Faculty of Behavioural Management & Social Sciences | University of Twente
Enschede, in the Netherlands:
"On behalf of the tutors of the minor Crossing Borders of the University of Twente we would like to thank you and the WINS organizations for hosting our students. The students’ reflection and field study (research) reports indicate that their period abroad has been a valuable experience and that they have learned a lot, not only from an academic point of view, but particularly also from a personal development perspective.
We hope we can continue our valuable exchange in the next academic year. "
David Allen from Australia:
"I have made some life long friends and had the slap in face I needed to remind me what’s really important in life."
"Homeward bound, after spending six weeks with this fantastic organization Yayasan Widya Guna, its time to go home.
I can’t begin to explain what these kids have given me I love each and every one of them, I’ve seen the kids development grow thru the hard work of the Organizations teaches, interns and volunteers.
I have made some life long friends and had the slap in face I needed to remind me what’s really important in life.
I have experienced so many things living in Bedulu village from going to a village Wedding, attending a religious ceremony, doing a home visit of one of the boys under my care... there is simply to much to mention.
On my last day the kids sang you a song to say thank you, they have been dealt a crappy hand in life and on top of this they just have the bare minimum to get buy, and yet they are the ones saying thank you !"
Jelle Vogels from the Netherlands:
"The kids and the staff made me so happy, each day again."
"Three weeks in Widya Guna went so fast. I'm really looking back to a great experience. I have been helping out with the special needs children and they stole my heart!
The positive energy radiates in this place!
The kids and the staff made me so happy each day again.
Three weeks is only a short time, but I hope I've made a small step forward for some of the children. I had a small, but positive contribution as a child physiotherapist.
I asked Putu Ita what her biggest hobby was, she said: WALKING!!!!!
So I helped out with the first step: Standing up from her wheel chair!
It was heartwarming to see how grateful the children, staff and parents were for the things we did together.
My personal take home message is that the best way to help people is to search for what they really need instead of what we think is the best.
I'll save the positive energy in my heart and will come back again. Thanks everyone who was a part of this great experience and some special thanks to Antoinette Peters and WINS foundation, who helped me out with the preparation and coaching to make the best of these weeks."
Simone Ryaard Olsen and Kirsten Hermann Noehr Larsen from Denmark:
"Once in a lifetime experience!"
Ages: 25 and 24
"We spend two months in Bedulu working with the special needs children, doing our internship. This is an amazing place and we learned a lot from our time there. The kids are so fantastic and gave us the best time and we felt so loved every time we came in the morning and in the afternoon.
The teachers made us feel at home, and where such a big help for us, especially when we needed to translate games, songs, rules or whatever our theme was that day.
We lived at the house of the brother of the manager of the Yayasan, which was so beautiful and very close to Ubud, so of course, we spend a lot of time there too.
The kids at Yayasan Widya Guna taught us to appreciate the small things in life, because they were always so happy and appreciated everything we did with them.
The biggest challenge at this Yayasan, was the kids very different diagnoses. This could sometimes be a challenge, which would force us to think out of the box and make us reevaluate the activities we planned to do.
Although we had an amazing time there, every day after school we needed a nap. We think it’s because you’re always “on” when you’re at the Learning Center, you never have a quiet moment there, always busy with the children.
But in the end we still loved being there and it was a once in a lifetime experience!"
Emma Cardol from the Netherlands: "When it was time to leave, I had no desire to go yet!"
"Although my time at the organisation was only short, 3 weeks, I thoroughly enjoyed myself! Everyone was very friendly, so I felt right at home, and everyone was very welcoming. This also applies to the town, where everyone was polite and greeted you when you passed them. When I had an accident and I needed to go to the first aid, everyone helped me, which I truly appreciated, since I had no idea what to expect. The school and the children were great too, the children were all very kind, and seemed to like learning too. Because we got no fixed schedule, we were free to do with the children what we wanted to, which caused a very creative and relaxed atmosphere. When it was time to leave, I had no desire to go yet, I could have stayed a lot longer. I surely have intentions to come back when I finish school, and for a longer period. All in all it is safe to say I had a wonderful time in Bali and with the organisation."
Ellen from Holland: "My dream came true!"
"I was volunteering for 7 weeks at the Learning center Yayasan Widya Guna.
I am 64 years and retired in october 2014 as a human resource manager in a big prison in Holland. I always had a dream to work as a volunteer after my retirement.
In the morning I helped out with disabled children.
In the afternoon I was teaching photography to a group of 15 years old girls.I was deeply touched by the eager for knowledge for learning to take pictures. It's my hobby and they used my reflex camera. They made beautiful pictures for instance of portraits, the river and flowers. The girls really loved to make pictures of themselves. They also improved their English.We had a lot of fun.
I recommend VP International, the personal introduction was very well organized.
I learned a lot about the culture of Bali. VIP- International gives you the opportunity to use your skills and to do what you really like, which gives the best results for the children but also for yourself.
Also I would recommend to do volunteer work to experience the culture of Bali. Bali feels very safe."
Lola from the USA: "Volunteering with the WINS foundation is hands down the most influential and impactful experience I have had in my life."
"Volunteering with the WINS foundation is hands down the most influential and impactful experience I have had in my life.
Wayan welcomed me into his family with open arms. The children also welcomed me warmly into their school environment.
In Bali I made life long friends and experiences. I will never forget the feeling of driving down the hill in Seraya and seeing all of my students running alongside the car screaming my name.
I met the most motivated artistic and enthusiastic children. They are all so wonderful, the WINS foundation gives people such a unique opportunity.
Seraya was also so beautiful. My room overlooked the ocean and I woke up every morning to the most beautiful view.
On my last day Wayan and his family prepared a traditional Balinese dinner for us. It was so delicious and the perfect way to end such a beautiful incredible month.
I also had the ability to discover and explore other parts of Bali and the surrounding islands while I was not teaching. I got to snorkel, climb volcanos and explore waterfalls.
I would love to one day come back and see how my students have grown."
Ottilie from The Netherlands: "Best experience ever!"
"Together with a friend I was looking for a volunteer project in Bali. We got in contact with WINS foundation, VIP-International.
Before we left, the foundation helped us arranging everything, our visa, transport, place to sleep, etc.
We stayed in Bali for 2 months. It was the best experience ever. We were helping out with the English teaching in Seraya.
You're free to choose what you want to teach and how you are going to do it. The experience of educating the children and getting to know each other, is amazing.
We stayed at a wonderful family and had our own rooms including bathroom. The family brought us to different ceremonies and explained us everything about the culture of Bali
We did not experience difficulties, because we could always call people from WINS or our own Balinese family. They will always help."
Odyle from The Netherlands: "The kids are eager to learn!"
23-04-2015 till 23-06-2015
"I loved being a volunteer in the Yayasan in Seraya. I think it is amazing help out and doing activities with the children to improve their English, in the playfull and fun way we did, because that is the best way for them to learn. Especially the roleplays, they loved that as well. The kids themselves are enthusiastic and eager to learn, which makes it great to be their teacher.
The guesthouses and the family where we stayed, were great as well. The last four weeks of our stay, we slept in the new guesthouse. The view there is amazing. You can fall asleep with the sound of the sea!
My experience with WINS/VIP as an organization is very good. Everything is well arranged, we haven't had any troubles and had a good introduction the first weeks."
Desiree from The Netherlands: "Beautiful!"
"I really liked my experience in Seraya, far from the tourist center.
Wayan, the manager is a very smart man and the children were so nice and enthusiastic.
I really felt at home and liked the family.
I wouldn't change anything, but it is good to take initiative by yourself and already do some preparing before. Do what you are good at and combine this with English.
There is in Seraya not so much to do. So it is good if you can make your day and enjoy the daily life there."
Simone Ryaard Olsen and Kirsten Hermann Noehr Larsen from Denmark:
" It was an amazing experience and we would love to do it again!"
Ages: 25 and 24
"We spend three months in Seraya and had the time of our lives!
When we first got to Seraya we had to get used to the location of the school being so far away from everything, but after a day or two, we fell in love with this place. The scenery around the school and where we lived, was breathtaking.
Wayan and his lovely family treated us like an extra part of their own family and in the class we taught, were the sweetest kids ever.
There were good and bad days in Seraya, but mostly good. Bad days, could be days where everything you planned somehow couldn’t work out, or days where the kids just wouldn’t listen to what you wanted to teach them, but this wasn’t very often that happened. Another thing we had to get used to is how differently things can be. For a foreigner, the structure that rules on Bali can be really difficult, and this was one of our biggest challenges while we were there.
The good days though, were amazing because we had so much fun with the kids when we played games with them or when we were just hanging out with them. This was also a good opportunity for us and them to learn about each other’s cultures, the differences and the similarities.
Sometimes Wayan and his family took us to different ceremonies and we were so lucky that we also got invited to a Balinese wedding.
So over all, it was an amazing experience and we would love to do it again!"
Ibrahim from the Netherlands: "If I could do it all over again, I most certainly would, without even hesitating a split second. "
"Doing voluntary work in Bali, the Samsaman Kaja village in the Tabanan region, is one of the, if not the best experience I have had in my life so far. I feel privileged for having had the opportunity to do so, for it has been a cherished dream of me for a long time. I have learned a great many things that cannot be learned in books. Teaching English to kids varying from 8 to 16 years old is what I did aside from the field study, but it was I who ended up learning a lot from the kids as well, I learned a lot of life lessons. I learned how to appreciate the smaller things in life even more so than I already did. I ended up smiling so much that my cheeks hurt for half of the first week. It does not take much to wear a smile, but it does mean much to most people. Being in a country with a complete different culture has made me cross borders on many levels. I witnessed ceremonies and traditions first hand as local people and families took me in as one of their own, welcoming and offering me what little, in some cases, they have. This experience has left a huge impact on me and my life, I hope to go back some time to see the families and children again. If I could do it all over again, I most certainly would, without even hesitating a split second. "
Lukas from Germany: "I would definitely recommend an internship at the Learning Center Samsaman Kaja, if you are interested in delving deeply into the Balinese culture and their people, this place will be perfect for you. "
"With Crossing Borders, I was able to live for 3 ½ months on Bali, Indonesia. Most people know Bali as a touristic paradise, everyone has a friend that spent some time there and go “it was soo amazing”. After coming back to the cold Enschede Winter, all I can say is: “It is that amazing”. Bali is a tremendous, tropical island with exceptionally beautiful nature, welcoming people and quite the pompous culture. Go ahead and google or have a look at the pictures below.
When I was not admiring the surroundings, I was typically working at the Learning Center Samsaman Kaja, located in a village of the Tabanan Regency. The organizations WINS and YEAH both work with that Center, aiming to solve the local poverty problems through free education.
Samsaman Kaja is a small village, far away from bigger cities. Accordingly, people live a very rural life, mostly living from farming and small shops opened at the side of the road. Due to the rural location, the education is severely lacking, the local middle school did not have an English teacher during my stay. This means that teaching English to the local children adds a lot to their education and is highly values by everyone around. I also did research regarding the attitudes people hold towards foreign volunteers, coming to teach. The results speak for themselves, everyone seems to be very fond of people coming to help.
Working and living in Samsaman Kaja has a lot of perks and some drawbacks. Samsaman Kaja is far off, while most of the island is reachable with a scooter, you will have to keep in mind that you will be living in the jungle, without the benefits of big cities. If that is something you can tolerate and embrace, you will be rewarded with a very nice family, doing everything they can so you enjoy your stay. The people living nearby are very interested in you, they will happily let you join local ceremonies and traditions, so you will be able to look behind curtains, most tourists will never get to open. Paddy fields ad rice terraces are 2 minutes away by foot, a beautiful beach with a few typically Australian tourists is 25 minutes away by scooter.
While there are typically not too many other volunteers around, the local children and their warm smiles will typically brighten your day.
I would definitely recommend an internship at the Learning Center Samsaman Kaja, if you are interested in delving deeply into the Balinese culture and their people, this place will be perfect for you.
However, if you are looking for a more touristic experience, you should consider looking at the other Learning Centers of WINS. "
Matti from Finland: "I feel so lucky I had this opportunity to do my internship in Samsaman.
Me and my family had really amazing time . It was unforgettable for us!"
"When I arrived to Samsaman, I really felt welcome end that was really important.
Ibu Ketut is a really warm person and she helped me really much during my stay.
Intan, the local teacher, is a great person also and she helped me a lot too. We had long talks about their culture, etc.
I didn´t know what to expect about teaching before a got there. When I started teaching, I realized that the children were ready to learn and they were motivated too.
I was surprised that there was a big difference of children´s level of English. That was a little bit challenging from a pedagogical point of view. I realized that usually in their local school they sit and learn in an old fashion way. My goal was to motivate children to learn. I used a lot of teaching methods, where they had to use language in class, like lots of discussion in small groups games, etc. When I did sports I wanted to offer fun games and something new too. I included math into sports and English lessons. I planned to teach computer skills.
I feel so lucky I had this opportunity to do my internship in Samsaman.
Me and my family had really amazing time . It was unforgettable for us.
Thank you for all the support you gave me and my family".
Evita from the Netherlands: "WINS Foundation offered a great volunteering program, and gave us the opportunity to do research, which was obligatory for our study".
Why did I decide to go to Bali?
In the first half of my third year of my study Health Sciences, I got the opportunity to fill in my own program. I soon decided that I wanted to go to Bali. WINS Foundation offered a great volunteering program, and gave us the opportunity to do research, which was obligatory for our study.
What is it like to teach at WINS Foundation?
In the morning, the children attend regular school, in the afternoon the children come to the learning center. I taught kids who ranged from age eight to fifteen about English, hygiene and general responsibilities in life.
Where did I stay during my time on Bali?
During my three months on Bali, I stayed at the guesthouse next to the learning center. This guesthouse is brand new, me and my friend were the first who stayed there. In this guesthouse there are two rooms, each with two beds and its own bathroom.
What is Balinese culture like?
Most people on Bali are Hindu and this really defines their way of life. Because Hindus believe in karma and reincarnation, most people are very kind and willing to help.
Do I have enough time to see the country?
We taught the children during the week, in the weekends we were off and able to travel the country. Bali is a small island, thus in three months you are able to visit all the recommended places."
Marlies from the Netherlands: "It was an experience that I will never forget and I can recommend it to everyone!"
"I had a great time at Samsaman.
I stayed there for seven weeks with three other Dutch volunteers.
In the afternoon the children came to us and we taught them English. We gave different kind of lessons to teach them English in different ways. Like drama,
games, songs or plays.
They made very funny plays, it was nice to watch!
To practice with English we let the children write something about themselves, their family and their religion.
We taught the children how to complement each other. All the children had twinkles in their eyes when they read the complements, it was so great to see how proud the children were!
I really enjoyed the lessons and the children, they were always so kind, sweet and cheerful.
I stayed at a guesthouse and the people there were amazing and so thoughtful! They made me feel like I was at home. I am really thankful for the great time I had at Samsaman and when I’ll get the chance, I’ll go back immediately. It was an experience that I will never forget and I can recommend it to everyone!"
Adinda from the Netherlands: "I'm grateful for the chance I got to help at the Yayasan and I wish all the children a beautiful future!I
"When I arrived at Learning Centre Yayasan Eka Chita Pradnyan in Samsaman, it was so different than anywhere I have been during the week before! As we (driver and I) drove from Canggu to Samsaman, the people on the road changed from tourists to locals. And as we drove further it seemed like Uluwatu and Canggu were areas on a whole different island, even though it’s only a one hour drive away from Canggu.
It was a great pleasure meeting the children from yayasan Eka Chita Pradnyan as well as the family where I stayed.
Because you live next to the Learning Centre, you experience the environment en people from the village in its purest form.
The manager of the place, Ibu Ketut Sunarmi and her husband (Made) are nice and warm people, so I immediately felt at home.
There are approximately 70 children who come to this Learning Centre (34 children are still looking for a sponsor!), but they are divided in groups by age. So in total there are four groups and there are two groups per day.
I'm grateful for the chance I got to help at the Yayasan and I wish all the children a beautiful future!"
Barbarien from the Netherlands: "I will definitely try to go back to Samsaman and recommend it to everyone who would like to do volunteering work!"
"I stayed for one month at Yayasan Eka Chita Pradnyan in Samsaman, founded by Stichting Indonesië 2007. VIP-International really helped me preparing for my stay and during the two introduction days we talked a lot about the culture differences.
I had a great time in Samsaman! I mainly taught the children English. It was fun to think of ways to make it easier to remember for the children; for example by using songs or playing games. I had to be creative and it never gets boring! The children are also eager to learn and everyday again they are waiting for the lessons to start.
The surroundings of the village Samsaman are beautiful and the backyard basically consists of rice fields! Living in the village is the best way to experience the Balinese life. I could join Ibu Ketut, Made and Trudy (owners of the Yayasan and Dutch founder) to ceremonies, which was really nice and interesting. Made taught me how to ride a scooter so I could go to other cities and to Balian Beach which is only 20 minutes by scooter!
I will definitely try to go back to Samsaman and recommend it to everyone who would like to do volunteering work:)"
Philip from Australia: "An absolutely exhilarating experience!"
"My volunteering experience has been an absolutely exhilarating experience. As a retired director of a construction company, I was looking for something rewarding, I found it!
I have been helping out teaching the children English. The children range in age from eight to 15 years old. Some speak English relatively well, some are absolute beginners.
However, they were really inspiring and it was an absolute pleasure being part of their lives.
I have found that every day I was learning more, connecting with the children.
My stay in Samsaman was pretty much what I expected, the promises Wins made, they kept.
My homestay at the Centre was a big surprise, very comfortable, bed, and excellent bathroom facilities. Ketut ( the director of the centre) is an excellent cook, she also arranged a motor bike from the local bike shop.
Volunteering while you travel can be hugely rewarding. I would encourage you to find something that fits with your skills. Contact Antoinette and talk about your options.
Give it a go and have fun! "
Jessica from Australia: "The Perfect Experience"
September 2015, 20 weeks
"Volunteering at Yayasan Widya Sari has to be the most beautiful, eye opening life changing experience for me.
I wish I could find the words to describe how this place made me feel, because then this would probably be one of the most positive reviews out.
The way classes are done here is a very good system, very straight forward, lots of fun and very comfortable, allowing new volunteers to get into the flow of things.
The children are so eager to learn and so loving and happy, so many hugs and new drawings to add to the collection on my wall every day.
Living right next to your classrooms and in the area of Ketut’s family home you get fully involved in everything happening around you, including things like eating dinner all as a group around the table, going out on a Wednesday night for a beer and to watch the live music and attending ceremonies which i think is really special.
Ketut, Leony, Nyoman and Made really go the extra mile to make this an amazing experience for everyone and support you along the way with anything you need.
Volunteers are just ordinary people who reach out, give a hand and together make a difference that lasts a lifetime. They expect no pay but the value of their work has no limit, rewarded with a simple hug, they plant tiny seeds of love in countless lives. Thank you forever grateful for this perfect experience!"