My time volunteering in Indonesia at the Education and Community Work in Bali project was absolutely unforgettable in more ways than one. First, let me start with the amazing culture I was immersed in, as well as the beautiful people I came to know and love.
The program started with a culture introduction week, in which we participated in activities each morning and afternoon, led by the local coordinators. These activities included learning the basics of Bahasa (the language spoken throughout most of Bali), cooking fried bananas and spring rolls from scratch, walking through the monkey forest, flower-offering lessons (made each morning and evening as part of their religious offering to the Gods), a tour of the holy water temple, and a breathtaking hike through the rice fields of Ubud. This week was an incredible way to learn about the Balinese culture, and on the way, I got to make plenty of great friends!
My volunteer house was located in Penestanan, Ubud, and I couldn’t have been more pleased with it. It had just been built, so the full two-story house was equipped with a great shower, working facilities, and a beautiful terrace overlooking rice paddies and jungle. One of my favorite parts of the trip was living with so many incredible people, every night felt like a huge slumber party with your best friends!
The project I chose to do was teaching English, and me and my partner were assigned 6th grade (10-11 year olds). This proved to be more challenging than I had expected, and the kids made us work hard to gain their attention and trust. Teaching on your own with so little structure taught me patience, the value of effort, and how important it is to work with what you have. It was incredible to see the children grow in their knowledge after just a few short weeks.
Overall, my experience was unforgettable, and I would not hesitate to go back! Between teaching and having the weekends to explore the island on your own, there was a perfect balance between fun and hard work. I definitely recommend it!