Coming to Bali for the first time can be exciting, and a bit scary too. You probably had a very long airplane ride to get here, and you are most likely exhausted. The jetlag will kick in soon, but you don’t want to admit to that because there is so much to do and to see in your new neighborhood which you will call home for the next weeks!
Our volunteers usually arrive on Friday or Saturday. Being picked up by one of the members of our Balinese homestay family will give them a safe and comfortable feeling from the moment they get off the plane. Even though the drive to Ubud can be overwhelming due to traffic, scenery and the heat, when they arrive at the homestay they feel at home straight away.
Depending on the arrival time, our volunteers have some time to settle down, to walk around the area a bit, have a bit to eat and most importantly; take a rest after the long flight.
And then when Sunday comes, it is time to get focused on the reason why you are here… Volunteering at VP Bali! On Sunday afternoon we start our 2-day orientation program.
For us at Volunteer Programs Bali it is very important that our volunteers feel well informed, comfortable, excited and ready for their first day at school on Monday. We also feel it is very important that our volunteers are learning the basics about Balinese culture, do’s and don’ts, and that they are feeling at home in their new environment. We learned from experience that when our volunteers have an extensive orientation program, they feel much more prepared and ready for their volunteer placement.
The first part of the orientation program in Sunday afternoon is organized by our local staff and helpers. The program covers a lot of aspects, and it is also a learning moment for our new local helpers to get to communicate with new volunteers and help the staff explaining everything.
We go over the volunteer code of conduct, a document that all volunteers must sign before starting their placement. This code of conduct covers basic rules and policies of our organization, as well as cultural obligations, do’s and don’ts.
During this meeting, our staff also explains further about Balinese culture, why some things are the way they are, what is the meaning behind it all and why it is important that our volunteers are aware of it. As we are such a local and small organization, it is important that our volunteers realize that their behavior reflects on VP Bali so they have to be aware on what to do, and even more importantly what NOT to do. It sounds harsh or strict, but community support is the reason we can exist, so it is a very important aspect for us.
After this serious meeting it is time for some fun and practical things. We take our volunteers for a walk around the neighborhood to show them where they will live the coming weeks. We make pit stops at the local shop, at the money exchange outlet and the ATM.
When coming back from the walk it is time to show some skills! Our local staff will show our volunteers how to wear a Balinese sarong. As it is more than likely that our volunteers will attend a Balinese ceremony at some point during their placement, it is important that they know how to dress properly. And well, it is also fun to dress up as a Balinese on one of your first days in Bali.
Monday morning is all about the teaching. This part of the orientation is given by our founder Kimberley herself. She will explain the volunteers about the school, the children and the way of teaching. She will give the new volunteers teaching tips and tricks and make sure everyone understands the concept of creative learning at VP Bali.
A lot of information is given during this part of the orientation and it can be overwhelming sometimes. But it is also super fun to learn about everything and to be able to use all this new knowledge later at school!
This meeting is followed by our weekly Monday meeting, where all our volunteers (new and present) get together. We talk about the upcoming week, about any special activities or events and it is the perfect time for our new volunteers to meet their co-teachers.
After lunch time the moment is finally there, let’s go to the school!!! Everyone is super excited and can’t wait to meet their students and see the school!