My first afternooon there, I met my hostfamily and my new home for a month. I talked a lot with Nina, and sometimes with the children of the village, thanks to Nina's translations. She showed me around and after my first dinner in the family (typical isan food, eaten with the hands!), we went to the center of the village where a bai-si-su-kwan (a traditional welcome ceremony) took place for me.
It was very nice and I met a lot of the people from the village, all very nice and kind with me.
The next day, Nina didn t have time to come to the house to pick me up to go to school because the children of the village, very excited, came very early to walk with me to the school.
After a short walk, I discovered it : a school of a bit more than one hundred students, divided in the pre-primary school, then the primary school from Prathom 1 to Prathom 6 (6 to 12years old) and then the secondary school, Matrium 1 to Matrium 3 (12 to 15 years old).
I met the teachers, a bit more than 10, all very nice and the majority of them happy to practice their english.
And so, after three weeks, here is what I usually do here, and so, what a normal day for a volunteer can look like:
- Get up around 6.30a.m., eat breakfast and get ready
- Leave the house around 7.20a.m with the student with whom I live and some others from the village to walk (not even 10 minutes) to school
- Between 7.30 and 8.15 a.m, conversations with the children, good opportunity to get to know them and teach them some new words
- 8.15a.m to 9a.m : it's the time for the school assembly, during which several actions and activities are done, like singing the anthem, doing some brain gym games, english games, etc.
- 9a.m to 12 p.m : three lessons of one hour each for different grades
- 12 p.m to 1 p.m : lunch
- 1 p.m to 4 p.m : three lessons of one hour each for different grades
- Walk home with the children
- Free time
- 6-7p.m : dinner with the family
- Free time
During the free time, I do many different things, play with the children, learn and help the grandmother of my hostfamily with some thai cooking, read, write, walk around with the student of my hostfamily and take photos, go to Khon Kaen. We are also planning to organize some time after school during which I d talk and teach with anyone from the villages and the school who want to practice or learn english.
My weekends are free and there is always something to do: there are often some ceremonies and village events to go to, spend time with the children and teenages of the village doing different activities and games, spend time with university students who are very happy to practice their english, visit Khon Kaen with Kaem or Nina, and I also travelled a bit in Thailand, the flexibility of the program allowing me to leave on Thursday morning to have a long weekend.
My time here is a really great experience.
Discovering the thai culture and the way of living here, learn to live like them and to think differently, learning a bit of thai, seeing the students being at ease with me and daring to speak english, build some relationships with the students, speak about our different cultures and habits with Nina and Kaem and see if some ideas used by my own english teachers can be used here...
It is interesting, also challenging, to live so differently and to live the language barrier and its limits, and thus, very enriching. :)