My grandma was from Indonesia, I really wanted to discover the country on my own. But I didn’t want to be only a tourist. I also wanted to experience how it was to live with local people and give something back to the country by volunteering. I choose to go abroad with AIESEC because I heard positive experiences from other people and also the non-commercial attitude of the organisation appealed to me.
Before my volunteer experience in Solo city started, I travelled to Jakarta, Bali, Nusa Lembogan and Gili-T to see Indonesia from the tourist perspective. But after that, it was time to see the country through the eyes of the local people. Together with Joana from AIESEC Portugal I stayed the first week of our project in a host family. With them, we celebrated the end of the Ramadan and saw all of the surroundings of Solo city. The host family took us literally everywhere, which was awesome! We saw temples, mosques, palaces, waterfalls, tea fields and also tasted a lot of different types of local food. Besides showing us around, the family loved to show and tell us about the traditional way of dancing, music and the traditional clothing: Batik!
By spending a week with our host family we got used to the cultural differences, which was really helpful during the project. By asking a lot to our host family we learned a lot about what belonged to the norms and values of the local people. For example how to dress appropriate, eat and even how to shower and go to the bathroom Indonesian style. Most of the things are totally different than in the Netherlands, so, when we arrived at the project we knew how to live the Indonesian lifestyle before we arrived at the project.
For the rest of our AIESEC adventure we stayed at Kampung Ingriss Solo, to teach English. Both Joana and me were teaching English conversation, 3 times a day. Two times a day we teached at the girls and boys camp and once a day to the students doing the intensive English course. The girls camp belonged to my responsibility. We had the opportunity to come up with our own ideas for the classes. So we both tried to be as creative as possible and make to make the lessons informative, but also fun. So next to having conversation we also made Dutch and Indonesian food, made music together, listened to English music and painted.
Having a lot of conversation in English about different topics, this project taught me a lot about how to look at things in a different perspective. It also made me think in a more creative way, thinking out of the box by coming up with different kind of lessons everyday. I think this will help me in the future, looking at things through different glasses.
This post was written by AIESEC in the Netherlands. We offer international voluntary projects and professional internships with the aim of developing leadership in youth.