I have been wanting to volunteer as an English teacher since I started backpacking in Southeast Asia. I taught some university students when I was in Vietnam but not in an actual school. Here you can read my experience about that: https://iamryshel.com/2014/07/28/talking-with-the-tourists-group/
Almost all the ads I found online about volunteering requires you to pay certain amount of money which I can’t afford. I met an American girl in Vietnam who went there from her one month volunteering in Cambodia. She told me about helpx.net. Helpx means Help Exchange. Hosts provide either accommodation or food or sometimes both in exchange of you working for free. I paid 20 Euros for two years membership so I can contact hosts.
Nitty’s post first caught my attention so I contacted her. I have been in touch with Nitty since October 2014 but there was a conflict with our schedules so I couldn’t volunteer that time. I continued backpacking and came back to Thailand so I contacted her again. Thankfully, she was able to accommodate me for a week.
She picked me up from Nang Rong bus station on Sunday, February 1st. They have a lovely house in a quiet location. I had this cute room for a week.
Nitty has a wonderful, lovely family from her mom and dad to her husband and their cat.
I was lucky to be part of her birthday celebration so we had a not-so-big family dinner at their house. 🙂
Unfortunately, I could only stay a week because I did not really plan this well. A week maybe short but long enough to be memorable though.
I got to meet all the students in Bantepphattana School. From Kindergarten 1 to Mattayom 3 which are 7 to 15 years old.
I enjoyed every seconds of my one hour session per class within one week. The participation of the students were amazing. I liked them all but I specially liked the energy and willingness to learn of those in Pratom 3 (9yrsold) and Pratom 2 (8yrsold).
I haven’t taught in an actual school before so yeah this was my first. No practice. No preparation. I just did it and it was incredible.
My last day in the school was emotional which I did not expect. There will always be one or two people who will touch your heart in a strange land. This is surely an experience I will never forget.
Before I left Nitty’s house, she made sure to make my stay more memorable.
She took me to her uncle’s longan farm.
She took me to the temple to make merit.
Nitty and her husband took me to a nice, relaxing seafood dinner.
And the Asparagus farm of her brother!
They had to go to The Mall in Korat where I planned to go so I went with them and they made sure I get to my guesthouse safely.
What a wonderful 7 days at Nitty’s place in Buriram Province! This opportunity I was given is definitely a remarkable one.
I wish I was able to stay longer. The end was heartbreaking but at the same time my heart is happy because I know I somehow made a difference to other people’s lives.