Sooo, my name is Sabine (or Sabina here, as it s easier to pronounce it for Thai people), I am from Switzerland and I am currently in Thailand, in Khok Pia to be precise, for a few weeks. I am here as a volunteer, helping the english teacher of the primary/secondary school, living in a nice thai family and experiencing the thai way of living.
Khok Pia is a small village of 160 families, surrounded by some other villages, like Khok Si (3 kilometers away from Khok Pia), and which belongs to the city of Khon Kaen (reachable in 20 minutes by car).
How did I end up here?
I was in Thailand and wanted to do something useful with my time, so I started to look on the internet some volunteering programs. A lot of websites were offering volunteering programs, some international ones, some very fancy, but the majority of them were asking a lot of money to come and be a volunteer, fact that I didn t like and didn t understand.
But in the middle of them I found a website about some family-run tour company in Isan, Isanexplorer, which said:
"Ban Khok Pia, in the countryside near Khon Kaen city, is a typical rural village. The people are friendly, industrious, and largely self-sufficient. But also poor and educationally disadvantaged compared to those living in cities. About half of the children live with their grandparents, who likely had little or no formal education, since their parents have migrated to Bangkok or elsewhere to find work. So, it's no surprise that few students at the nearby Ban Khok Si-Khok Pia School hope to attend college; many won't even finish high school.Isanexplorer website
Isan Explorer is helping Nina, a current resident of the village and former student of the school, try to change this. She has almost single-handedly created a small program to bring foreign volunteers and Thai university students to help teach English and other subjects at the school. Volunteers assist teachers at different grade levels (kindergarten to 9th grade) but you will not be asked to teach alone. Although if you have actual teaching experience you can choose to take the lead during class. Sometimes you might also be asked to join with the students to do maintenance work around the school, during which time they will be expected to practice their English with you. The goal is not only to improve the students' English ability, but to boost their confidence. Naturally, native-speakers are preferred, but as long as your English is good, your nationality doesn't matter."
That sounded more interesting, and somehow, more "true" than the other programs I read about, so I wrote an email, and a few mails exchanged with Nina and two weeks later, I arrived in Khok Pia to start my month as a volunteer.