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My Summer of a Lifetime in Bali

By FrenchayRAs 30 Jan 2022

Are you looking for a summer of a life time? Do you want to make a difference? Maybe explore new cultures and foods? If yes, then you are reading the right blog!

My name is Grace, I am a current Resident Assistant on Frenchay Campus and I am so excited to tell you about my previous summer travel experiences!

During my first year at UWE, I was aware that I had a long summer break to look forward to and knew that I wanted to pack it with travelling; but I didn’t know where to go or who with. I researched and found a programme named ‘Plan My Gap Year’. They provide affordable and trusted volunteer programmes abroad covering 15 countries across Africa, Asia and South America for solo travellers. There was so many destinations to choose from but after debating where to go I concluded that the 4 week programme in Bali was the most ideal for me!

Planning my trip

I organised and planned this trip 6 months in advance enabling me to get all the required jabs done in time and save travel money. I couldn’t wait to spend my summer in this paradise and meet a range of new people with similar interests to myself.

Before leaving, Plan My Gap Year produced a Facebook group chat where you can chat to people who will be on the same programme to you, this chat enabled me to see if anyone was from the U.K and was travelling on the same flight as myself - since people were coming to Bali from across the globe I didn’t know whether I would find anyone on the same flight. I was worried about flying by myself, it seemed the most terrifying about this whole trip. I had never flown alone before so I was anxious about this and especially because my flight had a stop-over. Luckily, a girl named Tasha got back to me and said that she was on the same flight as me, thus we met at the airport and went through each stage together – this made me feel so at ease and I knew after this that we were going to become such close friends.

My Adventures

The first 2 weeks was jam packed with travelling across Bali and a couple of Indonesian islands off of Bali then the last 2 weeks consisted of volunteering in a friendly neighbourhood named Tabanan. I chose to volunteer as an English teacher because my aspiration is to become a Mathematics Secondary teacher once I graduate so I knew this would give me amazing experience and confirm whether this is the path I want to go down for my career. And it definitely did, I won’t forget the warm smiles of these children and feeling so rewarded after teaching them something that they engaged with and understood. There are also different volunteer projects to take part in such as Child care, Wildlife, Environmental, and loads more at other destinations.

To summarise the highlights of my four weeks:

1. Catching rays and waves at Dream Land Beach
2. Tackling my sweet tooth as I designed my own gourmet chocolate
3. Snorkelling through the bright blue waters of the Gili islands with hundreds of turtles and tropical fish
4. Spotting dolphins in Lovina
5. Testing out my haggling skills in the bustling markets of Ubud, and also visiting the Elephant sanctuary here
6. Hiking up Mount Batur to make sunrise (the 2am start is worth it!)
7. Admiring towering waterfalls throughout Bali
8. Relaxing in naturally heated springs
9. Enjoying numerous traditional Balinese dishes
10. Volunteering as a teacher in the town of Tabanan

Friends for life

The friends I made will be friends for life especially Tasha, she studies at London Veterinary University and travelled to Bristol for Halloween and I have booked to go to London for New Years– this was the best thing that I got out of this experience, an amazing best friend that I have shared such incredible memories with!

Overall, I definitely recommend making the most of your summer and 100% believe that Bali is a great place to start your travels especially with Plan My Gap Year. I felt so safe here and would love to go back! Trust me, it’s an experience of a lifetime - you won’t regret going!

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