ICL camp@RPK24 Phayao
By Henry Birt
It’s no exaggeration when I say this trip has been a once in a lifetime experience. You cannot fully understand how incredible Thailand is without coming here. Words do not express the warmth and joy the people of this beautiful country give.
Teaching in a school abroad describes what I have done, but does not account for the relationships which I have built that cannot be replicated. This is what makes this month one of the best in my life.
I am not the best traveller, and wouldn’t have done this on my own at the start. However, after this month I can happily say I would do apply for a program like this again in a heartbeat. I don’t want to leave, I could stay here for another year.
Many of the students at the school are here due to family troubles. In some cases, they have nothing without the school. Despite this, the love and care which they have shown for a bunch of ‘foreigners’ has shown me how special and strong people can be.
At home, we have everything we need, yet we are so unhappy and hostile to one another. The opposing attitude here fills me with so much happiness.
Being able to see other parts of Thailand on the weekends has allowed me to fully immerse myself in Thai culture, and learn a small amount of the language. Bonding with not only the students but also my fellow volunteers also made the trip a fantastic and unique experience. It was great to meet a wide range of people with different stories and backgrounds. A special mention to our guide Joy who allowed us to see the rest of northern Thailand and who I am sure we will stay in contact with in the future. I have made many friends during this month, both students at the school and volunteers. Being able to reminisce on precious memories with them in the future will be incredibly special.
I would encourage anyone who is thinking about volunteering to not worry about ifs and buts and just go for it, and to put 100% of your energy into the program. The joy and fulfillment which it brings will alter your perspective on life and people.