Rachel leaves Kuala Lumpur after completing her 6 months volunteering

BBBB, Building Bridges Beyond Borders (Malaysia), Just Volunteers! News 14 Dec 2022

Rachel sets off for a brief last trip in Southeast Asia before returning to the UK after 6 months as a Bath University Placement Student at the BBBB project.

Rachel with BBBB Directors Dr Saradha and Raja Noorma

My name is Rachel and I study International Development with Economics at the University of Bath. I chose to do my placement in Malaysia as it was a perfect opportunity to work with and experience different cultures, while learning more about the refugee community which is something I was interested in. As I finish my 6 months, I’m reflecting on what I’ve gained as well as how the kids have benefitted from my teaching. I’ve learnt so much more than I ever thought I would and have really made the most of my experience here.

Having no prior teaching experience, it was challenging and daunting at first but the kids are really friendly and just so excited to see you that it becomes much easier as you get comfortable with them. Planning lessons can be time consuming but it increasingly becomes easier and quite fun as you develop more interesting and creative ways to teach over time! From panicking in my first week and creating dull PowerPoints to creating engaging and interactive lessons by the end (my favourite being an escape room using clues from topics we had covered!), I can not only see how the kids have progressed but I have become much more flexible, confident and knowledgeable myself. I settled into the role and becoming much more confident in my lessons, I felt at ease and enjoyed myself, something which resides with the kids, as the more you enjoy teaching your lessons, the more the kids will also.

The younger children playing with Lego

Volunteering can be lonely if there are no other volunteers with you, something which I experienced for 4 of my 6 months, however building relationships and getting to know the kids made the experience a lot easier. The youngest kids are always excited to see you and will greet you with lots of hugs, making you feel welcome instantly and in my classes of 15 – 19 year olds, they become your friend and want to chat with you about life as you would with your friends back home!

The city itself is so vibrant and constantly changing so there’s always lots to do/ see whether its exploring the tourist hotspots or just walking around one of the many malls, I was always able to keep myself busy at the weekends and in the evenings. Of course, Malaysia is a beautiful country and being here for so long I have been lucky to travel around the country to places like Penang and Malacca. Also, I was able to visit many neighbouring countries during my time including Singapore, Vietnam and Indonesia.

The children at the Refugee school opening their lunch boxes

Overall, I have thoroughly enjoyed my experience and have learnt so much from the kids as I hope they have equally learnt from me! While it can be challenging moving to a new country so far from home, I believe that it was worth it and very rewarding.

Therefore if you are considering a volunteering teaching experience, I would say to break out of your comfort zone and go for it, you never know what you will learn while also supporting a wonderful cause!

BBBB

6th August 2023

Ella recalls her time volunteering at Building Bridges Beyond Borders in the first half of 2023

I arrived in Kuala Lumpur just before the beginning of Chinese New Year. This meant two things: The first, I was introduced to the beautiful and whole-hearted celebrations of Malaysia. Malls were full of dramatic displays, glowing red lanterns adorned the streets, and fireworks lit the sky each evening. One of the schools I taught […]

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BBBB

14th December 2022

Rachel leaves Kuala Lumpur after completing her 6 months volunteering

Rachel sets off for a brief last trip in Southeast Asia before returning to the UK after 6 months as a Bath University Placement Student at the BBBB project. My name is Rachel and I study International Development with Economics at the University of Bath. I chose to do my placement in Malaysia as it […]

read more

BBBB

12th October 2022

Miza, our BBBB Project Coordinator writes a very personal account of her 5 years with the project

Five years with Building Bridges Beyond Borders Miza contacted the programme when she was finishing her Masters at Edinburgh University and about to return to her native Malaysia. After being a volunteer herself, she completed her PhD and has now become an invaluable member of the BBBB management team! Here she remembers some key moments […]

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BBBB

26th July 2022

Rachel is Our First International Volunteer to Arrive in Malaysia for over 2 years!

For the past two years our projects in KL have been sustained by a number of hard working and dedicated Malaysian undergraduate volunteers working in person, as well as international volunteers working online. After two years we are delighted to be able to welcome international volunteers in person again! Rachel arrived at the beginning of […]

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BBBB

25th July 2022

During the pandemic we have had a wonderful group of international volunteers working with the children in Malaysia online

While the largest number of online volunteers have been placement students from the University of Bath, we have also been very lucky to have a dedicated group from the University of Durham volunteering a few hours a week online throughout the second half of this academic year. The experience of both sides has been very […]

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BBBB

25th May 2022

Harriet finishes one year of online volunteering as a Bath University placement student and expects to travel to Malaysia this summer to finally meet all the kids she already knows so well!

With Just Volunteers, I have been privileged to teach for three inspiring organisations in Malaysia: the Rumah Aman Orphanage and Welfare Home, the [Myanmar Refugee school supported by SID] and the YTL Foundation. Just Volunteers has been supportive and encouraging from the outset. As this is my first time ever teaching, having a strong network […]

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BBBB

4th May 2022

Ciara has learned more than she expected volunteering online!

Ciara will soon finish her more than 6 months volunteering at BBBB online. (And this summer we will be welcoming in-person volunteers to Malaysia for the first time in over two years!) My name is Ciara and I am currently studying Social Sciences (BSc) at the University of Bath. Working for Just Volunteers has been […]

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BBBB

16th January 2021

Madalena is finding online teaching much more interesting than she expected

Maddie talks about how she has been dealing with an internship done entirely online and working from home – when she would otherwise have expected to be in Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia working with disadvantaged local children. The experience is challenging for everyone but the attitude of the kids has made it a […]

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