6 weeks in Indonesia – volunteering, traveling and meeting many people

Last year in October 2012, I decided to go abroad for a social project during my next semester break. I saw the job description of being an English teacher at TFI in Indonesia, I thought: ‘Why not Indonesia? This could be a great adventure.’

And now, after living in Indonesia for 6 weeks, I can say that it was an adventure but different than expected.

Well, at first I expected an exotic country but without any electricity in some areas. Maybe I would live in a host family which even does not have this. And furthermore I thought that nobody would understand me because no one can speak English. Not to forget that I was afraid of living on my own without somebody is interested in me.

But already on my first day at the TFI office a volunteer offered me a sleeping place in her dorm together with some other girls. For that reason it did not take a long time until I felt being at home.

Beside that I was really lucky to join a project at ‘Merapi’ on my first weekend in here. So Miss Intan, Pranata and me took a train straight to Yogyakarta. The project was about the eruption of the Merapi in 2010 and the rebuilding of all the nature and life of the residents at the volcano. I met a lot of people and it was interesting to listen to their personal stories and destinies. At that point I want to mention the great aid of TFI over there. People can have a chance in future because of TFI support.

After this weekend my work field consisted of teaching English. My favorite place was the school in Sitanala. The students were between 6 and 10 years old and they were always interested in my teaching even if some boys thought that the ant which is running on the ground is still more fascinating than my teaching. I got an inside look in how to do Batik, we sang songs, took photos, I taught them some German expressions and of course we tried to talk English all the time. I had always an Indonesian volunteer of TFI as a translator on my side so I could understand the small children even when they were talking Bahasa to me.

The work at TFI office is very cool and all their projects are fantastic. The atmosphere is quite comfortable and there was always someone who was making a joke so that everybody had to laugh. One Sunday I joined a charity show of TFI and another organization where I could see the arrangement of so many volunteers. Two of them were moderating; some did handicrafts with the children and others coordinated the whole show.

But the members of TFI were not only present at work. We even hang out together in our free time and Hendry was always able to organize some activities for Helen (another volunteer from China) and me. He was every time very calm although the behavior of Helen and me was sometimes confusing for him. Thank you for that, Hend. Moreover the TFI members had always a sympathetic ear for the volunteers from abroad so that we could talk to someone apart from our family which was pretty far away.

So besides working I had a great time in Indonesia with all the people I met. For example: going to Bandung, trying a rafting tour, visiting the church and mosque, snorkeling on an island or having fun at Waterbom. Not to forget the 8! shopping malls I have been to during this time.

When I think of my stay in Indonesia now, I will never forget the open minded and warmhearted people. Thank you very much for the great time TFI! I will never forget you and I hope to come back as soon as possible. Hopefully you will always remember the boiled crab.


Annika Leder, Indonesia, 03.04.2013