By Yasien Eltigani, Work-study volunteer at IHF Banda Aceh center
My name is Yasien Eltigani and I have been in the Aceh center for about three weeks now. I am an undergraduate student from the United States and currently pursuing a career as a physician. Having always been interested in education, I joined IHF to get some experience teaching in a foreign country.
I was initially supposed to only teach English to our older students as I did not know any Indonesian. Now, I am now teaching Mathematics to our elementary students of all grades, in addition to helping with the English classes. I have learned a lot of Indonesian just through doing so. Additionally, I have started teaching an Arabic class at our center due to interest from our students as well as from fellow volunteers.
Since Aceh is well-known for its Islamic heritage, I have been able to connect with the local community and help in building substantial relationships. In the coming month of Ramadan, a month-long break that the students have from school, we will be holding life-skill classes for our students like painting, photography, cooking, ect. In addition, we will be continuing our Arabic classes and I will be organizing Quran reading classes with interested students. We have also had a local mother volunteer to come teach islamic studies to our students, which we are excited about as it will bring us many new students and help us become a more substantial part of the community.
Volunteering at the IHF Aceh center has been a unique experience, and I am glad to be a part of this enthusiastic and diverse team of volunteers. I cannot wait to see what Aceh has in store for me in the coming weeks, but I know that whatever it is, it will only make leaving this beautiful city even harder.