7th April 2012, by Maggie

Nothing allows you to understand the place in which you live better than by leaving it. New Zealand’s beautiful, as well as incredibly boring, but no city in NZ can compare to the diversity I’ve seen in my week in Jakarta. That is, diversity in people, infrastructure, and culture, among other things.

As for the children, they’re lovely and friendly and enthusiastic, a refreshing change from my younger brothers at home whose sole interest in life is Super Mario Kart Wii. Even the older classes are energetic and friendly, such as the class of 17 and 18 year olds I taught and was initially slightly intimidated by. I’ve found in NZ, and perhaps it’s the case with many western countries, there’s a preoccupation among young people like me with looking cool, which certainly rules out enthusiasm in a classroom. It’s a preoccupation that seems so arbitrary and mundane, especially when compared to the lack of inhibition and the unaffectedness of the children (and teenagers) I’ve met through volunteering with IHF. This sentiment is probably not so resonant with adults but it definitely stood out to me. I imagine when I return to school in NZ, the contrast will be even clearer.


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