When I initially decided to volunteer, I knew I wanted to work with young children, but I wasnt sure whether to venture out on my own, or to work with an already established organization. After extensive research, I decided to sign up for Travel to Teach. Of all the groups I looked into, Travel to Teach offered the best match for what I was seeking. Not only was I given the opportunity to volunteer with young students, but I got to spend time teaching monks as well. In addition, Travel to Teach offered the opportunity to learn about the culture, language, and cooking traditions of Thailand.
With a mixture of nerves and excitement I arrived in Nong Khai on a Saturday evening. The nerves soon left as I was greeted by friendly faces and any doubt I may have had soon vanished. The support offered by the Travel to Teach coordinators was second to none. They immediately made sure that all of the volunteers were comfortable in their surroundings.
In order to help acclimatise to the new surroundings, Travel to Teach begins your stay with a cultural induction. This induction is soon followed by Thai language lessons and cooking lessons. Soon you are immersed in the culture and finding yourself in love with the town and all the people.
Before arriving, the project manager checked with me to see what grade level I wanted to work with. I chose primary school students. As I arrived to school on my first day, I couldnt get over the beautiful smiles that greeted me. You could feel the appreciation, not only from the students, but the faculty alike. I stayed in Nongkhai for seven weeks. The work was not always easy, but the rewarding feeling that resulted every time you saw progress made it worth the effort.
My seven week stay was the most amazing experience I have had in my 13 years as an educator. I would not hesitate to recommend Travel to Teach to anyone who wants to have a challenging and rewarding experience as a volunteer.