Negative experiences of various NGO leaders as a result of ill-prepared volunteers along with my own experience designing orientation curricula has led me to examine Indian and US-based standards for volunteer preparation. The theoretical frameworks of Kolb’s experiential learning cycle, the intercultural communication theories of Hall, Hofstede, Oberg, and Weinberg, the orientation-preparation theory of Kinsella, and the perspective of Illich provide a framework for this examination. My research utilizes a dual-case study to assess the sum total of orientation curricula for two US-based agencies sending volunteers abroad. These curricula are then compared to desired curricular topics as expressed in the document “Required Cultural and Country Competencies for International Volunteers in New Delhi NGOs.” Per this document, Indian NGOs desire a range of competencies including emotional intelligence, language competency, self awareness, understanding of women’s issues, understanding of diversity issues, and cultural etiquette. Volunteer abroad orientations cover these topics for the most part. The major differences in the curricula lie in the point of view and focus on the material. The focus of the Indian orientation curricula is mitigating ethnocentrism while the volunteer organizations choose to focus on volunteer comfort and safety. A fusion of the Indian and volunteer organization approaches along with increased dialogue regarding volunteer preparation would prove useful. Future research could include examination of the efficacy of the both curricula in producing each organization’s desired results.


Human Resources Management | International and Intercultural Communication