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Sarah's Testimonial

SARAH HARRIS

Profession: Musician

When did you Volunteer? July - September 2014 and January 2015

Why did you volunteer? I love traveling - experiencing and learning about different cultures. I’m also looking to change career and become a full time classroom teacher. I have a PGCE and CELTA certification so the placement at BLT was an opportunity to gain classroom experience, be useful! and live within a community whose culture is different from my own.

Overall experience in 3 words: Wonderful Challenging Heart-warming

Best part of teaching? Witnessing the excitement and motivation of the children to learn; seeing them put all their effort into the activities provided to them. What did you learn from your experience? Strengths and weaknesses of my teaching; what resources/games work-the environment is very safe for new teachers to try out new games/techniques etc. Culturally, I learned how many of us in the West have lost a fundamental sense of community, in Indonesia the family is the heart of people’s lives –people are never alone and they really look after each other. So I learnt a lot about compassion, generosity and togetherness. My freelance London world works very differently! Living within a Muslim community was fantastic because my experience of the religion was previously limited to the very often negative UK media so it has been enlightening and heartwarming to experience the culture first hand. Best bits: Seeing the children trying to walk quietly up the stairs into the classroom - they are so excited you can see how hard it is for many of them not to skip and run. Being a member of the local community – a very special experience.

Favourite activity/trip visited? Tangkahan – elephant washing

Must bring item? Ear plugs (cockerel and call to prayer at 5am) / printer ink

Other: I was very busy pretty much all the time during the week (planning, teaching, painting, managing…) there is always a lot to do! People drop in to chat all the time so my experience was you don’t have lots of time to kill which for me was just fine.