For the second semester of my third year at IPAG Business School, I integrated a volunteering mission at Slukat Learning Center, in Bali, Indonesia !
Indonesia is part of Southeast Asia, it’s the largest archipelago in the world with 13 466 islands. The capital of the country is Jakarta, in the island of Java, it’s the most populated island in the world. Bali is bordered by the sea of Bali, the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean, surrounded by the islands of Java and Lombok. The official language is the Indonesian Bahasa even if all the inhabitants speak Balinese, a local dialect. Bali is the only island with a majority of Hinduists (93%) in Indonesia: the society is made up by the Hinduist culture (Indonesia is the country with the most Muslims in the world). Slukat Learning Center is based in Keramas village, a small village of the province of Gianyar in the Southeast of Bali.
Slukat Learning Center was created in 2007 by Mr. I Gusti Agung Rai and Mrs. I Gusti Ayu Darsini. It’s a Non-Profit Organization who has for goal to save the environment and allow students of Gianyar to learn English through basic and computer classes, to get a better future.The fees to join Slukat Learning Center are 1385€ (with 75€ of deposit before coming). Thankfully, I worked this summer in a retirement home and the salary I earned help me to pay them. With this money, here, the meal is given to us every workday, the breakfast is included as well as accommodation.
I'm a teacher in three classes: Brahma, Siwa and Nakula. Here, the classes have names and not numbers and we give class by two. My students are between 12 and 17 years old. Before class, I must prepare the class contents according to the curriculum given by our coordinator. We can talk about grammar, vocabulary, topics as the body, tourism, transportation… To open and close the class, the students make a prayer: "Om swastiastu" and "Om santi santi santi om". Also, with Camille, we give class in a public school on Tuesday and Wednesday. Here, the classes are made up of 30 students around 13 years old. It's important to wear a pant and to have covered shoulders to give class.
At the beginning, I felt a bit lost in this new environment because I had no landmark; the first month, I felt bad, I missed my family and my friends, I didn’t feel at ‘home’. Also, I compared a lot with my experience in Barcelona and I knew it will not be the same at all. I thought at that moment that I was never going to feel good there. I had to adapt myself to my new environment to feel good in giving class. It was a big point, because if I don’t feel good in my daily life, it’s noticed in my ability to work well and my ability to create a link with others, especially that I’m a shy girl at first sight.
Because of that, and the language barrier, it was difficult to get closer with the students but now my classes work well. I realize that’s important to ask questions, to show that I want to know more about their culture and finally they also want to know where I come from, what’s my culture, my language, and so on. I think it’s a challenge I passed well because I’ve adapted myself to the children in front of me, and in each class it’s different.
An internship and a volunteering mission is very different, but they have some points in common. First, as I said, before each class you must prepare the class contents, you are delivered to yourself to give class, no one is helping you, pushing you. That allowed me to have more autonomy and to have a greater sense of responsibility. Also, we have developed a kind a community here, with the staff and the other volunteers. Knowing that we give class by two, I think this experience increased my team spirit. It’s a good experience to consolidate my achievements, from IPAG and my semester in Barcelona.
The link between IPAG and Slukat is small because I don’t really apply what I learned in IPAG. Here, I teach English so even if I had English class in IPAG, I never learned how to be a good teacher. But, I saw in IPAG how a teacher acts, and now I realize how it must be hard to teach, overall in front of 250 students who sometimes don’t pay any attention. Also, I think IPAG taught me to have a good ability of adaptation and do with what I have, and it’s important to know that when you’re in front of young students.
Thanks to this experience, I opened my eyes about my life, and my privileges. In my opinion, I never deeply realized what I owned and the reality of the population in poor countries, how it can be hard. For example, when I see inhabitants having ‘shower’ in small, dirty streams, it’s really difficult to accept that I can do nothing. I am so lucky to live in a developed country, and now I want to invest myself more, get any opportunity, stop complaining, and work more. Even study in IPAG it’s a chance and offers me so many opportunities for my future. This experience gives me the motivation to do great things, to build my future.