opportunities to do a wide variety of work and, depending on their skills, volunteers could…contribute in many different ways. – Tom Wilmot

 


Taking part in DiA’s India Internship Placement Scheme provides young people with a fantastic opportunity to develop new skills and valuable experiences that will remain with them long after they’ve returned to the UK. To read about the experiences of previous interns, please select a name below:

Maria interned with Sharana for 2 months.

I interned in Pondicherry with Sharana. My placement allowed me to experience a different (non-Western) perspective and to understand how a local NGO works and what the needs of a developing country are, in order to have a clear and truthful perspective I can use in my future career

I dealt especially with marketing and communications and helped the Chief Coordinator in different activities: concept and design of Sharana’s new flyer; written proposals for Sharana’s programmes for future donors (and plan prospects for the coming year); marketing and social media activities for Sharana’s products; pictures of each programme in order to have a visual database of the organisation and pictures used to tell successful stories of Sharana’s beneficiaries through social media.

I am very keen on photography, painting, and drawing, and India disclosed innumerable visual surprises for my eyes. I was able to cultivate my great passion for travelling and discovering different countries and cultures with my trips. I really appreciated the experience since allowed me to join the Indian culture through an immersive experience and to be in touch with diversity, that I consider a valuable opportunity to learn, to call my perspective into question and to broaden my viewpoint.

Iona interned with Seva Mandir for 2 months.

I was particularly attracted to Development in Action because of their relationships with grassroots NGOs. To me, emphasis on grassroots relations is incredibly important as it focuses more upon community needs and living standards, as opposed to international development schemes.

I love to travel and broaden my knowledge of other cultures and having never been to India, DiA was perfect! Being placed at Seva Mandir in Udaipur, Rajasthan allowed me to become comfortable in a community that is so different to my own, and to learn and explore in my own time. Plus, it is eye-opening to see how an NGO operates in a country outside of Britain or even the Western Hemisphere.

David interned with the Deep Griha Society for 2 months.

I decided to apply for a Development in Action placement because I think that volunteering is a great way to travel whilst also having a positive impact in the local community and experiencing the local culture. I also liked the emphasis that Development in Action put upon the sustainability of their projects.

I had previously volunteered in Thailand where I helped to install a fresh water system for a rural village; however I wanted to work more closely with members of the local community. I also wanted to gain a wider understanding of Indian culture and the Indian economy, to benefit me when I applied for a master’s in Economic Development.

Thu interned with the Deep Griha Society for 2 months.

Having learned about international organisations during my second year studying International Relations at LSE, I had developed a great interest in how NGOs have been able to transform the dynamics of the international system. I applied for an internship with DiA because I wanted to learn more about the ways in which NGOs can influence state policy at a macro level, and also the operation of their grassroots projects at a micro level.

My placement with the Deep Griha Society showed me how an NGO can find its place in a local community by tailoring its missions to cater for the needs of the local people. Being a part of their community-empowering projects was an invaluable experience for me to learn more about the socio-economic problems that hinder the development of many rapidly-growing countries, and how we can tackle them in the most effective and sustainable way. The vibrant and fast-paced life in India was somewhat similar to London but never have I been in a society that’s so multifaceted and rich in history.

I just want to see the world, and believe I volunteering is a beautiful way to do it.

Helen interned with Sharana for 2 months.

My experience interning with DiA involved a lot of firsts for me. It was my first time in Asia, it was my first time volunteering abroad, and it was my first time working with children. I was looking for a summer internship abroad that could be both a learning experience as well as a holiday and I specifically applied for a DiA placement because I liked the philosophy of the organisation and the way it interacted with its Indian partners.

As it turns out, my placement with Sharana was an almost perfect fit. Working in the Streets and Slum children program, I helped to carry out activities, play with the children, and write reports and proposals in English. I got to know and understand the Indian culture better with every passing day; I highly recommend the experience. My internship also acted as a perfect bridge between the end of my undergraduate studies in Economics and Politics in London and the beginning of my master’s in International Relations and Cultural Diplomacy in Berlin. My time in India has given me a non Euro-centric perspective on International relations that I had not imagined before and I think will be an important asset in my future.

Matt interned with Seva Mandir for 2 months.

I applied to Development in Action’s India Programme due to the well-established relationships DiA holds with responsible NGOs in India and the support they provide throughout the internship. I am particularly interested in the governance of large organisations in both the public and private sectors, so very much enjoyed gaining a different perspective whilst working with the Village Institutions Programme at Seva Mandir and looking at the governance of village committees that enable rural village residents to take control of their development.

 


 Where are they now?

Explore the names below to see what some of our previous interns went on to achieve using the skills and experience they gained from their time with DiA.

Josh interned with Deep Griha Society from July-August 2014.

What was your favourite moment interning with DiA?

My favourite moment interning with DiA was when I was running my design workshops with the women’s empowerment group because we got along so well and it was nice seeing them get really involved in what I had planned. We ended up bonding really well and on my last day I gave the women a big bag of Indian sweets and they surprised me with a goodbye card that they had made themselves which made me feel like my presence had been really valued.

What are you doing now?

I am currently completing my degree in Textile Design at Chelsea College of Art and Design in London.

What skills and experience did you develop through interning with DiA? How did these help you to get to where you are today?

I gained a wealth of skills and experience as part of my internship but in particular this included knowledge of project management and leadership through the design workshops I conducted at Deep Griha. This allowed me to develop real life experiences that I could never have achieved just through studying for my degree.

What advice would you give to people thinking about applying to the DiA India Programme?

The first few weeks consist of activities with the India Intern Coordinator and settling in, so I would advise anyone thinking of applying for the India Programme to have a good idea of the project that you would like to do and definitely plan this properly before you arrive so that you can hit the ground running.

Isobel interned with Deep Griha Society from September 2012 – February 2013.

What was your favourite moment interning with DiA?

It’s so hard to pick one moment from the whole experience… Can I say the people I met?

What are you doing now?

I provide programme support for the International NGO Training and Research Centre (INTRAC), an organisation who works to strengthen civil society through training, consultancy and research.  I work on the day-to-day coordination of INTRAC’s Open Training and Blended Learning courses.

What skills and experience did you develop through interning with DiA? How did these help you to get to where you are today?

The Deep Griha Society is a relatively small organisation for the range of work they do, and I was able to pitch in across much of what they were doing if I was interested and they needed support.  So I wasn’t only coordinating their volunteer programme but working on the early stages of a fundraising strategy and corporate prospect research, and supporting the planning and delivery of a public health awareness campaign.  Being proactive was key, as were good organisational skills!

I gained a better understanding of how community-based organisations work and the challenges they face, but also the way they are uniquely positioned to help the communities they’re rooted in. It has definitely influenced my view of international development and it was certainly a factor in me taking my current role.  Working on the Deep Griha Society’s volunteering programme gave me a different perspective of international volunteering which encouraged me to stay involved with Development in Action, working on the committee as Vice-Chair.

What advice would you give to people thinking about applying to the DiA India Programme?

Think realistically about your motivations, the skills and experience you have, and where you will be able to contribute the most.

Be open to engaging with different world views, gaining new perspectives, and learning new things.

Jamie interned with St Gonsalo Garcia School and Orphanage from July-September 2010.

What was your favourite moment interning with DiA?

The most satisfying moment was finding out that three years after I was there, the fundraising documents I helped create have resulted in a lot of money being raised, meaning that I’ve had an impact beyond my time there.

What are you doing now?

I am currently an economist at the Zanzibar Planning Commission as part of the Overseas Development Institute Fellowship Scheme. I’m also secretary of the Rotary Club of Zanzibar and founder of the London International Development Network.

What skills and experience did you develop through interning with DiA? How did these help you to get to where you are today?

It was my first experience of working abroad and dealing with the culture shock and frustration that involves. The ability to work across cultures is vital if you want to work abroad and the challenges of my placement have certainly helped me learn. In addition, being part of the DiA committee for two years gave me leadership and management experience as well as great connections that have been crucial to my career progression.

What advice would you give to people thinking about applying to the DiA India Programme?

Think carefully about what you want in an overseas placement – if you care about both your personal development and having a positive impact in the community in which you work, all within a context of support, then I couldn’t recommend DiA more.