VOLUNTEER FLOW AND DAILY ROUTINE
VP Bali works with two local schools in Ubud, with around 500 children attending our English classes every week. Our classes are held Monday through Thursday in the afternoon (2pm – 3.30 pm & 4pm – 5:30pm).
All of the children attend their formal school classes between 7:30am and 12:30pm, and attend our English classes at Volunteer Programs Bali as extra afternoon lessons.
In both schools, we use the ESL curriculum, a structure that allows for consistency and routine. Most children are in the basic level, followed by the intermediate level, and smaller classes of advanced level. Most volunteers will be teaching basic English, with topics such as objects in our school bag, classrooms, places, numbers, and family members.
Our classes are flexible, depending on outside factors such as school holidays, ceremonies, so it’s important for volunteers to adapt and easily accommodate to these changes. All volunteers typically will co-teach with at least one other volunteer to work as a team during classes. New arrivals are usually placed with experienced volunteers to make the transition easier for both the children and the volunteers. Flexibility and teamwork between our volunteers is extremely important for days when we often combine classes, and to exchange ideas of what is generating the best response from students.
From the minute volunteers get off the plane at Ngurah Rai Airport, they are welcomed into the VP Bali Family. Our two-day orientation provides a soft landing amongst the sensory overload that often comes with assimilating to a culture as vibrant as Bali’s. It is important to us that those giving their time have an enjoyable experience from day one.
All volunteer fees cover transport from Ngurah Rai Airport to your homestay accommodation, with the exception of those opting to travel around Bali before their placement. Most volunteers arrive on Saturday, allowing for a day to rest and get to know your fellow volunteers before beginning orientation on Sunday afternoon.
THE VP BALI WAY: EDUCATION THROUGH PLAY
Our vision of education as a journey, not an end goal, is seen through the fun creative learning techniques we use in our classes. Educational games, dancing, and small competitions are some of the playful ways our students stay attentive, focused, and most of all have fun! Volunteers are given freedom to use their own creativity to organize activities related to the subject of the curriculum. While repetition of subjects make may take more time, learning through play encourages the students to bring home what they gain from the classroom, and also keeps them coming back every day eager to learn.
VP Bali also keep things interesting outside of the classroom with activities such as weekly cleanups, monthly recycling events, cultural exchanges, “Student of the Month” awards, and guest workshops with local professionals. We want our classes to be something students look forward to every day, knowing that they gain much more than new vocabulary.
BENEFITS OF VOLUNTEERING
While every volunteer has different motivations to give back and visit our island, our hope is that all of our guests walk away with more than the same life lessons and personal growth that come with volunteering abroad.
Immediately upon arrival, you are a member of the VP Bali Family. You are placed in an international environment where local Balinese staff are working together with diverse volunteers from all over the world. Exposed to new cultural norms, volunteers learn to collaborate, take feedback, and create solutions with different types of people, understanding the impact of team communication. Volunteers learn to quickly adapt to new environments outside of their comfort zone, while remaining respectful to unexpected “do’s and don’t’s” of traditional Balinese culture.
With so much western development in recent years, it is very easy to holiday in Bali without experiencing anything the island’s local culture has to offer. More than just temple visits, volunteering with VP Bali gives you the opportunity to assimilate with Balinese culture while experiencing the beauty of an international holiday destination. Our extended weekend schedule gives our volunteers the chance to explore outside of Ubud, while at the same time getting to call our tight knit community your temporary home.
Every volunteer’s experience, empowerment, and growth is equally as important as anyone else in our family. We hope that the personal development and lessons learned during your time with us stay with you long after Bali, and ultimately inspire you to empower those in your own communities.
VOLUNTEER COSTS AND INCLUSIONS
Volunteers have the freedom and flexibility when deciding how long they would like their experience to be, with a minimum of two weeks. Our program fees below do not include our required Registration Fee of 2,500,000 IDR.
2 weeks: IDR 3,500,000
3 weeks: IDR 4,750,000
4 weeks: IDR 6,000,000
5 weeks: IDR 7,250,000
6 weeks: IDR 8,500,000
7 weeks: IDR 9,500,000
8 weeks: IDR 10,500,000
9 weeks: IDR 11,500,000
10 weeks: IDR 12,500,000
11 weeks: IDR 13,500,000
12 weeks: IDR 14,500,000
Where does your money go?
BY THE NUMBERS
What does your volunteer fee include?
- Onsite 24/7 emergency contact and support from VP Bali staff, administration costs, communication costs with volunteers and travel costs for program inspection.
- Airport transport to your homestay upon arrival (If you choose to travel to other destinations in Bali before your placement starts, you are requested to organise and provide for your own transport to either the airport or the volunteer accommodation, at your own cost). Please note that our driver will only pick up new arriving volunteers from Bali Denpasar Airport.
- Shared homestay accommodation during your volunteering placement. Learn more about our homestay accommodation here (Maximum of 2 volunteers in each room).
- Breakfast is provided daily at the volunteer accommodation. Lunch and dinner can be purchased for IDR 35,000 – IDR 50,000 per meal in one of the nearby Balinese eateries.
- Wi-Fi access on site at the homestay accommodation (please note that this is Bali, and we do suffer from disrupted internet connections from time to time!).
- A local SIM card will be provided for your mobile phone during your stay as a volunteer. Please bring an unlocked mobile phone, otherwise you won’t be able to use a local SIM card. Volunteers are responsible for all costs associated with their personal phone use.
- Orientation program on the days prior to the beginning of your volunteering placement (Sunday afternoon and Monday morning) including our exclusive orientation booklet. Volunteers also receive our exclusive VP Bali Volunteer Prep-Kit before arrival, providing you with all the information you need before coming to Bali (think: do’s and don’ts, what to bring, what to do in Bali and health and safety tips).
- Daily program supervision in the school during your placement by our local coordinators.
- Certificate from Volunteer Programs Bali once you have completed your volunteering period. This is handed over to you on your last day at the school.
What does your volunteer fee not include?
- Airfares and all transportation to Ubud, Bali (except pick-up from airport)
- Travel and health insurance
- Visa costs for Bali/Indonesia (and possible visa extensions)
- Personal expenses such as lunch and dinner
- Transport to the airport at the end of your volunteer placement.
(The cost from Ubud to the airport is approximately IDR 300,000)
ENCOURAGING OUR COMMUNITY OF LEARNING
In addition to volunteer daily costs and inclusions, 20% of your Program Fee contributes to different aspects that make up our lifelong Community of Learning.
1. SCHOLARSHIPS AND STUDENT OF THE MONTH AWARDS
At VP Bali, we find creative ways to keep our students motivated every day. We organize a monthly Student of the Month award for our younger students, in addition to the scholarship program we have created for our older students. Each month, an average of 80 students are awarded scholarships to support the cost of their mandated school programs they attend outside of VP Bali, with the number of scholarship applications growing exponentially each month. When a part of your program fee contributes to this program, you are directly investing in future successes of your students.
2. TEACHING MATERIALS AND SCHOOL SUPPLIES
In every school, prepared materials are provided for the classes. While some school supplies are directly donated by volunteers, other materials such as teacher workbooks, curriculum worksheets, computer and printer supplies, and additional materials for ongoing curriculum development are funded by VP Bali. Should you wish to bring additional items along when you volunteer with us, please have a look on our Student Wish List to have a better idea on what we urgently need!
3. TEMPLE DONATIONS
Integration and utmost respect for local Balinese culture and traditions is an important aspect of VP Bali’s community of learning. One of the ways we engage with and support the local community is through regular participation in religious ceremonies. This often includes supplying offerings and donating to temples.
4. LOCAL BUSINESS PARTNERS
An major part of VP Bali’s community of learning is partnering with local businesses and providing opportunities for them to expand through working with VP Bali. A clear example of this is through our homestay accommodation, where we have helped what were small homestays develop and grow for the needs of our volunteers. Building common spaces and organizing transportation services from the homestays allows their business to grow so that even long after VP Bali, they can independently maintain successful establishments. We also provide modest transportations (pick-up trucks) for our kids who live far away from the school.
As stated in our mission our ties and close personal contact with the community allow us to understand which members and families of the community are in the most need for opportunity. VP Bali tailors the opportunities for our local business partners to those who need the most assistance, assuring that everyone benefits from our community of learning.
The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.
The application process will take 2-3 days.
Complete our Application Form:
The first step is to complete an online application form.
Response to your application form:
After receiving your application we will assess your suitability and if selected you will be placed in one of our programs. Acceptation depends on availability and needs within the programs. A short interview via Skype may be requested prior to your application being approved.
We will then email your complete placement information.
*Please note: Volunteers will arrive in Bali on a Saturday (or earlier), join our Orientation program on the Sunday afternoon and Monday morning, and start teaching on Monday afternoon.
The Registration Fee of IDR 2,500,000 is required to be paid within 7 days after confirming your placement. The combined payment of the Registration Fee and Program Fee has to be paid in Indonesian rupiah.
Volunteers staying two to four weeks are required to pay your Registration Fee upfront via bank transfer in order to secure your placement. Payment of your Program Fee can be done during the Program Orientation.
Volunteers staying longer than four weeks are required to pay the total amount of the Program Fee and the Registration Fee by bank transfer before their arrival. After receiving your payment we will be able to start processing your Social Visa application process. An additional reason why we request this payment by bank transfer is to prevent our volunteers from traveling around with large amounts of money.
Keep in touch with us:
Please keep in touch with us if you have any questions.
Please see our Terms and Conditions for more information regarding Program Fees, refunds, and other steps volunteers must take before arrival.
STEPS TO OBTAIN THE SOCIAL/CULTURAL VISA
- Volunteer applicant is approved by Volunteer Programs Bali.
- Four to eight weeks before the volunteer placement starts, the volunteer is requested to send a copy of their valid passport to Volunteer Programs Bali.
- An invitation letter will be sent from our local organization which the volunteer needs in order to apply for the Indonesian Visa.
- Volunteers have to apply through their local Indonesian Embassy/Consulate for their Indonesian Visa. The cost is approximately USD $45. However, the exact cost may vary, depending on your local Embassy/Consulate.
- The Indonesian visa application is approved after approx 3 – 5 business days after their submission.
- Volunteer arrives in Bali/Indonesia and their initial 60 day Social Visa starts.
- If a volunteer’s placement exceeds these 60 days (8 weeks), their Social Visa needs to be extended. The Social Visa can be extended 4 times, each time for one month up to maximum stay of 180 days. Each monthly visa extension costs around IDR 800,000.
*Please note that these fees are the current fees (NEED NEW DATE) and immigration can change these fees on a regular base. Volunteer Programs Bali is not involved in these costs but we will update you on the latest changes upon arrival.
*Note: You are not required to leave Bali/Indonesia to extend your Visa
**Note: Your Social/Cultural Visa is a single entry visa. If you leave Indonesia during your placement, your visa is no longer valid and you will have to reapply for the visa at an Embassy or Consulate outside Indonesia with a new invitation letter.
REQUIRED DOCUMENTS FOR SOCIAL/CULTURAL VISA
- Your Passport (valid for more than 6 months after returning from Indonesia)
- Passport contains at least one blank visa page. Amendment and endorsement pages cannot be used for visa purposes.
- Two recent color photographs (passport size) on photo quality paper with clear background.
- Roundtrip Itinerary (inbound and outbound flight for Indonesia) (note: the Embassy / Consulate or immigration officer at the airport may ask the copy of the original airplane ticket)
- A duplicate copy of the invitation letter.
A color copy of the K.T.P (Indonesian ID Card) of your sponsor
IMPORTANT INFORMATION REGARDING YOUR SOCIAL VISA SPONSORSHIP
You will be sponsored by our local non-profit organization. This means that we are responsible for you during your stay in Bali. Therefore we will ask you to sign a waiver stating that our local organization is not responsible for you if you get involved with any criminal activities according to Indonesian Law. We do expect you to behave according to our Code of Conduct and to follow this. If you violate this, legal actions will be taken and Volunteer Programs Bali reserves the right to terminate your Social Visa sponsorship. More information about this will be given during your orientation program.
To extend the visa you will need to ask permission from Volunteer Programs Bali. If you want to travel after your volunteer placement, you need to contact VP Bali prior to this and ask for permission to extend the visa. Without this, it is not possible to extend and please note that your visa is only extendable in Bali and not in other parts of Indonesia.
If you will be traveling around before starting the program, we will ask you to sign our waiver prior to your arrival in Indonesia.
You are legally not allowed to volunteer or work for any other organization whilst being sponsored by Volunteer Programs Bali. If you want to be involved with other organizations after your volunteer placement with VP Bali, you will have to leave the country first and come back on another visa. At that point your sponsorship from Volunteer Programs Bali will be terminated.
For further details on Indonesian Visas click here
LIVING IN BALI
Bali is one of the 16.000 islands of Indonesia and is located between Java and Lombok.
With around 85% of the population being Hindu, Bali is known as the Hindu island of the Indonesian Republic. Known as the “The Island of the Gods”, for its cultural richness and exquisite natural sites make it a unique destination for people all over the world.
People come here to surf, trek through its many mountains and volcanoes, enjoy the peace and quiet, as well as the island’s many delicious fruits and foods. Despite being one of the world’s most popular holiday destinations, the island does have a less fortunate side not always visible from the tourist surface. Due to the increasing western development, it is very easy to visit Bali without experiencing the local culture. VP Bali offers a great opportunity for volunteers to integrate with local culture and communities while using weekends to enjoy everything the island has to offer.
In Bali people live with their (extended) families in one compound. Brother/brother-in-law, sister/sister-in-law, mother & father, uncle & aunt all reside in the same complex. Within the compound you will find the family temple, a communal area, several rooms for sleeping only (Balinese live mostly outdoors), several kitchen blocks (each ‘small’ family has their own), vegetable gardens and livestock (such as chickens and cows- depending on the location and the wealth of the family).
Bali’s culture is based on a form of Hinduism called “Hindu Darma”, which plays an important role in the family customs and community lifestyle. Its influence expands extensively into the arts, creating a beautifully unique and different atmosphere than the rest of Indonesia. Through art, dance, music, and dedicated daily tradition, the Balinese have managed to preserve their culture despite the ever-increasing tourism industry on the island.
Upon arrival in Bali, you will daily notice little packages of flowers, candy and cookies placed on the ground with burning incense on top. These offerings are one of the many ways in which the Balinese honour what lies in between heaven and earth. They believe that giving daily offerings and holding regular ceremonies will please their Gods and demons.
The life of a Balinese is marked in stages by ritual ceremonies known as Manusa Yadnya. The first ceremony of Balinese life takes place even before birth. The first major ceremony takes place halfway through the baby’s first Balinese year of 210 days. After that, there is the famous ‘tooth filing ceremony’, which marks the transition into adulthood. Wedding ceremonies are also held in high regard, with colorful outfits and loads of food to create a truly remarkable occasion.
The end of a Balinese life is marked by a cremation. Balinese cremations are often spectacular events, with crowds of people, colorful parades and loud music. Since a big cremation can be very expensive, less wealthy people may take the opportunity of joining in at a larger cremation, honouring their own loved ones at the same time.
Because we value and respect the Balinese culture and its traditions deeply, we ask all our volunteers to behave in an appropriate manner. That is why we send out our VP Bali Volunteer Prep-kit before arrival, and introduce the do’s and don’ts of Balinese culture during Volunteer Orientation. We also ask volunteers to sign a code of conduct before arrival.
Offerings and Religious Ceremonies
Bali’s location just a few degrees south of the equator creates a hot and humid tropical climate, where the sun rises around 6am and sets at 6 pm every day of the year. This means that the temperature variation is very small, it’s always around 26- 30 degrees Celsius. Bali only has a “wet season” (usually from September to February) and “dry season” (February to August). During the peak of the wet season, it’s not uncommon to have 30 minute to 2 hour rain showers in the afternoon, with the rest of the day being dry with warm temperatures.
Despite the tropical climate, we recommend bringing a sweater as nights in Ubud can get particularly cool. Most importantly, Bali’s location near the equator means that it’s quite easy to get sunburned and dehydrated from the heat. Make sure to pack sunscreen lotion and drink lots of water and yummy coconuts!
BALI MUST SEE TIPS
Bali is a beautiful island and guaranteed to make you have a lot of fun and enjoy amazing experiences. On your days off you will want to explore! Here are some of our past volunteers’ favorite places and activities:
1. Be part of a local ceremony
When in Bali, you shouldn’t leave the island without having joined at least one ceremony. Show respect by dressing appropriately in the traditional clothing, and let it all happen. You will probably not understand most of it, but that’s okay. Balinese impressive temple ceremonies are probably unlike anything you have experienced before! During your placement, there is a high chance you will be able to to join a ceremony at one of our schools or in the community.
2. Climb Mount Batur
One of the most beautiful experiences you can do easily from Ubud is climbing the Mount Batur at night so that you can watch the sunrise from the top. Discover that Bali’s nature can surprise you over and over again with its beauty and diversity. You won’t know where to look first! Whilst eating breakfast on the top of Mount Batur you can enjoy the amazing views and take incredible photos in the light of a new day.
3. Boat Trip to the Gili Islands
The Gili Islands are three small, but widely loved, paradise islands only two hours away from Bali by boat. Each island has a different vibe depending if you are looking for a party, or just a little peace and quiet. You can also go island hopping between the three and enjoy it all; crystal blue water, white beaches, no cars disrupting the relaxed atmosphere, and beautiful restaurants along the beach for unforgettable sunsets. There you can jump from giant swings into the water or lie in the comfortable hammocks. Enjoy your evenings with good music, and take part in snorkel trips around the islands where you will see shoals of fish, corals and sea turtles.
4. Escape the Crowds Up North
If you have some time to spare, how about making a road trip up to Northern part of Bali? For a less touristy experience than the south, explore the North for streets lined with temples, waterfalls, lakes, and impressive mountaintop views. You may even see monkeys sit on the side of the road! If you make it all the way up to Bali’s northern coast, you can go dolphin watching in Lovina (If you can wake up early enough!). For a more relaxed atmosphere, explore the nearby hot springs or kick back at one of the restaurants along the beautiful black volcanic beach.
The rice terraces of Tegallalang:
For an easy activity doable on a weekday morning, a short 10-15 minute drive away brings you to the infamous rice terraces of Tegallalang. While rice fields are common to Ubud, when you get to Tegallalang you may wonder if you’re looking at a postcard or image in real life. Enjoy the scenery while drinking a cold fruit smoothie in one of the cafés along the hillside terraces.
5. Hit the beach!
Bali has some amazing beaches – whether you’re looking for surf, sunbathing, or diving/snorkeling, we’ve listed just a few of our favorites here.
Dubbed the “Brooklyn of Bali”, Canggu is known for surfers and sunsets. Start your day with avocado toast and a smoothie at one of the famous organic cafes; finish it at one of the beachside bars for a sunset cocktail. Canggu is a great place to enjoy nightlife outside of the chaotic and built-up area of Kuta.
A bit different than Canggu, Uluwatu’s “beaches” boasts cliffside views along coastal rock formations rather than places for swimming and sunbathing. Grab an Airbnb with an infinity pool, and watch some of the best surfers in the world enjoying everything the Bukit Peninsula has to offer.
The main gateway for people who want to go to Lombok or the Gili Islands, Padang Bai is where you’ll find both public ferry and the fast boat terminals. However, this area of east coast Bali has beautiful white sand beaches less crowded than those on the south coast. Blue Lagoon Beach is a small bay, perfect for snorkeling, sunbathing or a nice lunch. Pantai Kecil is another great choice, where you’ll often find more palm trees than people actually there.
“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth.”
Volunteering with VP Bali means that while you are building bright futures for Bali’s youth, you are also immersing yourself into the true daily life and traditions of the Balinese people.
It is with this in mind that all of our volunteers live in “homestay” accommodation. A homestay is a bed & breakfast style space usually located in the compound of a family. This means that you stay in a bungalow separate from the main house, but you stay in their home compound. It is a truly unique experience to stay so close to a Balinese family, you will see and experience the daily activities and join ceremonies. Each room has 2 single beds (a double bed is available for couples), with a private bathroom attached.
Most of our volunteers will live together in one central homestay, with extra homestays as well for times when we have more volunteers. It is located in buzzing central Ubud, close to the market and Ubud Palace. Despite the location, the homestay is located far enough back from the street to provide the quiet and peaceful atmosphere of a genuine Balinese compound.
Each member of the family in our homestay is considered part of the VP Bali Family, with four generations of their loved ones sharing their home and traditions alongside our volunteers. We pride ourselves on the close relationships we have with local families, as we provide opportunities to help grow their businesses as we grow as an organization. This family will also coordinate with other homestays to accommodate extra volunteers, encouraging even more widespread support for small businesses within our community.
What is provided at the homestay?
- Shared accommodation with one other volunteer. Most rooms with two single beds, while couples can request one large double bed.
- Private bathroom
- Clean western style toilet and shower
- Ceiling fan
- Towels and bed sheets
- Free onsite Wi‐Fi access at the homestay. Please feel free to bring your laptop.
- Breakfast is provided daily and is included in the price.
- Although lunch and dinner are not included, there are plenty of options available because the homestay is located in one of the best streets in Ubud for a traditional Balinese meal. With a large range of Warungs (local restaurants), at an average price of about 15.000IDR‐ 25.000IDR per meal. Should you be missing some of your local dishes from back home, chances are high that you might find it in Ubud, as there are quite some ‘Western style’ restaurants around as well. Do count on paying a bit more for those (anywhere from 35.000IDR to 95.000IDR for a meal).
- Laundry service in town (at volunteer’s cost)
- Tour service available (at volunteer’s cost)
- Motorbike or bicycle rental (at volunteer’s cost)
- Toiletries (soaps, shampoos and toilet paper) are not provided.
- Age: 18 to 35 years old
- Language: Good knowledge of the English language
- Experience: Not necessary. However, previous experience in working with children is an advantage.
- Volunteer Program Fees and Transactions: All volunteers are required to pay their Registration Fee upfront via bank transfer in order to secure their placement. All transaction costs are at the volunteer’s expense, the currency exchange rate mentioned in the prior email contact will be the valid one.
** For volunteers applying for a 2 week placement to start within a 3 month period after the date of application, we ask for the full program fees to be paid in advance by bank transfer.
This is to secure our planning and to ensure all our classes are operational.**
- Check in / Check Out: Your placement starts on a Saturday, with a check in at the volunteer’s homestay at 2pm and ends with a check-out at noon on your last Saturday. If you arrive earlier than this or wish to depart later than the check-out time, please inform your volunteer coordinator and note that you are responsible for any extra costs.
- Program Fee Refund: VP Bali does not refund any of the registration or program fees. If all program fees have been paid in advance and volunteers must cancel their placement, we do not refund the fees. We do offer the flexibility for volunteers to change their placement dates.
- Registration Fee Refund: VP Bali does not refund the registration fee under any circumstances. We do offer the flexibility for volunteers to change their placement dates.
- Discounts: There are no discounts for the program fees. Even if a volunteer decides to provide their own accommodation during their placement period, no discounts can be granted.
- Insurance: Applicants must purchase Travel Insurance for Southeast Asia prior to their arrival in Indonesia.
- Others: Patience, independence, adaptability, flexibility, and personal initiative are keywords at Volunteer Programs Bali. Travel experience is an advantage, but not required. Given the fact that you will be living in another culture, we strongly encourage you to prepare yourself by reading our prep-kit and our code of conduct.
What courses are taught?
We teach English according to the ESL curriculum. In our classes, we incorporate sports, arts, music, and crafts.
How many classes are there?
In Ubud we have 15 classes daily. Each volunteer will teach 2 classes everyday (Monday – Thursday).
What is the level of English of the students?
In general, the level of English of the students is very basic. Although most of the students have English classes at their regular school, most of them still struggle to be self-confident by using the language, being able to speak and have conversations as well as being creative their vocabulary.
By the time, they are in the Advanced English class, these students can conduct simple conversations and ask proper questions in English.
Should I bring books and learning material with me?
All materials in regards to the ESL curriculum is provided by VP Bali. Worksheets, class material and other recourses are available. However, extra donations of learning material, posters, books, and art supplies are always welcome!
What can I do to prepare my volunteer experience?
After we have accepted you in our Program, we will send you the VP Bali Volunteer Prepkit with everything you need to know about Bali, volunteering, and teaching at VP Bali.
You will also be allowed to join our closed Volunteers of VP Bali Facebook group to contact your fellow volunteers. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter for daily activity updates and extra teaching tips and ideas.