By Nina Kümin, Music Graduate
Due to the very generous support of the John’s College Student Opportunities Fund I was able to spend two weeks volunteering as an English teacher in Bali last summer. As a volunteer with the charity ‘Volunteer in Bali’, I spent the mornings volunteering at a kindergarten in Tianyar, a small fishing village in the North East, and the afternoons at a nearby secondary school. It was wonderful to play with the children from the kindergarten and to find fun ways to teach basic English words such as colours and numbers. The children’s openness and enthusiasm to learn and introduce the volunteers to their culture and customs was inspirational. As a thank you to me and the other volunteers after the end of our time there, the children performed traditional dancing in national dress and gave us flowers, holding great symbolic significance in their religious ceremonies as blessings.
I enjoyed planning longer lessons for the two secondary school classes I took in the afternoons, introducing conversational language, with the children particularly enjoying role playing shopping and endless games of duck duck goose! Students would attend my classes after their regular schooling in the mornings, sometimes travelling from hours away, it was wonderful to watch the children grow in confidence and their energy and commitment was so inspiring.
One afternoon we were invited to attend a ceremony to celebrate and bless a new school building and another day involved taking the children to see a religious parade. These were incredible experiences to learn about and experience local religious customs with the children I had got to know so well. Indeed, what struck me most about the community was their eagerness to share and to bring everybody together, volunteers and locals alike. Their joy in life is infectious and I feel honoured to have been able to be a part of the lives of this village and have learnt so much from the experience.
The weekends left me free to travel this beautiful island with highlights including visiting temples, rice fields and a monkey forest near Ubud and snorkelling with tropical fish and turtles around the Gili islands. I am still in contact with friends I made I am very grateful to the John’s College Student Opportunities Fund for their support without this such an experience would never have been possible.
Supported by St John’s Student Opportunities Fund.
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