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Bali, Indonesia , August 2014 (by Kristian Foreman)

Why I choose to do EVS:

Before meeting the Act Global team I never even knew European Voluntary Service existed. The idea of having an all expense paid volunteering experience in a country half way around the world seemed an idea too good to be true. But luckily it’s wasn’t! The opportunity arose for me to come to Bali for a month and the offer was too good to pass up – it’s been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made!

Kristan

From: Sunderland, UK

Volunteering in: Bali, Indonesia

Age: 23

About Placement:

Throughout the placement I was part of a team of four people. Our task was to create a video, podcast and blog about our time in Bali. It was great fun being part of a team collaborating and sharing ideas.

About Bali:

Bali is called ‘The Island of The Gods,’ and appropriately so. Everybody appears to live and breathe spiritually here. You can’t go many places without seeing some sort of temple, shrine or religious statue. You can just sit and look at some of the remarkable temples and their intricate designs for hours. They’re all hand carved, and absolutely beautiful. Coming from England I grew up around huge cathedrals and beautiful churches , but this place is something else. You can see how much time and effort has went into the designs and structure.

I feel as though Bali has been a reminder of how important kindness and generosity are: the locals are so lovely and cheerful that it was very hard for me to have a bad day, someone was always putting a smile on my face. Something you can arguably say in missing from a lot of the Western world.

I feel I gained a far deeper understanding of the local environment than the average tourist, meeting lots of different locals who gave me a unique knowledge and understanding of life in Bali. I have also learned even more about myself. The most challenging aspect of volunteering abroad has also been the most beneficial. Being placed in an unfamiliar environment forced me to use my initiative and develop self-confidence – surviving 30 days in a completely new environment where I didn’t speak the language is something that three years of university could never provide me.

My Accommodation:

I share a house with four other volunteers. One from England, one from Turkey and two from Sardinia. It is a very multi-cultural household so everybody invariably learns bits and pieces from each others countries, which is really nice. I am lucky enough to have my own bedroom but share the kitchen, toilet area, and living space with everybody else. We get on really well and have done from the start. We all chip in and keep the place relatively clean and maintained. This is helped by the fact that we seldom make food or eat in the house. The food is so cheap and easily obtained in our village that we normally eat out for two meals a day (I think I am spending an average of around 70p per meal). The only time I normally eat in the house is for breakfast and snacking.

My social life:

Most of my social life happens at home or around the office. A lot of the time all of the international and local Act Global volunteers eat out together or go to the beach in our down time. Everyone is extremely friendly here so I have found it very easy to make friends.

Learning the Language:

Learning any language has always been tricky for me, but I have been surprised at how much I have picked up in such a small per iod of time. This is probably due to the fact that being in a foreign country forces you to interact and repeat certain words over and over again. Also, it has helped that I have had easy access to native speakers that are happy to converse with me and correct me on my mistakes.