Why did you pick this program?
I picked GapXperience Asia in Bali first of all because I have always heard amazing stories and saw beautiful pictures from travellers who visited Bali. Secondly because as an Arts and Culture student, I was really interested to see with my own eyes such a distant reality with a different culture and unknown customs for me.
Thirdly I really liked the program they offered which was a perfect combination between my main interests: society and environment. Teaching English is useful for the society as the kids are the future of the country and a basic English knowledge could help them to find a job in the future as Balinese people live around tourism. Teaching the kids how to respect the environment is a very important role the I was honored to transmit.
What is the most important thing you learned abroad?
I have learned to be flexible with kids enjoying the spontaneity of the moment and improvisations . At the beginning of my teaching project I was very determined to stick to the program I prepared with my partner teacher but I have learned that it’s important to change depending on the mood of the kids. Therefore I can say I have learned to be prepared to everything without being stressed or worried.
What do you tell your friends who are thinking about going abroad?
I tell them to take 10 seconds and think about how amazing would be to make such an experience. I tell them that their help is important and will change their life and the life of others. Joining such a program does not only bring to a personal growth but it opens you to a different way of thinking and living. It leaves satisfaction and unforgettable memories.
What's your favorite story to tell about your time abroad?
After a very exciting surfing experience I decided to go to PadangPadang as I knew some volunteers were sleeping there overnight and they had one more bed in their room. I decided to go by scooter taxi. When I arrived at the hotel, the receptionist told me it was not possible for me to sleep with my friends. He said that the only free room of the hotel was a luxury single room, obviously too expensive.
I walked as fast as I could back to the street to see if the taxi driver was still there. He was leaving in that moment so I screamed and made signs with my hands and he stopped. I jumped in and asked him to bring me to the cheapest hotel in that area, we found a home stay and I decided to take the room because of the stunning view. But I absolutely needed to take money from an ATM but none of the ATM we tried were working. At the end everything went good the patient taxi driver brought me at my home stay and the day after I woke up with that incredible view.
Tell us about an experience you had that you could not have had at home.
One day our Balinese "mum" and "dad" who hosted us volunteers in their house brought us to a very special religious ceremony called the full moon. They gave us the typical clothing which is very beautiful and we had the honor to see the whole ceremony with young girls dancing, woman offering flowers to the Gods and young boys making music and singing. It was really unforgettable.
What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?
Work hard and you will be rewarded! Take 2 hours a day to plan your lesson, taking some inspiration from the internet and using your creativity. The kids will notice how much you care about it and they will put much more effort either. If you don't care, your work is not only unproductive but will not reward you at all.
Which places are worth a visit?
For peope who love nature, Bali offers a lot of beautiful landscapes, the Tagalalang rice fields are really a must. But also the monkey forest in Ubud and the beautiful beaches in the island of Nusa Penida and Nusa Lembongan and of course the stunning temple of Uluwatu.