My first month in Thailand

My name is Ann-Cathrine, and I am a German volunteer in Thailand. I have always been intrigued by southeast Asia. Therefore, it was not difficult to decide where I wanted to go for my gap year. I originally applied for Vietnam, but since problems with the Visa arose, I decided to relocate to Thailand. I have not regretted this decision one bit.

I feel that before I begin telling my story I must share a bit about my journey so far. My whole experience has been so overwhelmingly positive that I still cannot fathom that this is my reality. We arrived in Thailand on the 29th of August 2022. We have been received very warmly and everyone has been exceptionally kind. From everything we received at our accommodation to the trips we have been on everything has surpassed my expectations.

Of course, not everything has been positive, but minor aspects like being stared at most of the time are overshadowed by the interest and kindness the locals show towards us.

This is where I want to begin telling my story. On a lazy afternoon Alena, one of my fellow volunteers, and I sat in our Seminar room. We were working on our lesson plans when Kru´Nui, one of the teachers who takes care of us, and the director of Maiyawitthayakhom School joined us. They asked us if we were interested in joining her school for a couple of days. We answered that we were and so we travelled to the Province of Chiang Rai the following day.

The trip was a very interesting experience, since it was the first time we would be teaching. On the first day, after we arrived, we were welcomed by the director and the English teachers. Everyone was very excited to have us and keen to make us feel comfortable. Afterwards the English teachers took us to the English department. Here we divided the classes between the volunteers. Then we went to teach our first class. It was very overwhelming standing in front of students who were looking at us very expectantly. We played a counting game, hangman, the drawing game, and Simon says with the students. After the first class this feeling got better, since you now knew, what to do. After another class, it was time for lunch.

The most interesting experience was, how much we got to eat. Kru-Yo, who was amongst the ones taking care of us, made sure that we always had something to eat. For lunch we ate Pad-Kra-Pao. After we finished eating, he took us to a second restaurant to try Papaya salad and different northern style food. Next, he took us to a local market where he bought some Coconuts, one Watermelon and some fried dough balls for us.

After lunch we were brought back to the school. Here we talked to two more classes. Afterwards the sports activities began. The students played Volleyball, Football and Badminton and we were able to join them. This was a lot of fun since we got to interact with the students on a different level.

In the evening we went to a night market with Kru-Yo. Here we ate rice with pork and grilled meat and vegetables. For dessert we eat fried banana. The food was very delicious.

The second day was very similar to the first. In the morning we talked to students who were very excited to see us. Everything went much smoother on the second day in comparison to the first. We were much more confident, since we knew, how good the students English was and what they enjoyed playing.

For lunch we went to a noodle restaurant. Kru-Yo offered all of us a second and third bowl. After we finished, we went to buy cake.

In the evening, after we finished the last classes we went to Kru-Yo´s house. Here we cooked traditional Thai food with him. This was my best experience so far, since he invited us to his house, and everyone was so happy to have us. After we finished eating, we drove back to our accommodation.

The next day was used to travel around in Chiang Rai. Kru-Yo, Kru-Michele and Kru-Tanja took us to a Vietnamese Restaurant, a Tea Garden, a Temple, and a beautiful café. This was such a fun day, since the group dynamic was amazing, and everyone was having a good time. In the evening we went to the walking street in Chiang Rai. Here we eat some more food and Kru-Tanja, Kru-Yo and I ended the evening by dancing.

The next morning Kru-Yo drove us back to our school. But before we left, we stopped at a café and at a local shop to buy some coconut ice cream. This marked the end to a wonderful weekend.

This experience was so fun and interesting. I am very happy that I was able to experience this since it´s the first time to have contact with students in the classroom. It has given me some reassurance, to know how good the students English is and what I can expect from them.

The trip was furthermore so much fun, because Kru-Yo, Kru-Tanja and Kru-Michele took such good care of us. I am very thankful for the experiences and memories made.