About EGL

Volunteer Abroad 2019

Green Lion, Bali

What We Did

Despite Indonesia being one of the farthest countries EGL’s have ever traveled to for a VA trip, that didn’t stop 12 of us from undertaking the long journey to the small island of Bali. Having just finished internships and Tauber projects, everyone was eager to get away for a little while. As the different flights came in, we were picked up from the airport in Denpasar and driven to our volunteer site, called Green Lion, just outside of Ubud. Even through the lack of sleep, we couldn’t help but take in the incredible sights along the way: rice fields as far as the eye could see and luscious vegetation surrounding beautiful temples and buildings. At Green Lion, we were introduced to the staff and our program coordinator, as well as other volunteers from all over the world! After a delicious local meal, we got to bed excited to get started with the volunteer work the next day. From then onward, our schedule was fairly regular: every day, we woke up to breakfast at Green Lion, followed by a short drive to a temple where we would be working. For the next few hours, we focused on laying tiles to construct the floor of the temple while some people built a wall from the ground up. With the help of the other volunteers, we were able to make good progress. Around noon, we were driven back to Green Lion for lunch, after which the afternoons were ours to explore Bali. During this time, we planned numerous excursions to all parts of the island. Some of the highlights included the Ubud market, several waterfalls, rice paddies, and a white-water rafting trip. One day, we even got up at 2 am to hike Mt. Batur, one of Bali’s volcanoes, where we witnessed one of the most incredible sunrises any of us had ever seen. Additionally, we took advantage of our one weekend to spend some time in the coastal town of Canggu, where some people tried their hand at surfing! By the end of the two weeks, we had seen and done more than any of us could have hoped for! 


Our time in Bali was well-spent to say the least. In terms of volunteering, we were able to complete both the floor and wall of the temple by the time we left. All of us were proud of the progress we made and it’s safe to say that we walked away with a newfound appreciation for the work that goes into construction projects. With that being said, we made sure to keep in mind the lessons we had learned about the limited impact of such short projects and everyone was very grateful for the opportunities Green Lion provided us during our stay. We made sure to thank the staff for the delicious food and great accommodations which really made Green Lion feel like home for two weeks. The biggest impact from the trip was likely the bonds that formed within the EGL group. Despite the large group size, everyone got along extremely well and it was always surprisingly easy planning excursions and activities that suited us all. A lot of new friendships were formed both within the group and with other volunteers, so I would say overall this VA trip to Bali was a success! 

To follow the EGL students’ Bali experience day by day: visit their Bali Blog

Ho Chi Min City, Vietnam

What We Did

After four international flights, a combined 29 hours in layover time, a lost bag and a sleepy half-hour cab ride to the accommodation, our Vietnam experience finally began! We were overwhelmed in the best way possible by the immense differences we observed in the Vietnamese culture compared to our own and any others that each of the five of us had previously experienced, and we were excited to explore it. The hustle and bustle of Ho Chi Minh City was energizing, and we spent the first two days channeling this energy into seeing as much of the city as we could (and eating as much Vietnamese food as possible). We visited a Buddhist temple and the Vietnam War museum, tried traditional Banh Mi sandwiches, toured a lacquer painting studio and wandered a wet market, finally refueling with a cooking class where we learned how to make (and eat) spring and summer rolls. After two days of taking in as much as we could of the city’s sites, we began our volunteer program. We woke up at 6:00 am, ate breakfast then caught the 7:00 am bus to the placement, a food kitchen in District 13 of Ho Chi Minh City. From 8:00 to 10:30 am we mopped and swept the floors, set up the tables and stools, washed and dried the silverware and trays, sliced vegetables, fried eggs and chopped fish. Then we took a break to eat lunch. It was really cool to get to eat the food we had helped make and were going to serve to the customers of the kitchen. It was delicious, traditional Vietnamese food, made from fresh ingredients and prepared with as much care and attention to detail as a meal you would make for your family. And we found this intense care for larger, more extended communities to be a common theme during our time in Ho Chi Minh. After we finished our lunch, we would prepare the trays for lunch then open the doors. Each day we rotated between the duties: dish washing, refilling the rice and soup bowls and handing out the trays. We all favored the rice, soup and tray duties because it meant we got to interact with the people coming to eat lunch. After serving the last of the food, we would blast some music and get to work cleaning up. After that, we would head back to the accommodation around 1:30 pm, shower and decide what to do with our afternoon. Some days we went to the mall or to a coffee shop, other days we stayed in and read and played euchre. Then we would spend the evenings with the other volunteers, eating dinner at the accommodation before going to explore the city at night. These were some of our favorite memories from the experience, getting to ask questions, exchange stories and build close connections with people from every corner of the world. We also traveled on the weekends, taking excursions to the tropical Phu Quoc Island, where we got our fill of sunshine and palm trees, as well as views from the longest cable car in the world, and the lush Mekong Delta, where we got to explore the floating markets and meander through the jungle in canoes. All in all, this trip provided us with more experiences and opportunities to build relationships than we could have ever asked for, and it will surely be something the five of us never forget!


Our experiences in Vietnam gave us insight and perspective that will stay with us for a long time. First off, the hospitality and support we received from everyone at the accommodation gave us an incredible home to come back to each afternoon. We felt so welcomed and cared for by the host team, as they fed us well and helped us out in any way that they could during our stay. Second, the connections we created with the other volunteers provided a sense of community in Vietnam that we hope will stay strong even as we all continue our lives in different parts of the world. Additionally, our time at the placement provided us with many insights into the community, people and culture in Ho Chi Minh City, in a way that being an observing visitor would not have provided. And we believe and hope that the time we spent there was helpful to the staff at the kitchen as well as enjoyable for the customers we saw, served, spoke to and connected with each day. Lastly, the relationships we formed between the five of us EGLs on this trip together were everlasting, the type of bonds that stick with you long after everything else about college has passed. I could never have imagined how important we would become to each other over the course of two weeks, and that is something for which each one of us is incredibly grateful. 

To follow the EGL students’ Vietnam experience day by day: visit their Vietnam Blog

Stacie Edington

(734) 763-0505

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