An exposure to the Indian Rural Healthcare system

The standards of medication might not be similar in all parts of the world. Our Nursing program students realised this when they flew from Australia to India to explore the healthcare system here. This program was designed for the students of Charles Sturt Universityto expand students' understanding of health delivery to families and communities in a majority world country (India). The BEYOND BORDERS Nursing Program helped the Australian students get a good understanding of the link between the physical, ecological, social, political environments and human health. Students gained an insight into basic health service delivery across rural India; as well the nurses' role in health promotion,chronic disease prevention and how the Government of India, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare provides health services run by local people.

Our bunch of Aussie students arrived in India and they were escorted to the BEYOND BORDERS guest house at Malavli. The next morning the students had a special orientation program with us. At the orientation, they were fully briefed about the program and their volunteering sessions at various locations. Followed by the orientation, the students were split into groups for further action. The students were very excited and at the same time nervous as they were new to the country.

The journey began at different locations for all the groups. The groups spent the initial days at three major hospitals in the rural parts of India. These were Kamat Hospital, Parakh Hospital and Shradha Hospital. One common thing that many students noticed in all three hospitals was shortage of doctors. This led to overcrowded consultation rooms. At the same time they also noticed a big difference in terms of hygiene when compared to their own country Australia. But they got an answer to this question when they interacted with the head doctors of these hospitals.


On their visit to Kamat Hospital, the students had a long interactive session with Dr. Abhay Kamat and his wife who run the hospital together. They revealed the reality about rural healthcare system in India. They said they had to formulate treatments keeping in mind the financial conditions of the people here. And due to lack of funds, hygiene was also a big problem. But our students were quite happy with the way these doctors treated the patients with care. Some of our students also got to observe operations and also learned a lot from those operations.

The second week seemed to be more exciting for the students as they visited the MIMER Medical College and Hospital. Here our students got to learn a lot as they visited the OPD sections and also got to see anatomy. They also had the opportunity to interact with the nursing students of India and local people. This interaction surely pleased our students. Along with these experiences some of the students also had the opportunity to attend an Indian naming ceremony. It was totally a new experience for them. The weekend was well planned and the students got a chance to visit Delhi and Agra.


In the final week our groups visited Primary Healthcare Centre, L&T Hospital and Kalpataru Hospital. The students got an exposure to various healthcare departments and treatment techniques in all these places. They also visited Dharavi, one of the largest slum areas and carried out research. The last few days were filled with entertainment. The students were taken to Mumbai’s famous café – Café Mondegar. Followed by the brunch there, they entered the Colaba market and did some street-shopping. According to the majority of students, the graduation dinner was one of the best moments of this program.

Some were doomed with the poor rural life of India, while a few other students were happy as they learned new ways of treatment.  With a lot of knowledge and experience the Aussies left for their country happily with some good memories.



Through the looking glass

People are often set in their ways. A visit to a completely different culture, with a contrasting culture, is often the best way to shatter their preconceived notions and challenge their collective mindset about a place and its people. With this aim in mind we hosted a group of intrepid people from Australia, on a journey, that according to them has opened their eyes to the world and made them sensitive to the issues the people less fortunate than them face.

On arrival our happy bunch of Aussies, were taken to their guest house. According to many of them, Mumbai’s traffic was a surreal experience that most of them had not counted on! At the guest house after they had taken some time to unwind, they were given an orientation about their itinerary and the organisations they were going to visit, volunteer and work at.

Their student’s first exposure to volunteer work was through an NGO called Magic Bus. Zeeshan and Arun took them through the journey of Magic Bus as they got familiar with the surroundings of the Malavli guest house. They did not interact with any kids, but saw some videos of children speaking about their lives and the positive impact Magic Bus had on their self-efficacy. The work the foundation does with less fortunate kids through the play and learn methodology, seemed to really resonate with our volunteers, and they really came into their own interacting and playing with the kids at the foundation.

Our group’s first tryst with rural life came the next day with a visit to the Sadhana Foundation at Dehu Road. Many of our volunteers were amazed at the economic disparity between the rich and poor, on display. Sadhana’s founder Savita Jadhav’s tireless work in promoting social equity was well appreciated and served as an inspiration to our guests, many of whom said they’d like to return and help in her crusade.

The following day’s visit to the Equal Community Foundation, Pune, brought to life the struggle Indian women have to face on a daily basis. The sensitivity training this foundation uses to teach men about gender equality, came as both a shock and pleasant surprise to many in our group. After all they said that equality as such was more of an assumed value from where they were.

The joy and surprise was palpable when our little group interacted with the founder of Chaitanya, Kalpana Pant. She held her audience in rapt attention as she very succinctly explained the work they have carried out as a community based microfinance entity. Some of our volunteers posed her questions about sustainability, economic viability and a few of Chaitanya’s success stories. This was followed by a quick visit to their information systems office where Kalpana quickly explained the workings of the NGO and introduced them to the monitoring and evaluation tools the foundation used.

Perhaps the most touching experience for most of our guests was the visit to Kayakalpa, an NGO that works with sex workers. While most of our intrepid bunch took the visit in their stride, it was quite an experience to a few others. Listening to and interacting with Kayakalpa’s volunteers though was a learning experience most of them found very enriching.

A little shocked, a little more determined, our group has experienced a side of India that they hadn’t bargained for. But there was a consensus among them, that they all returned, a little wiser, a lot more appreciative of what they had and committed to returning one day to make a contribution here, or start something back home to benefit their fellow man.

Three weeks, an altered world view

A few people venture out of their comfort zone and truly volunteer to make a difference. We at BEYOND BORDERS were fortunate to have a bunch of such people from Challenger Institute of Technology, Western Australia join us in making such a difference. As part of the Challenger Educate and Make a Difference initiative, we took a group of intrepid Aussies to a school and an orphanage, at Malavli near Lonavala, India. For three weeks these folks would observe, interact, teach, help and all in all, be a part of these wonderful institution’s work.

In order to minimise the language barrier, we put the participants through a weeklong Hindi speaking course, which many came to us and reported was very helpful in understanding and interacting with the volunteers and kids at the institution.

Experiencing first-hand the life and work of the teachers at this institution came as a real eye opener to many of the participants. One of them actually said, that participating in the day-to-day lives of these children and teachers, made her more appreciative of the life she had back in Australia. A meeting with the institution’s founder and director, laid out the task that our bunch had to accomplish. Increasing the level of interactivity and responsiveness in the classroom was one of the most important tasks as these would help raise the standard of education as a whole.

The trip had many moments of wonder, for the participants. Some were really amazed at the level of respect students displayed for their teachers. Others were filled with empathy and admiration for some of the institutions volunteers and teachers who dedicated themselves to teaching these deprived children, completely selflessly.

The trips to Pune and Mumbai, brought to light the work of some extraordinary people in some really trying circumstances. People who work with prostitutes in Mumbai’s red light district, trying to make a tangible difference to the lives of the women working there, and their children. A trip to some of the slums in Mumbai, proved to be a real eye-opener to the hazardous conditions in which people manage to eke out a living. Some participants were definitely taken aback by the way these people lived and their positive attitude to life, in the face of such adversity.

Back at the school and orphanage, the participants threw themselves into the program and many of them reported having had fruitful interactions with the teachers, who proved to be most receptive to the teaching techniques they were being introduced to. Many others formed bonds with the innocent children who studied and lived at the orphanage.

The trip was not without its moments of fun. An introduction to the Indian culture and way of celebration, at Malavli, through a Mehendi party, was a great chance for the participants to see the lighter side of things. Participating in the day to day activities of the orphanage and school let to moments of laughter and joy, most ‘tourists’ never get to experience. The participants were also awestruck by the sights of the forts, caves and markets they experienced on their various excursions. A weekend in Mumbai, and witnessing the controlled chaos of the metropolis was another great highlight of the trip for many.

Three weeks of interaction, life-altering experiences and an introduction to a culture that is rich and diverse, made a great impact on the participants. Some of them came to us and expressed interest in sponsoring a child, returning to participate in future programs and wanting to associate with the Challenger Initiative in greater depth. The feedback we received and the positive vibe of the participants has encouraged us to improve and expand the initiative to an even wider audience in the near future.

Internship at Chaitanya

Dr. Sudha Kothari first came to Khed block, a rural area in Pune district, state of Maharastra in 1982 to study community based organizations for her PhD. During her research, she found that many villages had formally registered Mahila Mandals (Women’s Groups), several issues were found to be of major concern within these communities.

Six years later, as a Trustee member for the Academy for Education and Youth Services (AEYS), Dr. Kothari organized a women’s get together to learn about and address the needs of these communities. This meeting resulted in the formation of Self Help Groups (SHGs), motivating women to save money as a community. These groups came together and formed the Grameen Mahila Swayamsiddha Sangha (GMSS), which got registered as a charitable society in 1993. Chaitanya was initiated as a not-for-profit organization to support the GMSS and provide assistance in financial and social activities.

Chaitanya has played a catalytic role in spreading the SHG movement in and around Maharashtra and is one of the pioneers of the SHG movement in the state. GMSS, the first SHG federation in Maharashtra promoted by Chaitanya started functioning in the year 1991.

Vision: A gender just, equitable and self reliant society where women have access to and control over family finances and other resources. 

Mission: Developing capabilities of rural poor, especially women and youth by promoting and strengthening self-reliant sustainable institutions, to enable them to lead the process of development and achieve a better quality of life.

Current work:

Chaitanya works with over 92,000 rural women and her households spread across 1,411 villages through 50 federations in 18 districts of Maharashtra.


Chaitanya offices are located in Rajgurunagar, which is a small town in the Khed District of Maharastra.  


Private accommodation at the Guest House in Rajgurunagar where Chaitanya has its offices. 



Chirag program aims at building capacities of Self Help Groups (SHGs) at various levels. Chaitanya facilitated the formation of Grameen Mahila Swayamsiddha Sangh (GMSS), the first federation of SHGs in Maharashtra. Today, GMSS functions as an independent unit and provides guidance to other SHG federations.


Jankar program aims to build capacities of selected SHG members as Community Resource Persons, for providing information related to law, formation of SHGs, financial literacy, livelihood, health, and various schemes and programs of the government. The program is committed to build a cadre of female leaders with in-depth knowledge and skills to empower women to solve self-identified needs.


Livelihood program aims to enhance the knowledge of livelihood and the skills required to manage available resources, use new technologies for agricultural needs, generate local level employment through experimentation, increase the income via innovations and provide for market linkages. The program conducts trainings in better farm practices, animal husbandry, kitchen garden, horticulture and entrepreneurship.


Chaitanya has been recognized as a resource org on SHGs and community based micro-finance. Their training tools have been used extensively across the state of Maharashtra for over 15 years. As a resource organization, they provide technical support to organisations in 6 states. 2 certificate courses in microfinance and Not-for-Profit management are also being run jointly with Tata Institute of Social Sciences. They are the resource organization for the Manthan-Vidarbha network of 23 Charities.


A Health program that aims at the improvement of health and nutrition among women and children Chaitanya’s goal is to build capacities of the rural community to enable them to pursue a healthy life. They piloted a micro health insurance program called Deepti Arogya Nidhi which focuses on absorbing health shocks and promoting better health choices.

Projects for interns:

  1. Impact assessment – Analysing and assessing impact (current impact, impact of women's empowerment and livelihood generation)
  2. Member satisfaction survey- To create a survey that can be scaled and taken across to 50 locations where Chaitanya has their operations.
  3. Soft skills development for staff- Team building, leadership development and communication modules.
  4. SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) for all programs- Step by step process documentation and workflows in a handbook that can be shared with new staff, funders etc.

Internship duration:

Minimum duration for the internship is 12 weeks and maximum is 20 weeks

Scholarships are now open

BEYOND BORDERS scholarships have changed lives around the world by providing its flagship programs at much reasonable prices. You can avail them by applying here. To know more, browse through the program details and the scholarship prices.

Western India Programs

Clinical Rotation, Mumbai
An in-depth study and experience of the current healthcare scenario in India's financial hub,
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Program Price: $1741 USD
Scholarship Price: $1348 USD
Save $393 for 2 weeks

Healthcare in India
An opportunity to be a part of India's complex healthcare environment and make a difference.
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Program Price: $2528 USD
Scholarship Price: $1966 USD
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Rural and Public Health Rotation
Work with doctors on live cases and understand the medical scenario of rural areas.
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Program Price: $2359 USD
Scholarship Price: $1882 USD
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Film and Media Program
Emphasizes the inner workings and logistics of the film industry in Mumbai.
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Program Price: $2640 USD
Scholarship Price: $2079 USD
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Microfinance & Social Business Internship
A social business for poverty alleviation!
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Program Price: $2528 USD
Scholarship Price: $1775 USD
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Rural Life Program

Observe life in Indian villages and understand village-based realities.
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Program Price: $2359 USD
Scholarship Price: $2135 USD
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Introduction to traditional medicine
The program explores ancient Indian methods for healing and maintaining good health.
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Program Price: $1685 USD
Scholarship Price: $1236 USD
Save $449 for 2 weeks

SPEED Programs

Educate and Make A Difference SPEED Program
Work directly with kids in rural schools and orphanages.
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Program Price: $938 USD
Scholarship Price: $713 USD
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International Development SPEED Program
Observe, understand and contribute to social change in rural India.
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Program Price: $938 USD
Scholarship Price: $713 USD
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Northern India Programs

Urban and Rural Health Rotations
Complete experience of India's urban and rural healthcare system.
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Program Price: $2528 USD
Scholarship Price: $2079 USD
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Healthcare in the Himalayas
In this program you get an opportunity to work in local government as well as charitable hospitals
and small private clinics.
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Program Price: $1573 USD
Scholarship Price: $1348 USD
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SPEED Programs 

Teach in the Himalayas SPEED Program
Work directly with kids in schools and orphanages.
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Program Price: $938 USD
Scholarship Price: $713 USD
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Service Learning in the Himalayas SPEED Program
Opportunity to participate in and witness social change first-hand! Visit and work with NGOs
and social organizations in rural India.
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Program Price: $938 USD
Scholarship Price: $713 USD
Save $225 for 2 weeks

The prices stated above are inclusive of Service Tax

The Design Abroad Program begins this May

BEYOND BORDERS is pleased to announce an addition to it’s present bouquet of programs. The Design Abroad Program. This new program is crafted for students of Design to learn, teach and engage in Design projects in a rural setting. The program commences on May 12th and ends on May 30th and is on for 2 weeks. Participants will be located in the state of Maharashtra, India. For more information about this program, please visit the BEYOND BORDERS Customised Programs page.

This program was crafted in collaboration with a partner University. Design students who participate in this program will have the opportunity to engage with, provide ideas and assist in designing with rural communities with the intention of improving the sustainability of specific rural projects. It is a challenging, helpful and altruistic program. The duration of the program is 2 weeks and participants are eligible to one credit.

To know more about this program click here

SPEED Programs starting at US$395 / week

Announcing BEYOND BORDERS’s SPEED Programs; Starting at US$395 / week!

Go, Give, Engage with our low-cost, high-impact SPEED programs!

BEYOND BORDERS has always endeavoured to provide innovative experiential learning programs packed with tons of experience at a fraction of the cost anywhere in the world. Our SPEED programs in India are designed to do that and much more…. Besides providing you with a program that meets the most stringent quality standards anywhere in the world, we also help you save time and money.

Starting with durations of 1 week and extending up to 8 weeks at costs as low as USD395 per week for individuals and USD350 per week for groups (4 or more participants) this is a fantastic way to visit incredible India. There are no hidden costs or truncated program content – just enrol for any one of our SPEED programs today and make a difference!

Learn more about our SPEED programs today! 

Educate and Make a Difference SPEED Program

Visit Rural India and work with children at local schools, orphanages or special needs homes. Interact with rural children, contribute to their learning and skills. This is a great way to gain hands-on experience in the shortest possible time!

Cost : US$ 395 per week for individuals, US$ 350 for groups (4 or more participants)
Duration : Minimum 1 week up to 6 weeks

To know more about this program click here

International Development SPEED Program

Observe, understand and contribute to social change in Rural India. Learn about how many NGOs and government organizations are transforming Rural India. Witness the development challenges faced by the world’s 2nd largest democracy. All this and more in the shortest possible time!

Cost : US$ 395 per week for individuals, US$ 350 for groups (4 or more participants)
Duration : Minimum 1 week up to 6 weeks

To know more about this program click here

Film and Media SPEED Program

Introducing a shorter variation of BEYOND BORDERS’s most popular flagship Film and Media program! For those who wish to learn about cinema through one of the world’s largest film industries – Bollywood, this is the program! Packed in 2 weeks of screenings, film sets, post-production and professional interactions this unique program is your gateway to Bollywood!

Cost : US$ 1450 for individuals,US$1250 for groups (4 or more participants)
Duration : 2 weeks

To know more about this program click here

BEYOND BORDERS acquires residential campus at Malvali

BEYOND BORDERS has recently leased a beautiful property called Indrayani from the Siemens Worker’s Union in Malvali. Named after the river Indrayani which flows along the site, this idyllic space offers all the modern amenities needed for a comfortable stay for students on BEYOND BORDERS programs during their placements. These facilities include a large amphitheatre for student meetings, lectures and presentations, internet access, a small tuck shop that stores essential items, a dining area and rooms with individual porticos that offer a view of the idyllic surroundings. Situated only 4 kms away from Lonavala, it not only provides easy access to the twin cities of Mumbai and Pune but also allows students to experience the unparalleled beauty of rural India. Nestled among the hills of the Western Ghats, this facility, with its Mediterranean styled architecture, manicured gardens and friendly members of staff is an unforgettable experience in itself.

BEYOND BORDERS signs partnership agreement with UTS

BEYOND BORDERS recently signed a student placement agreement with the prestigious University of Technology, Sydney. As part of this agreement UTS students will participate in BEYOND BORDERS’s experiential learning programs and undertake activities that are consistent with their innovative BUiLD (Beyond UTS International Leadership) program. Previous groups of UTS students have participated in BEYOND BORDERS’s Education, Microfinance and Film/Media Programs. As part of its mission to encourage global citizenry through experiential learning, BEYOND BORDERS is delighted to welcome UTS to its growing list of institutional partnerships.