"I graduated from university in 2013 and decided to look for an opportunity to engage in something that would contribute positively in one way or the other and widen my horizons, since I did not find any work that interested me.
After seeing Slukat's website and comparing it with other volunteer organisations, I decided that I wanted to go there and teach English to the local Balinese children - it was my chance to throw myself into a completely different environment, where I would not have any familiar faces to help me out if something happened.
With high expectations and some misgivings, I went off to Bali, not knowing what to expect at all.
However, when I arrived there, the warmth of the staff and the children instantly made all my worries disappear. Everyone was incredibly friendly, and they were ready to help whenever I needed something. The learning center also has alumni who assist and mentor the current students, meaning that the social fabric is incredibly strong, and communication between all parties (volunteers, staff, students) goes smoothly.
The students were initially quite shy, especially those who could not speak English. Therefore, I decided to pick up a few key words in Bahasa (Indonesian) that would help me break down the barriers, and that worked quite well - the students slowly started opening up, and the English classes also started going more smoothly, as the children understood that foreign volunteers who go there also do not know how to speak their language, so there is no shame in not understanding everything the volunteers say.
Classes were usually taught in pairs or groups by volunteers, as the the attendance of students in each class was quite high. This meant that as a volunteer, I had to think what to teach, and how to teach a certain topic with the other volunteers. We therefore held brief meetings regularly, in order to discuss who would cover which parts during class, meaning that teamwork and cooperation were also necessary during my time there.
During days off, the alumni were more than happy to come with me to explore regions further away from Keramas, and during this time, our bonds grew stronger as well, as we gradually got to understand each other better.
It would be good for prospective volunteers to know though, that this is a no-frills learning center, so volunteers should not expect a 5-star hotel service, where staff are available to attend to all your wishes. There are also occasional blackouts, if there are torrential rain falls in a short amount of time, so it would be wise to have a torch, or at least a phone with a lantern that you can use should this happen.
Lastly, it is important to remember the fact that it is a place where children go to study and hang out, so there should be no inappropriate behaviour. The center has its own rules, and Balinese culture also has certain aspects that might seem unimportant to foreign people, but as visitors in their land, one should make sure they respect their customs.
Considering what makes people open up to you, not expecting the luxuries we enjoy in our own countries, and respecting differences is what I believe helps us grow as individuals, and I could not have asked for a better place then Slukat Learning Center, where I spent 16 weeks.
Thank you Slukat!"