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My Bali Internships’ Experience Volunteering at the Turtle Program

"During my first weeks in Bali, we walked past graffiti on a wall that said: „What happened in Bali stays with you“, all I can say is that this is so true! What I have experienced, learned and seen in Bali will stay with me for life." Lyn van Gent, Social-Science High School, Germany

How it all started

The turtle conservation volunteering project is a part of my memories now and the one month I was volunteering there passed by so fast! I am extremely happy that I chose this project with Bali Internships, because I wanted to not just be a tourist when staying two months in Bali. I have never worked with animals before, so I wanted to experience something new and see if I am able to work with turtles. The turtles did not get any less cute with the time, they are beautiful and interesting animals – I have learned a lot of new things about sea turtles, something I was not aware before!

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Volunteer tasks

My tasks as a volunteer were cleaning the turtle tanks, helping with the eggs hatching, guiding the visitors of the site, giving aid or medicine on fungus when the baby turtles are ill, and helping the crew with turtle release events or operational arrangements. I felt comfortable the whole time, the atmosphere was very good and stress-free - and most importantly, I had a lot of fun while volunteering.

If I can give some advice to the next volunteer, never be afraid of talking to people or start a conversation, you will learn that while volunteering at the centre you will gain more self-confidence and lastly also crucial to be first interested marine life and sea turtles

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I really liked my colleagues at the turtle conservation project, they were friendly, patient, warm-hearted and we had a lot of fun while working. I have always felt comfortable at the conservation site, it didn’t take a long time to feel integrated into the project. After a few days I started interacting and guiding the conservation’s visitors, sharing with them necessary information about the conservation’s visions, about the turtles and even if I asked the same question more than once, everybody was patient with me all the time. At the project site, every week the staff make barbecues, this was a good opportunity for volunteers to get to know everyone better.

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Great mindset

What I really appreciate and hope to bring back to my country is the mentality of Indonesian people! I have never been to a country before where people were that friendly and happy. That mindset is something I can definitely learn from! When you give something, you should not expect something back, just be nice because “it is nice to be nice“ (quote from an Indonesian guy I met). I think I have learned that not everything has to be super-planned and that having time for your own is absolutely important.

Bali has changed me

Since I was 12, I was already interested in seeing Bali because my grandma visited Bali in 1995 and she told me a lot about Bali’s beauty and colours. I think on that time a lot has changed and Bali got more touristy, the beaches are different, now there are more dead corals and rubbish – but Bali does not lose its beauty. I see these transformations as an urgent reminder that we have to change something! My time in Bali and the volunteer project has already made a change in me, we need to take care of our environment!

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All in all I already miss Bali’s open-hearted people, spices, colours, Mangos, (guitar) sounds, sunsets and sunrises – and I miss this special atmosphere – even in the crazy traffic the people seemed not to be stressed at all.

Thank you Bali and Balinese people for making memories with me, I will come back, Indonesia!

Did you get inspired by Lyn's story?