Not all those who wander are lost

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

Category Archives: Yleinen

Back in Finland

Here we are back in a cold or more like freezing Finland. It’s -25C and I have to say it is too cold and makes me miss the sun and even the heat that made us sweaty all the time. It is almost like a different world here.

Freezing, snowy Jyväskylä.

Freezing, snowy Jyväskylä.

Where are all the people and motorbikes, big buildings, rubbish from the streets, cockroaches, stray dogs, palm trees and much much more? It sure takes time to get used to all of these differences. After all this remembering and missing our last months it is still good to be back home. I missed my family and friends very much and it really was time to see them again. Even when here it is so much more quiet and clean everywhere, more rules and everything is very organized compared to Asia, it is still home. It is always nice to come home and every time I remember how lucky I really am to have such a good home country, loving family and of course quality education.

It’s funny when the four months we spend away felt like a long time to be apart from home but at the same time the period went so fast and time really flew. That’s why I want to encourage all the students that are thinking of going exchange and not to be afraid of that “long” period of time away home. I promise that every second is worth experience and it all will be quickly over. I have never heard that someone would have regret that kind of an experience.

I believe that traveling and especially living and working in abroad can really open your eyes and help you to see a bigger picture about life. I wouldn’t change this experience to anything and I highly recommend abroad practical training period to everyone.

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 what is this VP Bali?


I wanted to tell little bit about the organisation that we are teaching in.

VP Bali = Volunteer programs Bali is an international volunteer organisation that provides free English classes for underprivileged children in Bali.
In the organisation there are four different programs; In the Valley, Village, Special needs and the one we’re in that is program Ubud.

In the program Ubud there are two local schools with around 500 children attending to the classes everyday. All of the children first attend their regular Indonesian classes between 7.30-12.30 and after that come to the English classes at Vp Bali in the afternoon. That is why I really appreciate the kids for coming to classes still in the afternoon even though they must be tired after already studied in their normal classes. That also tells a lot about their motivation to learn English, which then also motivate us to teach them the best we can.

In every school program is using the EAL curriculum that have different topics that we need to teach to the students. The teaching methods are pretty informal and we can think of different subjects and teaching methods by ourselves as long they aren’t too hard for them. Usually all of the volunteers are teaching very basic English f.ex words, time, names, depending of the level that the students have in different classes. As long as we remember to keep it creative and fun it is usually enough.

Usually volunteers always teach in pairs but during our stay here there haven’t been enough teachers so we have taught alone. I’d believe that it is much more easier to teach with someone especially if the class is very big but on the other hand I don’t think I would have learned that much about this experience if I wouldn’t have been alone.

Me and Essi with two other teachers and some kids :)

Me and Essi with two other teachers and some kids 🙂

I really think that this organisation is doing a great influence of these children’s lives and I’m very glad to have had this kind of an opportunity to be part of this.

Here is the website so you can check about more details:


What does it costs to do a practical training in Ubud, Bali ?

I think that the next ones are compulsory costs.

I don’t know if I wanna write this because then I really realize it’s gonna be so much money 😀 But let’s try..

Flights about 870 euros. (We flew from Helsinki to Bangkok, it was 260 euros + flight from Surat Thani (Thailand) to Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) 70 euros + flight from Kuala Lumpur to Denpasar 70 euros. When we are leaving, we’ll fly from Denpasar to Singapore (70 euros) and from Singapore to Helsinki 400 euros.) Of course it might be cheaper if you don’t visit Thailand but it really was worth for every cents 😉 And our flight from Helsinki to Bangkok was reaaally cheap!!

Vaccinations: 290 euros. Hepatitis A & B. School paid hepatitis B so we only needed to pay for A. It was 55 euros per vaccination and you need to take two of them. In addition we also took Japanese encephalitis vaccination. It was 90 euros per each vaccination and you need to take two.

Travelling insurance: 90 euros. I tendered out all the insurance companies in Finland and got the cheapest one from Pohjola.

– Visa: 35 euros. Now we just need to extend our visas because our first visa was only for 60 days and now we need 30 days more and it costs 55 euros for us. = 90 euros.

– Program fee 1100 euros. This includes accommodation, breakfast, pick up from airport and drives to school.

So 2440 euros…. 😀 Much money!! But luckily we got a “stipend” from school (about 1000 euros) and of course we get student money and it is also possible to take student loan that is more when studying abroad than studying in Finland (700 euros per month).

Living (food etc.) here is really cheap and if you really want to live cheaply here, you can easily live for 100 000 IDR (about 6 euros) per day! Including lunch and dinner in a restaurant and still you have money to do something else. Today I ate indonesian food for lunch and paid for that 18 000 IDR (1,24 euros) 😉

Living in Ubud

We are living in homestay in the center of Ubud. All the other volunteers are living also in the same homestay (or in the homestay that is next to our place). Now we have here nine volunteers in our homestay and four in the other homestay. I think that it’s nice that we are all living here because you always have friends here! If you wanna be alone, then you can just go to your own room. We are living in the same room with Kerttu but it’s not a problem. All the volunteers who are living downstairs have own terrace and then we have a nice yard where we can hang out together.

Because this is homestay, here lives also Balinese family. They have so cute almost two years old son! The Balinese family make us breakfast (you can choose between omelette and banana pancake), drive us to school and clean our rooms. I don’t have any photos of our homestay but I can show later.

We don’t have much in our room. We have two beds, wardrobe, chair and toilet where is also a shower. Sometimes you can only get cold water but usually you get two minutes hot water, and it’s sooo hot that you feel like your skin is burning 😀 Then it’s lukewarm.

What I miss here is a kitchen (so I could make food) and air conditioning. When we came here the nights were sometimes even cold but at least for two last weeks the nights have been really hot and I hate to go to sleep when it’s hot and I’m sweating too much!

We have animals also here; birds, dogs, geckos and near in our homestay are also cocks so the mornings are always really noisy here. All the animals + Balinese family wakes up reeeeally early, about 6 am and our walls are like paper so you can hear everything to your room.

Everything in Bali is really cheap compared to Finland. Usually a meal in restaurant is about 3-4 euros (you can also eat cheaper especially if you eat balinese food) and if something costs more than 6 euros we always think that it’s too expensive and wanna find a cheaper place 😀 One of my favorite pastas here costs 1,6 euros. What else about the prices.. One night in cheap hostel is about 5 euros, 1,5L water bottle is 0,3 euros, etc. Everything is reaaally cheap! But that’s just good for our budget as a students 😉

Ubud is cultural center of Bali. Here you can find for example temples, balinese dance shows, paintings and statues, museums and galleries, balinese cooking classes etc. I think it’s good that we live in Ubud instead of for example Kuta. Here is kinda safe and you almost never need to be scared here. This feels like home! And if you get bored in Ubud, it’s always easy to travel to other places. We often do weekend trips to other towns.

I really like this place and I’m so happy that we chose to come here to do our practical training!!

Ready to go ?

I’m not sure if I have ever been this excited earlier in my life. The day after tomorrow we will start our (hopefully) amazing trip to Asia!! We’ve been planning our practical training abroad about a year now and expended maaaany hours on searching for the place to go. Our criteria for our practical training place were:

– there has to be hot weather (luckily this was one of our criterion because the summer 2015 in Finland was … a disaster)

– the place should be outside the Europe

– quite cheap country, so we can live there with student grant

– quite cheap costs at all (flights, program costs,..)

– practical training place supports our studies (rehabilitation counseling)


We had been given from school the choices for student exchange but most of them were in Europe and some in Africa. Africa seemed to be amazing too but the costs were much more than in Asia. That’s why we decided to find by ourselves a new place to go for student exchange. When we started to google (which we did a LOT) we noticed that there are terrible number of places to go. When we found an interesting place to go, first we checked where it exactly is located and next the weather in there. I have to say that we were kinda picky. When we had spent days and weeks using google, we finally found the place that fulfilled our criteria!

Travel Quotes That Will Inspire You to Explore the World...


We had found Volunteer Programs Bali organization and we sent there e-mail and applications and couple days ago we had been accepted to volunteer there with children with disabilities at Program Village (this was in the beginning of December in 2014). Our international coordinator was also in touch with VP Bali so they could manage all the official stuff. I don’t know but I think that we had a lot of paper work to do, all kind of applications to fulfill.

And finally here we are.

We have booked (almost) all the flights.

Visa is OK!

Rucksack is almost packed (… and heavy).

Tomorrow we’re going to say goodbye to our friends here in Jyväskylä.

And then on Friday our flight will leave! ! Can’t believe this.