by Jessica, Work-Study, IHF Banda Aceh
My work-study program at IHF Banda Aceh is officially complete. I was introduced to so many fabulous friendships, captured a ton of wonderful memories and got the opportunity to tag along on a lot of unforgettable experiences. I would not trade this four week adventure for anything!
I was lucky enough to arrive just before our typical day off, Sunday. To start off my amazing Aceh adventure, we drove out a couple hours to ride elephants! Now that’s a great way to introduce a volunteer to the Aceh life. Although the ride was scary at times, it felt good to escape my comfort zone.
After being here for one week, sitting in on classes to learn IHF’s teaching styles, introducing myself to all the children (and trying to remember all their names), having great conversations with the local volunteers and indulging in the delicious Indonesian dishes, I could not believe I was already ¼ of the way into my trip. I remember feeling so surprised at how fast the days go by and by the second week, I have to admit, I felt anxious about not being able to fit in all the “places to see” on my list.
Already well into my second week I had the chance to teach English SMP and SD5 classes along with art class. I arrived to IHF at exam review time so my tasks mostly consisted of creating review sheets and going over the questions/answers with the classes. They’re all so passionate about learning, whether it be Math, English, Computer or Art class, which makes it so much more fun.
My last week was full of “touristy” things, along with teaching and getting in my last minute play times with the kids. They love to play Uno, basketball, football and jump rope. Even though I have not played any of those games for a very long time, I did not let that get in my way. I had a blast playing my childhood games again and they had a blast laughing with (or at) me.
The Aceh co-directors are always making sure the other volunteers are safe, cared for and comfortable with what their expected to do. I could not have asked for a better IHF family to spend my time with.
I would recommend this opportunity to anyone! Going outside of our comfort zones once in a while (which I did a lot of) is what life is all about. It feels great to see this beautiful piece of the world while giving to such a loving, well-deserving organization.