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My teaching experience at Jakarta IHF centre

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heidimarchant View Drop Down

Joined: 20 May 2015
Location: United Kingdom
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    Posted: 20 May 2015 at 06:35
After my semester studying abroad in Singapore, and trips to the Philippines and Malaysia, I decided I wanted to spend a little more time in Asia. But another holiday would be too lazy, too hedonistic- sun, sea, flavours bursting on my tongue- and anyway, I needed something new on my CV. A perfect way to balance work with play? Teaching English in Indonesia!

I chose to volunteer as an English teacher at the International Humanity Foundation because, frankly, it was seemingly the only non-profit organisation online that didn't try and make outrageous amounts of money from gap year age students. IHF runs education centres for disadvantaged children in Bali, Medan, Aceh and Jakarta (all Indonesia), Nakuru (Kenya) and Chiang Rai (Thailand). I flirted with the idea of going to Thailand, then settled on Jakarta because of its transport links with the UK. 

Four weeks was the minimum time you could spend teaching English as a work-study volunteer at IHF's Indonesian centres. More than enough, I thought, but now, as I near the end of my time here, I'm changing my mind. I could happily spend three months here helping teenagers wrestle with adverbs and five year olds wrestle with colours. Some classes are chaotic; the boys generally have too much energy while the girls are angels. But despite the frustration often experienced whilst standing at the white board yelling 'Duduk!' ('Sit down!') or something similar, I do go to bed with a sense of incredible satisfaction. 

We have one day off every week, the other volunteers- aged 26+, while I'm only 19- and me, and I usually spend that day on the back of a motorbike with a local teacher, zooming around Jakarta. I'm not a fan of the food- fried ice cream, fried everything, is sometimes stomach-turning for a health freak like me- and constant shouts of 'Buleh!' ('Foreigner!') and 'Cantik' ('beautiful') are sometimes irritating when I want to take a peaceful evening walk and yet don't want to seem rude to the locals, but that's the extent of the bad things I have to report on. The young people who live full time at the education centre are lovely, the locals friendly, the chaotic 'suburban' area where the centre is located beautiful not in spite of the chaos, but partly because of it. 

I leave in two days, and I'm sure it won't be a dry-eyed departure. 

So yeah, all in all a really good volunteering experience, and if you like kids/ teaching/ need something on your CV and have a big heart, apply! Their website is, and if you want a bit more of sun and sea than Jakarta, an urban metropolis, they also have- among others- a Bali education centre. Feel free to ask questions. 
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