When you volunteer at Volunteer Programs Bali, you won’t get to just teach English, but you are also able to learn the real Balinese art, culture, and traditions.
Every Wednesday we conduct our Cultural Exchange program. The volunteers can choose which activity they would like to do. They can choose between Balinese dancing, carrying an offering box (on top of the head!), making Balinese offerings, practicing Bahasa Indonesia and Balinese language, or learning to play Balinese instruments.
These activities are part of the daily routine of a Balinese, but can be very challenging for foreigners to learn!
This means talented and skilled Balinese staff and students are the teachers, and our volunteers become the students.
Talk about switching roles!
It is great to see how much fun the volunteers have whilst practicing. Some of our volunteers are natural talents and we honestly think some of them must have been Balinese in their previous lives. Carrying a box on your head requires a lot of balance and patience. This cultural exchange truly shows how dedicated our volunteers are to learning Balinese culture, especially when the boxes always fall off of their head!
On the other hand, our volunteers need a lot of rhythm when we teach them how to play the Balinese drums or the Gamelan.
It may look easy from the audience, but getting the right beat going isn’t as easy as you think!
While Balinese offerings is normally a woman’s job in Bali, that doesn’t mean that our male volunteers can’t learn as well. And some of them are very good at it too!
For volunteers who are staying with us for a longer period and get to practice weekly, they get to be almost as good as a real Balinese dancer by the end of their placement.
We are always very grateful and blessed to have such talented and patient staff and students that are willing to teach our volunteers about their local tradition and invite them into their culture.
Just for fun…
Can you imagine your family and friends’ reaction when you carry your luggage on top of your head as you walk out through the arrival gate?!