Q: I am a freshman/sophomore/junior/senior. Should I apply?
A: Yes, absolutely! We accept volunteers regardless of their class standing, ethnicity, academic major, financial ability, or language skills. Our criteria is that you are excited to learn from the community, show awareness of the unique challenges that you will face, and that you show commitment during our spring quarter training and post trip requirements.
Q: How many applicants do you typically accept?
A: Typically we send 4 students to the Aarti Home and 4 students to the AGN School.
Q: How much does Dosti cost?
A: The partner organizations provide room and board for the volunteers throughout the summer, and an International Service Grant from the Haas Center for Public Service helps cover the costs of airfare, visas, and further expenses.
Q: What are your selection criteria?
A: Our application process has three stages: a written application, an informal coffee chat with a past volunteer, and a formal interview. We look for commitment, previous travel and/or teaching experience, and an awareness of the challenges that may lie in conducting service in India.
Q: Where can I turn in applications?
A: The application can be found on this website, and closes at 11:59 on the due date. This year, applications will open in December and will be due early February,
Q: What does volunteer training involve?
A: Our goals with the spring quarter volunteer training include working with the teams to plan their service projects, initiating thoughtful discussions about service, and orienting volunteers for their travel experiences. This training occurs through weekly meetings with past Dosti volunteers, lectures from faculty and staff on social and cultural issues facing India, and training on how to teach English at all age levels (this is often the primary goal of Dosti volunteers).
Q: What about the language barrier? / I am not ethnically Indian and do not speak any Indian languages.
A: Leaders at both of our partner organization (AGN and Aarti) speak English fluently and the teachers there can understand it. However, the children’s primary language is not English (At AGN, many children speak Tamil, and at Aarti, many children speak Telugu). You do not have to know the language, although we strongly encourage participants to take language classes and learn basic words prior to visiting.
Q: What kind of work will volunteers be doing?
A: Our service opportunities involve both educational nonprofit management and direct teaching opportunities. In the past our volunteers have done a range of projects from helping establish a local library to teaching a science class with hands on experiments. Because English and computer skills are increasingly becoming such necessary skills to attain jobs in India, our partner schools are particularly interested in incorporating more English language and computer skills training into their curriculum. The children at each site will also be very curious to know more about you and your life experience—and that in itself offers plenty of material.
Q: What do participants do after Dosti?
A: Our alumni have gone on to a variety of careers – Medical School, Fulbright Teaching Abroad Grants, Management Consulting, US Education / Teaching, Domestic Politics / Policy, and Journalism, among others! We believe that Dosti is an incredibly valuable and humbling experience for every student and every prospective career path. It is not uncommon for participants to return from the summer with a new understanding of what they want their future career to look like 🙂