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 being a volunteer. 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.
Getting to know my roots
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 explained 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 our host family a lot we quickly learned about locals customs and norms. 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 started to volunteer.
My volunteer project in Indonesia
For the rest of our AIESEC volunteer adventure we stayed at Kampung Ingriss Solo. Both Joana and me were teaching English, 3 times a day. Twice a day we taught at the child 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 the lessons informative, but fun. Next to having conversations we also made traditional Dutch and Indonesian food, played music together and painted.
Having a lot of conversations with locals, volunteering at this project taught me a lot about how to look at things from a different perspective. Furthermore, it made me think more creatively. By coming up with different lessons everyday I learned to think outside the box. 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.