Volunteering as teacher at Tuban National School, Java, Indonesia
In 2016, just after I finished my Bachelor and before I started my Master, I went to Indonesia to teach English and Cultural Studies at a high school for three months. With the country having a Muslim majority population, I had to fully adapt myself to that culture in order to be respectful of it. I wore a hijab to school and discussed the Quran with the director of the school. In that three months, I gained insights into a religion that, in the western world, is often stigmatized for their beliefs. And although I did not agree with many aspects of the Muslim religion, it was still important for me to make that experience and to disentangle my biases. Despite the differences in culture, health care and hygiene standards, teaching at that high school was probably the most rewarding job I have ever had, with kids waiting in front of my house for more lessons, even after school had finished.
Immersing oneself in a culture that is different from one’s own helps to overcome biases!