First off, I loved my two weeks of volunteering in Bali and I couldn't be more glad I did it. This was my first volunteer experience abroad and it really was perspective-shifting, fun, challenging, and overall a really positive experience. During my time I volunteered at three different schools, one in urban Kuta, one in the smaller town of Amlapura, and one in the country. (Note: these were all normal public or private schools. None of them were for orphans, which I'd somehow gotten the impression they would be.)
What I loved: connecting with the kids. All the kids I worked with, from kindergarten through high school, were so fun. They loved having a foreign volunteer there, and even though the majority of them couldn't speak much English, I still was really able to connect with them in and out of the classroom just by keeping a smile on my face and giving out liberal high-fives. The faculty was also always very friendly and enthusiastic to have me there. Leaving each school was always a challenge and I found myself trying to stick around each day as long as I could.
What was unexpected: First off, I was the only volunteer with RCDP in Bali while I was there, and from the sounds of it they don't normally have more than one person there. This meant that when I wasn't at the schools I was mostly by myself, the first week in a simple but serviceable hotel room, the second in the guesthouse building owned by the great Bali volunteer coordinator, Komang. While I didn't mind this relative seclusion, if you're looking to meet other volunteers, this is not the place to do it.
Because of the low volume, individual nature of this volunteer experience, I found that there wasn't as much of a system in place as I had expected. In practice this meant that there was both less and more for me to do than I had anticipated. Less, because instead of having arranged classes to assist in all day I usually only had two and sometimes just one. More, because sometimes in those classes I was asked to conduct parts or the entirety without much instruction and because outside of class I had free range to hangout for hours with kids on recess. Let me tell you, it takes both considerable energy and creativity to engage with dozens of non-English speaking kids at once.
Outside of the limited arranged time helping in class, there was also some difficulty finding me a school to volunteer in at all during my second week in the smaller town. This was apparently because with the burgeoning Coronavirus situation the local schools were scared to have a foreigner come in. A reasonable fear, except that I had been in at that time Covid-free Bali for more than two weeks without displaying symptoms so there was really no chance that I had it. I missed having a school to volunteer at that Monday, despite the efforts of Komang to gather some local children that I could work with at his home. But after I talked to Komang again he did find a school that would have me for the rest of that week, during their afternoon sessions. The third school I also volunteered at a couple days that week I found by myself because it was connected to a Catholic church which I had been visiting daily. I met the nuns who ran the school and they invited me to come and volunteer there too, which I could do in my free mornings.
So, I ended up having plenty of volunteering, but it was all rather impromptu and I kind of had to fight for it (staying at school after I was done helping in class, insisting on finding a placement for the second week, and finding an additional placement myself.)
I do want to stress that Komang was very helpful and accommodating, but he was working with what really felt like a less than polished system.
Taken all in all, as I said to start, this was a fantastic experience, but I had to be flexible and engaged to make it that way, and I don't think any two experiences would be quite alike. The advantage is you do really feel like you're meeting locals who are excited to have you because you're not just one of many volunteers. The disadvantage is that things are a bit messy. But if you're ready to roll with the adventure, go for it!