I was very lucky to spend 10 days of my summer in 2015 being involved in The International Biosphere Stewardship Program. I have learned a lot about the environment around us, Balinese cultures and got to made long-last friendships with people I met.
Everyday we learned about different part of our ecosystem or the biosphere that we live in. We didn't just sit in class to learn the theoretical part about it but we went outside to actually see it, try to preserve it and work with the community to spread the awareness about how important it is. I remember, the first day we arrived in the evening, I was one of the only two international participants there. The rest of the students there were Balinese. We smiled and introduced our names but couldn't say much more. The language barrier was present but it didn't stop us from trying to communicate and understand each others. After a few days, we all grew very close. We took care of each other's safety and well-being. A few of us got sick during the program, even our head leader Sierra but we gave each others positivity to get through it and make the best out of the opportunity.
The other international participant/student who was there was from Hawaii. She came with her teacher, who only stayed with use for the first few days. They brought such rich cultures of the other side of the world that I didn't know much about at all. They brought songs, dances and taught to all of us very gracefully. By the end of the week, we all could perform 2-3 Hawaiian songs. Those songs and their cultures that we got to learn relate very much to nature. They were about mountains, rivers and everything around us. Those songs really got us to appreciate our biosphere and stand up to take care of it.
These are only a few stories our of very many from this 10 days program. Some other highlights that I want to share are the environment that we lived in during that. We had a place in the middle of the jungle, which is about 5 hours drive of Bali city areas. The drive there was beautiful with the best and most kind driver, Ketut! We lived with nature and wild lives, deers and monkeys. Living in Singapore for 4 years, I really appreciated the nature that was around us. Even in Cambodia, where I am from, not many of the forests are still there. I was very lucky to be there. The food was amazing, best Balinese food I have ever had! 10 days of food heaven! The activities we go to do taught us about many difference parts of our ecosystem such as: monsoon forest, coral reefs, mangroves and many others. The people were the best, Sierra, Nono, Jake and Kate took the best care of us and we took the best care of each others. My Balinese friends and Hawaiian sister are long-last friends, we still exchange stories till now.
In summery, I have learned so much that I couldn't imagine I could in 10 days. I got inspired by people I met about their stories, cultures and informations about our planet. After that 10 days, it woke me up from "I'll worry about that" later world to "we have to act now" world and I know we can make changes after being shown how. The International Biosphere Stewardship Program gave me the push and showed me the ways to make small changes that we all can, to help our mother earth.
Thank you everyone! Let's make those impacts together! And you, the one who is reading can have the same or better experience, just apply! We need more people to start caring about this world in the right ways!