My first month in Thailand

After we were in Phayao for one week and had our orientation week, we could finally start. We went 12 hours by night bus to Khon Kaen.

Quite tired and exhausted we arrived there and were welcomed by some teachers. At the end of the day we moved into our rooms and could rest. Another volunteer from Germany named Vincent accompanied us for the next few days and gave us a little introduction. We went together to the nearest night market called "Ton Tann”. 

When school started on Monday, we all had to introduce ourselves individually in front of the school with our names, ages and the level we will be be honest, I was a bit excited. It is still unusual for all of us to be addressed as teachers and to receive so much attention. We also got a nickname, mine is Bayboa, which means lotus.

So the week started and we went to class together with our teachers. The first moment standing in front of a class also felt very new. I was asked a lot of questions and we introduced ourselves together. However, I felt comfortable pretty quickly and by now I dare to teach on my own. The students are very helpful and attentive.

Here in the school there is almost everything. A small supermarket, a café, even a hairdresser. The eggs are fresh from the chickens that live here. Some of the vegetables come from the greenhouses and the plantations at one part of the school. You can really spend your time here very well. I often get a coffee in the café or even better, a matcha with coconut milk. So far, we have also went to the city a few times, e.g. to Central Plaza. In the Central Plaza you can buy and get everything you need. We even went to the movies there once, a Thai movie with English subtitles. I think it is really exciting to go shopping in another country.

Especially in the first weeks, there were many events and celebrations at the school. We saw traditional dances and heard songs. What strikes me most is the group feeling and the dynamic here. Everyone helps each other and together they finish tasks quickly and safely. Like, for example, they decorate most of the school grounds before an event and carefully take everything down the next day.

I am already a big fan of the night markets. Especially the food is super delicious there and there is a huge selection. From clothes to jewelry to food, there really is almost everything. And most importantly, these are the kind of places that feel really authentic to me. Especially in the evening when the little lights shine everywhere and you can look at everything beautifully.

I like to organize the lessons in such a way that the students can participate in the lessons. For example, they are also allowed to write on the board or do things. I think this can be improved, but the lessons are going very well so far. I hope that the students like me and that I will have a good time with them for a long time.

Sometimes I am still a bit insecure and unprepared but I think I can always improvise quite well. Since I was sitting in a class myself and being taught not too long ago, I find it all the more exciting to stand in front of such a class. Sometimes it is still a bit surreal.

Mia-Antonia Baar, volunteer from Germany in ICL Khonkan Project (RPK50) August 2023- August 2024