Not all those who wander are lost

Two rehabilitation counselor students doing an internship at school teaching Balinese children.

Category Archives: volunteering

What have I learnt?

– It’s all about planning. You really just can’t go to teach anyone without any plans. It just doesn’t work like that. It’s good if you have also a plan B and sometimes you also need to have a plan C. For example yesterday I had planned for the end of the lesson a very good game (in my opinion…) and we started to play the game and the students didn’t like it at all!!!! They didn’t wanna play it!!!!! AND I had been so confident about my game that I didn’t have even plan B for the game. Thank God then my students had one game on their mind that they wanted to play so they taught me that 🙂

colouring picture

– To communicate without shared language. Many times my students just speak to my Indonesian and I’m trying to speak them veeery basic English or just to draw and communicate with signs 😀 I think this is good if I’m ever going to work with immigrants.

– To be more creative than earlier. I have used really much creative methods that my students learn. For example when we had the topic “On the beach” I made them a memory game of all the things that you can see on the beach and they had to match a text and a picture that mean the same. Many times we use colouring pictures: first we colour a picture that belongs to our topic and then we write sentences about that picture. We play games that helps kids to learn. It’s amazing to see their improvement <3


Mount Batur and volunteers. 1717m high mountain that we went to.

– To learn to see my students as an individuals instead of a group. I think that for me this took about a month. I had to learn their names and something more about them. Especially my first class I know the best, maybe because I see them every day so it has been easier to get to know them. And their English is the best compared to my other classes. Now I can say that who is good and who need more help and what kind of help etc. I’ve also notices that one of my students might have dyslexia because he has so many problems on reading and writing.. Anyway there’s still one big class that I have, that I don’t know very well. Their English skills are not good and there are about 25 students so getting to know everyone has been really hard. So I think that I still need to become better on seeing persons as an individuals instead of a group when they’re in a big group!

– To work with people who have totally different culture than I have. I think that kids all over the world are somehow really same. For example (almost) all the kids love games. I don’t think that there is so big different to work with Balinese children than Finnish children. Of course there is language – we don’t understand so well each other and their religion is having a really big role in their lives; they go often to ceremonies and love it. For me it’s quite strange because I’m not so religious but of course I respect their choices about that and somehow I think that it’s so cool that they have this common thing that connects all of them.


Beach in Canggu

– To report about the lessons. Every day after the lesson we need to write in a diary that what we’ve been. Because I have three classes I also have three diaries to write to. I have really learnt that I need to write the diaries really soon because otherwise I won’t remember what we’ve done with my students.

– To counsel kids in different ages. My youngest students are 8 years old and oldest are 15 years old. I can use almost the same materials for learning but for example all the games need to be different for 8 years old and 15 years old that they are motivated.


Sunset in Tanah Lot temple

– To think after the lessons that what would I do otherwise. Because I’m working with kids, I can really see that what they like and what they don’t like. Actually this is very good because then I know that what works with them and what doesn’t and I can change my teaching methods.

– I would like to learn to make people to adhere in the group. In our school, kids just come and go. You’ll never know how many students you are going to have on next day. Of course here they have also another school that they go and sometimes they have exams that they need to read for and very often they also go to ceremonies. But still!!!


Beach in Canggu.

– If I could decide what do bring here to Finland, it would definitely be sincerity and happiness of all the people. Even though they are disadvantaged, they are still always so happy and it’s amazing to see. They really take care of their families and their community. We really need this in Finland to make it better.


So happy.

Because we are living in the same homestay than all the other volunteers, we’ve got loads of new friends. Almost every week there’s a new volunteer(s) coming and at the same time also someone is leaving. Some volunteers are here only for two or three weeks (I think that it’s way too short time to be in the program. For me it took about three weeks just to get used to teaching) and some of them are longer, as us. Somehow I think that it’s good that there are every week new volunteers coming here but at the same time I’m very sad that we have had to say so many goodbyes for so many amazing people. People come here from all over the world (not any Finnish people has been here as a volunteer when we’ve been) which I think is really good but it also makes the reunion harder!! We have already planned a little bit about a trip for next summer to middle-Europa to meet our friends there!

Because everyone stays in the same place, we also do much things together. Especially on weekends. While we have been here, we’ve spent two (???!! really… Not sure 😀 maybe three??) weekends here in Ubud. All the other weekends we have gone to somewhere else. Last weekend we went on to Kuta on Friday because it was one of our friends last night here. Then on Saturday we went to Seminyak and on Sunday we went to Uluwatu. I really fell in love with Uluwatu and I can’t wait to get back there!!!! One weekend we went to Canggu that is on the coast too. We don’t have a beach here in Ubud because this is inland so I think that all our weekend trips are goes places where is a beach.. 😀 It’s good that we have an opportunity to travel on weekends so we can see more places here.

I think that when I compare my English now and when I came here, there is a really big change. First I was quite scared to speak english here 😀 But now it’s more than fine. I just needed to get used to it. I’ve been here in Asia almost three months so it would be weird if nothing has happened to my English skills 😀 Of course there still comes moments when I don’t know the word or I don’t understand what someone says but you can always ask. The problems that I still nowadays have with English are with the accents! Sometimes people have so strong accents that I really need to concentrate myself on listening to them, hahah. Especially people who come from Australia and London.

Anyway, I’ve been so, so breathtakingly happy here. I’m so happy that we decided to come just here.


My teaching (Kerttu)

I have been teaching now for 6 weeks. It sounds like a lot but still the weeks have gone by so fast. My first week I taught with another volunteer from Germany but after that I was on my own. It took me many weeks before I got the feeling that I can handle it and got the confidence also. Before I came here I never thought that I’m going to teach alone but now I’m pretty glad that I needed to really push myself out from the comfort zone and that’s why I believe that I have really learned a lot.

I have three different classes. One class I have everyday and that’s with the little ones ages 7-11. They are so cute and every time they’re full of energy (sometimes little bit too much). What surprised me was that even if they’re so wild and energetic they still listen to me and really try their best to do all the assignments, as long as they aren’t too easy and boring for them. That’s why I need to plan every time something new and more creative for them so they stay interested. Usually I have 6 to 10 kids so not too many but you can really see when there’s more kids than usual because it gets much harder to handle the big group. The biggest challenge is definitely make all of them learn the same things, which is very hard because they are different ages and their level vary a lot also. Some kids know all the subjects already when others struggle more with them.

In the rice fields with my little ones :)

In the rice fields with my little ones 🙂

In two other classes I have older kids with ages 13-17. One class I have every Monday and Wednesday and the other every Tuesday and Thursday. In other class I have about 10 students and the other one usually almost 30 students. At first it was very hard to work with a such a big group but now when I’ve got the confidence and I have got used to it I think that I’m doing pretty well. I like my older ones very much and it so fun to teach with them and when they can understand English better than the little ones the communication is easier also. With these students I also love their enthusiasm to learn. Let’s not also forget that the kids come to the school voluntarily in the afternoon after their “real” school day. The challenge in these classes is also the different English levels between them. Especially the boys are always little behind the girls so it needs extra work to get them all to learn the subjects properly.

My student's drawing. We were learning word on the beach and building sentences about the picture.

My student’s drawing. We were learning words from “on the beach” and building sentences about the picture.

So because I have three classes I really need to do my planning every day before school. After school I also have three diaries that I need to report the summary of what happened in my classes. That is actually very good system so I can also check what did we do for example last week and what do we still need to practice etc. I believe it is also very useful to the stuff in the program so they can see what all the volunteers have been up to and what could they do to make the classes better and more beneficial for the children.

The time surely flies here and even though now the 3 months feel too less I’m happy that I had at least that. I think you only get to know the children, school, teaching and the system when you’re here long enough time. I am already counting days when this is going to end because I know it’s going to be too soon and definitely too hard. For now just need to enjoy the rest of the time and try to make the best out of it.

Quotes from my diary

We need to report about our lessons in our “diaries.” We need to write there that what we have done in the lessons, if we have played a game, we need to write what game we played, we need to write what kind of exercises we’ve done there etc. We are writing the diaries of course in english so our coordinators and the teachers who are coming to teach our classes after us can also read that what we have done there and what should teach more.


I have three diaries that I’m writing to. One for every class that I’m teaching.



I think that here the reporting takes more time than in Finland because we can’t report with the computer.




I also write in the diary if I have had some problems with the class. This was when I got 9 new students in my first class and they were much worse than my other students in the class. The new ones didn’t even know the alphabets and my old students can form sentences. After couple days the new kids were moved to another class (Kerttu’s).

Now I have same kind of problems. I got two new students in my second class and they don’t know anything that we are considering. We are almost finishing one topic (On the beach) so I think that it really would be waste of time to start the topic over again just for two students because the other students are already good at it.



I also do wordtests with my students so I can know that when it’s time to move on. I had these wordtests with my classes last week and they did it really good. This week I’m going to have a bigger test about the whole topic.


– Essi