04 August, 2021

Karma Gypsies

India is now a prime stop for 'gappers' mixing work, travel

Sanjoy Ghosh
Karma Gypsies
Once young people from the West saw India as a destination for those on a spiritual trip—goras who had lost their way, hippies weary of the capitalist rat race. But now, a very different type of young foreigner is heading our way—and for very different reasons.

India has become a prime destination for gap-year students: a new breed of get-up-and-go youngsters in tune with the demands of the global economy. In a practice that caught on in the '90s, students poised between school and university in the West take a sabbatical to travel and/or work. Hundreds of them are here, from the US, Europe and Canada, even places like South Korea and Russia—all looking for between a few months to a year of experience in booming and socially diverse India. Their jobs range from internships in financial consultancies in Gurgaon, work on sanitation problems in Tamil Nadu's fishing hamlets, teaching sports in Rajasthan to helping out on elephant conservation farms in Kerala. The possibilities for social work, especially, are drawing big numbers from...

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