Teaching English with Matti From Finland

“Can I write you on my blog?” I asked.

“Can you.. What?” He replied.

“Can I write about you on my blog?” I repeated.

“You write about me on your blog?” He confirmed.

“Ya, may I?” I asked for permission.

“Ya…. You can. Write only the good things, okay?” He laughed after saying it.

“Haha… Okay. I’ll write it neutral.” I also laughed.

“You write a blog?” He asked me.

“Ya.” I replied.

“It’s uncommon people write a blog here, right?”

“Yeah.. But I write.”

That was an afternoon chit chat with a volunteer from Finland. The country itself is called as Suomi. I’ve just known about that from the cards he had given to the learning center as educational tools before he left Bali.

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Souvenirs fromMatti Aho

So, in May we had Matti Aho, a Finnish man, who came to our learning center in Yayasan Eka Chita Pradnyan as an English teacher. Although we had only one volunteer for that month, we really enjoyed it as a wonderful and colorful month!


He came to Bali with his family, his wife Saara Aho and his daughter Ella Aho. They stayed at the hotel near Balian Beach. So he went to the learning center from the hotel by motorcycle. He was formerly an ice hockey player. He also has ever worked as a teacher for the kids who are taken care by the government because their parents are not able to do that. And then he started studying something like pedagogy in the University of Turku.

When Mrs. Ketut told me that there would be a volunteer from Finland who came with his family, I thought that he would be probably an old man. But I was wrong. He is not that old. He is 34 years old. His wife is also in the same age and his daughter is 5 years old – she is very cute and sweet.


In our first talk, he said, “this is all so interesting.” I thought it was like… Whoa wait, we even haven’t started yet?! And he said that he couldn’t wait to learn from me. Later on I found out that he was really enthusiastic to teach some lesson at the learning center. We didn’t have any difficulty to communicate, he is talkative enough and very supportive. He praised me for speaking English very well.

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Matti is a friendly person. He is very nice and friendly to the children at the learning center and to my sons. He gives compliment easily. He has ever said in the class that the boys’ handwriting are very good. Way different with the boys in Finland. Wow. Hahaha. He also said that what I write on the board is beautiful. When he heard one of the girl singing, he murmured spontaneously, “good voice”.

We learnt from each other about how to teach. He gave a lot of ideas of sport games for the kids. And I show him the way I teach English to the students. He taught the kids for making slideshow using computers too and how to search information from the internet. Not only that, we also watched Shaun The Sheep video together using the projector in the computer lab. And the kids worked in small groups to tell the story about every scene they watched. Because it’s a funny animation, mostly we laughed at the video.

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He could play the guitar too. So in the class we sing “The Wheels on The Bus” with the children and with him playing the guitar. He also made some prints out about vocabulary and by the help of Saara and Ella, they made cards for memory game about some verbs. What a pleasant thing they did!

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He asked me how I find topics for the lesson plans. I told him that I mostly searched it first from the internet, and I found it easier from Facebook. Next I would write it down on my notebook and prepared some exercise for the students. Then he told me that I could find out more ideas on Pinterest. He sent me a link to my Facebook about the example of English lesson idea from Pinterest.

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I also wondered how come he got a lot of sport games? So, this is how we worked together: 1 hour for the English lesson in the class. For vocabulary, grammar, writing or speaking. And then we got 15 minutes break. Next, Matti invited the kids to go to the volleyball field to play some games, sometimes using ball. And he had many different games to play, indeed.

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For me, one of the best game + lesson that we played was “telling direction”. First, he taught the kids how to tell direction, the easy ones, such as… ‘Turn left’, ‘turn right’, ‘take one steps’, ‘take two steps’, ‘take a big steps’, ‘take a little steps’, and ‘jump’. Then he asked the kids to play in small groups consist 2-4 kids. One of them had to close her eyes and the rest of the group members would tell the direction on the yard with some path ways that Matti has drawn with colorful chalks.

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Where he got these game ideas? He told me from BBC.co.uk. Yeah… I had ever learnt Italian, German and French too from that site. And I told him about that. We also tried to learn each other maternal language. What I remember, ‘kiitos’ and ‘nahdaan’. Which they mean thankyou and bye bye in Finnish. He told me that the pronunciation of Finnish is different from English. They pronounce the exact letters as they are. So, it is the same like Indonesian. But in Finnish there are different vowels for different pronounciation.

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Matti is also a funny person. When I asked the kids to mention the differences between Matti and Koming, the student there.. It was mentioned that Matti had a ‘pointed nose’. Then he said, “It’s good for me as a teacher, so I can do pointing at the student like this” He use his nose to point at the children, as if his nose was very long like Pinocchio!

When I showed him that we have many flash cards, he also laughed at the picture of the cards. What made him laugh was the depiction of feelings and emotions, such as “sick”, “nausea” or ” tired”. Yep, dunno why those cards were so funny for him :D. Because I already saw those cards before and I didn’t laugh at the picture of the cards at all! Ha ha ha. Maybe I was too serious.

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I notice the unique things from him:

  1. He always points to something that close using his middle finger, but if it is to point to somebody he uses his his hand not his finger.
  2. When we talk, we almost never use the word “yes”, we use “yeah” or “ya” instead
  3. He wondered what we do when I said to the students, “let’s pray together” after the class. I guess he is not a religious person. The next question from him amazed me. It’s like “Do you pray to God?”, “what is the name of your God?”, “what for do you pray?”, “do you ask something to your God?”, ” what do you ask?” ummm something like that. Because in his country, he said that people don’t pray really often. People can pray at the churh on Sunday, but not many people do that. He told me that the religious ceremony is for newborn baby and funeral. So, yeah… We talked about religion and different culture of ours.
  4. His name is pronounciated as “Mat-ti”.. However in Indonesian it sounds like “mati” which means “dead”. When I say his name or call him in front of the students, I knew we feel a strange feeling hearing his name, sometimes we laugh because it’s quite tickling-our-ears to say his name. When I asked about what his name meaning, he couldn’t tell anything becuase it doesn’t have a meaning! Okay, I got it, it’s just a name. I have ever told him that his name sounds that same as a word in Indonesian that means ‘dead’. He just answered, ” it’s okay. I’m alive.”

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Finland is in the Scandinavia, northern Europe. He confirmed me that he is a scandinavian. Unfortunately he couldn’t tell me about the Vikings. Because the Vikings is more to Sweden, he said. He lives in Turku, I forget how many kilometers from Helsinki. He said that the weather in Finland is always cold. Never as warm as in Indonesia. However, he is a warm person and very helpful. I feel much gratitude having the chance to teach with him and learn a lot from him. We always discuss our lesson plan before and after class and then we can talk about anything. 🙂

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Matti, Saara and I had some talk about how different Indonesia with Finland. They told me that it is very colorful in Indonesia, the sun shines brightly here and the people are friendly. Saara told me that in Finland people don’t say hello to each other when they meet on the street. And Matti said that it is like boring because in Finland is very cold and they get nothing to do. Even there is a time that the days are almost always dark. Like a sunset.

Yeah that’s what I heard about Scandinavia. And also about the midnight sun. In Finland they pay high taxes so they can get medical and education services in low cost. Some people in Finland speak Swedish too besides of Finnish. Matti himself speak Finnish, Swedish and English.

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I have ever came to the learning center with Kalki and Kavin. But it was only Kalki who got the chance to meet Ella. And Kalki was being shy to say hello to Ella. On the farewell party for Aho family, finally Kalki got the willingness to give a goodbye gift for Ella. 🙂

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♡ Intan Rastini

First Time Meeting With Tamara Rijnenberg and Antoinette Peters

It was indeed a lovely day to remember.

As I have already worked as an English teacher in Yayasan Eka Chita Pradnyan under WINS Foundation from Netherland, on Thursday May the 4th, I had the opportunity to meet the representative persons behind WINS and VIP-International. What a wonderful experience I had!

I have been teaching English for three months

Let me tell you first about WINS. It is a Dutch acronym for Weeskinderen in Indonesia Naar School. The phrase means “education for children in Indonesia“. WINS Project was started in 2004 by Gill Rijnenberg from the Netherlands and Ketut Sadia from Bali. WINS helps to teach children to become self-sufficient and responsible for their own future. As well as receiving their regular schooling, WINS offers additional lessons for the children after school such as English lesson, computer skill, personal hygiene and environment care.

Giving English lesson about American Vs. British English

So the person who had started the WINS project, Gill Rijnenberg, has a daughter who also works for WINS. She is Tamara Rijnenberg. Tamara is still young but older than me about 7 years. The other person is Antoinette Peters from VIP-International. VIP itsself stands for Volunteering in Indonesia Program.

I heard that formerly Mrs. Peters worked for WINS too. Then she moved to work for VIP-International. It is still a partnership with WINS because WINS always welcome voluntary work so all volunteer matters for the WINS Learning Centers are handled by VIP-International. VIP-International can assist the volunteers in getting the necessary Social Visa, accomodation, arranging transport facilities, and doing WINS specific introductary workshops.

Teaching English with the new volunteer from Finland


Tamara lives in Holland while Mrs. Peters lives in Bedulu, Bali. When Tamara visited Bali last week, she would like to meet me in person together with Mrs. Peters. So they came to Eka Chita Pradnyan on Thursday afternoon at 12.30 o’clock.   I was there about 12 o’clock and I helped Mrs. Ketut Sunarmi to cook special lunch for the guests.

When they arrived in Samsaman, we were still busy cooking the meal. Mrs. Ketut Sunarmi accompanied them to visit the guest house first and then they sat down in the canteen. I met them and introduced myself as Intan, and then they noticed, “oh, you are Intan! Nice to meet you.”

Before that, we only communicated through e-mail and Facebook so it was delightful to talk in person with them. We talked and we had lunch together. Our meal was chicken with red seasoning, fried eggplant, steamed shrimp and sauted kangkung. They all really loved the lunch and Antoinette said that she always reccomend the volunteers to have lunch here.

Antoinette could speak Indonesian a little because she had already lived in Bali for a long time. while we were still cooking she said that she loved the smell of terasi! Both Antoinette and Tamara like spicy food, they added sambal to their dishes while I didn’t because I can’t stand hot and spicy taste.

After having lunch, we took a photo together. What happened next was we attended to the class to give English lesson to the children. Me and the new volunteer from Findland was giving an outdoor English game while Tamara was taking some pictures. Antoinette helped us to explain the game to the children in the beginning. 

Both Tamara and Antoinette were very nice and kind persons. They were very warm and friendly to the children too. Unfortunately they didn’t stay for a long time, they need to leave while we were still playing with the children. It was so quick that we had to say goodbye. So we kiss each other before they left.

Playing English game outside with Matti from Finland


Yeah, it was exciting to meet people from foreign country. I was lucky because I had the chance to meet them. It can be often to meet people from around the world because of the learning center I work at. Besides I live in Bali, it is because Yayasan Eka Chita Pradnyan welcomes voluntary work from International people. Next time I will write with whom I collaborate teaching English at the learning center. It must be very challenging to work with foreign people from different countries with different culture and language.

Now, I can’t wait to tell the next story about the new volunteer from Finland! I’ll ask his permission first. So, wait for it.

Tamara Rijnenberg, Intan Rastini, Antoinette Peters and Ibu Ketut Sunarmi at Yayasan Eka Chita Pradnyan, Samsaman – Bali. Thursday, 4th of May 2017

♡ Intan Rastini

I Love My New Job!

Since 16th of February 2017, I became an English teacher in Eka Chita Pradnyan, in Samsaman.

​It is located in the same Angkah village but different banjar, to reach the school from my house is only about five minutes by motorcycle. The school is built by the WINS foundation from Netherland. the school in Samsaman itsself is managed by an Indonesian, Mrs. Ketut Sunarmi and a Dutch, Oma Trudy van der Maden.

Oma Trudy van der Maden was the founder of Yayasan Eka Chita Pradnyan


The school is for students in grade 4th of elementary school until grade 3rd junior high school. The lesson is given every after-school and also open on Sunday for the senior.

The school only gives English lesson and Balinese dancing lesson. But sometimes when international volunteer comes to the school they give various lesson such as music, creativity, Chi Neng, or yoga.

Because of this is after-school so the schedule is at 2-4 pm. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday are for English lesson. Every Saturday is for Balinese dancing lesson.

Monique Timmermans always taught us creativity lesson about how to make handycraft


I teach English only four times a week. Monday and Thursday are for group C and D, the children who are in good level of English. While every Tuesday and Friday are for Group A and B, the children who are still beginners in learning English. 

When I was teaching in February, there were also two volunteers from Netherland. They are Monique Timmermans and Marijke van Brandenburg. Monique learned Pedagogy in the university and she is still a teacher in Holland, while Marijke is already retired from Hospital as a nurse.

When we taught the children together, we splitted the group into two or even three. So we can handle the children well and gave them our lesson. Marijke gave Chi Neng lesson, it was like between yoga and Tai Chi, while Monique gave creativity lesson from recycle material.

Monique and Marijke only stayed in Bali for three weeks. And it was fun to join their activity with the children. Next month in May, the school is going to welcome a new volunteer from Finland.

There are so many English story books at school. Also there are toys for children such as Uno cards, lego, dolls, puzzles and creativity tools. Sometimes I come to the school on Saturday with Kalki and Kavin so they can play the toys together with my students.


Since I became an English teacher there I could get many friends, the children themselves and the international volunteers who come to the school. I’m glad finally I got a suitable job to pay the BPJS Kesehatan monthly fee :D. Not only that, my job makes me stay active using English for giving the lesson and to communicate with the international volunteers. yes, maybe I can say now that I love my job! ♥
Marijke also does blogging, here’s for you:

Marijke’s Post About Eka Chita Pradnyan

♡ Intan Rastini