VSA Thailand reflection
What can I say about my time at Rajaprajanugroh 24 Phayao. Undoubtedly one of the best experiences of my life. I believe that my month teaching the disadvantaged children of the school has changed my outlook on life.
Despite having relatively little in comparison to ourselves, they made us feel so welcome, it is true what they say about the Thai smile and generosity. The interaction, learning about one another’s culture was fascinating, and I relished every opportunity I had to learn the slightest bit of the Thai language or culture. The children’s English ability varied greatly from individual to individual, and despite the obvious initial shyness, most of the ‘nak rian’ opened up to us. It became especially apparent to myself the incredible variety of personalities at the school. Through becoming close friends with most, it thoroughly reinforced the human nature of the experience. Their willingness to learn more about both the English language and culture could not be faulted the slightest. Lessons on the whole were smooth, much credit being owed to my Thai teacher Cru Aom and fellow volunteer Brooke. However, without question the best way in which the children improved their English was through informal conversation with ourselves, and the highlight of any day for me was going around in the evening to dormitories. We often enjoyed a good ‘chin wag’ about any ongoing drama and learnt a little more about the children’s respective backgrounds. The children made the trip and I look forward to keeping in touch with many and hopefully helping them in some way in the future to further their education and broaden their horizons.
Speaking on more physical terms, the school was incredible. Positioned on the foot of an incredible mountain range, we backed on to the jungle, something you were reminded about constantly by the noisy wildlife. Our rooms were situated next a beautiful lake, above the school coffee shop, next to the main road, something we were reminded of everyday at 4am 5555. The school was closer to a village than a place of learning, dozens of dormitories, vocational learning centres and classrooms flooding the 2km area. I believe it was an excellent environment for learning.
I genuinely hope to come back to RPK 24 at some point in the near future, and I have made some incredible friends both at the school, in Thailand (Joy - looking at you) and back home in Cardiff. I would recommend any opportunity offered by VSA as Thailand is an incredible place and it’s people are even more beautiful.
Henry ‘HAC’ Bradley, British volunteer in ICL camp at RPK school 24, Phayao Thailand 1-29 July 2022.