Developing meaningful relationships and independence abroad

Impact: 9
Support: 10
Fun: 10
Value: 9
Safety: 9

I was a 2011-2012 English teaching volunteer at Universitas Muhammadiyah Surakarta (UMS) in Central Java, Indonesia. VIA truly changed the course of my life. The staff are tremendous and offer both logistic and emotional support while also giving you quite a bit of independence to make the experience your own. I had some issues with my visa and VIA remained a constant resource in troubleshooting the oftentimes red-tape filled Indonesian government. VIA attracts people who really want to learn about a culture, learn the language and think critically about their experience as an expat in Asia. I have made true long lasting relationships with the fellow people in my VIA cohort. Teaching abroad also allowed me opportunities to volunteer at other NGOs in Indonesia which has since furthered my career in international development. (In fact, I stayed 4 months after my post officially ended.) While my specific post did challenge me (lack of support from the faculty at UMS and occasional loneliness), I developed so much resiliency and openness towards others. I would highly highly recommend VIA.

Would you recommend this program?
Yes, I would
Year Completed