Many of us wish we could travel more, but so often, making a journey is considered a luxury. As a result, we may deny ourselves the benefits of travelling to other places and experiencing different world views, philosophies, and cultures. Another activity that seems to have fallen by the wayside is that of service. As a volunteer, we facilitate a reconnection with our fellow human beings, and nurture an essential understanding of our sameness. When you give of yourself, offering your time and your attention, you give a gift far more precious than a donation of funds or goods. Moreover, you are giving to yourself as well, a priceless gift of experience that can only happen when you are fully engaged with the wonders of the world around you.
Feeding or teaching others?
While volunteering to feed those who are hungry or to build homes for those without are worthy pursuits, perhaps the most rewarding service is that of teaching. Any teacher you meet will tell you that it’s not just about instruction in the classroom. Teaching offers a wealth of learning experiences to the teacher – endless opportunities to grow as a human being. So, why not take the unique opportunity to have both the rewarding experiences offered by travel and the enrichment of helping others at the same time? Travel to Thailand and help teach English to bright, enthusiastic students.
Day to day tasks as a volunteer
In the Trat province of Thailand, schools often go underfunded, which can place strain on the teachers. As a volunteer in schools in and around the provincial capital of Trat, you would serve as a teacher’s aid to help ensure that each child receives the best possible instruction in the basics of the English language. Since Thai pedagogy centers around fun as a primary teaching tool, it’s vital to be an enthusiastic, encouraging helper to these children, so they soak up everything they possibly can. You’ll help to develop and implement engaging lesson plans for classrooms of between 20 and 40 students. During the week, you’ll work a maximum of six hours in the morning, Monday to Thursday. With your time off, you are free to travel to nearby tourist attractions, soak up the local culture and cuisine, or take photographs of an exotic new land.
As exciting as travelling abroad can be, it’s always best to prepare yourself physically and psychologically for the journey. While you will be based in Trat, a regional city, be sure to consult with your GP a minimum of several weeks before you plan to travel. Most GPs will recommend a Hepatitis B vaccination, and possibly a yellow fever and Japanese encephalitis treatment as well. The latter two complications are carried by mosquitoes, so pack your bug spray. Also, it’s generally advisable to be up-to-date on all your standard vaccinations, from polio to tetanus, and to plan ahead for over-the-counter needs; medication for issues such as diarrhea, menstrual cramps, headache, indigestion, and sunburn should be purchased in advance of travel. Enjoy the street market food that is freshly prepared, wear a helmet if you hop on a motorcycle taxi, and keep your valuables in a safe place. And most importantly, remember to have fun! This is a journey that can be as rewarding for you as it is for the fun-loving Thai children you’ll help educate – and that’s a truly wonderful thing!