Frequently Asked Questions

What is Kerala Volunteer?Kerala Volunteer, established in 2014, addresses the critical need for English instruction at the Rural Reconstruction Upper Primary School (RRUP) in Ullannuur, Kerala. By providing volunteers with free accommodation near the school, the program eliminates financial barriers to volunteering.  Our goal is to provide a volunteer program that not only benefits the children, but also creates a unique and authentic experience in rural India for all who participate.

What does a volunteer do?
The primary volunteer position at the school is for English teachers.

Typically, you will teach six, 30-40 minute classes per day, (two classes for each grade, each day,) Monday-Friday. School begins at 10 am and ends at 4 pm, with a break mid-day for lunch. Each class is between 20 and 30 students. Occasionally you may be asked the help the other teachers with various projects, but overall, you will have plenty of free time and time to prepare your lessons. 

Kerala Volunteer support staff will assist you with lesson planning and ideas for teaching upon selection.

Spend time with the students! They love sharing in your hobbies and learning from you.

What are the qualities of an ideal volunteer?be a native English speaker
have experience working with elementary/middle school students and/or teaching, (preferably English as a second language.)
be able to easily adapt to life in a country often much different from home
be independent, adaptable and resilient
be able to serve a 1-3 month time commitment
be energetic, enthusiastic, and love teaching children

How long will I volunteer?We ask that volunteers commit to a stay of one to three months so as not to disrupt the students with a new teacher coming and going every week or two. Special considerations will be made for candidates that are a good fit in every regard except the amount of time they can commit to staying.

Where will I live?Your accommodation will be in a house next door to the school, complete with your own private bedroom, bathroom, computer, and Wi-Fi, as well as access to meals at school and local village women to clean and assist in daily living from time to time. It is a very simple, but safe and efficient living quarters.

Do you accept volunteers year round?The RRUP School follows the same academic calendar as the majority of Kerala Schools. School is closed for Summer Break from the end of April until mid June. Other holidays and celebrations can be found here.

Can I bring my family?Families with children between 8 and 18 years of age are welcome to volunteer as a family.  Children learn a tremendous amount, (especially regarding a second language,) from other children, so we extend the invitation for families with children of the appropriate age to join in our efforts.

How much will this cost?Unlike many other volunteer programs that charge an arm and a leg on top of work you’re already doing for free, Kerala Volunteer does not charge volunteers any fees, (no application fee, housing fees, etc.)

The following are provided, free of charge, to all volunteers:
Application processing
Support and guidance from volunteers who have visited the school in the past
Housing next door to the school
Basic supplies for lesson planning/teaching, (chalk, chalkboards, crayons, paper, pens/pencils, balls/outdoor equipment for outside activities with the students, etc.)
Breakfast, lunch and optional dinner provided by the cook at the school on school days

Volunteers will cover living expenses including:
Any additional food and food preparation on weekends
Volunteers are responsible for keeping their own water and snacks on hand in the house- whether that means buying them from a shop nearby or boiling water from the tap to drink
Airfare and pickup and drop-off from the train station and/or airport upon arrival and exit
Any leisure travel or activities on the weekend
Travel insurance covering health and/or possessions, (World Nomads is a reputable provider.)
Toiletries, snacks and personal items

The estimated daily living expense is about $7/day/person, plus personal items, transport to and from the school, airfare, visa, and leisure travel/activities on the weekends, which the volunteer can pay for directly, on their own.

What teaching materials will be provided?The school has very basic materials - blackboards, pencils, chalk etc. and there is a volunteer resource box with markers, construction paper, scissors, and resource books for helping plan games, activities, and teaching English as a second language. If you require any additional materials, you should try and bring them with you.  Teaching at a low income school will require getting creative with your lessons, but we are here to give you ideas and guide you. Basic art and craft supplies are available in the nearest town.

Will I need a visa?Volunteers will be required to obtain the appropriate visa. We are here to help answer any questions you may have regarding obtaining your visa.

Indian Visa Application Form

What is the weather like?Kerala, located in the southwestern part of India, experiences a tropical climate characterized by relatively high temperatures and abundant rainfall throughout the year. However, there are variations in weather patterns based on the region and the time of year.

Summer (March to May): During the summer months, Kerala experiences hot and humid weather. Temperatures typically range from 25°C to 35°C (77°F to 95°F) in most parts of the state. Coastal areas tend to be slightly cooler due to sea breezes, but inland regions can experience higher temperatures. Humidity levels are high, making the weather feel even hotter.

Monsoon (June to September): The southwest monsoon, which arrives in June, brings heavy rainfall to Kerala. This period is known as the "southwest monsoon season" or simply the "monsoon season." Kerala receives the first showers of the monsoon in India, and the rainfall is crucial for agriculture and water resources in the region. Rainfall can be intense, especially in the months of June and July, with occasional flooding in low-lying areas. The temperature during the monsoon season ranges from 25°C to 30°C (77°F to 86°F).

Post-Monsoon (October to November): After the monsoon season, Kerala experiences a transitional period characterized by intermittent rainfall and gradually decreasing humidity levels. Temperatures start to cool down slightly, ranging from 25°C to 30°C (77°F to 86°F). This period is often considered one of the best times to visit Kerala, as the weather is relatively pleasant, and the landscape is lush and green from the recent rains.

Winter (December to February): The winter months in Kerala are mild and dry. Temperatures range from 20°C to 32°C (68°F to 90°F), making it the most comfortable time of year for outdoor activities and sightseeing. The weather is generally sunny with clear skies, making it an ideal time for beach visits, backwater cruises, and exploring hill stations. This is also the peak tourist season in Kerala.

Weather Patterns in Kerala

What should I wear?India is a conservative country, but the south is also hot and humid. This requires some smart packing:  Women should be covered past the knees and to the elbows in loose-fitting clothing; breathable linen/cotton material is encouraged. Feel free to dress in local Indian attire as well, (saris, salwar kameezes, etc.) Men should plan to teach in loose-fitting pants and shirt outfits, but can also wear local attire like the mundu. Much of this can be purchased inexpensively at any marketplace throughout India.

Traditional Clothing in India

Is it safe? Even for women traveling alone?Volunteers are provided with a locking, safe and secure house just steps away from the school, in the sleepy little village of Ullannur. There are even a local village men and women close by to assist volunteers with daily living and ensure that they feel secure.  R.R.U.P. has had single, female volunteers before and has never had an issue with safety. However, as when traveling anywhere, (even around your own homeland!) it’s best to use common sense and good judgment (lock your doors when you leave the house, keep your valuables put away, and don’t wander alone in unknown territory after dark, etc.).

Traveling Safely in India

What else is there to do in Kerala?Kerala is a one of the top tourist destinations in all of India, and offers a plethora of beautiful scenery, activities, and excursions for volunteers to enjoy on the weekends or before or after their volunteer service. From beautiful cruises on the backwaters to spiritual temples, to breathtaking tea plantations and beaches, Kerala has something for everyone.

Things To Do in Kerala

What is the food like?Food throughout India varies, but in Kerala, expect lots of flavor and spices, with many dishes including boiled rice or cassava, a few vegetables, and chicken or a fish curry.  Dishes are often spicy, and some common ingredients and spices used are coconut, cardamom, mustard seed, and black pepper. If you have dietary restrictions or are a vegetarian, please let us know beforehand and we will try our best to accommodate.

Cuisine of Kerala


Sounds great! What now?

Complete an application here and get ready for one of the best experiences of your life.


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