Volunteer in Asia
Orientation week was conducted in Ubud. I stayed in a homestay with cottages, family temples and yards. The yards were the playgrounds for the children, the places for making handicrafts as well as the farmhouses for the chickens and dogs. I felt like I was living on a farm! With the cocks crowing nonstop, I got up by 6 am every day! What a countryside living style!
Our time at turtle camp was capped off by releasing two of ‘our’ turtles into the sea to begin their journey as independent turtles! Hopefully, the love and care provided at the turtle project will ensure these turtles have a greater chance of survival in the big, wide, scary ocean. Go well, little turtle!
Working in Thailand was one of the best experiences of my life. The children were so incredibly sweet and eager to learn. The younger children barely knew any English so we had to find ways to communicate with them through pictures and hand motions. After this experience, I really think anyone can learn to be a teacher!
The Ho Chi Minh Community Involvement placement starts off with four days of Culture Week, a fantastic opportunity to get to know the other volunteers we would be living with for the next three weeks. This involved language and culture classes, a tour of the city and its major historical sites, cooking class and Vietnamese towel folding class (the last two of which caused a LOT of laughter!). Then we all started work.
I learned a lot about the culture in Vietnam and was able to explore the famous places in Ho Chi Minh as well. Apart from the amazing time I had during the cultural week, I was more keen for my week of volunteering to come, as that was my main purpose of enrolling myself to this program. I’ve never been happier that I chose to work in a school as I; myself enjoy having children around me.
My second day on the island is when I got to meet and start working with the turtles – which was great! Our main tasks were emptying and refilling the tanks and feeding and numbering the turtles, but once we also had to measure and weigh all of the turtles too. Once a week we also had to scrub all of the tanks to keep them clean which takes a whole day!
The work at the panda base wasn’t very hard, but it was extremely rewarding. I feel so grateful to have had this once in a lifetime experience, getting up close and personal with the pandas, learning their different personalities, and helping with their conservation. We were also part of an amazing group of volunteers, united by a love of pandas. We all got on really well and generally just had a great time together, both on and off the panda base. I will miss those crazies all most as much as I will miss my adorable new panda friends!
Most people in Sri Lanka were extremely friendly, and it was ok to use the combination of English and body language to communicate with them. I chose the orientation week as my first week program, and during this period, I visited many interesting places in Kandy, which included the temple of tooth. Kandy is the center of Buddhism; it was an impressive experience to learn the history and culture of this city.
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