Volunteer in Java

The Volunteer Testimonials


Jill Irvine


May 14th–24th 2013

Kumis, Yoyoy and Oman
Thank you so much for having me, the food has been great. I have really enjoyed my stay. The people are so friendly and the students are so excited, friendly and keen to talk and learn English. I also enjoyed the bike riding to the vegetable plantation, palm plantation. It has been a good experience.

Dublin, Ireland


James Tadkarimi and Lucy Waite


July 4th–9th 2013

To Kumis, Yoyoy, Indri, Jamal (James) and Beckham
What can we say, we got to Jakarta with no plans what so ever. On a whim we thought we would give you a ring after an excellently placed lonelyplanet and not knowing what to expect or how to get there.
After a rather eventful bus ride you came to get us in style with a motorbike and we haven’t looked back since. What started as a 1 or 2 days stopover turned into 4, we just didn’t want to leave.
You and your mum have been so hospitable and we are sad to be leaving what has been an exciting adventure for us students. From your world famous night time bike rides to your intestine soup. Cianjur has got it all. My only hope is that you one day make it to the UK, so Lucy and I can reciprocate. Although we didn’t manage to teach in Interlingua there was not a moment we were not excited to be here and you are truly got a good thing going. We have learnt more about Indonesian culture and cuisine in the past a few days than we ever could staying in a guest house and for this, we truly thank you.
Best wishes and kind regards

Glasgow, Scotland UK


Maria Light


July 9th–18th 2013

Dear Kumis,
Nuhun Pisan (I do not know how to spell it) for your hospitality – always asking “Are you sure?” just to make sure and all your encouragement – come on!!!! Or Go, Go, come on!, for teaching me to ride a motorbike and useful Indonesian phrases such as “Masalah buat loe!!” and “jadi gw harus bilang WOW gitu!!” enjoyed my stay in Cianjur. Nuhun also to David, Indri, Gito, Yoyoy and all the rest. If you come to Melbourne, I will return the favor.

Melbourne, Australia


Cristina Traggiai


July 10th–21th 2013

Dear Kumis, Yoyoy, Indri, Jamal, Gito and Friends,
It has been a pleasure meeting you all. This place and it is amazing people really made me feel comfortable from the first moment I got here.

The cutest neighborhood ever, great hospitality, but most of all the friends I met here, make me want to come here again soon. I understood many things about a different culture, had interesting conversations, learnt some Sundanese and even tried to teach English with my amazing Italian accent.
I really hope to have the chance to visit you again.
(See you soon)
My biggest Italian hug!

Florence, Italy


Luke O’Brien


July 14th–23rd 2013

To Kumis, Yoyoy, everyone at Your English School and all of the neighbors,
This past week has been an awesome experience for me. Everyone has been so friendly and helpful. I feel like I have been the little 18 years old “Adik” of all of you.
Teaching English was pretty scary at the first, but ended up being really fun with the huge classes of excited kids. We play futsal, we went bike riding, we planted rice and met the whole neighborhood.
It has been great to meet everyone and hopefully I can come back to visit next year while I am at UGM.
I hope to see you in Australia Kumis!

Sydney, Australia


Elke Mikolajczyk


July 24th– August 9th 2013

Dear Kumis, Indri and all the other amazing people
I stayed here for two weeks and what can I say? It was so nice that it seems impossible to sum them up.
There is Kumis cute mom and the neighbor kids who were very entertaining (high five)
I also enjoyed Kumis adventurous bike rides (be careful of water), of course the teaching in school and your English was one of the best experience ever. The kids are also nice and adorable and the team at your English school is fantastic.
Another highlights are the night in Fun-fun Milk and the musicians are great. Also many thanks to Indri inviting me to many of her friends houses. Some of these nights I will never forget! Also many thanks for letting me stay for Idul Fitri – what a unique experience.
It has been amazing two weeks. Thank you so much for everything Kumis.
You are always welcome in my home.
Big hug

Braunschweig, Germany

Saskia Schulte Mesum and Lisa Scheibe


August 16th– September 15th 2013

Dear Kumis and Friends,
We really really liked to stay at your place. It was a great opportunity to know the Indonesian way of life. We experienced so many things. You always made us feel comfortable and welcome!
We enjoyed attending your brother’s wedding ceremony. It was a great experience for us. The food was awesome! Then, we watched a big music concert in town. We even could be backstage and join the guest stars!
We loved to go to different schools and of course teaching in your own English school  and doing promotion with your teams. We hope your school will get more students because of the great promotion. We also really appreciate you did all the sightseeing tours with us! There are so many beautiful places/spots around Cianjur. We visited a beautiful rice field terrace, Botanical garden, waterfalls, megalithic heritage, tea plantation, volcano and hotsprings. We also loved to go cycling to the countryside, rice field, rainforest, floating village and around the town. We love hanging out at Fun-fun Milk! We will miss our Fun-fun Milk nights so much. Thanks for killing all the cockroaches. We do not know how we will survive without you in Asia. We will let you know!!! We will miss our daily breakfast with the delicious fruits, especially water melon and mango.
Even, if we still don’t like spicy, we have experienced a lot of RAOS things to eat. We will miss the pancake, lotek, lontong, mie goring, nasi goreng, and nasi liwet!
Your mom is the best, we like her a lot and we will miss her a lot and we will miss her kindness and her way to teach us Sundanese. Selamat pagi, Selamat makan, Selamat tidur, sami-sami. NUHUN PISAN!!!!!
We will never forget the walk through the dangerous jungle to the volcano in Bandung!!!Run, run – not now – stop – ok – ok – now hurry- run as fast as you can to the car!!!
We had a really really great time! We are looking forward to going to Yogyakarta with you! It is gonna be AWESOME!!!!     

Cologne, Germany

Brittany Hicshorn


August 27th– September 19th 2013

Dear Kumis, Indri, Yudi, Maya, Mama Yoyoy, and everyone else who made this such a unique experience
Never did I think that coming to this foreign city in a foreign country alone would I feel so comfortable and at home.
These past three weeks have been a true adventure in so many ways. From teaching to promoting to day trips to week long trips. Kumis does an incredible job hosting. He always seems calm and relaxed even though he works so hard planning and organizing volunteers and making sure we have the comfort of home.
Teaching has been such a rewarding experience. I love that Kumis exposed me to all the different styles and types of schools that are available in such a small city. It is really amazing to see the enthusiasm of the kids when a BULE enters the school, along with the excitement of the staff. I do not think that feeling could ever get old. Of course, teaching in your English school was always a blast! Introducing games I knew as a kid and games I learned thru my travels always brought curiosity and entertainment with the kids. Not to mention the staffs excitement to teach!
But teaching was not all that made my time here forever in my memory. All the small and big trips that we took over these past few weeks have been just as special. All those bike rides in the rice fields, helping me become a stranger bike rider and truly challenging me taking a day trip to the botanical garden, and exploring the volcano in Bandung. Kumis really shows that is not just a teacher. He is a man that can do anything from helping prepare dinner, to coordinating your visa to being your tour guide, locally and spread out.
I will never forget on epic long weekend in Yogyakarta. All the beautiful sights and hidden gems that were shown to us really created a trip of a life time.
The hospitality shown here has been so unbelievable. Mama Yoyoy has such huge heart and open mind to let all of these crazy volunteers cycle in and out of her house. She has taken such good care of me and showed so much kindness since I have been here. She is truly my Indonesian mother.   
No amount of money could ever pay for how wonderful and special this time has been, because I have stayed here for a while I found it hard to think that this is just a volunteer program. I have formed a new family here and do not feel that any amount of money could ever pay for these memories.
Thank you to everyone I have met through out this journey. I do not think you will ever know how much you have changed me and help me become a better person. I will whole-heartedly miss you all. One day, I hope to return to this beautiful city…….until next time……..FUN CHECK!!!!!!!!!
Much love to you all

New York, USA

Rebecca Francis


September 01st –18th 2013

Dear Kumis, Family and All at Team in Cianjur,
I am a “refeat offender”, and I hope this second visit to Cianjur is enough of a complement to the unique hospitality and enormous fun I had last year. A trip to Yogyakarta with Kumis and Indri was memorable, floating in a pitch-black cave below glistening and gathering courage to fling myself off 12 metre drop is an experience I can highly recommend.
As was a day trip to Bandung, strawberry picking, admiring acres of tea garden and bathing in the amazing hot springs.
As always, Kumis, your energy and enthusiasm are inspirational. Tuan rumah yang paling bagus! Your mother is of course terrific also. Congratulations on the continuing success of your homestay program.
I really hope you make it to Australia one day.
Again I have rarely felt so welcome, or laughed so much. Tentu saja kembali lagi

Melbourne, Australia

Anna Wilson


September 28th – October 05th 2013

Dear Kumis and Team,
Although I was only here for a week, I feel that Cianjur is my second home! I can not thank you enough for taking such good care of me and making me feel so welcomed! It has been tough travelling solo, but once I was here, I no longer felt lonely or out of place. We packed so much fun into such a short amount of time. I had a blast cycling through the rice fields to the floating village and I will never forget paragliding near Bogor! What an adrenaline rush. I really feel as though I experienced the real Indonesia. Yummy food (Nasi Goreng), friendly people and beautiful countryside. Teaching I would do, but now I know, it is a possibility! I really enjoyed teaching the kids and seeing many different schools. I hope someday, I can come back to Asia and teach again with a proper certification. The kids here are wonderful. I wish them nothing, but the best! Keep doing a great job! These kids are so lucky to have you as role models, leaders and teachers. I will be forever grateful for the memories we all shared together! Thank you so much, lots of love and keep in touch.

Washington, D.C, USA 


Kirra Watt


October 10th–26th 2013

Dear Kumis, Mama, Jamal, Indri and the whole Interlingua Family,
I have had a great time here and only wish I could stay longer. We ate awesome food every day, toured around the villages – as well as getting outside to Yogyakarta! Finally, I got to see Borobudur temple!! Stocked!! I have got to thank Jamal and Indri for all their help with school, travel, feeding us, etc.
At home, Mama had everything sorted – food, clothes and even helped me speak Indonesian – luckily, she is very patient! Thanks Mama, you are my Indonesian mum.
Your school is doing well and seems to have direction and big plans for the future. Good luck, team! I will be back!!
Finally, Kumis. Thanks for all your energy! How do you do it? Thanks for letting me come join your program for the past 3 weeks. It was an amazing opportunity for me and hopefully we can work together again soon. Good luck.

Sydney, Australia

Georgia Cooper


October 01st – November 04th 2013

I could not have chosen a better way to begin a year of travelling! Over the past month I have learnt so much about Indonesian and Sundanese culture and seen and done so many fantastic things, from seeing Borobudur temple in Yogyakarta, learning to ride a motorbike, I have done so many things that I had never imagined I would.
Teaching at all of the schools around Cianjur had been really rewarding, all of the children are so enthusiastic about learning English and the teachers have been so welcoming. Your school is a fantastic school with excellent teachers and lovely students. Obviously, teaching there has always been lot of fun and I wish the school every success in the future.
Huge thanks to Jamal and Indri for helping and look after me so well. Also, big thanks to your mom for being so welcoming and making me feel very at home, as well as cooking delicious food!
Kumis, thanks for everything over the past month, I truly have a wonderful time and I could not recommend your programme more.
Sending my love to everyone.

London, England


Molly Marcelo


November 12th–26th 2013

Thank you so much!! These past two weeks have been an amazing experience and I am so glad to begin my travel in Southeast Asia with Cianjur. You are beyond helpful – you answered all my (many) questions with humor and made sure I got to see some beautiful countryside during my stay. Not to mention, of course, the amazing food I ate with you! (thank you too for the guava leaves)
I had the best time speaking English with the students at your school and around Cianjur – they are the best. I will miss them a great deal and hope they continue to gain confidence in their speaking skills. And all of the teachers are so GREAT!! I have really enjoyed spending time with them, playing UNO, singing Bruno Mars, etc, and of course a big thanks to your mother too!!!

Los Angeles, USA 


Ana Simons


November 29th – December 12th 2013

To the most lovely friendly wonderful team – all of you at English school are amazingly dedicated, altruistic positive people. Children in Cianjur are so lucky to be able to learn English with you all. Volunteers are also lucky to have such excellent role models and to receive such a range of brilliant activities in exchange for the pleasure of supporting English classes. Thank you all so much. It’s been a really heartening experience. Good luck to everyone and to all your English students. Lot and lots of love from Ana.

Devon, England

Kelsel Barret and Matt Boslego


December 06th–21th 2013

Dear Kumis,
Thank you for an incredible two weeks and a phenomenal start to our travels in Indonesia! Kumis, we can not thank you enough for your kindness, enthusiam and generosity! Speaking with you, we learned so much about Indonesian and Sundanese culture and languange. Your program is an ideal MIX of sightseeing and volunteering, and living with you and your mom was such a treat. Thank you for sharing your home with us and giving us such an intimate look into Indonesian life. Getting to taste new local dishes every night, and sample the cool hang outs in the area was really fun too! The team at your school was so welcoming to us and we learned so much from watching them teach. The students living in Cianjur are so lucky to have such skilled and caring teachers to help them learn! I am so happy that are adventures with you Kumis, are still to continue in Yogya next week! Very best wishes with the continuation of your program!!

Washington D.C, USA


Browyn and Miguel


January 30th – February 05th 2014

To kumis, Yoyoy, Jamal,
Thank you so much for a wonderful week in a part of Indonesia we would never have seen or experienced without your guidance. We will always remember our trips  to visit the school children at the local Moslem school and to visit Jamal’s beautiful village. We learnt so much about your culture through your company, food, lifestyle, religion, dancing and of course music. Your program is so speacial in that it gives real tastes of Indonesia. We can not thank you enough for this introduction to your country. Thanks again for your hospitality and kindness.

Montreal, Canada

Laura Strahl and Vjosa Ismaili 


January 22th – February 08th 2014

To all the lovely people of Cianjur,
Thank you so much for your hospitality and kindness and for introducing us to your lovely country and giving us an insight into your culture and your life here in Cianjur. Exploring the rice field, the tea plantation as well as Jamal’s village was such a wonderful experience that we will never forget. Our trip to Yogyakarta showed us the variety and colourfulness of Indonesia such as the impressive temples and the beautiful beaches.
A special thank you to Kumis and his wonderful mother! You are such a great hosts and you made us so much feel at home, always reading our wishes and making all our dreams come true. We wish you all the best with your program which is also speacial and we both truly believe that you can make a difference in all the kids’ life.

Zurich, Switzerland


Alex Cavalerro


March 01st – 12th 2014

To Kumis and Yoyoy,
Thank you for hosting me at your place and made me feel like I am at home! During my travel here in South East Asia, this was the most meaningful stop I have made as I had the opportunity to have an insight of the life here in Cianjur. Moreover visiting the rice fields and tea plantation made me appreciate a lot all the surroundings here and as well cycling through It was a really good exercise. It was really nice to switch to one school to the other to always meet  new students and I had a lot of fun teaching at your school. I did my best as non-native speaker. I hope it was worth it!
Thanks as well to Jamal for making me become a professional rider through the crazy street of Cianjur. I am no more scared or impressed by traffic jams!!!
Just keep on developing your school such a nice opportunity for all the kids. So, to all of you, I will miss you, but I am sure we will catch up one day, the world is small!!!!!
Terima kasih atas segalanya!!!!!!!!!!!

Milan, Italy

Jessica Ramsay


March 03rd – 20th 2014

Dear Kumis & all the amazing people at Cianjur,
I am so happy to have spent the last three weeks in such a great place with so many nice people! Everyone I’ve met has been so warm & friendly!
It has been such a great experience going to all the different schools and feeling like a celebrity!
Thanks for taking me on all the great bike riding trips although I’m surprised I can still walk after the first 5 hours day. But I’m pleased to say I never felt into a rice field.
Thank you also for feeding me well despite the chili I really enjoyed the food. And to all the amazing people at local English school who made my stay even more fantastic, so many great people doing such a great job.
I will miss everyone so much and hope one day I can make my way back to Cianjur.

Perth, Australia


Sarah and Dan


March 16th – 24th 2014

Dear Kumis and the Volunteer in Java crew,
From the first night we arrived, we felt at home. Your graceusly welcomed us into your home and we were thankfull for the chance to feel like part of the community. Our trips to Cipanas were extremely rewarding, we really enjoyed leading the class and writing a story together with the young students. Our time at local school felt like we were part of a big family! We couldn’t believe how friendly and caring every single teacher and student was. There is a tremendous energy there and a great eagerness to learn and to develop their English. We hope that in our short time in the school we were able to contribute even a small amount. The time talking one on one with the students, especially the mature students was extremely rewarding. Thank you to everyone for many great moments playing UNO, eating capcay and learning Bahasa Indonesia! Dan also really loved the chance to teach physics at vocational high school. Not to forget either the fantastic food, you have exposed us to many traditional dishes of West Java we never would have known. The bike adventures were memorable too, especially Dan’s epic ride with Apih. From the first moment in Cianjur this has been a great experience and we are extremely grateful to everyone we met.

Toronto, Canada


Molly Marcello


March 17th – 25th 2014

Dear Kumis,
This is the second time I am writing to thank you for hosting me!! I have been travelling South East Asia for months, but no experience compares to the warmth and community of the volunteer in Java team. So, I had to come back!!! I am so glad I came back to visit and I am sorry I could not stay even longer.
One again, I can not thank you enough for your hospitality. I only hope my native English helped someone doing the way. I feel once more that I have received much more than I have given as I have had such a good time with the students and the teachers. It was so good to see some of the older students and hear how much their English and confidence in speaking has improved only after a couple months! It is amazing.
Thank you, thank you again and until next time! Maybe I will return sooner or later! I will miss you guys!
Terima kasih

Los Angeles, USA


Mary Tilson


March 26th – April 8th 2014

KUUMMMISSSSSSSSSS!!!!! (…or should I say “Mr. Mustache”?!)
I don’t know where to begin. You have shown me so many new things in the past two weeks that I will remember forever. I’m leaving with tons of new favorite fruits – the Salak, Rambutan, and Jackfruit were the best start to my day. You took me on my first mountain biking adventure through the rainforest (even if my butt was a little sore for a few days!), took us hiking through the gorgeous tea plantation at Puncak Pass, the floating villages, Cacao plantation and of course, I will never forget my first time in the rice paddies!

The whole volunteer in Java family welcomed us with open arms from the very start. I could not have asked for a better teaching experience. All of the teachers and students are so driven and hard-working at everything they do – from speaking English, to playing the saxophone, piano, singing and even Damien’s delicious fruit shakes!! It has also been such an increible learning experience visiting all of the different schools in Cianjur as well.

Please thank the boys at BioMania 106.1 FM for making me feel like a celeb! My trip to the radio station was another unexpected but very enjoyable experience!

When I leave Cianjur, I’m going to have a very difficult time adjusting to the hostel-life after you and Mama Yoyoy have taken such great care of us at home. Most of all, I will miss your famous bedtime stories!!!! You’ve made me laugh so hard my stomach hurt since the day I arrived. I may need to Skype you every now and then just to hear you shout, “Marrrrrryyyyyy!!!”

Love you so much Kumis! You are truly one of a kind and I will miss you!!

Chicago, IL, USA


Christina Rieger


March 09th – April 13th 2014

Dear Kumis,
Even I stayed such a short time in Cianjur, it will keep in my memories forever. You and your team are doing such a great job with helping students to improve their English. I really love the idea of sharing culture and learning from each other the way you doing that. I learned a lot about Indonesia culture and people. Far away of any tourism I got the chance to see chocolate and tea plantation, the floating village and to go on an amazing mountainbike trip. I loved the students at your school; all of them are really nice, interested in learning something new and very respectful. You can be so glad to have such nice working colleges; close friends. It was so fun to play cards, talking and making fun together with them. I also learned some words in Indonesia and I will keep practising it during my trip. Thanks also for showing me the different kinds of food; it was really exciting and tasty. I love your friendly smile, that you stay calm in every situation (also on the motorbike J) that you explained every stupid question to me and your easy going lifestyl (while never forgetting your aims)
Thanks a lot for the great days and keep going, you are doing such a great job!!!

Graz, Austria


Shirley Zijun Feng


April 23rd – May 5th 2014

Dear Kumis and Kumis family,
I want to say so much thank you and add more mustache on your face. But really I thank you and your Mama so much for hosting me. It’s been such a new experience to volunteer in Indonesia. You let me see your country in another perspective which is probably to experience if I just stayed it in big cities. Cycling was a bit tough for me, but seeing blue sky, green rice field and colorful houses was unforgetable. Climbing up that tea plantation hill was awesome with a few scrathes on my arms and legs. I really enjoyed the peacefulness up on the hill and get away from the heat in Cianjur, also seeing some lady boys. Thanks for making me the celeb in schools and giving me a chance to teaach in public schools. I think this experience will help me decide what I want to do in the future, after going back to the States!!!!
It was really nice to know some of the local students. All of them have great dreams and I hope I can meet them again the USA, Japan, or Indonesia. I hope you will get more support for this homestay program. The next time I see you I hope you will have five cars and a big house!!!
Wish you the best in the future and see you again soon. Peace!!!!!
Thank you Mama for dinner and all the laundry (sorry I changed my clothes a lot and was probably the most showed guest in history)
Take care XoXo

China, Japan, America


Chelsea Carnoali


May 4th –19th 2014

I do not even know where to begin! I came to Indonesia knowing nothing, and you found a way to show me the most amazing time! I have fallen in love with Cianjur, because of your hard work and amazing hospitality! I feel like I have been so lucky to have met you, and you are one of my closest friends! The loyalty you have for your program and city is very “inspirational” and I am so thankful to see you work so diligently for the people of Cianjur’s education. You have shown me the wonders of this area-and given me the confidence to explore more of Java! This 1st trip to Indonesia has been better than I could have imagined thanks to you. I will be back to show Rudy and Adam all the wonderful things you have shown me, and so they can meet one of my dearest friends, Kumis!!! Please come to my American mountains! You have changed my life forever. I can not wait to come back and see you again. We must climb the volcanoes and swim in the hot-springs of Bandung. I hope you find time for yourself-keep having fun-being a great teacher and a wonderful person! Thanks for everything!
Kumis Gila
Love – Chelsea Carnoali
PS: Please tell your Mama Yoyoy that I very much appreciate all that she did to help! She is a wonderful woman who I am glad to have met.

Glenwood Springs, Colorado, USA

Marjorie Beauvais


April 21st – May 6th 2014
Back for 2 days (28th – 30th  May)

My dear Kumis,
Well…, reading your guests books … what can I add! It says it all. All your guests have an amazing time in Cianjur, with you and I am another happy one! =)

It has been the experience of a lifetime. You organised everything for me. The fun times going cycling through the rice fields, going to Car Free Day on Sundays, visiting the floating village, the tea plantations, etc etc. The teaching times going to different schools almost everyday! You helped me when I was sick (BULE! If you read this, DO NOT DRINK ICE! ;-) ) and made my stay fun, interesting and memorable. I have learnt so much that it will be way too long to write it all down…
The students are incredible; they smile all the time, they are shy but really smart and eager to learn. I had fun with them and I hope they did too! I will always remember that afternoon at English school when we did a “phone conversation” exercice. Eventhought they were shy, they all spoke loud in front of the class and I realised their english was great! They just need to built up more confidence, they are already winners!
So I hope my two weeks volunteering as an english teacher helped the students at least a little bit; For sure, it has changed my life! I’m going back to France as a new person!

KUMIIIIIS! Stay the same, always. You have a great vibe, you are a true person and this is rare nowdays. Keep your smile, your happiness, your energy. You are great at what you do with the program!
A big THANK YOU to all the team : Indri, James, John, etc… & all the students I have met of course! I will never forget you and I will miss you soooooo much!
Another big THANK YOU to Mama Yoyoy & your neighbours. Always happy people, I felt part of the family the second I arrived! “Luna Maya” will always remember the wonderful atmospbhere in the area “Selamat Pagi! Mangga!“ =D !!!

So all this to say that I had an amazing time in Cianjur, unbeleiiiiiievable as you would say! Thank you for the great opportunity, you made my time in Indonesia special!
I wish you all the best, you deserve it! I hope you get a car soon to go jalan-jalan in Pangandaran & I hope you travel to Australia & even Europe!!!
With much respect & lots of love, Take Care !!!
Hatur Nuhun from another Bule Gila! =)

France (24)
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