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Volunthai’s Travel Diary

Tuesday, 06 Apr 2010

MapJaap and Ineke Vermooten, Netherlands
jt.vermooten@tiscali.nl

We were very happy to have asked Volunthai to arrange our stay in rural North East Thailand, also called Isan-region. Our meeting in Bangkok with the organization was exactly on time, the meeting in Chaiyaphum with the family too and the next morning we met our host teacher. She turned out to be a very reliable and dedicated lady, who kept us under her surveillance, but only from the background and we felt very safe with her activities. Her school, the BanKwaoWittayayon school was very nice.
We focused on teaching pronunciation, which appears to be the main problem for Thailand: to communicate with the rest of the world in correctly pronounced English. The schoolbooks for English are excellent, the teachers are dedicated enough, the students are diligent enough but they never heard the right pronunciation, because most of the teachers have not heard it themselves during their study. So only when there will be a generation of teachers who had their study in an English speaking country they will solve this problem. Until that time we, as volunteers, have very much work to do. And that is a great pleasure, believe us!!!
We went to Thailand initially to teach in a high school, but after about a week there came phone calls from other schools which had heard that there were a couple of Europeans who were teaching pronunciation and they asked us to come and give lessons at their school as well. In the end we taught at one high school and 4 primary schools. The children there were without exception very gentle and sweet and we loved to teach them.
Our hosts were also very gentle people who took care of us as if we were a part of the family. They took us to a number of interesting events and we felt that the ‘real Thailand’ came closer and closer. In the Isan region there were no tourists at all, and we loved it.