“Hello“ from Bali. From the island famous for such colourful cultural traditions and religion that cannot be found anywhere else. From the island which you will learn more about in the second year of your university studies from “Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight“, a study by C. Geertz, an American cultural anthropologist.
We have been here for a month, and having been trained in transcultural communication, we perceive local traditions and local behaviour completely differently than tourists or our co-volunteers do. The amazing thing is that after our working hours or at weekends we can discover the beauty of the island. We have rented a scooter for the whole three months, so it is really easy to make such discoveries.
Immediately after our arrival, we had a chance to intensively experience a ritual to celebrate an anniversary of the temple in “our” village. Balinese people are unbelievably theatrical personalities, and they play musical instruments during their performances. Several simultaneous performances are held on similar occasions, people bring gifts and wait for joint prayers.
One of the many other interesting experiences was the presence of mice in our room. The local religion draws on Hinduism, Buddhism and animism, therefore the solution that “we” apply in the Czech Republic cannot be applied here. Keeping reincarnation in our mind, we captured the mouse and moved him / her out. And now we are just waiting for this friend to come back again.
Obviously, every adventure brings about also some minor problems – we got lost while looking for waterfalls, we were robbed, … But some time later, after our coming back home, these events will be presented as funny stories.
Our task is to help with the education of orphans, children from disadvantaged families and children with special needs. We start the day with involving the disabled children in meditation. Then physical activities, such as dancing and stretching, follow. Then the children are divided into four groups (the division reflects their mental and physical abilities), and we assist the local teachers during the teaching process. Schedule activities alternate with the days of the week. Children are also provided with cooking classes and sports activities, they play local musical instruments, practice Balinese dances, they learn how to be artistically creative or how to apply organic farming. We assist children and teachers for four hours a day. The local institutions cannot financially cover the work of English teachers, so after lunch we prepare exercises and activities for our afternoon teaching of this foreign language. At two o´clock we meet the other groups of children (orphans and the poor) and teach them English since the knowledge of this language can help them to find more work opportunities in future.
At the beginning, there was an idea to visit an interesting country and also the willingness to voluntarily help others. Thanks to amazing programmes existing at the University of Hradec Králové aiming at supporting student mobilities and thanks to transcultural communication giving you a huge number of job opportunities, everything was relatively short afterwards. For a month, we were looking for a non-profit organization for which we could be helpful. Then we sent our applications, waited for their approvals and flew off within three weeks. You just must not be afraid of moving your comfort zone, and you must stop making up excuses. Financial issues, a language barrier and the examination period at your university will not be problematic!
Therefore, we can address everyone thinking about participating in internships: “Do not be afraid, it is worth persevering!” If you go somewhere like we did, you will meet new people from all over the world. And what is more, you will be able to stay in your dream destination for certain time period. We know already now that we will come back home as much more experienced people full of life-long experiences.