Experience the ultimate community service and Balinese adventure program during this three-week program exploring the best Bali has to offer. Discover the beauty of Bali and volunteer in a variety of projects for a well-rounded and meaningful adventure! Make friends with Balinese youth while you develop creative lesson plans and teach English at a local elementary school. Visit a Balinese high school and find cross-cultural differences and connections while you spend time with teenagers from a different side of the world.
Switch gears and dive headfirst into marine conservation projects. Learn about sea turtle conservation and even have the opportunity to release a baby sea turtle into the ocean. Participate in a service project with the award-winning Coral Restoration Project in Pemuteran that utilizes innovative technology to restore and encourage healthy reef growth.
You will learn about critical issues when you visit an NGO dedicated to assisting Balinese with physical disabilities, a children’s home focused on fostering a healthy lifestyle for youth in need, and an organization dedicated to sustainability and providing employment opportunities to support community education initiatives.
In addition to these hands-on projects discover the best Bali has to offer! Get off the beaten path and explore parts of the island most tourists don’t even know about. This program is the perfect mix of culture, adventure, and community service.
During this program, you will…
- Earn up to 40 hours of community service teaching English at a Balinese elementary school and volunteering with marine conservation projects
- Release baby turtles into the ocean and learn about endangered sea turtles at a local hatchery
- Work directly with an award-winning and innovative Coral Restoration Project
- Watch pods of dolphins swimming through the ocean at sunrise
- Snorkel and discover a colorful underwater world
- Visit an NGO dedicated to empowering Balinese with physical disabilities
- Spend two nights at an eco-camp nestled in the foothills of Bali’s Northeast shore.
- Participate in a hands-on cooking lesson and enjoy your freshly prepared meal
- Relax with a bonfire under a sky filled with stars
- Visit a children’s home dedicated to fostering a healthy lifestyle for at-risk youth
- Tour a cashew factory supporting the local community and learn how this social enterprise and sustainable business is changing lives
- Try your hand as a cashew peeler and try to keep up with the other workers
- Meet and converse with a Balinese prince and watch a cultural show at his palace
- Try your hand at a variety of Balinese arts, including wood carving, dancing, and Gamelan music
- Go on a thrilling white water rafting adventure and admire waterfalls and terraced rice fields along the way
- Take a surf lesson in one of the most iconic surf destinations in the world
- Trek through West Bali National Park and spot a variety of monkeys and other animals
- Swim in a refreshing jungle waterfall
- Laugh your worries away with a fun and light-hearted laughing yoga class
- Visit iconic temples and dive into Balinese culture
DAY 1: DEPART FROM LOS ANGELES (LAX)
DAY 2: CROSS THE INTERNATIONAL DATE LINE
DAYS 3-10: UBUD
Begin your adventure and community service in Ubud, the cultural heart of Bali. For our first service project, we will be teaching English to students at a local elementary school. You will break up into teams and each team will be responsible for developing a lesson plan using a mix of traditional teaching methods, art, and games. This is a unique opportunity to work together with your peers and get creative. TFT staff will be there to provide instruction and helpful tips for designing a great plan. The real fun begins when you get to put your lesson into action and see your efforts pay off with the children. You will form lifelong memories and lasting friendships after your time teaching!
Continue your community connections with a visit to an NGO dedicated to empowering Balinese with disabilities. This foundation creates programs to develop self-confidence, physical and economic independence, and increases awareness in the community about the rights of people with disabilities. It also provides wheelchairs and offers shelter for disabled families.
In addition to volunteering, Ubud has endless activities to enjoy. Laugh your worries away with your new friends during a fun and carefree laughing yoga class followed by a walk through the picturesque rice fields. Participate in a workshop where you can try your hand at a variety of Balinese arts, including dancing, Gamelan Music, and woodcarving. Receive an introduction to Balinese culture and explore Ubud’s beautiful temples and colorful markets. Visit the famous water temple and participate in a traditional ceremony. Tour the Royal Palace and dress in your finest for dinner with a real Balinese prince followed by an authentic show. This is a special opportunity not available to tourists!
Cap off the adventures in Ubud with a thrilling journey down the Telaga Waja river before heading to our next destination.
DAYS 11-14: PEMUTERAN
Pemuteran is a hidden gem that is largely untouched by the tourism that has spread across other parts of Bali. This charming coastal town is the perfect place to unwind and dive into our marine conservation projects. Partner with the Coral Reef Project in Pemuteran, which supports rebuilding reefs using innovative”biorock” technology. In the past, Pemuteran’s reefs were destroyed due to lack of education and understanding. These biorock reefs stretch over half a kilometer and Pemuteran is now once again home to colorful and healthy reef, and plenty of fish. This project is the world’s largest and most successful coral reef restoration project and we are proud to have the opportunity to offer our support!
To complement our reef project we will have the opportunity to visit a turtle hatchery and release baby turtles into the ocean!* The hatchery not only supports Pemuteran’s turtles, but it also supports the local community and provides education and income. Learn about the hatchery’s fascinating history and bid your own turtle a safe passage as you set it free.
In addition to our community service projects we will have plenty of time to soak up everything Pemuteran has to offer, including hiking through West Bali National Park to spot the elusive black monkeys, snorkeling, and relaxing on the beach. For those who are more adventurous you’ll even have the opportunity to try your hand at scuba diving in our optional beginner course!
*Please note, as turtles are wild animals releasing the babies is not guaranteed, but it is highly likely.
DAYS 15-16: LOVINA
After Pemuteran it is time to hit up our next seaside village, Lovina! Lovina is well known for the dolphins that call this area home and we will see for ourselves during a sunrise dolphin watching boat ride. While in Lovina we will also hike to a waterfall hidden in the jungle for a refreshing swim, and visit a Balinese high school. During our time at the high school you will have the unique opportunity to spend time with Balinese youth your own age and work together on cross-cultural activities.
Days 17-18: EAST BALI IMMERSION
The next two nights on our adventure will be truly unique as we sleep in teepees and stay at an eco-camp nestled in nature on the northeast coast. The eco camp is run by an organization dedicated to sustainability and both supporting and empowering the local community. It is home to an award-winning social enterprise, East Bali Cashew, which has created employment opportunities for the local women. During our time at the camp, we will learn about the factory and even have the opportunity to work alongside the factory workers to see if we can keep up! We will also enjoy a hands-on cooking lesson and learn all about local Balinese delicacies. At night we will hang out around a bonfire underneath a starry sky.
DAY 19-20: SANUR
After a stop for another refreshing swim in a waterfall hidden in the jungle, we will continue on to our final destination, Sanur. Sanur is a laid-back town with a beachfront boardwalk and plenty of places to explore. Learn to catch a wave and participate in one of Bali’s most iconic sports during a fun surf lesson and catch one last perfect sunset over the ocean while reflecting on the amazing two weeks you just spent with your new friends exploring Bali.
DAY 21: RETURN FLIGHT TO THE USA
Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of teen typically participates in this program? What are the requirements to join?
Teens from all over the world join this program! Typically, our participants are culturally curious individuals who are excited to make new friends, experience something unique, and interested in stepping out of their comfort zones and expanding their horizons.
This program is exclusively for students who are currently in grades 9th through 12th and approximately 14 to 18 years old. Students living outside of the USA are welcome to join!
Where do we stay?
Our hotels are chosen specifically in safe areas and are well suited to facilitating group supervision. We stay in centrally located accommodations, usually within walking distance of the main attractions. We do not use large, impersonal chain hotels on the outskirts of cities; we prefer to select smaller, family-run hotels where we establish personal relationships with the owners.
In Ubud, we stay in a guesthouse that is traditional Balinese style and surrounded by lush gardens. In Pemuteran we stay a short walk from the beach in a traditional Balinese guesthouse. During our East Bali immersion, we will stay in an eco-camp. In Sanur, we stay just a short walk from the beach.
During our stay at the eco-camp please keep in mind this will be “glamping.” You will have a comfortable bed in a shared teepee with a fan. There will be power outlets to charge your devices, but no wifi. This is a wonderful opportunity to disconnect from the outside world for a couple days!
For safety reasons, we do not publish the names of the accommodations we use. We do not feel it is safe to publish the name of a hotel where a group of teenagers is staying abroad. After registering, participants and parents are given access to our secure parent website where you will be able to see the names of all of the accommodations for the program.
Do most travelers go on their own?
Yes! In fact, over 75% of students who travel with us choose to come independently. This encourages teens to step further outside their comfort zone and make new friends. We believe that one of the most rewarding and exciting elements of travel is the new friendships that form along the way. When we travel by ourselves, we are bound to make new friends from all over the country and even the world. The best part is, you can travel again with your new friends on another TFT program the next summer!
If you are thinking about joining a TFT program by yourself but you are feeling unsure, please let us know! We have plenty of references from solo travelers who had great experiences and would be happy to chat with you about it.
Can I bring a friend?
Absolutely! We ask that if you do come with a friend, you and your friend(s) maintain openness to meeting new people and sharing this special experience with the entire group.
What do students like most about this program?
Students love that they are able to get off the beaten path and explore parts of Bali that are largely untouched by tourism. The unique combination of community service components including teaching English and marine conservation provide a well rounded experience and a dynamic look at life in Bali.
What is unique about this program?
Working with an award winning Coral Reef Restoration Project is a truly unique experience!
What is included?
Tuition cost includes ground transportation; accommodation; chaperones and guides; program-related activities and admissions; taxes and tips; all breakfasts, lunches, and dinners.
Not included in the cost (not intended to be an exhaustive list): Airfare, visas and visa application fees, beverages other than filtered water at meals, activities and admissions not referenced in the itinerary or deemed not program related, such as movies, expenses incurred by the participant that are outside the program description, such as excess baggage fees and damage to hotels, expenses related to unforeseen circumstances, such as transportation strikes and natural disasters, as well as personal and medical expenses.
How do the optional group flights work?
Upon registration, you will be contacted by our International Logistics Team to discuss the program’s flight details. There is no requirement to take the group flight, but there are several advantages to doing so. The group flight is usually chaperoned by a TFT staff member, and it also offers an opportunity for the students to get to know one another prior to the start of the program. Parents are responsible for coordinating transport to the departure airport – however, the logistics team will send out instructions detailing the exact meeting spot and airport point person. For additional information about flights, visit our dedicated flight page.
Who leads the program?
Our staff is a cut above the rest! We seek out two main characteristics in our counselors – extensive knowledge of and experience in our destinations, and a passion for working with teens. Our staff’s backgrounds include living abroad and working in summer camps or other educational settings. Team members are proven leaders and role models, who connect easily with others and form genuine friendships with each student – all while bringing each destination to life.
We celebrate diversity! Our staff represents 49 different nationalities, speak a combined total of 21 languages, and visited 142 countries. Additionally, 80% of our staff lived or worked abroad in their lives. With so many unique experiences to share, you are sure to gain a global perspective.
Our average minimum ratios are one staff member to every seven participants. Each program has one Trip Director with several support staff, depending on the group size. Directors must be at least 25 years old and have prior experience working with TFT.
What are the safety qualifications for our staff?
Our staff members undergo a rigorous hiring process. They receive the same background check as school educators, an extensive training process to go over all safety precautions and protocols, and are required to be certified in CPR and First Aid. We exclusively hire responsible, multi-talented individuals who are safety-minded and are as passionate about teen travel as we are.
What is the average group size?
We pride ourselves on small group sizes to create a more authentic and personalized experience. Our group sizes fall between 14 and 21 students – the perfect size to facilitate new friendships without feeling lost in a crowd! We believe smaller groups eliminate the likelihood of cliques, and allows for a well-rounded, healthy group dynamic.
How does this program connect to other programs?
Our program dates are designed specifically so that participants can opt to combine trips throughout the summer. When connecting to another program, your counselor will escort you to the airport on the last day of the program and assist you in meeting your next group at your new destination.
Families who sign up for more than one program will also receive a 15% discount on the lesser-priced program.
What is the food like on this program?
In a word – delicious! At TFT, we believe food should be an integral part of the travel experience and always make an effort to eat at authentic establishments when we can. What better way to immerse yourself in the culture of a place than by sampling the local delicacies, and we encourage students to do so whenever possible! Just as we stay away from Americanized hotel chains, we try to avoid restaurants with menus that cater only to tourists because every good traveler knows the best food is found wherever the locals are eating!
Balinese cuisine is bursting full of flavor, aromatic smells and vivid color, with lots of attention paid to balance, detail and variety.
Of course, we are always willing and able to accommodate vegetarians, vegans, gluten allergies, and other dietary restrictions.
Do we ever get time to go off on our own?
Our staff and teens are nearly always together, but we do provide the opportunity to break up into smaller groups to allow for flexibility and customization within the itinerary.
We offer free time in defined safe areas – for example, shopping in a market or exploring a museum. During these times, students remain in groups of at least two and are given no more than an hour. Of course, the counselors remain nearby and available. Additionally, a lifeguard-certified counselor supervises the campers any time they are involved in water activities.
Do I need to bring anything special for the community service portion of this program?
Due to the nature of our service being outdoors, please be sure to bring clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty, waterproof shoes, and a hat. A sarong will be provided for you on day one of the program so you will have something to cover up with for temple visits and when we work at the school.
During our stay at East Bali Immersion you will be responsible for carrying your own bag 5-10 minutes down a cleared path. We strongly recommend a backpack style bag that does not have wheels.
A more detailed packing list will be provided upon registration.
Do I need any vaccinations for this program?
We recommend checking with your family doctor regarding vaccinations and medical advice for the destination you are visiting. For more information, please check the World Health Organization’s website. Upon registration, we provide a list of recommended vaccinations that can be discussed further with your doctor.
What kind of visa do you need for this trip?
Any US citizen that enters Bali does not require a visa. Instead you will automatically receive a 30-day stay in the country.
When joining a TFT trip from outside of the US, please be sure to check your country’s specific visa requirements.
Do I need to speak the language?
No, our skilled staff members will help you get around and even teach you a few fun phrases!