Volunteering Programs by Volunteer Programs Bali

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About

At VP Bali, we believe that education can change a child’s destiny. More than just an international volunteer program, we provide opportunities to empower local Balinese communities through free English classes, recycling events, workshops, and more.

Since 2013, over 1000 international volunteers have provided the backbone for our community of learning in our after school English classes (Monday-Thursday). Year round, volunteers from the ages of 18-35 come from all over the world to inspire our communities through diversity and cultural exchange. As part of “The VP Bali Way: Education Through Play,” volunteers are encouraged to use creative learning techniques such as games and class competitions. This helps reinforce the idea of education as a journey, not an end goal for Balinese youth.

Volunteers are immediately assimilated into Balinese culture, starting off with traditional homestay accommodation. Weekly cultural exchanges with our kids and local staff members create a special experience far beyond a typical holiday, where volunteers can truly understand the vibrant traditions that make Balinese culture so unique.

Everything we do at Volunteer Programs Bali is for the Balinese and with the Balinese. Our English classes and community opportunities help Bali's youth and their families develop in today's changing society without losing the rich culture and family values that make Bali, Bali.

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Questions & Answers

Ubud!
Hi Juliette! As far as I know volunteers only get transferred if there is a case of illness or cancelation, and only if it otherwise means that a certain class doesn't have a teacher. When I was volunteering I did not see anyone transferred, they are very well organized and try to accommodate everyone's wishes.
Hi Rowan, From my experience I can tell you that during your classes you can pick up a lot of Indonesian very quickly. If you want to go more into debt you can always follow an extra course which can be found easily.
Hi Cathryn, a social/cultural visa is needed for this program. More information here: http://volunteerprogramsbali.org/placement-info/indonesian-visa/

Reviews

95%
based on 169 reviews
  • Impact 9
  • Support 9.4
  • Fun 9.1
  • Value 9.4
  • Safety 9.7
  • Benefits 8
  • Support 9
  • Fun 9
  • Facilities 8
  • Safety 9
Showing 151 - 165 of 169
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Fijeanty
10/10

Bali Days

I absolutely loved working at the WG program. It was challenging at first as i was teaching the youngest group however i gained so much from this experience.

I learned how to be patient,and to think on my feet one thing is for sure in bali you have to go with the flow when you plan something most of the time it will not go how you envisioned it. Which might be hard to get used to as a western because we are so used to structure and doing things a certain way.

Living in the village at the WG program was just amazing as you get to interact with the locals i have been to bali twice before but this was the first time i actually learn some indonesian and the locals really appreciate it so my advice is to take a little dictionary with you as a few words will go a long way.

Its an amazing experience and even when you have had a difficult day at school because the children didn't really listen just remember why your there your there to help and teach the children something and your in paradise so tidak apa apa ( no worries)

How can this program be improved?
I would of liked it if WG program interacted socially with the Ubud Program as we were in the village and a little removed from the other activity otherwise i have no complaints :)
Yes, I recommend
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Bianca
10/10

an experience i will never forget

This program was so much more than i expected. The level of commitment and passion the program leaders/organisers have for volunteer programs Bali is amazing. My experience is one that i will never forget. It was extremely well organised and easy to follow and Kimberley and Jose were very helpful with answering any questions we had for them. The children we had the priviledge of teaching were lovely and happy which made it so much more rewarding to be there. The homestay was very suitable and for the cost of volunteering at volunteer programs bali was very reasonable for the living arrangements, breakfast every morning, pick up and drop off to the school and of course the donation. Having a curriculum folder to follow and see what past volunteers had tought the students was extremely helpful although there was an obvious language barrier with most of the children it was easy to adjust as long as we spoke slowley and used many hand gestures. I was involved with the program for 2 weeks which was not long enough. I have every intention of returning in the future and staying atleast for one month. This experience is one that i can take with me and have forever and as a future primary school teacher in Australia it has giving me new ways of looking at teaching.

Yes, I recommend
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Olivia
10/10

Communication and Teamwork

I understand this Yayasan is work in progress and runs of sponsorship.
My only recommendation would be for VPBali to work in a more connected way with Ketut and Nyoman; perhaps calling weekly meetings with the volunteers, as I felt little communication regarding the teaching and expectations from their perspective (K and Ny's).
Since they "run" the school, I find it would be highly beneficial to have a more open approach to the experience as a whole and receive and get feedback as well.

How can this program be improved?
Communication and Teamwork
Yes, I recommend
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Alex
10/10

A life changing experience

It's such a cliché - 'an experience that changed my life', but that's what it was :)

I came for two weeks originally, but loved it too much to leave. VP Bali was nice to let me extend my stay over and over and over again and only pay as if I'd known from the beginning what the duration would be. In the end, I did 9 weeks in Program Ubud and one in WG, so my feedback is mostly relevant for the Ubud program.

One great thing about my experience was timing: I came nearly at the beginning of the ubud program, so it was great to see it find shape and even impact some of the changes. The kids are just amazing, so willing to learn, obedient, never get bored and just open your heart. So don't be nervous about teaching, just get some ideas about what you could do before you leave - activities, games for different levels of English (Google it, ask friends, remember what you used to do in school etc).

There is a curriculum in place, there are lessons plans and suggestions filled in by the other volunteers so once you get here, just take time to read them and you'll know exactly where the kids are. After that, you can come up with games and fun stuff to review the material (it's very important to always review existing material, maybe even more than half the time of the lesson) and teach new things. You may find some of your ideas from home are useful for this or not. But I assure you, ideas will come. Just remember: make it fun and the more competitive, the better. The kids love that. Be prepared to have varied attendance, so adjut your lessons accordingly - cover the same material more than once, make sure everyone has learned a certain topic etc.

In program Ubud, they encourage co-teaching, which means you get to teach with an existing volunteer so that also helps to warm up and find ideas.

The highlight for me was the interaction with the kids: palpable progress leads to joy of teaching.

I'm happy to report no difficulties for me. The only bump in the road was not due to the place or the program, it was meeting people that do not seem to come for the right reason. That made me sad because these kids deserve everything. So make sure you come to give 100% percent to the cause, and not for fun or travel or any other reason. Of course, there is enough time to explore, but that can't be your priority. When you put the kids first, you get the most of the experience and if you're lucky enough after it, you will know your life has changed. And you will be surprised to hear everyone around you say how much you've changed also - who knew they can tell?!

Keep in mind local culture and habits: don't expect things to go on a roll, expect things to take time and plan accordingly, be proactive and organize anything you want to do, don't leave it to anyone else.

If you want to fund raise for the kids, that's a great idea. I did it after I arrived, but it is better done before so you have enough time. VP Bali can help you with ideas and logistics to use the money you raise (supplies, scholarships etc).

One small advice to make your life easier: try to get on local time. People in Bali sleep early and wake up early. You get the most of your time if you do the same - and this is coming from someone who could not get up before 10am or sleep before 12 am prior to Bali.

My daily activities included art classes (Ubud is great for that: painting, batik, cooking, pottery, you name it, it's there), spa, cycling, going out for dinner and jalan jalan - just walk around. There are many things to discover in Ubud.

In the weekends I did some trekking (Batur, Agung - this one is not for everyone, make sure you know what you are in for beforehand), visited the south of bali (Uluwatu and all the west coast there is great), went to Gili T and Nusa Lembongan (the diving is better than the Gilis and it's more quiet, so this was my kind of place. But if you like to party, Gili's is better).

Lastly, be prepared to be sad to leave, but don't spend too much time moping about it, or you'll miss the experience. You can be sad about it at home. And you can be pretty sure, the kids will remember you too. I've seen many volunteers come and go and the kids never forget anyone.

Thanks so much VP Bali. Till next time - I hope to come back soon ;)

Alex - Romania.

How can this program be improved?
Just a small idea: I would keep the volunteers better connected to each other before they arrive: for example have a facebook or mail group where are the volunteers who will be at the programs of vp bali in the same time are *automatically* added (optionally, you can ask someone, once they are accepted into the program, if they want to be part of the group or not). That way, even people who come for a short time, already have a network of friends to explore with. Vp Bali is good for giving us each local phone numbers, so that can also be included in the group information - if the volunteer agrees.
Yes, I recommend
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Sharonne
10/10

Heart Warming Experience

This volunteering program have been such a blessing and a heart warming experience. VP Bali team is very hands on and friendly, they were so helpful from the beginning and made all the volunteers feel welcomed. I joined the Ubud Program and contributed as an English teacher, helping the children learn day to day spoken and written English. We help to make this learning experience a fun one that they enjoy and will want to continue. We maximize involvement of the students by playing games, teaching them new songs and spicing it up with a bit of friendly competition. The highlight of my experience is getting to know my students as individuals, their personality, their capabilities, and their stories.

Yes, I recommend
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Alexandra
10/10

wonderful experience=)

I really enjoyed volunteering with vp Bali! It was an amazing and rewarding experience for me. I volunteered for two weeks at program WG in Bedulu, a village near Ubud.
Volunteering at the Yayasan school was really nice, even though I never teached before. Our class was quite advanced and we were very impressed by the children´s creativity and motivation. It was very much fun for us to create ideas every day to equip them with new knowledge.
I stayed with some other volunteers in a very nice compound of a local family. Ketut and Nyoman were wonderful hosts and were always there to help us. Ubud is very close by, 10-15 minutes by car or motorcycle and offers many opportunities for nice restaurants, yoga, shops,ect.
Kimberley and Jose were very friendly and supportive all the time and I felt very safe during my whole stay.
All in all, I highly recommend this program to everyone! It was so much fun and an experience I will never forget. Thank you so much vp Bali team!!!

How can this program be improved?
I really liked the idea of sharing our daily experiences with other following volunteers! The only thing I would change ist the schedule, which we use for it. It is a little bit confusing and repetitive.
Yes, I recommend
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Emma
9/10

Amazing first experience!

Going with VP Bali for my first experience at volunteering was a great choice! Hose and Kimberley are two amazing, motivated and passionate people who work really hard to run their projects, support the local Balinese people, look after the volunteers and make sure you are safe and have fun. I volunteered for two weeks at the yayasan in Bedulu, about 15-20 min drive from the heart of Ubud. Staying in the cosy compound with the volunteers was really nice and we formed a kind of family! In the mornings breakfast would be served and we could spend the day how we wanted with class being in the afternoon. The children are great and it is inspiring to see them work so hard. We could also go into Ubud at night to enjoy the amazing restaurants, as well as live music and shopping. It helps if you can drive a motorbike at this project so you can go to Ubud when you need without the expense of a taxi!
Kimberley and Hose are very supportive, giving you an orientation of Ubud to begin with and giving a run through of how the projects work and what to expect, as well as always being available to talk and help whenever you need. They were more than I could ask for!
Overall, my experience was really inspiring and eye opening. I would highly recommend going through VP Bali if you want to volunteer as well as meet lots of new people, feel safe and well looked after!
Thanks VP Bali!

Yes, I recommend
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svetlana
10/10

amazing stay

its a pleasure of meeting vp bali team and teaching the most wonderful kids! they are very curious, motivated and eager to learn.such a pleasure to teach and to stay on bali! thank you VP Bali for this program and your support during our stay

How can this program be improved?
more organized group activities (to see some places around bali and exerience the beautifulness)
Yes, I recommend
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Aurelia
10/10

Volunteer Programs Bali,Indonesia- with underprivileged Children - things I love, my experience and suggestions

I love - the fact that the supervisor is always there to guide the volunteer and that the supervisor are both as a friend and supervisor, that we have gatherings/ dinner when volunteer leaves, the fact that one of the focus of the class attitude is to combine fun & learning,the fact that the kids are eager to learn.

my experience - It was really fun and one of the awesome thing about this teaching program is that I ended up learning too! about the culture of Bali, about these kids, their daily lives, and the way they think. To experience the peaceful and healthy lifestyle of Bali. Its a good feeling when after you teach for a while you notice the progress and improvements that these kids have. I feel attached to these kids even after a week of teaching, once you get to know their personalities and how clever they are. Now I feel that I would love to stay more than 2 weeks, however, I cant, as I was not prepared to do so.

How can this program be improved?
To improve and suggestions- to have more example of ways to teach the kids so that the new volunteer can ease into the teaching program easier and perhaps to have more copies of the same story book, so the kids can borrow them to bring home, so they can read some stories in english as this will help them to learn vocabularies the use of the right tenses and the habit of thinking in english.
Yes, I recommend
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Sameer
10/10

Review of program ubud

One major difficulty was the fact that we were teaching English, a subject with many exceptions to its general rules. Also, explaining the logic behind our sentence construction was difficult. However, we managed to teach them using examples and physical interactions, such as asking them to find the contrast between hard and soft by pinching their table and hand and seeing which hurt more. We were also able to lighten the atmosphere of the class by bring cheeky.

How can this program be improved?
Encouraging teachers to better understand each student's individual needs.
Yes, I recommend
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Sital
10/10

Amazing experience with my SUPER awesome Bali kids

I really enjoyed the programme and the children are just brilliant. Teaching them and seeing them smile was the hightlight of my day.

An example of my day to day teaching would be starting with the alphabet song and asking them to pronouce the letters, then what day it is?, then working on 2 letters a day with 3 categories (food,place and animal). So we started with the letter 'A' and split them into 2 teams and we gave them 10 minutes to find as any words as they can. It was really great to see them working as a team and funny to see how competitive they are. After time was up we would go through each word and get them to pronounce it and ask them if they know what it is and then later announce the winner :)

We also went through body parts and played Simon says with them - they are really bright.

With the older class we also did all the above but went more advanced on the body parts and also went into vowels which they picked up very quickly.

We sang heads shoulders knees and toes which they really enjoyed.

All the children's are very creative and amazing. On our first day we gave them some plain paper to write their names on so we can call them by their names. I just expected them to write their name on it but they got really creative and started writing in bubble hand writing and adding all these special affects.

I never encountered any difficulties, the children are just brilliant and I wish I could have spent more time with them.

Just continue what you doing and make sure these kids get the best out of it.

How can this program be improved?
All I would advise is, these these children are really bright and they pick things up really quickly so instead of working on 1 letter a day and just doing the alphabet, make it more fun and exciting for them. They enjoy word games and really get into. Team work is really important and, and from experience they really enjoy it.

I just miss it :)
Yes, I recommend
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Katrien
9/10

enjoyable experience!

It's very good that we stayed in the same homestay with all volunteers since it's easy to meet others. I liked teaching children, as they were very enthusiastic and excited about everything we did. It was difficult sometimes to feel that the classes really reached the goal of the organization. Some issues were that there were a lot of children in one class or we had to repeat lessons because some did not come to school everyday.

Like I said, during the moments I was teaching, I really enjoyed my experience and it's so nice to feel the appreciation of the children. So glad that I have the experience of volunteering!

How can this program be improved?
Make sure that the student groups are not too big and focus more on the individual. The children are often asking for help from their friends.
Yes, I recommend
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Autumn
10/10

Fun and Rewarding

I have no complaints about working with VP Bali. From the beginning I knew exactly where my money was going and saw the passion of the coordinators myself. Kimberley, Hosé and Novia eat, sleep and breathe VPB and are very inspirational people.

As one of the first volunteers to contribute to this program (I started two weeks into the program) one of the most important things we had to focus on was establishing the level of the students English. By creating fun ways to assess this, myself and my teaching partner never got bored and smiled and laughed our ways through the lessons. The students are so eager to learn and so bright. When we initially started teaching we had nothing by a blackboard to aid our teaching which was such a shame because the students are so creative. We gained some coloured pencils and paper at the beginning of our second week however, which really made a difference and the students really enjoyed using these. As we provide free after school English lessons its important we created a fun learning environment and them showing up every day was incredibly rewarding for me as their teacher.

The home stay the volunteers were allocated is fantastic. The family are warm and welcoming and it has a fantastic location - the centre of Jalan Goodamer. Living with the other four volunteers was really special and I have made some really good friends through this program.

I worked at VPB for two weeks and was warned that I may want to stay longer at the end. I really wish I could! All of us volunteering have said that we would stay longer if we could. At the end of my second week I was very comfortable with the class and really enjoying watching their English grow and wish I could stay on longer to watch it develop even further. I suppose I will just have to return!

How can this program be improved?
I would've loved there to have been more teaching utensils to make it even more fun for the students. However, as a 3 week old program it is just not possible yet.
Yes, I recommend
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Kerstin
9/10

Great experience!

During my whole time traveling, I wanted to do some voluntary work to give something back to people who aren't as lucky as I am and I'm so glad I decided to do this with VP Bali. My two weeks in Ubud were over way too soon and it was definitely one of the highlights of my trip!

We were the first volunteers of this program, so in the beginning it was new for everyone, the coordinators and us. Because it was the first time for me teaching English, it was definitely a challenge, but the coordinators helped us and we were two volunteers teaching a class, so it was more fun every day. We could really see how the students get better and better every day, they are so motivated to learn English!

A highlight was the last week was when there was a big ceremony in the temple next to the school, so we were wearing sarongs while we were teaching, and we could see a cockfight and we were even invited to watch a perfomance by the people living in the village!
These are things you would never see as a tourist.

To sum it up: I'm a bit sad that my two weeks volunteering in Ubud passed so fast, and although I needed one or two days to really feel comfortable in front of the class, it was a great experience and a great way to experience the Balinese culture as well as helping to give the children a chance to learn English. I'll miss them!

How can this program be improved?
That's hard to say because the program had just started. It would, of course, have been easier to know the level of the class was, like what they can say and what not, so sometimes they were bored by things that I would have guessed are difficult for them. On the other hand, they found things really hard that are quite basic, like some pronunciation of words. Since the program was so new, it will take some time until that will be really clear for the volunteers.

Also some more material to work with would be nice, but again, the program is new and it takes time and money to get more resources.
Yes, I recommend
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srivello
8/10

Teaching Near Ubud, Bali.

LOCAL CONDITIONS

Most of the students of the program attended a full day of public school before-hand each day, except the few disabled children who are not eligible for public school.

The public school system includes 1 English class per week so the program provides an incredible opportunity to learn and practice English.

The students appeared well-rested and nourished and generally ready to learn - mentally and emotionally.

Student attendance is not required. Those who come most often are either there for personal or familial interest which makes teaching easier. Some students with genuine interest to learn also have family/religious obligations competing for their attention. The inconsistent attendance day to day makes planning lessons a challenge.

CULTURE SHOCK

Anyone from the developing world is susceptible to mild culture shock of small town Asia.

There are smiles and friendly faces, but English is not common outside of the program and tourist locations.

Independent, analytical thinkers are best served to treat 'suggestions' from locals as genuine demands and to monitor themselves rather than waiting for anyone to correct potentially offensive behavior (disobedience to rules / mores, relatively provocative clothing styles, personal space, personal property etc...) . Asian locals likely won't make their desires or demands as obvious as a Westerner.

My location was 6km from a medium sized town with good shopping, good internet cafes, and myriad eating options; basically everything except a mall and movie-theater.

IMPACT

The program beneficiaries (students, families of students, and community) are genuinely thankful and appreciative for the effort of the volunteers.

The students of my class paid attention during lessons and participated in activities. However my experience was with older students and may not represent the norm.

Without provided curriculum each volunteer is unfortunately prone to 'fly blind', repeat redundant lessons and skip important other lessons. The top improvement to my experience would have been to teach within a well designed curriculum. However, in place of a 'well designed' program, I'm happy to have the flexibility to design my own system. Many students will not fair so well with the improvisation required in the lesson-planning.

SUPPORT

The support from program facilitators was adequate. They are all social, energetic, and helpful.

There was little/no teaching plan available for teaching volunteers. This allows for great flexibility for the volunteers, but likely provides an often-reduntant curriculum

ADVICE

The largest variables to the enjoyment of the program are job-fit and volunteer-volunteer dynamics. Aligning the teaching job position (including age of students and subjects to cover) are a match for the personality of the volunteer, and volunteering with a group of like minded (language, mood, & interest) people are both strongly recommended and can be considered before accepting the position.

Due to spotty student attendance, one-day, standalone lessons are recommended.

How can this program be improved?
Provide a curriculum to teachers to prevent redundancy in the student experience and to improve the lessons from teachers not prepared to create thoughtful planning.
Yes, I recommend

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About Volunteer Programs Bali

At VP Bali, we believe that education can change a child’s destiny. More than just an international volunteer program, we provide opportunities to empower local Balinese communities through free English classes, recycling events, workshops, and more....