Justin’s Volunteer Experience in Thailand

Posted by: Justin G.

My first day in Thailand was an exhausting one. Having flown nearly 14,000 miles over the course of two days (including the time difference), my first thought was how music is one of the best companions to have on any journey. It shares every experience with you, lending its wisdom and insight along the way. The magnificent thing is that every song you hear has the opportunity to etch a memory into it. Music, it seems, leaves an imprint on the memory of that moment.

My journey to Thailand was twofold- first I was volunteering to teach English in a remote school. The students had had limited teaching with English, and I was allowed a generous amount of freedom involving the curriculum. The second part of my journey was exploration; I planned to travel the country and see as much as I could. I did not make any set plans but planned to learn about the country during my week of volunteering and then explore from there. It was decided later that during the weekend following my volunteering I would travel to Bangkok.

The first week was incredible. My very first class was in front of four 6th graders, and I had no idea what to do. After stuttering out a few words and trying to explain to them what a verb was, I ended up playing cards and joking around with the group. Not exactly a strict classroom. During the middle of the week, I had the joy of teaching a 3rd grade class, which had an extremely intelligent little girl in it. She read complete sentences that the group of 9th graders I had taught earlier struggled with. She was adorable.

I had the pleasure of teaching with two Swiss-French individuals, a father and son named Bernardo and Dan. Dan was 18 and it was his first big traveling adventure, while his father traveled 6 months out of the year to random countries. I had many good talks with both Dan and Bernardo. They were both intellectual and they both had a good sense of humor, which helped make both teaching and living at the compound relaxed and friendly.

Memories like this…I believe they exist very rarely in peoples lives. Those moments where your mind captures another smile, where you feel caught up, happy, content with the world and everything around you. Everything exists but for a brief moment, but that moment is crystal, like diamond; beautiful, solid, but transparent. I feel I’ve captured so many of these moments that my entire week has been composed of them. My heart goes to Thailand, and I believe I will follow my heart on its quest for what it desires.