Self Development Through Volunteering at The Turtle Conservation Center in Bali
“I loved volunteering at the turtle project because of the teamwork, everyone stands for what they believe in & they're ready to do everything to fight for the life of the endangered sea turtles & take action about it for almost two decades.” Hannah, Staufer Gymnasium Pfullendorf, Germany
The wildlife conservation project is the perfect volunteer opportunity to protect endangered species from extinction, species like sea turtles, starling bird, coral reef, and so on. Among the projects supported by Bali Internships, the turtle conservation project work appeals to me the most. Some of the conservation work include putting a definitive end to turtle trade by encouraging the public not to consume the turtle products and acting as a watchdog for turtle trade in Bali. The turtle center also directly helps to protect turtles. The eggs are bred, and the hatchlings are raised for about one month and then released into the wild.
My volunteering days: I was at the right place
I applied for being a volunteer through Bali Internships because I always wanted to visit Bali, and the program they have with the turtle conservation seemed appealing to me. Bali Internships’ team always took care of me even before I arrived and helped me with all my concerns or questions. On my first day, I was introduced to all of the staff of the conservation center. I was shown around the site, and the volunteer supervisor told me everything I must know when volunteering on site and he answered my questions concerning my tasks.
My main task as a volunteer on my first few days was to learn about the organization, what its mission, function and role in the community and of course its role in conserving marine life. As soon as I was informed and understood the message, I was assigned to assist them with sharing this information of endangered sea turtles and to share and educate visitors and tourists on this issue and what to do to support. One of the ways to support is through sea turtle adoption, where visitors can adopt a baby sea turtle to get released into the sea; later on, the adoptee will obtain a video of the releasing procedure.
Other than spreading information through visitors, I also helped clean the turtle tanks and treated injured or ill sea turtles. I loved volunteering at the turtle project because of the teamwork, how everyone stands for what they believe in and that they're ready to do everything to fight for the life of the endangered sea turtles and take action about it for almost two decades.
For future volunteers
When getting to know more about turtles in the tour, you are most likely supposed to learn, ask all questions you can come up with, or do research on those. Especially the tourists that speak your language are more likely to ask questions. Also, make sure to learn a lot about the turtle ceremonies from your supervisor at the Center, because that's a crucial topic concerning turtles in Balinese culture, which a lot of visitors have the completely wrong and horrible picture of. Therefore it's your task to explained everything the right way. Don't hesitate to ask if there are any questions about anything.
Bali was my first trip alone
Before coming to Bali, my awareness of the endangered marine species such as Bali sea turtles was not very high. I didn't know a lot about sea turtles or how they were endangered. My Bali trip was my first time traveling alone, and I just turned 18. I gained meaningful knowledge, I also experienced an important self-development as a young adult. I learned how to handle things by myself and communicated with new people and just be in a complete new surrounding. My short yet meaningful volunteering abroad trip has made me more independent and self-reliant. Looking back, I surely miss the easy way of living and open-minded mentality the most. While volunteering in Bali, I tried to travel around as much as possible. Bali offers countless beautiful places to discover, I mostly ride my scooter or share a taxi with friends to explore the island.
My best weekend in Bali was when my co-volunteers and I visited Tanah Lot, where we got the chance to swim around a beautiful cliff. We also did a little tour around the island, and these trips were the best ones during my time in Bali, when we went to see a few spectacular nature sights and two stunning beaches.
To summarise, I can say that my expectations about my Bali experience were fulfilled. The way of living of the inhabitants fascinated me, I met a lot of new people and gained a lot of experience and self development. During my time in Bali volunteering, the people I met have taught me meaningful things that I feel have enriched my life. If I ever have the chance to go back to Bali, I'll take it.