I finally got around to summarising my 2 week volunteer trip in Indonesia! I had so much fun! Initially I was very worried since I was going by myself and that I would feel left out. All of that worry quickly disappeared when I met the other lovely volunteers and also the ever so helpful group of Green Lion co-ordinators.
I would suggest buying a sim when you land. Having a phone number later comes in handy when you try to contact the taxi drivers (I had a problem initially where I couldn’t find the guy who was supposed to pick me up), also for searching where to go when outside the centre, or for translating things when you are by yourself.
Although the co-ordinators will help you from translating and even trivial things such as to where to buy certain things, what to avoid, how to haggle, or where to go during your spare time. You get an orientation week which is extremely helpful in adjusting to the lifestyle, climate, and interacting with locals. During the first week you get the chance to learn some basic Bahasa (Indonesian language), visit popular spots for tourists (temples, rice terraces, coffee plantation) and also even the less ventured tracks which I personally preferred, swam under waterfalls, do the Giant Swing, and learn about the Indonesian/Balinese culture.
There are two mini marts behind the centre which is good if you want some snacks, toiletries, drinks, etc. The volunteer centre is a taxi away to Ubud centre and the taxi fare can be shared with other volunteers. You can also arrange with the drivers to book them for a whole day – and they would be willing to wait around for you to finish each activity (i.e. lunch, shopping, etc). During the weekends, you are able to go and stay overnight anywhere. I chose to climb Mt Batur to see the sunrise. You also can switch your program to other options or choose to have a break.
As for my program, Healthcare Education, it was definitely a challenge but very rewarding. There are some options on which topics you want to cover, and even which grade or time of the day. They also keep past volunteer’s worksheet and activity log so that you have some idea to how to teach your students.
I was extremely nervous on my first day but the kids (grade 5) were so welcoming and I received some warm hugs when I arrived. Luckily, my introduction week co-ordinator happened to be my program co-ordinator and so I felt more at ease delivering my content to the class. He helped me with translating, explaining, and keeping the class quiet.
If you are planning to do teaching, the students absolutely love stickers, colouring, and drawing! You can even plan ahead before leaving your home country on what kind of worksheets you can print out (colouring, connect the dots, cut and paste, word cross, word scramble). I only taught from (9:45-11:45 am) and the rest of the day is free but I usually spent most of that time preparing for the next day’s class or watching a movie in the communal room.
I feel so grateful to be able to see the true Balinese lifestyle and sceneries – it is most have a definitely vibe to the popular tourist places such as Seminyak or Canggu. I would love to come back and continue teaching Healthcare to the community of Indonesia.
I’ve attached some photos 🙂