Do I have to be a certain age to join a program?
You must be 18 years of age or older.
Who participates in your projects?
Escape To... is a program provider for internships and volunteer projects. We work similar to a study abroad organization that would charge you for tuition, housing, food, and pre-departure/on-arrival support. The only difference is that instead of taking classes, you are working on various initiatives that provide you with hands on experiential learning. You are not paying to volunteer or to intern, but rather the services of our team to help guide you through the process of going and being abroad. We provide pre-departure support which includes advice on health, culture, safety, answering questions about the visa application, the internship placement, and details about your accommodation, project, and day to day life in India. Upon arrival into India, we provide airport pick up, orientation, and access to in-country coordinators. We also provide assistance for homesickness, issues at your workplace, and emergency situations for which you may need to put in claims with travel insurance. In totality, we endeavor to make the transition of volunteering and interning abroad in India a bit more hassle-free than if you were to go independently. Participants that pay our program fees should understand the value of the services we provide thoroughly before committing to a project.
Who participates in your projects?
Escape To... gets a wide range of people from all backgrounds, ethnicities, countries, and ages. The average participant is well-traveled, has a keen interest in India and Asia, is enrolled or graduated from an accredited University, and has working knowledge of English. The majority of our participants come from the United States and Europe. The age range varies seasonally. Summer periods pull in more college students, while fall and spring periods pull in gap year travelers, graduates and those on career breaks. However, everyone is always welcome. All participants have three goals in common: a) personal growth b) professional growth c) desire to learn and contribute ideas.
What qualifications do I need?
This varies from project to project. You should contact us to understand the qualifications for the projects that you want to work on.
How far in advance do I need to book?
We ask for a minimum of 2 months. However, we recommend to book as far in advance as possible (sometimes we get bookings one year in advance). The sooner you book, the better chances that you will have a position guaranteed on your first project choice as well as prepare for your trip.
What is the application process?
Step 1: Fill out an online form or shoot us an email with your resume/CV and a brief description of what project you want to do
Step 2: An Escape To... representative will respond back and set up a phone or Skype interview
Step 3: You will receive an application form
Step 4: Successful candidates will be given a letter of acceptance within 7-10 days (this may increase if it is a unique project)
Step 5: Fill out the acceptance letter and you will be provided with a username and password to the website to complete your booking
What are the costs of your projects?
We charge a one time fee of $595 (plus tax). Airfare, housing, food, transportation and travel insurance are extra expenses that each participant has to account for.
I cannot pay all at once. Can I work out an installment plan?
Yes. We work out installment plans with each individual separately. Speak to your Escape To... representative to see what works best for your situation. Final payments must be made 30 days prior to arrival in India.
I intend to volunteer with a friend or family member. Can we be placed on the same project?
Yes, if possible we will try to place you together!
I have read a lot about India in the news. Is it even safe?
Whenever we travel, we are assuming a certain level of risk. India is not an exceptionally unsafe country that the media would have you believe. Volunteers and interns generally live and travel together in groups. Participants should be mindful of not getting too friendly with new faces and staying overnight in other people’s apartments. It is always advisable to go on weekend excursions with the group, rather than on your own or with locals that you have recently met. Interning and volunteering abroad is very different from backpacking or touring another country. Interns and volunteers are generally more aware of unsafe neighborhoods and situations as they stay put in once place. Unforeseen circumstances can come up anywhere, but India is a welcoming and warm place that treats tourists with respect. You should however, keep up to date on travel advisories that your government has issued for India and consult with a travel clinic about your health before traveling.
What should I pack with me?
We'll discuss this with you further during your pre-departure orientation but as a general ruule of thumb..
First aid kit
Toiletries (you can get most things in India)
Comfortable walking shoes
Raincoat (if coming during monsoon season)
Medicines that have been discussed by your doctor
How much should I budget for transport to and from the project?
Around $20-$30 per week for auto-rickshaws or buses.
Do you provide school credit?
It depends on your university. If they have international internship paperwork available, we have no problem filling it out. In the past we have had to fill out forms and write out letters detailing your work. We are happy to do this for you once you have been accepted into the project.
Does Escape To... recommend cultural activities outside the project?
Yes. We can recommend cultural tours around Bangalore and traditional or Bollywood Indian dance classes, yoga, cooking and language classes and more.
What travel documents do I require upon arrival?
You will need a flight itinerary, valid passport, visa, travel insurance, ID proof, emergency contact details and medical documents (if any).
What are my accommodation arrangements?
You are able to choose housing that is close to your project. We recommend a variety of coliving communities, guest houses or dorms depending on your needs. You can also choose Airbnbs if you require more privacy.
Do I need to speak the local language?
Not necessarily. Most of the business internships are run in English. Some of the medical programs or programs working with farmers and women may have some language barriers. They are not going to take away from your experience. It will be difficult for you to fully learn the local languages anyway, so we generally do not require participants to be knowledgeable about different Indian dialects. You can always learn some phrases for fun.
How do you choose the organizations that you work with?
Many of the organizations come to us asking for assistance in linking them with international interns and volunteers. We assess their vision, goals, day to day work, long-term project impact, support facilities, quality of mentors and advisors, office location, accessibility to transportation and their ability to take on foreign interns. We reassess our partnerships after each intern or volunteer works with the organization and the level of satisfaction and benefit that both have received. We support our partners equally as we do our participants.
How much money should I carry in cash? How can I exchange the money?
You are advised to carry not more than $200 in cash at any given time. When required you can withdraw money from one of the many ATMs spread across the city. Many transactions can be done by debit or credit cards.
What are the phone and Internet facilities available?
Check if your current cell phone can be unlocked internationally. If so, then you can buy a local sim card in India for very cheap. If not, you can buy a basic phone for around $30 and put a local sim in there. If you are staying in a rural project, Internet access may be limited.
You have not answered my question. How can I contact you?
We’d love to discuss with you in more detail. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be sure to get back to you within 48 hours. You can also call us or email us your phone number to get in touch with you.