My Trip to Beautiful Bali – A Learning Experience
Hello! My name is Alexandra, I’m from Germany and I’m 23 years old. This year, I finished my studies in pedagogy. I love to work work kids, so I decided to join a six week programme and teach at a kindergarten in Bali! After my masters programme, I want to teach at a university and research educational theories. I’ve wanted to travel to Asia ever since I was ten years old, so the Bali placement in Indonesia was perfect for me.
Bali Schedule and Induction
My adventure began in Frankfurt airport, Germany, where I boarded my first long-distance flight. I was quite scared because this was a new experience, but both flights went smoothly. After arriving in Denpasar, I joined other members of the programme in Ubud. Our Taxi driver was very polite and we had a funny drive to Ubud. This put me at ease and from that moment on, my fear was gone.
After an exciting first night, I started the introduction week, which was very interesting. I learned a lot about the Balinese culture, language, religious holidays and went to different places like the Monkey Forrest in Ubud (tip: keep an eye on your belongings, for example bags without zippers :D) and a rice field. We even watched a traditional dance in a temple.
The Kindergarten Programme
After an informative induction week, I began my kindergarten programme which last five days. The days at the kindergarten lasted from 8am till only 10am and take place six days a week. Every day starts with a ceremony or a morning routine, then the lessons begin!
During the programme it was my job to prepare topics for the lessons and involve the children by creating worksheets and setting activities. I gave the children fun tasks to complete, like drawing cutting and painting. Repetition was key to learning english, so I incorporated topics like plants, animals and body parts into the activities. Because the environment is such an important topic to me, I really wanted to underline this topic.
Bali has so much beautiful nature but there is also a huge litter problem. In my eyes it’s important to teach the Balinese children about environment and the causes of pollution. There has to be a change and it starts with education.
I also taught in the primary school for one week. It was a different experience because the teaching methods and levels of teaching were different. Nonetheless, the children were very friendly and tried their absolute best to learn English. Tip: Stickers are very good rewards!
Working with my class
I had about 28 children in my kindergarten class, all with different levels and different personalities. Some of the children completed the tasks quickly, but some of them needed more time, more support and help. That’s the interesting and challenging thing about the kindergarten program – you have to adjust your plans and be flexible to help the kids.
In addition to that, I had to prepare enough content for my lessons and be ready to adapt and improvise. It was quite challenging to work with the teachers due to the level of English, but in case of doubt, the coordinators were always there to help me. At the beginning, I was afraid to speak in front of the class, but by the end I had conquered my fears!
During my kindergarten project I took part in one Adventure week. It was a good chance to meet the other participants from the accommodation and to see different places. Together, we had a lot of fun. It was a little break from the kindergarten and I will remember this week forever.
I highly recommend the Adventure Week, you will see lovely places like the Turtle Conservation and Mount Batur and have the opportunity to do fun activities like river rafting or cycling.
New People, New Friends
Before I went to Bali, I was a little bit afraid of being alone or being unable to make new friends, but my fears flew away when I arrived at the airport and met a few participants.
I’ve spent every day with the guys from the organisation and the other participants. We got to know each other a lot better and had the opportunity to share our experiences. Naturally, there were sometimes disagreements between the participants but this was a valuable experience and taught us how to resolve issues and work as a team. I met some wonderful people and I’m sure we will stay in contact.
It would take a whole day to name every place that I visited. Just some of them include: Uluwatu, Tegallalang Rice Terraces, Canggu, Monkey Forrest, Pura Luhur Tanah Lot, Brahmavihara – Ahama, Banyumala Twin Waterfalls, Kuta, Nusa Penida, Goa Gajah…. the list goes on!
An absolute must see was Nusa Penida, especially the Kelingking Beach and the Diamond Beach. These two beaches are awesome places. The routes leading down to the beaches are quite difficult but it’s worth it. I saw many pictures of them on social media but it’s a totally different experience, seeing it in real life.
Tip: Take care and wear appropriate shoes for your hike up and down 😉 Another tip is to stay there until sunset. I’ve never seen so many beautiful colors in the sky! I did a snorkeling tour on Nusa Penida as well. The best part about it was to see a real turtle in its natural habitat.
I also want to share one of my experiences during the Adventure Week, namely hiking on Mount Batur to see the sunrise. Hiking up the was a challenge, but on the top of the mountain I saw a wonderful sunrise with beautiful colors. I’ve never experienced that kind of beautiful nature in my life!
I will never forget the moment when I stood on the top of a volcano, surrounded by the caldera and seeing the full beauty of nature! I would definitely recommend this hike.
Meet the Locals
Our guides were very nice and kind. One of them told me different stories about Mount Batur and the latest eruptions. He was one of the locals, so he showed me some highlights and local landmarks with hot steam. I talked to him all the way down and I learned so much about the Balinese people and the local nature. I don’t know why but I will never forget this conversation because it was a very interesting and unexpected talk. That is the great thing about travelling – the spontaneous connections you develop with people from all around the world!
Taking part in the local community was an awesome feeling. I had the chance to stay with host families and see how they live together. I’m really thankful to be a part of their lifestyle and I highly recommend getting involved, even if it’s just having a small chat.
Last but not least, I want to mention my kindergarten project. It was the main part of my trip to Bali and the reason that I decided to go travelling before my Masters programme. At first, I was quite afraid to dive into a completely different culture and I wondered if the children and teachers would accept me, but the community made me feel very much at home.
How did it help me and my future?
The best experience I had was to seeing how fast the children could learn and to observing their development. I highly recommend doing the project for a longer period because it’s really nice to know the kids and to better see their progression. I am so proud of them and of myself! Now, I can use my experiences for my own development and I know far more about working with kids. All that will help me with my study and future work back in Germany.
I feel like I was part of something big and I’m very proud of that. As long as only one child has learned something, improved their English skills or learned about the beautiful Indonesian environment, I know it was worth it. I’ve met amazing local people and participants and I completely left my comfort zone.
This trip helped me to realise what I was truly capable of. It gave me the vital educational experience that needed to I want to do this kind of educational work in my future.