Swe Eng

Volunteer Stories

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Tim  |  Thailand

When I got off the minivan in Mae Hong Son I still felt a bit dizzy after all the curves you have to cope with when coming from Chiang Mai. But bursting into the small night market with the astonishing view onto the temples, the lights sparkling in the lake right in front of it made the hardship of the bus ride a distant memory.



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Donald  |  Laos

I am Don from Kamloops. B.C., Canada. I just returned on March 3, 2014 from a six week assignment teaching English in Luang Prabang, Laos. The day after I arrived back home the phone rang. It was one of my students, a novice monk, calling to say how much he missed me...



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Julie  |  Cambodia

I travelled to Siem Reap in February 2012 through Travel To Teach. I had volunteered in Northern Thailand in October 2011 and enjoyed the experience so much that I wanted to repeat it...as soon as possible!



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Heather  |  El Salvador

The people of El Salvador are very misunderstood. The world paints a picture of delinquency, gangs, and violence. That is not the El Salvador I experienced...



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Dayenne  |  Laos

In 2007 I volunteered for 2 months in Nongkhai Thailand and ever since I have said that I wanted to do something like it again. Now that I have a fulltime job, it is a bit difficult to get a lot of time off. I contacted Travel to Teach and decided on a 2 weeks stay in Luang Prabang, Laos.



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Scott  |  Thailand

It's so strange to be alone again after being so part of something.... part of a team, part of a community, part of a mission. The other volunteers went out for drinks but I just want to be alone, to reflect on the week that was and capture the impressions of my first week volunteering...



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Erik  |  China

My first experience being an English teacher was in 2011. I lived for 6 months in Nepal and was a teacher at a primary school. I really enjoyed teaching children and I decided to continue my volunteer career in another country...



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Don  |  Cambodia

My adventure began when a tuk- tuk driver was waiting to greet me at Phnom Penh's International Airport. We rode together to the downtown location of Seametery Children's Village...



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Don  |  El Salvador

Travel to Teach volunteer assignments are developing into an annual event for me. I am now 72 years old and a retired Canadian teacher. I have just completed my second very rewarding and enjoyable adventure with Travel to Teach...



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Dimphy  |  Cambodia

It’s early in the morning, I wake up in a beautiful wooden flat next to my school in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. I already hear the children playing and chatting and can’t wait to start working.



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Alice  |  El Salvador

Getting on the airplane destinated for San Salvador as the only White and blonde person would prepare me for that outcast feeling for a long period of time. My Spanish was the basics that you learn in school...



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Kiran  |  Laos

Teaching students in Laos is extremely rewarding. English is the pathway to career opportunity in Laos. Many of the students come from a desperately poor background and greatly value the opportunity to learn from a native English speaker...



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Leonie  |  Thailand

Teaching in a town like Mae Hong Son is very special. You teach mostly Shan children who are originally Burmese but their ancestors crossed the border years ago...



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Cisca  |  Nepal

After being sick for 2 years, I realized that I had to quit with postponing things I really wanted to do. So I decided to realize my dream: working in an orphanage, something I’ve always wanted...



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Bjoern  |  Thailand

I really was very very happy when me and my girl friend arrived in Mae Hong Song. On the one hand we were curious about the new location and the teaching but on the other hand - and in that moment it was my only thougt (to be honest) I was feeling very sick after a six-hour minibus tour and nearly 2000 bends!



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Emilia  |  El Salvador

After a very long 6 hours of travel, it only took me about five minutes to realize that El Salvador is the gem of Central America and one of it’s best-kept secret...



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Lara  |  Cambodia

There a few things in life that can be described as truly humbling. My time and experiences in Siem Reap, without a doubt falls into that category...



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Nick  |  Thailand

I arrived at Chiang Mai airport dazed and jet lagged, an 18 year old boy alone in a foreign city and wondered what I'd got my self into...



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Alex  |  El Salvador

El Salvador is a fantastic country to travel to and to experience its unique culture. I highly recommend choosing one of the programs and coming here. If you choose to come to Santa Tecla, you will feel right at home in its colorful and friendly streets...



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Tina  |  Laos

I am in my fourth week at Luang Prabang and have slipped into a comfortable routine – but something astonishing happens just about every day...



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Tosh  |  Laos

I had come to Laos two times before volunteering with Travel to Teach. The first time I came to this beautiful country was in 2007...



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Phillipa  |  Peru

"Arco Iris" or "The Rainbow Centre", I’ve never have I known a more fitting name for a school. Everything about it welcomes you and challenges you not to be happy within it's confines.



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Jenny  |  Bali

My time in Bali came as part of an extended career break, and was an easy choice as I had visited Bali at least 10 times before but I wanted to experience Bali a little differently this time, not as a tourist but having time to spend in one place and working with children...



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Erin  |  Thailand

When I told my great-grandmother that I was going to Thailand she turned to me, horrified, and told me she would pray that I couldn’t go because she didn’t want me killed.... Thankfully, God was pre-occupied that afternoon and I have spent the past five weeks not fighting off murderers and rabid, disease-ridden soi dogs, but teaching English to monks



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Kimone  |  Nepal

I knew that I wanted a break from uni and after searching endless volunteering websites I was beginning to think that this "amazing experience" that everyone talks about would not happen for me...



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Christine  |  China

If you asked me to describe my volunteer experience in one word, I would, without a doubt, say "unforgettable."



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Rasmus  |  Bali

I had a hard time choosing between Ubud and Semarapura (Bondalem wasn’t a choice at the time), when I thought of volunteering in Bali. Because what was the difference between these two places?



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Josephine and Lars  |  Nepal

The minute we arrived at our placement - the village of Thulo Bharku in the Langtang region - we knew this was going to be exactly what we expected or probably even more. We had chosen Langtang looking for a placement in a mountainous and remote area



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Monica  |  El Salvador

El Salvador is widely known for its severe gang violence and the horrible civil war that tore up this country for more than 20 years. But there is so much more to this unique and beautiful country than just violence and war. And I was about set out on my life changing adventure to discover what El Salvador has to offer.



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Natalie  |  Bali

I don’t exactly know why I chose Bali. I think it was an act of desperation at not having an internship three months before take off. I didn’t know anything about Bali, not even that it was part of Indonesia, which is kind of stupid, isn’t it? Pressing the 'apply now' button was probably the best act of desperation that exists...



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Phil  |  Thailand

I’ve finally gotten round to writing this story over a month after I returned from Nongkhai. Since then I’ve started university and it does seem a long time ago that I was cycling along Meechai road to Didi’s restaurant. At the same time I’ve got so many memories and my photos from the three weeks I spent in Nongkhai now line the walls of my student room.



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Mark  |  China

Being a teacher in China - a rewarding job, in a great country with a tremendous culture. This was like a dream becoming true for me...



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Hanna  |  El Salvador

After I finished my schooling I still didn’t really know what I want to do with my life. Travel to Teach offered me the perfect solution and above all an affordable opportunity to escape...



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Marek  |  Thailand

I was by a still pond in a quiet area. Nongkhai could be heard every now and then – a reminder of the outside world I would leave behind for two and a half months. "Will I make it?" "Can I do it?" went through my mind everyday



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Paul  |  China

My decision to volunteer as an English teacher was partially based on wanting to travel, but also to see if teaching could be the direction I want my life to take. I have a few friends who were in a similar program to the 8 week course I am taking at Travel to Teach, and they recommended I give this a go.



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Tristan  |  El Salvador

When you decide to leave your own country to stay in El Salvador for 7 months, it's not an decision you make lightly. You might regret it if you don’t prepare properly for all the differences in culture that await you....



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Keri  |  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.



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Sander  |  China

I learned so much about China from living and working here. If you are in for really experiencing China, I can definitely recommend a placement in Mianyang!



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Emily  |  Laos

I volunteered with Travel to Teach for three months and it was truly one of the best experiences of my life. Prior to my trip, I did a large amount of research on several NGO’s and volunteer organizations offering the kind of experience I was looking for and then I came across T2T...



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Aubrey  |  Thailand

Like most other places in Thailand people remove their shoes before going inside, so we teach barefoot. There is no air conditioning, so the windows and doors are always open, which invites moths, butterflies, and wasps into the classroom. The kids easily ignore the guests so I have taken a cue from them and tried to remain calm if any decide to visit the room...



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Sonny  |  Thailand

Travel to Teach has been a great experience from start to finish - fun and enjoyable as well as challenging and rewarding. To start, Chiang Mai is a beautiful city and I knew from the very beginning that it was a city in which I would love to spend a good chunk of time



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Lotta  |  Bali

I set out from a cold and wet autumn in the south of Sweden, and headed towards the greatest adventure I’ve ever experienced....



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Paul  |  Thailand

So on the 6th of November, late in the evening, I arrived at the volunteer house of the local organisation, 'Travel-to-Teach' in Nong Khai; a small town in the North-East of Thailand along the Mae Kong river, that runs between Laos and Thailand.



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Chris  |  Thailand

I'm coming in to the last week of my temple stay so this seems like a good time to write my blog so I can then relax for the rest of my stay...



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Louise  |  China

I’ve always wanted to work as a volunteer and because of my passion for the Asian culture I decided to combine the two...



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Leonie  |  Mexico

This was my first time in Mexico, my first time away on my own and my first time teaching and I couldn’t have asked for a better experience than I had in Xalapa....



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Carla  |  India

I had always dreamt of going to India. My mother said that I was still too young, however this year I suggested it and her answer was that I could go. My dream had come true.



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Vic  |  Thailand

If you are looking for a unique and rewarding experience, and you like being independent, getting away from the crowds and experiencing life with the locals, then Mae Hong Son is the ideal choice for you.



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Dorine  |  Thailand

My original plan was to stay in Nong Khai for 3 months. It was a good thing coordinator Rick convinced me to spend some time in another city as well. I ended up spending eight weeks in Nong Khai and four in Chiang Mai. I enjoyed every single day....



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Adam  |  India

When I decided to go to India I had no idea what to expect; I had heard stories from some people about the larger organizations that charged huge sums, placed the volunteers in camps isolated from the local population and where the volunteer work did little good...



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Klara  |  Laos

Making the decision to volunteer during my gap year was one of the best decisions I have ever made. It gave the perfect opportunity to explore a different culture and meet people you wouldn’t meet if you didn’t live as a part of the community.



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Katie  |  China

I really enjoyed participating in the University camp. I felt very welcome when I arrived. I was not sure what to expect from the University camp, so I was a bit nervous but still excited on my first day...



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Alice and Tayla  |  Nepal

Finishing our placement at Mt. Makalu has been heartbreaking. The kids there are filled with life and such an eagerness to learn...



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Lorraine  |  China

My volunteer project was for 4 weeks in Mian Yang Experimental Primary School. I gave oral lessons to students in Grades 3-6, 32 lessons in total. In a day there would usually be 2-4 classes, lasting for about 40 minutes each....



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Michael  |  Thailand

I decided to volunteer in Nongkhai because I was interested in learning about Buddhism, and the temple stay option allowed me to do that in a unique way...



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Liesl  |  El Salvador

As I haul my luggage out the doors of Comalapa International Airport, El Salvador, into the hot, sticky heat of the curbside pickup area, a million thoughts run wild through my head. What if no one comes to pick me up? What if I don't like my host family? What if I don't like my project? Was I crazy to commit to 6 whole months in a foreign country?....



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Wei-Yong  |  China

After getting settled in Shanghai and in the T2T-flat I was very eager to start my volunteering. Actually being in the place where I’ve been looking forward to for weeks, made me even more excited and thrilled than I already was! I would work at The Disabled Children Center for children with Cerebral Palsy...



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Jan  |  Nepal

My only 2 criteria were that I was surrounded by natural beauty and that I work with children. Both wishes were granted when I found myself placed in Nimral Pokhari, a village high in the Annapurna’s, higher than the eagles flew, an hour from Pokhara in Nepal....



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Chris  |  China

I have been teaching for three weeks now at Middle School #2 in Mianyang, Si Chuan. It has been an eye-opening and thoroughly enjoyable experience.



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Alexis  |  Thailand

Unlike many volunteer stories, this one begins at the end of my stay in Thailand. It was late at night when I took my taxi to the airport - a 15 hour flight awaited me and the shock of going back to ordinary life. As I stepped into the taxi I looked back at the people I had made and shared some of my greatest moments with....



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Martin and Kaye  |  China

Su Zhou is a great blend of the very old, the old, the not so old, the new and the very modern. On the main streets you can pass by upmarket department stores selling Cartier, Louis Vuitton, Burberry etc, while not 100 metres away you can find lanes and alley ways where the Chinese, like those that we have read about in books for decades, continue to live simple lives.



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Frida  |  China

It is funny, sitting here and trying to give a decent account of our experiences, because it seems that the things that have left the strongest impression are the seemingly unimportant......



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Elmar  |  Bali

Today I found myself standing in front of a group of more then twenty teenagers passionately singing ‘my heart will go on' from Celine Dion. You might wonder how a 24 year old Dutch guy ends up singing the Titanic song somewhere in the periphery of Bali...



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Henry  |  China

How do I even begin to describe an amazing once in a lifetime experience? It all started with the first words I spoke in Shanghai.....



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Maggie  |  Thailand

Is 51 years too old to volunteer? Of course not, I had the time of my life in Namsom and enjoyed it from the first to the last minute. It's a great challenge and you get so much in return. Just go ahead and do it!!!!...



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Carissa  |  Laos

It's not about saving the world, it has nothing to do with being a hero, it's not even about teaching. It's about learning, it's about caring, it's about trying to make a difference....



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Lotte  |  China

Shanghai is a city you should just experience - don’t think just jump in to it and you will see the most strange, but also the most beautiful things.......



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Philip  |  Cambodia

Seametrey Children's Village is sited south of Phnom Penh's city center opposite the Russian Embassy in a rather small side street....



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Robert  |  Thailand

It is often said that it is worth doing something in our lives for the first time. With this in mind I decided to embark on a volunteering placement in Thailand....



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George  |  China

I arrive with the Headmaster who waited for me until 1.00am the night before and I am introduced to every teacher in the school of 2000 pupils. They have all made efforts to learn "Hello", "Nice to meet you" and "Goodbye"....



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Kim and Patrick  |  Mexico

Now home in Sydney, each time we pass the coffee table laid out with our unpacked trinkets brought home from our travels throughout Mexico, it is those that we collected in Xalapa we are continually drawn to...



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Lacy  |  Thailand

Desperate for a break after pushing myself to receive my masters by age 23, I decided that leaving home and my native culture was the way to do it...



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Hanneke  |  China

On arriving at Shanghai Airport I was heartily welcomed by Jessie who gave me immediately a safe feeling as she guided me through the first confusing day so well....



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Meghan  |  Mexico

It was so strange. My first time out of Australia and I was traveling on my own to a place I knew absolutely nothing about....



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Marleen  |  Thailand

After 3 months I look back to a great, interesting and meaningfully period in Namsom. Namsom provided me with a great opportunity to really experience the Thai way of life......



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Jess and Koen  |  Mexico

What do I think that volunteering work means? Do you participate in volunteering work for your own benefit, or do you do it to help people who need it?



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Julie and Ryan  |  Thailand

My husband and I decided to take an extended trip to Southeast Asia for 3 months. While we were deciding where to go and what to do we both felt it was important to give back to our world and volunteer during our trip...



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Anina  |  Cambodia

I have been studying to become a teacher in Sweden for 3.5 years. With one year left to go on my teaching programme I felt that I needed a break and some inspiration. I wanted to travel but didn’t know how and with who. I found Travel to Teach on the internet and felt that it was just what I was looking for. I could travel and also get teaching experience.....



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Janice  |  Mexico

"Having traveled to so many places, it never really occurred to me that I can actually combine my backpacking with some volunteer work. I decided that why not give it a try...



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Mike  |  China

If you're reading this you've probably made the best decision ever and decided to volunteer to teach! It's been about 6 months since I got back from China but it all still feels like yesterday so I'll try and pass on anything that'll be useful for you......



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Ann-Marie  |  Thailand

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....



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Cecile  |  Thailand

After my graduating University in Law I wanted to do something really different before starting a career as a lawyer. I decided to go teaching English in Nong Khai, Thailand, after hearing very enthusiastic stories from previous volunteers who had been there....



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Rich  |  Thailand

Flying from winter in London straight into Bangkok is something of a shock to your average Englishman; and as I was lying in a hotel room after a first day exploring, feeling tired and far, far hotter than I'm accustomed to, I admit to thinking that I might have made a mistake in deciding to spend half a year in the land of smiles and overly persistant tuk-tuk drivers....



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Lisa  |  Mexico

Although I only got to spend 2 weeks in Xalapa, Mexico with Travel to Teach, I had an amazing time and felt like I accomplished as much as I could have in such a short time...



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North Carolina State University  |  Thailand

It was a real eye opening experience for me because this was my first time in a different country. I came to Pai not expecting to teach the kids very much because of the language barrier, but it just made it all the more fun and exiting....



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Linda  |  Thailand

It took me less than a weekend to make the Green Dorm my new home and Nongkhai my new hometown. The volunteer dorms are a nice place to stay. The balcony and its hammocks are a central place in volunteer life and it is here where the best conversations started from the 'is there romance going on between..' gossip, through to discussing the political issues in the countries where the housemate's are from......



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Anne  |  Thailand

Nit noy, mai pen lai, reo reo” ... on the day I left, my Thai level was far to low the be of any use in saying goodbye and how happy my days Na Klang had been. I hoped that the students of Khamsaenwittayasan School could make one more step in improving their English skills and learn as much as I did during these 3 weeks....



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Dipesh  |  Thailand

My T2T experience can only be described as ‘phenomenal’. I arrived on the final day of the great festival of Song Kran in the beautiful land of smiles. I made my way to Nong Khai where I was welcomed by a great group of other T2T volunteers. Who would have thought that this was the beginning to a life changing experience?....



More Volunteer Stories

Daniel and Kim - Namsom, Thailand - June and July 2007
Daniel - Shanghai, China - Summer 07
Stefanie - Nongkhai, Thailand - February 06
Dawn - Xalapa, Mexico - September - November 06
Karine - Xalapa, Mexico - April 06
Sue - Xalapa, Mexico - January - February 07
Nicole - Nongkhai, Thailand - December 03 - March 04
Marleen Dutch - Chiang Mai, Thailand - October - January 2008
Cathrine - Xalapa, Mexico - January - March 06
Alissa - Hanoi, Vietnam - January 07
Bart - Pai, Thailand - September - December 2007
Anouk - Hanoi, Vietnam - September - November 05
Karina - Pai, Thailand - February - March 2007
Maria - Kampot, Cambodia - June 05
Corine - Pai, Thailand - July - August 06
Caroline - Hanoi, Vietnam - May - August 05
Celia - Pai, Thailand - December 05 - May 06
Catherine - Xalapa, Mexico - August 2007
Susan - Quito, Galapagos - Autumn 2006
Laura - Tijuana, Mexico - January 2006
Tommy - Temple Teaching, Thailand - June - July 05
Biddy - Namsom and Nongkhai, Thailand - September - November 05
Leng - Nongkhai, Thailand - March - May 2005
Dave - Nongkhai, Thailand - September - December 05
Lawrence - Nongkhai, Thailand - July - December 05
Muriel - Namsom, Thailand - September - November 05
Mary - Hanoi, Vietnam - June - August 05
Niamh - Samara, Costa Rica - October to December 2007
Pascal - Temple Teaching, Thailand - June - November 05
Lisa - Kampot, Cambodia - April - June 2005
David - Village Homestay, Thailand - June - November 05
Gary - Village Homestay, Thailand - May - November 05
Vicky - Nongkhai, Thailand - September 04 - March 05
The Namsom Three - Namsom, Thailand - Spring 05
Jeroen - Nongkhai, Thailand - March 05 - April 05
Jennifer - Nongkhai, Thailand - January 05 - March 05
Jeroen - Nongkhai, Thailand - January 05 - March 05
Bas - Namsom, Thailand - May 05 - June 05
Tess - Nongkhai, Thailand - November 04 - March 05
Jessica - Nongkhai, Thailand - March 05
Anne Marie - Nongkhai, Thailand - February - March 05
Travis - Nongkhai, Thailand - December 04 - May 05
Caroline - Tijuana, Mexico - October - November 2004
Elin - Tijuana, Mexico - July 2004
Isabel - Tijuana, Mexico - January 2007
Tessa - Tijuana, Mexico - June 2004
Kelly - Tijuana, Mexico - May 04
Marlous - Nongkhai, Thailand - March 04
Mike - Nongkhai, Thailand - January - March 04
Josine - Nongkhai, Thailand - February 04
Emma - Nongkhai, Thailand - February 04
Julie - Nongkhai, Thailand - November 03
Brian - Nongkhai, Thailand - July - October 03
Moa - Nongkhai, Thailand - Autumn 03
Jenny - Namsom, Thailand - July 03
Elise - Namsom, Thailand - Summer 03
Marie - Nongkhai, Thailand - June 03
Blair - Namsom, Thailand - Summer 03
Daniel - Nongkhai, Thailand - Summer 03
Tessa - Nongkhai, Thailand - June 03
Chris - Namsom, Thailand - Summer 03
Charlotte - Nongkhai, Thailand - Summer 03
Miriam - Nongkhai, Thailand - March - April 03
Pat - Nongkhai, Thailand - March 03
 Photo Arielle's Travel Blog
Read about Arielle's time travelling and volunteering in South East Asia...
Visit Arielle's Blog
 Photo Video: Lucy Rampling, Volunteer in Chiang Mai 2012
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 Photo Phnom Penh School Dance Video
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 Photo Nina's Vietnam Volunteer Blog
"After having spent a week in Hanoi, the busy, bustling capital of Vietnam, it felt like such a relief to arrive in beautiful laid-back Hoi An! I've been here for less than a day but I already love the place..."
Read Nina's blog post from Vietnam here!
 Photo Temple Teaching in Mae Hong Son Video
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