FAQ

Useful Information

SMILE Society- Volunteer work in India


1. People from which country can join volunteering projects? 


We welcome people from round the globe . Most of the projects are for international volunteers only. Although there are internship and training programs available for local students. Volunteers and interns are requested to contact our office for more details.


2. Who will pick me up from the airport? 


SMILE representative would be there to receive you at the airport, holding placards. You will be picked up from the airport and taken by a car to your accommodation. Volunteers need to send us their arrival information at least 3 days in advance so that we could facilitate your airport pickup smoothly. Railway station and hotel pickup not available.


3. What kind of accommodation will be provided during my stay? 


Volunteers will get clean dormitory based accommodation with a very friendly and welcoming host family at the SMILE house. Under most circumstances, Volunteers would be required to share their room with other volunteers. Our host family and staff have experience of giving comfortable stay to international volunteers where everyone enjoy their time. Our localities is safe and friendly. 


4. Which items shall I bring during the trip? 


You may bring personal emergency medicines, a sleeping bag, toilet paper, half/long sleeved cotton shirts & trousers, a sweater or a light jacket (only during winters). Please don’t forget to carry sunscreen lotion, mosquito repellent lotion or spray, charger , flash light etc. 


5. Will I be covered by some insurance policy during the stay?


No, SMILE does not provide any kind of Travel or Medical Insurance to its Volunteers. You can buy it online anytime. You are advised to purchase travel insurance before leaving your home country. *Ensure you have medical travel insurance with international coverage that covers COVID-19 and other illnesses  before travelling. 


6. Is there any age limit to join the program?


Yes, the minimum age requirement is 16 years. There is no maximum age limit. However, you should be fit to travel and work. Any group below 16 years also welcome if they come with their parents or responsible adult team leader. Volunteer below 18years required to have the authorization letter from any of their legal guardian.


7. Can I visit with a friend, my family or a group?


Yes, at SMILE you are welcome to join volunteering programs with friends, family or in a group. Local host family offer a special discounted hosting fees for a group above 10 members. Please email us in advance. 


8. Where do I obtain Visa for my trip?


Receiving an appropriate Visa for volunteering purpose is the volunteer's responsibility. SMILE strongly recommends all volunteers to apply and get an appropriate visa(preferably Volunteering VISA) before departing for India, please check with your local Indian Embassy in your country for more details.


9. Do I need any vaccination before I leave for my trip?


Yes, you must consult your doctor from your country well in advance and get the desired vaccinations done well before your arrival date. The most common vaccinations we recommend are: -

*Hepatitis A and B

*Typhoid

*Rabies

*COVID-19

* Anti malaria pills


10. Do I need any medical report during arrival?


Yes, You will be needing Negative COVID-19 RT-PCR report on arrival and COVID vaccination full doses report. 


-> All passengers arriving to Kolkata from any point of origin must hold a negative RT-PCR test certificate, for which the test must be taken no more than 72 hours prior to the time of departure. Negative COVID-19 certificates must be printed in English. No hand written, SMS or digital certificates will be accepted. Volunteer may required to stay for compulsory 7-14days of isolation by their own expense at hotel nearby Kolkata airport before arriving local host family. 


-> You may be required to take another test at Kolkata Airport upon arrival if travelling from select destinations or if you show symptoms of COVID-19 on arrival. All travelers must check the country requirements from which they are departing. COVID protocol of origin and destination countries should be maintained as per their guidelines. 


11. Will I have access to Internet and Telephone?


You’ll have access to 24/7 Wi-Fi at your accommodation. You can choose to carry your mobile phone and buy a local Sim-card at the airport (which is available at very affordable costs) if you want better connectivity with people back home.


12. Do I need to carry cash for my personal expenses or ATM's are available? 


You can carry cash for your personal expenses for a fortnight ($100 approx.). However, ATM’s are available which would accept your international credit or debit card.


13. Will I have time for touring the city?


There will be plenty of time to explore the city. You can utilize weekends for in-country travel. SMILE also provides weekend city tours for volunteers and you can book these trips well in advance. For more information about costs and other related information on our tours, you can write to us in advance.  


14. Is there any laundry facility available?


All volunteers are responsible for hand washing their own clothes at host family. Volunteers can also give their clothes to nearby laundry at their own expense.


15. Can I smoke or consume alcohol at the accommodation? 


NO, Smoking and consumption of alcohol is strictly prohibited at the SMILE House. volunteers are not allowed to consume alcohol or any drugs while in the accommodation. If anyone is found guilty, he/she would be asked to leave the program with immediate action and without any refunds from local host family.


16. What is the dress code in India?


All volunteers can wear casual clothing, including jeans, t-shirts, shorts below knee length, Capri's etc. Tank tops are not allowed due to regional religious beliefs of India which are conservative and revealing clothes are not mutually acceptable by Indian people.


17. How early should I apply for volunteering/internship program in India?


As such, there is no deadline to join any of our program. We process applications on first come first serve basis so it is highly recommended to fill in your application well in advance to secure your spot.


18. What documents do I need to submit while filling the application form?


Volunteers need to submit their resume along with one passport size photograph, passport copy and Police background check report. For interns , school/university I’d card is mandatory.


19. What is the minimum - maximum program duration? 


The minimum program duration is 4 weeks and the maximum program duration is 52 weeks. Groups are welcome for 1-3 weeks duration.


20. Do I need to arrange my flights or SMILE arrange flights for volunteers?


Volunteers need to arrange their flight , visa, insurance, vaccination on their own.


21. When do I need to arrive in India to start my program? 


Volunteers need to arrive at least one day prior to their program starting date.


22. Which airport do I need to arrive?


Volunteers need to arrive at Terminal-2 of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International(NSCBI) Airport, Kolkata.


23. Will we be provided with bottled water?


No, volunteers need to buy bottled water on their own. However, we do provide filtered water in the volunteer accommodation.


24. Can you accommodate special diet or is it same for everyone?


Yes, Our host family always tries their best to cater according to the need of volunteers for eg. lactose intolerant or may require a gluten free diet, feel free to let us know well in advance and we will take care of it.


25. Do we need to pay for our stay ?


Yes, you required to cover your living expenses as per applicable on application. This payment dies to local host for their support and your living expenses is non refundable and non transferable . You required to pay in full for your full duration in advance. Please be sure about your duration of stay. No cancellation and refund available. 


***If you can’t find the answer to any of your questions here, feel free to write  us anytime and we will be more than happy to answer your queries***

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