For the month of July 2022, I volunteered to be an English teacher at Rajaprajanugroh 24 School in Thailand. This opportunity was organised by VSA. For that, I am forever grateful towards VSA for allowing someone like to me to take part in a project like this.
A huge part of why I enjoyed my experience was due to the incredible local leader we had, and the group I was a part of. Everyone was very enthusiastic in ensuring that we maximised this opportunity and our leader ensured we were all supported through the project.
Although living in Thailand is very different to that of living in the UK, you adjust fairly quickly. The weather and food were the things that took the longest, and yet with the moral support of my group and leader, it was not something I particularly struggled with.
Teaching during the week required long hours, and an understanding that there was always going to be a language block. However, the school were as eager to learn as we were to teach and this allowed us to persevere through any translation issues. The teachers loved their students, and wanted to make the most out of having English volunteers to help teach their subject. In return, the students tried their hardest in grasping the English language to the best of their abilities, going so far as to practice in their free times so they could later engage in a conversation with one of us volunteers. Overall, teaching could be, at times, difficult and frustrating, but above all else, rewarding.
However, it was not all about teaching. At the weekends, and thanks to a long Buddhist holiday, we were able to visit the cities of Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. Here, we explored a number of beautiful temples, spent a day at an elephant sanctuary and went around the night markets. This gave a welcomed break and allowed us to see a bit more of Thailand.
By far, the hardest point of the project was saying goodby; spending most of your free time with students will create close knit bonds. This will always make it emotional when leaving but I look back on my experience with a new found interest in pursing teaching, and a reminiscence of my time in Thailand.