Can Married Couples participate in Indicorps?

Married couples are eligible to apply for an Indicorps fellowship regardless of whether the project is designated as

one or two-person project. However, each spouse must submit an application and a joint placement form. Each person will be evaluated on his/her own merits and on the strength of their joint application.

Can a person of Indian origin who lives outside of North America apply to Indicorps?

Yes. Indicorps accepts applications from people of Indian origin who are citizens or permanent residents of countries other than India.

What are the financial arrangements?

The Indicorps fellowship stipend covers room, board, and fellowship-related travel. Indicorps' involvement is generally in-kind only, however, may include a minimal cash stipend to meet fellowship requirements and local transportation needs. Fellows will be required to provide for their own travel to and from India as well as any other incidental expenses.

What about Educational Loans?

The principal balance on all US federally-issued loans, William Ford loans, direct Stafford/Ford loans, direct unsubsidized Stafford/Ford loans, direct PLUS loans, and direct consolidated loans can often be deferred. Many loans in other countries also have deferment options. Depending on the type of loan, interest payments may also be deferred. Please consult the lender directly to determine specifics for loan deferment. Generally, most educational loans have deferment options for low-income or voluntary work; Indicorps can provide documentation regarding income and your volunteer status.

What happens if an Indicorps fellow gets sick?

Indicorps will work with local doctors and organizations to ensure that fellows have access to appropriate medical treatment when needed. Indicorps encourages fellows to consult their family doctor and take appropriate precautions, i.e. immunization shots, malaria pills, and drinking bottled or boiled water (recommendations will be further detailed in the fellowship handbook). All Indicorps participants are encouraged to contact a local doctor upon arrival in the field, to ensure expedited service and know-how in case of emergency. Please note, however, that all fellows are liable for their own health and healthcare while in India on the Indicorps fellowship.

What about health insurance?

Indicorps requires fellows to purchase international health and medical insurance that will cover major capital expenses and repatriation to their country of residence in case of major illness during the fellowship year. Indicorps fellowship stipends do not include health insurance or health-related expenses.

Will I be allowed to take vacations? What is my work schedule?

You should be prepared to commit yourself fully during the term of your fellowship. Indicorps does not recognize weekends or bank holidays. As an organization, Indicorps only breaks for 4 days at Diwali. So while it may sound crazy, please note that Indicorps’ approach involves total immersion 24 hours a day/7 days per week.

As part of your continuing commitment to live the message (at least for the fellowship period), personal vacations are discouraged and permitted only by a limited leave policy (10 days over the course of the year, including travel time). Indicorps fellows are expected to commit as many hours as they can give to the project. There is no structured work schedule; however, it is imperative that fellows recognize the Indicorps approach involves far more than a 9-5 professional workday commitment.

That said, in addition to a one-month orientation at the beginning of the fellowship year, Indicorps sponsors mandatory workshops that remove fellows from their project environment(s), provide an opportunity to re-energize, and enable them to continue to learn, and share best practices.

Can I visit my family or do personal travel during the fellowship year?

Ideally, you should arrange personal and family-related travel for times before and after the fellowship period or during the Diwali break. In light of Indicorps’ emphasis on personal leadership and the correlation between your project success and the strength of your relationship with the local community/partner organizations, we expect you to make a total commitment to the project and as much as possible limit travel to Indicorps-related activities during the fellowship year. That said, you have ten personal days built into your fellowship structure. Under special circumstances, and on a case-by-case basis, fellows may be permitted additional personal leave with approval of the Indicorps field office and their local partner NGO for serious family emergencies.

Can family or friends come visit me during the fellowship year?

Family or friends are welcome to visit fellows on a limited basis, such that it does not take away from your focus or commitment to the project. Also, you will need to be aware of gender issues that may arise. Consult with the Indicorps field office for more specific details.

What is it like to live in the community?

We encourage living simply and fully immersing in the community within which you work. Building a strong relationship with the local community is essential to the success of your project and will make the experience more rewarding. Community living has a different meaning for different projects based on location and proximity to beneficiary communities; we encourage applicants to weigh the living conditions in their project choice.

What are the qualifications for being an Indicorps fellow?

Indicorps seeks creative, energetic people, who are open-minded, and committed to adding value and pushing their own limits. Indicorps seeks dedicated people who are earnest about wanting to make a positive contribution to India’s development - no matter what it takes. Indicorps evaluates applicants based on their passion for social service, qualifications for project(s), interest in reconnecting with India, willingness to understand India's development, and commitment to personal growth. To be eligible for a fellowship, applicants must be of Indian origin, have at minimum a college/university degree or five years work experience, and be in good health.

What are the chances of getting in?

Indicorps is looking for qualified people with a passion for service, a strong desire to reconnect with India, and a zeal to learn. The projects are difficult and require relentless commitment. and give something back to the community in which fellows will live. We will do our best to find a place for all applicants who meet our requirements; however, like any competitive program, success in the application process depends on the applicant pool. As we require applicants to express interest in specific projects, our acceptance rate varies by the level of interest in each project.

Can fellows communicate with the outside world?

Absolutely. Indicorps does not intend to isolate fellows, but we do expect a full commitment to the program and the communities we serve. We offer grassroots opportunities that take a lot of groundwork to create, and fellows are expected to make their projects and accountability to the community paramount to all other responsibilities. Indicorps aims to create an environment that allows fellows to be productive, focus on their project, and understand India. In many cases, it is important to know that regular Internet access may not be available.

Is Indicorps difficult?

In a word, yes. Indicorps will certainly be physically, mentally, and emotionally challenging. Indicorps is a personal journey that will require hard work, creativity, flexibility, perseverance, and understanding. Indicorps workshops are designed for the ongoing development of the fellows, as well as to provide a short break from the intensity of project immersion.

Will there be people to give guidance and support?

Yes. Indicorps takes a large role in supporting its fellows. In addition to facilitating orientation and workshops where we encourage fellows to learn best practices from each other, develop skills, and gather information, Indicorps provide moral and logistical support throughout the fellowship year. Indicorps staff attempts to connect fellows with resources to help ensure project success. This year, Indicorps has added alumni support to monitor fellow progress.

Does the fellow have the option of staying with relatives if in the same locale?

For most cases the answer is "No." An important part of the Indicorps experience is to adapt to a new environment and become a part of the local community in which the project is based. However, certain projects are not connected to specific communities or are in cities with difficult housing markets. In those isolated cases, Indicorps will work with individual fellows to determine housing arrangements.

Do Indicorps fellows get any say in their project assignments?

Yes. Absolutely. Part II of the Indicorps application is a project-specific application for the projects that meet your interests. That said, projects may change – based on factors outside of our control including but not limited to: natural disasters, local partner organizational issues, resource availability. Whether or not your project changes entirely, you may need to be flexible and work with Indicorps and your host organization to modify projects according to the local community and partner organization needs (and Indicorps objectives).

How is Indicorps different than other service organizations doing work in India?

Indicorps is not a volunteer placement program. Indicorps offers innovative pre-defined projects that require fellows to exhibit initiative, creativity, and perseverence. Both Indicorps and the local partner organizations invest heavily in the project creation process and are serious about development. However, the fellowship is not a professional assignment. Indicorps expects you to constantly push your comfort zones and apply every fiber of your being to the process. The fellowship is heavily focused on personal growth, and offers tools you will need to be productive. Furthermore, Indicorps monitors the progress of its fellows and is committed to the development process. Indicorps is the only structured program that offers a group and individual experience built for people of Indian origin serving their homeland.

Are there any special skills/credentials required?

Not necessarily. However, Indicorps requires at minimum a college degree or five (5) years work experience. We encourage applicants to apply to projects for which they feel qualified and have pertinent experience. Indicorps also evaluates applicants based on their passion for social service, interest in reconnecting with India, and commitment to personal growth.

Is there a language requirement?

Some basic knowledge of an Indian language is strongly recommended, but not required for all projects. However, some projects explicitly require prior knowledge of language. Anyone accepted into the fellowship program will be required to study language - and at a minimum learn the alphabet and numbers of the language in their project region – before their fellowship term. Indicorps will provide additional language training during the one-month orientation program, but the onus of learning the language is on the fellow. We expect fellows to take interest in developing local language skills.