Swe Eng

Thailand FlagVolunteer Stories  |  Ann-Marie

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A (mature aged) Volunteers story!

My arrival in to Nong Khai was rather eventful as my luggage was left at Bangkok airport. While I was reporting this to the airport official at Udon Thani the mini bus to take me to Nong Khai left. All ended well, as a kind person drove me to the bus stop, and my luggage arrived the next day.

This was a really good lesson for me early in my Travel-to-Teach volunteering to realise that sometimes things happen which we cannot control and the best thing is to ‘go with the flow,’ to be adaptable and not stress out.

Rick said that all the volunteers rode around on bikes, and I said, “not this one”. However, after a couple of days I took one out for a test drive and decided I still could ride after 50 years. The great thing in Nong Khai is that there is no road rage. No beeping. Everyone is courteous and happy just to chugg along.

I enjoyed the variety of teaching activities available like Jommannee Primary school. The children were delightful and very enthusiastic in their drawing and singing; the Monks at the Temple were very interested in my native country Australia and I liked the English summer school for adults in Phon Phisai. All different and enriching experiences for me.

The Thai people are friendly and helpful. Always smiling. They really appreciate any effort you make to speak their language, (even if it is badly pronounced) and are quick to say “you speak Thai good!” Thai food is fantastic and with the beautiful fresh fruit available there, I was in heaven.

Some of my other favourite times were going to go to Wat Pho Chai for the Candle ceremony; the bike tour around Nong Khai; Thai cooking classes and seeing the amazing Sala Kaew sculpture park. So many things to do!

The other volunteers were always encouraging and supportive. Karen and Ruth particularly were great and I still keep in touch with them.

There is no age limit to being a Travel-to-Teach volunteer. I would recommend this experience to everyone. I always felt safe in Thailand and arrived home fitter and healthier than I have been for a long time.

Most useful thing I brought with me was the Lonely Planet Thailand. The thing I didn’t use at all was my hairdryer!

Ann-Marie Franklin (60 years young!)