One of the topics should be discussed on arrival training is regarding the possible natural and human dangers likely to happen in the host country, which is logically important to know soon. Which sounds surrealistic is the fact of experiencing an earthquake within the first week since our arrival, and without being a discussed topic by that time. Luckily, the earthquake did not cause damages and it became a pure anecdote.
This is only an example which reflects how enriching our informal learning has gone so far. We have been facing cultural issues since our very first day in Bali, although we spent the first 2 weeks in Kuta, where the cultural shocking has been very low. Now we are settled in the rural areas, where the adaption might be a bit more challenging but not a big deal in any case.
In order to help us facing those cultural differences, our mentor talked us about the do’s and dont’s in Bali. Some examples: do use sarong when entering a temple, don’t enter in temples whilst menstruating, don’t hand over things with left hand, do honk the horn when overtaking, don’t touch people’s heads… the list is quite long so I would like to talk a bit more about this on next posts.
Also, we started our first lessons of Bahasa Indonesia. It looks like a pretty easy language to learn, and I was excited about how quick we were able to communicate in Bahasa in the first days. The challenge came up when we moved to the rural villages and people speak Balinese, which is way more difficult to understand. Little by little I am picking up some words but I felt much more confident with the Bahasa.
Besides, for the first couple of weeks we were also travelling to the different villages where we will be working at and getting to know more about how community based tourism works and our hosting organization’s history and aims. This was interesting to know, to get an overall idea of where and what we will find the next few months. This also helped us a lot to keep the motivation high for our ongoing EVS experience.