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Volunthai’s Travel Diary

Wednesday, 25 Aug 2010

Location: Sweden

MapYlva Bergh, yllefilt@msn.com (email me if I can help!)
When my friend Sofie and I arrived in the rural town of Nongkha, in Chaiyaphum Province, we were very nervous. We were only nineteen, after all. But from the moment we got there people were nothing but nice to us.

We arrived on a Friday and got a chance to adapt to the Thai culture and get to know our host family before we started teaching. It did not take long before we felt like a part of the family. Different relatives came over every night for supper on a mat on the living room floor. The food was spicy and it took us a while to adjust to it, but there was always alternatives for us like rice, fish and bananas. Later on the teachers tought us to make Pad Thai, our favorite dish. It was always fun to spend time with the teachers, they had a great sense of humor.

On that Monday we had our first English lesson. It was a bit tricky; it would definitely have made it easier if I spoke their language. To start with, the students were afraid of speaking English, but as time went by they started to trust us and were not as afraid of making mistakes as before. We discovered that drawing was a good way to comunicate, since drawings represent the same thing regardless of the language.

We had three lessons per day and the students were 5-18 years old. It might sound like few lessons, but I liked it since it was the time in between the lessons that I really bonded with both the teachers and the students. For some reason the students opened up in a whole new way when they weren’t behind the school desk. The girls tried to speak English with me as they braided my hair. We talked about celebrities, movies and each other’s countries. They even tried to teach us to play volley ball, which they are phenomenal at. We, on the other hand, were not that great…

I am really glad that I took this opportunity. I have never learned and experienced so much in such a short time.