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Name: Justine Honore
When did you Volunteer? January to March 2015
Why did you volunteer? I have been traveling around south eastern Asia for ten months when I arrived in Bukit Lawang. During my travel I did some volunteering in Thailand and Malaysia. I wanted to experience volunteering in Sumatra. For me it is another way of discover a culture and a country getting more integrated in a local community. When I met Bukit Lawang Trust I also felt that this school has a lot of potential and is very dynamic and that make me want to be part of it!
Overall experience in 3 words: Sharing, learning, opening up
Best part of teaching? During the class of course! The preparation can be hard and confusing, sometimes it takes time, but when the children have fun during an activity and I could really notice they are improving their English I felt satisfaction!
What did you learn from your experience? I think I improved my communication skills of course! What I didn't expect to learn is humility and trust. When you are in a foreign country you're lost in the unknown. I realized that even if I am a grown-up perfectly independent in my country, here I need help and I have to seek for it. All the people are really helpful and pleased to give a hand but at first I had to overpass this shame and accept to be helped by people that I have to trust!
Best bits: I enjoyed a lot sharing with the school staff and the neighbors. It was really nice for me to feel part of the local community.
Favourite activity/trip visited? The jungle trek of course! Tangkahan is also a very nice place.
Must bring item? Light and comfy cloths and cloths you can trash (in case you're painting some walls!). I think it is more respectful to wear "covering clothes" specially during class.
Other: I think it is very useful to learn some Indonesian. Books are available at the school and the staff is very happy to help the volunteers learning their language.
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