Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Teaching English to Mums and Kids Alike!

Hey there,

My name is Alina and I'm from Stuttgart, Germany. I'm 19 years old and I finished High School this year. My volunteer programme will take three months to complete, from September to December 2015.

I decided to spend some time in Thailand because I am really interested in Asian cultures and I hope to get to know the Thai culture. I want to become at teacher later so the work at a School here will prepare me for my occupational future. I also think that it is really exciting to get to know how kids in other countries are taught and how their parents nurture them. In addition I hope that the time here will be a great and unforgettable life experience.

Because of the school holidays I spent the first 4 weeks of my volunteer programme at the Wild Flower Home. This is a home for single mothers who are either pregnant or have young children. During my time there I took care of the kids, helped in the garden or in the office and I helped to clean the Buddhist temple kitchen from where the foundation gets most of their food and drinks. In addition I taught English to some of the older kids and to a few of the mothers.

Since November I have been working at the Wat Kuang Singh school. These children are essentially refugees from Myanmar and kids from the hilltribe villages in Thailand attending the school. I teach 3 lessons a week in 3 different classes. The most difficult part is the size of the classes (up to 48 kids) and the communication barrier, especially with the little kids. But I have a Thai teacher by my side and I realize that it is getting easier from lesson to lesson.

I'm looking forward to the following weeks and every experience I will get there.


An 18 Year Old German in the Thailand Jungle!

After one month in Thailand I can say I have arrived. Maybe I adapt especially quick. Maybe the circumstances were just right for me to feel accepted and welcome. Maybe it's because I was always interested in Asian culture. Maybe it's a combination of all those and so many more factors that make me comfortably say “for nothing would I trade this unique experience!”. Working with FORRU means being flexible. Very flexible. I didn't know I was that flexible. I also didn't know i would love this job, that before I arrived I had little to no interest in, so much that it would be no problem to sometimes work a 60+ hour week. But I guess that's exactly why I decided to make this journey and leave my family and friends for six months. To learn. Not only about a different culture and a different life and work philosophy. But to learn about myself. Also not only to meet incredible people ranging from people just like me doing a gap year to people working at Oxford on firing tree seeds in to the earth using automated drones. But also to meet myself. But who am I? Not in philosophical terms. This answer would probably exceed the few lines I'm writing here. But rather how do you imagine me? 

Writing this is an 18 year old guy from Germany, though when you read this it’s very likely I have already turned 19. I just finished the German equivalent to high school and I am currently on my gap year. Even though it’s only half a year I spend abroad I like to call it a gap year. 
I decided to travel to Thailand for a multitude of reasons. First of all I wanted to get away from home. And traveling a few kilometers in one direction just wasn’t going to cut it for me. 9000 km minimum! And another big plus for me was the culture. As I already mentioned I have always had a certain affinity with Asian cultures. Not so strong that I would just go there by myself and try to survive. After all I’m still only 18 years old. That's where CCT comes in to play. They were the perfect solution for me! I’m working with the Forest Restoration Research Unit (FORRU) at Chiang Mai University and have a place to stay and eat. So I get to do something really great (helping to find solutions for reforestation! FORRU is even considering using drones to save forests all over the world!). But I’m not alone on the beginning of my journey! And trust me having incredible people around you all the time really helps when leaving home for a long period of time and coming to a place you’ve never even been close to. For an 18 yo guy wanting to travel to Thailand, CCT provides the perfect starting point and in addition to that you also get a life altering volunteer opportunity.