My Bali Experience: Volunteer Teaching in Ubud Elementary School
“Looking back at my time, I’m so happy I made the decision to come to Bali. I did things I never thought I would do or to be too scared to do in the first place, like jumping off a cliff. It’s just what Bali does to you. You go with the flow without thinking too much about it. My surf teacher gave me feedback that you don’t need to think about it, just do it. That will be my motto from now on” Laura, Radboud University Nijmegen
With excellent educational backgrounds and a knack for a little offshore adventure, Laura decided to leave her home country of Netherland and applied as a teacher for Bali Internships. Her journey with us has been nothing but a wonderful one. Laura's skill and passion in teaching really aided us in imparting purposeful knowledge to local children in a primary school in Ubud. For Laura herself, this period has become a memorable one as well. The young, aspiring teacher went back home with plenty of first-hand experience about the island's enticing culture, nature, and wondrous vibe in general. Here's her story.
First Impression: First Day At School
I came to Bali a few days before starting the program and already spent some time together with my co-volunteer, so I wasn’t nervous for my first day. I was very excited to see how I could help to improve the English of the kids. On my first day I immediately got to experience a ceremony at the school. The children and all the teachers from the school joined the ceremony, it was a beautiful sight. After the ceremony the kids went back to their classes. The kids were so excited to meet me. I teached them 'high five' in my first week. During my program they always wanted to give me a high five, which was so sweet. The teachers were very welcoming all the time. During the break we ate some of the local snacks you can buy at the school.
I learned something new every day during my time teaching in a local Balinese school. Every day I teached 2 classes, around 8-10:30. The teaching mostly consisted of vocabulary and a little bit of grammar. Vocabulary means trying to teach the kids to memorize words. We always tried to make it a game, so that the kids would learn in a playful way. Vocabulary was a little bit harder due to the language barrier. With the younger kids we also did some drawing. I love drawing so I always participated with them. In the breaks we sometimes played with the kids.
Memorable Spare-Time Moment in the Island.
After some time, I decided to move and live at Ubud center during my volunteering period. Here, I enjoyed my evenings even more. Ubud makes it so much easier to meet new people and have a fun time. Volunteer-wise, I think after my first week of school I really felt at home in Ubud. The teachers were very welcoming and open. We talked a lot about the Balinese-Hindu religion and local habits. It was very interesting. It is quite impossible to choose one of the best weekends I have during my brief stay on the island. But if I have to pick one in particular, then it would be my last weekend in Bali. I went together with my friends to Berawa. We rode the scooter from Ubud to Canggu. We stayed in a small guesthouse with an amazing breakfast restaurant. I’ve fallen in love with surfing in Bali, so we had a surfing lesson on Friday, watched the sunset while drinking a fresh coconut together. In the evening we met up with some Indonesian friends and went to a bar and club together and in the early morning we ate a little snack at McDonalds. On Saturday we spent some time at the pool and beach.
My definitely best trip in Bali was when I went to the Gili Islands together with my fellow Bali Internships buddies. We stayed in a small cute boutique hotel in three rooms. We snorkeled, ate, supped, partied, watched clear starry skies and laughed a lot. Although I didn't try that much, I really love some of Balinese local foods, such as grilled fresh fish bought from Kedonganan fish market, Dadar Gulung (sweet omelet rolls), or Ayam Goreng Bumbu Manis (homemade fried chicken with sweet sauce).
Looking back at my time, I am so happy I made the decision to come to Bali. I personally gained a lot from this experience. I did things I never thought I would do or to be too scared to do in the first place, like jumping off a cliff. It is just what Bali does to you. You go with the flow without thinking too much about it. My surf teacher gave me feedback that you do not need to think about it, just do it. That will be my motto from now on. The priceless memories I made in Bali will stay with me for the rest of my life. I am so thankful for the experience and cannot wait to go back to Bali somewhere in the future.
By Billy Bagus