I had heard a lot about Bali before choosing the program, and had planned to volunteer with IVHQ in Bali in 2017. Bali is a mystic island with significant Hinduism and Buddhism influences -- it was on my bucket list to see and experience the religious and cultural activities with the locals.
Mac Lim is a 44-year-old male with 18 years of working experience. Nowadays he is “retired” and travels a few times a year (if possible) while volunteering to see the world in a different perspective.
Why did you choose this program?
What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?
I had to apply for a visa to visit Indonesia and book a return flight after the program was confirmed. IVHQ provided the required information for the visa and assisted with the process. Additionally, they organized everything from airport pick-up, accommodation, and food, to orientation and volunteer activities. I had to arrange my return to the airport after the program ended.
IVHQ's support services are excellent, and they're always available via phone or email.
What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?
Enjoy the experience and socialize with locals but be mindful of their culture and to not offend them with ignorant behavior. Always remember that you are here because you want to see new things, give a little help and hopefully improve yourself.
I would suggest planning where you want to go, what you want to see, and what your budget is prior to arriving as you will have a lot of free time on the weekends.
What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?
Typically for the English teaching program, volunteers are placed at a school to teach for two hours each day. Usually it is after school from 2 pm - 4 pm. The preparation can take up to 2-3 hours in the morning depending on the students’ proficiency level.
It is important to prepare lesson plans so that the future volunteers can continue with the program. This program aims to improve 4 skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing) as the school children here only have 1-2 hours a week to learn English in a formal class.
You will have lots of time during weekends to do things together with fellow volunteers as Bali is one of the best tourist destinations.
Do you have a favorite story you'd like to share?
While in Bali, the biggest news was the imminent eruption of Mount Agung. During my final week (13-18 November 2017), it was rained heavily for the whole week and suddenly on Wednesday (two days before program completion), the skies cleared up. From the accommodation, I saw Mount Agung majestically spewing beautiful white plume. It is one of the moments that I will never forget. It seemed so close, yet so far away.
Note: It is important to note that the program provider will always put volunteers safety as a priority. During this week, they provided up to date news on the situation and adhere to the instructions issued by the authorities