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How to do traveling, Indonesia style.

Travelling the world. Sounds expensive right? Wrong. Forget everything you think you know about the ways of the world

Nikki's going to show us how it is done! Grab you backpack, stop making the excuses, and come with us...This time, Indonesian style.

A few years back I met a girl called Steph on a camping trip and she was telling about how she going to Indonesia every year volunteering in a village teaching English. At the time I had never volunteered overseas nor did I have a teaching background. She mentioned that you didn’t need a teaching qualification. You only paid a minimal amount per week that would go to the family I would be living with, meals as well your driver that would take you around to the schools I’ll be teach at. Two years later I found myself on the island of Lombok in a village called Sembalun, which is three hours car ride away from the airport.

At first it was quite overwhelming. I was staying with a family who only had one member who spoke English, I knew very minimal Indonesian and I have never stayed in third world environment but after a couple of days I got to roam around the Sunday market and met an Indonesian girl who was visiting her sister from the village. Her name was Ayuk and she was the first person that I came across who spoke really good English.

That same day I got to meet some more locals teens who at the end of the two

weeks they became family to me.The local family I stayed with had their grandson

Rigan, who I would always play games with. When I left to come back to Australia

the family told me he was looking for me. I ended up going back to the village that

same year to visit and also teach English and second time round there were a big

group of volunteers including Steph.

In the village I was teaching all different groups of students. Sometimes I would go to a school in the morning, go to the CDC centre to teach in the afternoon and in the evening I would hang out with the youth group to teach and have a tea and coffee. I’m not sure whether it is the same in every country when you go over to teach but I found the first time there wasn’t a specific topic that I was teaching the students for example alphabet, tenses, number etc which had its positives and negatives.

Positive thing was I got to teach them about Australia which was in a way something new to them but when in came to things like the alphabet I felt like it was a little repetitive and they weren’t learning more than they could. There was definitely a slight improvement from when I went the first time in terms of structure. One thing would suggest is it’s good to come up with some games or activities to make the learning a little more fun.

When there was free time or on the days off there was a few optional activities such as cow calling, going to the waterfall, going to the rice fields and depending what time of year you could help even planting or picking. If you have about 4 to 5 days up our sleeve you can climb Rinjani which is something is going to do when I go back.

As well as volunteering in the village second time round at the end of that visit I got to visit my friend Ayuk in Surabaya in the east Java. I stayed with her and her family. She took me around and I got to meet her extended family, went to different temples and sites, checked out the local markets and trying the local food one. On my last night I got to spend it with her friends for some Indonesia karaoke.

The last time I got to go to Indonesia was for Ayuk Javanese wedding and I was lucky enough to be her bridesmaid and the day was incredible. From the make- up to the number of dress changes the bride and groom had to the ceremony it was like no wedding I have ever been to. Ayuk and her husband Didith now have a two year old girl named Nindy named after myself and the her other bridesmaid from Australia Indigo.

I think if you ever get the opportunity to volunteer anywhere in the world I would highly recommend it. My experience with teaching in the village was just incredible and the relationships and memories I have created with them are unforgettable. I look forward to going back to the village some day and seeing what has change and see all my friends. If you would like to either volunteer or visit Sembalun or climb Rinjani check out the link below.

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