I volunteered this year in Bali with Plan My Gap Year as an English teacher. I volunteered with PMGY before in Cambodia and I also volunteered in India, I had such a great experience with PMGY before that I just knew I had to go again. I am so so so glad I decided to go to Bali because this one might have been the best so far! I already knew that PMGY is super affordable and helpful throughout the whole process, because I've been with them to Cambodia so choosing them again was a no-brainer for me. They answer all your questions, big or small within a few hours and I felt that they were always happy to help. Getting my visa for Indonesia was a bit more difficult than expected but I just gave them a call and they walked me through the whole process and gave me tips. They are also very clear about their fees which is really important to me, you know exactly how money goes towards covering your project and stay and I love how honest they are about this. It's something that I miss from a lot of other volunteer organizations. They also provide you with a volunteer handbook which literally contained all the information I needed, packing lists, weekend tips you name it! I felt that I was well prepared before I went to Bali also because I joined one of their pre departure webinars which gave me a chance to ask any additional questions I had.
My stay in Bali was absolutely phenomenal! If I could have given it a 11/10 I would! The volunteer accomodation is so beautiful that it almost looks like a hotel, it has a pool, an amazing rooftop terrace to watch sunset (and sunset if you want to get up really early, I did it once and it was worth it ;) ) and a lot of communal areas to chill around with other volunteers, all the rooms have AC as well! The food they did was so tasty and delicous as well, a lot of different options and also some western food once or twice a week. I am a vegetarian but this was no problem here! I've had the best fake chicken (tempeh :P) wrap here so far! The ladies in the kitchen are so nice and they are always happy to assist you if you want to cook something yourself or if you just want to cut up some fruit or whatever. Ketut (the host 'mom' ) always told us that we shouldn't go to bed hungry so we could always ask for some more if we wanted. Ketut is such a lovely lady who really felt like my Balinese mom, I was afraid I might feel a little homesick but she's is always there if you need help with anything or if you just need a chat or a hug. The rest of her family is also really helpful and nice, Indra (her son) and Rush (her husband) helped us arrange transport if we wanted to go out and they would also help with planning weekend trips etc. I felt like they welcomed me into their home which was such an nice feeling. Because the family lives next to the volunteerhouse we still had our privacy but it was nice to know that they were always there if we needed anything.
I volunteered at Akasa School which was established by Ketut to help the community, she told us that this has been her dream for years to be able give back to her local community and to teach the children English so that they can grow in life. I think it's so nice that she actually wants to give back and help, you could tell that she is so passionate about this and she is so grateful for every volunteer who comes and helps her continue her dreams! The kids at the school are so sweet and smart, they kept suprising me with how good their English was, it was so nice to see them enjoy learning and see their knowledge grow week by week! There's a lesson planning session every Monday to help all the teaching volunteers prepare their lessons and you could also get supplies like books and pencils from the local team, since I already had some experience teaching abroad I didn't really need help but it was nice to know that I could use all their supplies and printer to use for my project.
All in all I had an amazing experience and I'm already thinking of going back next summer to Bali! The island, the people, the food, the chill vibes, everything is just perfect in Bali! Because Bali is relatively small compared to other islands you can do a lot in just a short amount of time, I spent 8 weeks in Bali and got to do everything that I wanted: Canggu, climbing Mount Batur, watching the dolphins in Lovina, going to Nusa Penida and Ubud.
I got real ' eat pray love ' vibes wherever I went and I just felt so relaxed and happy exploring this beautiful island while also giving back and helping the local community!
I would definitely recommend the Bali Teaching program to anyone who wants the best of both worlds: volunteering and traveling!