GDST girls around the world- Macy Guimaraes

“In August of 2018 I travelled to Bali for a month with the organisation IVHQ. I volunteered on the teaching project, where I played a hands-on role in developing the English language skills of elementary students at a local primary school in the town of Ubud.

Travelling outside Europe for the first time and on my own was a scary thought;  however I had no expectations and was excited to see what the month ahead of me had planned. I had no idea what impact my trip was going to have on the local children and the memories and friends I was going to make.

The project began with an orientation week. This allowed me and the other volunteers to explore Ubud and really understand and participate in the Balinese culture. We took basic Bahasa language lessons and learnt how to cook traditional local dishes in an Indonesian cooking class. The local staff put on a traditional Balinese dance show and taught us how to make flower offerings in an Indonesian flower making class, whilst explaining how flower offerings are a daily ritual in Bali.


After the orientation week ended the volunteering began and I was beyond excited to start. In the beginning, I had no idea what to expect as I thought the children were going to have very basic english skills, however, I was truly surprised to find out when I began the first lesson at how much they already knew. At first, this threw me off as I could not follow the structure of the lesson I had prepared and afterwards on my way back to the volunteer accommodation I thought to myself, based on what the children already knew, that maybe the volunteer work I had intended to do was not going to benefit the children as much as I had originally thought. Nevertheless, I was determined not to leave Bali without having taught the children something, so as a result that evening when I planned the next day lesson, I worked even harder to make the lesson more challenged and exciting for the children, which in addition challenged me as I had to think of new ideas that would prompt interest in the children during the lesson.

This experience has not only contributed considerably to my International Development studies but also to my introduction to university life as a whole. Due to being at the same school, SCHS, my whole life, going somewhere where I knew absolutely no one was very daunting; however, because I met so many people during the volunteer project, I gained a lot of confidence which helped me in University during the first weeks when meeting new people. This experience has also allowed me to be more confident in my own abilities and to apply my knowledge to help others. The volunteering project was also very helpful in confirming that international development is the area I want to work in in the future”.

The overall experience not only allowed me to be able to teach children, but also taught me to believe in myself and trust my own judgement. The skills I gained will be valuable in the future and seeing how excited the children where everyday was something I will never forget. On the whole the experience was one of the most rewarding things I have ever done.