Jodie Henson – Review

Jodie Henson
Volunteer reviews Thailand

I wanted to thank you for arranging my placement at the school in Soiyak. The teachers very friendly and made me feel welcome there and I really enjoyed teaching the children and mixing with them. I got to learn about their backgrounds as well as their aims and hopes for the future. The behaviour of the children is a lot different to the UK and I didn’t really have any problems with controlling the class. I would prepare basic lessons plans in the evening and this did help, but I would have to adjust these somewhat to each class as the ideas would well in some class but not others.

I was very lucky with the accommodation there and had a whole bedroom with toilet and shower to myself there. I got to know the owner of the hairdresser next to the school and had an arrangement where I would teach her daughter English in exchange for a very delicious dinner which was a big plus!

I am now “back down to earth” and in the process of looking for a job. Would it be OK if I could cite you as a referee? I think some employers would like to verify how I spent my time volunteering abroad.

Please also say a hello and thank you to the coordinating team for the good advice they gave prior to my placement. This really helped and gave me just that bit more confidence when delivering my first lesson.

I hope things are going well for you both and thanks again for arranging such a great placement.

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Sally Collingwood – Review

Why did you want to volunteer?
To help the children in Thailand. I always wanted to teach too as I would like to be a teacher at some point later on.

Do you feel you made a difference, how?
Yes because we can show the children how to speak good English and help them with their exams.

What did you do for fun?
We chatted in our hostel in the evenings and went to a local bar. We also planned the next day’s lessons and helped each other with ideas which was great fun.

When was your most enjoyable experience, do you have an interesting story?
The best weekend was when I went to Phuket and took a boat to the phi phi islands where the beach film was made. It was crazy scenery and busy but a truly magical place. You need to go early though before the crowds get there.

Would you considering going again or perhaps to another project with Original Volunteers?
I would have liked to go to the Cambodia project but didn’t have time on this trip and ran out of money!

What would you say/recommend to a friend who was interested in volunteering?
I think Thailand is a good project to start with if you have not been to Asia before as everything is so well organised. Many of us had never travelled before away from home and we al found it really straightforward.

What items would you suggest future volunteers pack?
You need smartish clothes for the classroom, you can’t wear shorts or anything too revealing or you won’t be able to teach. I was okay in a skirt and plain t-shirt.

How much money would you suggest you take per week?
You need very little unless you’re going to do the touristy stuff. I took £300 for two weeks which was plenty, Thailand is very cheap.

Could you offer any tips to future volunteers?
Smile in the classroom and make eye contact with the children, it’s surprising how easy it is and it helps you stop being nervous.

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Dion Walsh – Review

I would just like to say thank you for the most incredible trip. It was a great experience form start to finish and I would not have changed a thing!

The local team were great and I could not believe how easy it was to teach as the children made it so easy and were fantastic.

I also got a lot of support from the teachers who were wonderfully friendly and helped explain everything to the children if they didn’t understand what I wanted them to do.

Overall fantastic value and the best memories!

Dion

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Kate Driver – Review

Why did you want to volunteer?
The Original Volunteers programme suited my budget and I wanted to see if I could teach as I would like to do some more teaching projects in the future. My friends had done the same programme and said that learning how to teach was really useful.

What did you do for fun?
Went into town in the evenings and Phuket for my last weekend , swam, visited the islands, went to a few beach parties.

When was your most enjoyable experience, do you have an interesting story?
The most memorable was arriving at the school for the first day and walking into the teacher’s room to a room full of smiling Thai teachers.

Would you considering going again or perhaps to another project with Original Volunteers?
I am not sure I would do this one again because I think I have seen and done everything I wanted to here. I might consider another project in Africa and do some more teaching.

What would you say/recommend to a friend who was interested in volunteering?
If you want to learn how to teach and have some incredible memories then Thailand is a good project to start with.

How much money would you suggest you take per week?
£20 per week is enough when you are at your school. I did quite a lot of trips and tours and spent £300 in total.

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Volunteer reviews Thailand

I wanted to thank you for arranging my placement at the school in Soiyak. The teachers very friendly and made me feel welcome there and I really enjoyed teaching the children and mixing with them. I got to learn about their backgrounds as well as their aims and hopes for the future. The behaviour of the children is a lot different to the UK and I didn’t really have any problems with controlling the class. I would prepare basic lessons plans in the evening and this did help, but I would have to adjust these somewhat to each class as the ideas would well in some class but not others.

I was very lucky with the accommodation there and had a whole bedroom with toilet and shower to myself there. I got to know the owner of the hairdresser next to the school and had an arrangement where I would teach her daughter English in exchange for a very delicious dinner which was a big plus!

I am now “back down to earth” and in the process of looking for a job. Would it be OK if I could cite you as a referee? I think some employers would like to verify how I spent my time volunteering abroad.

Please also say a hello and thank you to the coordinating team for the good advice they gave prior to my placement. This really helped and gave me just that bit more confidence when delivering my first lesson.

I hope things are going well for you both and thanks again for arranging such a great placement.

Read more about our: Volunteers in Asian case studies

Volunteer reviews her time in Kenya, Mexico & Thailand

FUNDRAISER FOR A CHILDREN’S CHARITY TOOK 5 MONTHS OUT TO VOLUNTEER AND TRAVEL

A Charity Fundraiser took 5 months out from her job to work with poor, homeless, and deprived children in Kenya, Mexico, and Thailand.

Lisa Helmsley, who works for a children’s charity as a fundraiser in the U.K managed to get 5 months off from her job in 2009, and spent much of the time volunteering abroad, and working with children.

Lisa spent April volunteering at a Street Kids project in Mombassa in Kenya, June preparing food, and looking after children and babies at Orphanages in Mexico, and July teaching English at a school in Thailand. In between she managed to travel around the Countries that she was volunteering in.

She really enjoyed the experience of working with the children, and felt that her time spent in 3 different countries had helped her to learn a great deal about their cultures, and communities.

She felt that the experience that she had from her work in the U.K was a great help, but added that she had learnt a lot while caring for children from other cultures as well.

She described the local people that she met in each country as ‘just fantastic’, and said that she would love to volunteer again one day. In fact Lisa had previously volunteered with Original Volunteers before in Peru some 3 years ago, and it was this experience that made her decide to volunteer with us again.
She added that she has recommended Original Volunteers to many of her friends and work colleagues.

Lisa has now settled back into her work, and life in the U.K, and we wish her well with her fundraising activities in 2010.
If you are considering taking a break from your working life, and have an understanding employer who would be prepared to let you do so why not contact us on 01603 859689. It could prove to be a life changing experience.

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Teaching in Thailand as a volunteer

4 days after I left I landed on the island of Koh Tao and fell in love twice, first with the island and secondly with Diving. I am currently studying my D.M.T so I can become a Dive Master.

The last time I was in Thailand you asked me to write something in your book and I was unable to complete it. So I hope this will be good enough:

When I left for Thailand it was my first time on a plane by myself. I did not know what to expect, was anyone going to meet me at the airport, am I actually going to get to teach?

Then my story as a volunteer in Thailand Began.

After safely being picked up at the airport I met one of the coordinators at stupid o’clock in the morning, and you could not ask for a nicer person to meet after being awake for 36 hours and the sun was rising.

I felt safe and I new that this thing was real “OH MY GOD!! I have to teach Thai children how to speak English.”

All I wanted to do was to Teach in a school down in the South of Thailand. When I arrived I was very happy immediately I could not stop smiling the kids were amazing.

These Children have characters that put a smile on your face Almost! every day. I was teaching at the same school for just over 2 months and you truly become connected with these individuals.

I came to Thailand on a spiritual journey and teaching was the greatest foot hold to help me on my journey.

I had the idea that I would continue teaching once the school holidays were complete, I left for the south. My Ideas slightly changed. I have now found a great passion for Diving.

This passion for diving has kept me in the same place for the past nine weeks. (Oh yeah, open water was my greatest fear.) This adventure would not have been made possible if it was not for the amazing children, the experiences that took place, the people I met, the fun I had and most of all the hard work, commitment and passion that the volunteer coordinators for making all this possible.

So Thank you very much.

Nicholas Jon Vale

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Annie Reviews her time in Thailand

I don’t really know what to say or where to start, Volunteering in Thailand has left me speechless! When I first arrived I was so nervous about being in another country and teaching English without a lot of knowledge of what I really needed to do. There were many times in that first day when I thought to myself I just want to go home! But I am so happy that I stayed!

The coordinator makes you feel automatically welcome and when we arrived at the school the director had invited us to his home the night before and we had an awesome time on his farm, eating dinner, quad biking and meeting his family. We were made to feel completely at home and were very excited to go to his school the next day, although constantly feeling nervous and apprehensive. However, there was no need, all of the teachers and students were so welcoming and so excited to see new volunteers, that we did not get a chance to feel scared. They went out of their way to make us feel a part of their school community. I have nothing but good things to say about the school we were at. It truly was a beautiful area and beautiful school. The children were a pleasure to teach, so eager to learn, a credit to themselves and the school.

With regards to teaching, you just have to be yourself and go in there with lots of ideas but no plans! You have to figure out for yourself how much they know and where you want to take them. They will hang on your every word so never be worried about not keeping their attention! I advise a lot of english games mixed with a lot of learning. Listen to your coordinators, they are so right. Stick with teaching them sentences and get them talking as much as possible because that’s what they struggle most with. By the end of our time, one of our classes were joining sentences with ‘and’! It was the most satisfying thing to see! A real sense of achievement that you may have really made a difference to their lives and future.

The people of the town are so lovely and welcomed us equally as much as the school had. They really do make you feel like a celebrity, so so special! The people at and around the school really did make my experience. I thought that the teaching side of it would be my least favourite part of it, but I can honestly say it made my entire trip. The children really did change my perspective on things, they were all adorable!
If you get the chance to attend an English camp at the school when you are in Thailand, it is a must. You get the chance to meet other volunteers, of which I made some really good friends and had an awesome time. You also get the chance to sing the YMCA over and over again which is brilliant. Although I can’t honestly say that the children learn loads of english this way but it gives them an environment to open up and try speaking english with others providing a platform for them to hopefully develop their english in the future. It’s a pleasure to see the smiles on their faces throughout the day!

The hardest and only negative thing I have to say is when you have to say goodbye to them children. I poured my eyes out! It was the hardest thing of the whole trip. You really do grow to love the children and their whole culture. I have only been home 5 days and miss Thailand soo much! Hopefully, one day if I can get the money together I will come back, and come back through this programme. They will do all they can to ensure that your experience is everything it should be, I am so jealous of anyone reading this because you have all this to come! I wish you the best of luck Thank you to everyone!!

Annie xx

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Volunteer Thailand Review

VOLUNTEER DESCRIBES PEOPLE OF THAILAND AS ‘ VERY FRIENDLY’ AND ‘LOVING’ PEOPLE.

A young woman from London who volunteered at schools in Thailand described the Thai people that she met as ‘friendly’ and ‘loving’ people.

Aneesha Pandya went as a volunteer in Thailand with a friend to teach at schools in Bangkok and at a small village in the North of the country.

She said that the Thai people she met were ‘brilliant’ ,and ‘very friendly’, that they act and speak ‘from the heart’, and are ‘very loving people’. ‘ Many people in Thailand may not have a lot of money, but they have a lot of love’ she added.

Aneesha added that the experience of volunteering in Thailand has taught her a lot about being a loving person.

She said that many of the children in the schools thought that everyone in the U.K was a King or a Queen, and that we were all ‘super rich’, and had large houses. She explained to them that this was not actually true, and talked to them about life in the U.K. Aneesha added that she had a really good time volunteering abroad.

She sais that she chose to volunteer with Original volunteers having searched through the Internet, and felt that we offered the best package, and that we were very reasonably priced. Indeed, after returning to the U.K she recommended us to a friend who is now volunteering with Original volunteers abroad for a whole year.  Aneesha  said that she would love to volunteer with us again in the future.

It is good to hear that Aneesha found the people of Thailand to be so friendly and so loving, and that she really enjoyed her time spent volunteering.

We wish Aneesha well for the future, and hope to be able to arrange for her to volunteer again one day.

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Medical Student Reviews volunteering in Thailand

Medical student Michael Luc from London, who spent a month teaching in Thailand said ‘ I would love to go back and teach for longer’ upon his return to the U.K.

Michael taught English at the Boonsit Anusorn school in Thailand during June 2009, before travelling around the country for 6 weeks.

He said that he ‘really loved’ his time spent at the school, added that it was the highlight of his time spent in Thailand, and that he would love to go back and teach for longer if he had the opportunity to do so.

He found that many of the children were so keen to learn that they would stay behind after school had finished, and he in turn learnt how to speak basic Thai from talking to them, and other teachers.

Michael, who found the people of Thailand to be ‘welcoming and friendly’, also made many new friends as a result of volunteering abroad in Thailand, and has kept in touch with many people by e mail.

He found out about Original Volunteers as a result of an internet search, and would definitely recommend people to go volunteering abroad with the company.

Michael hopes that he was able to offer the children a good insight into what life in Britain is like, and that he was able to help improve their grasp of the English language.

In return he feels that he gained a lot of new friends, and an insight into the Thai culture, and language, and hopes to return again one day in the future.

Michael really enjoyed his time in Thailand, and was able to make a positive contribution to improve the lives of many of the children at the school.

If you feel that you would like to do what Michael did why not get in touch with us at[email protected] and you too could help to improve the education of a child.

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I had the time of my life as a volunteer in Asia

I have had the time of my life in Thailand and i am currently on a gap year travelling the world taking part in many projects through Original Volunteers.

I had been teaching in Ghana for a month before hand and I kept saying  that Africa  was wonderful  and I loved it so much. I felt that  it would be hard to compete with, but it wasn’t hard at all.  From the lovely welcoming at the airport and making me feel so welcome it was just the start of an amazing time.

The teachers in the school really made it a fantastic experience.  They were all so lovely. It was so much fun trying to learn a new language as well as teaching a new language.  At the end of my stay the teachers really made me feel like  part of their family. The teachers really enjoyed volunteers being at the school, and they involved us with all of their activities, even if it was just meeting the family.  They also took us on tours around  the village meeting new people and taking us to see other primary and secondary schools.  It  was so nice to see how volunteers have helped the school as their English was so much more advanced.

I celebrated christmas and new year in the village and found them both to be very different.  Christmas was amazing in Thailand. They don’t celebrate it.  It was so different.  The teachers in the evening went out of their way to decorate a tree for me.  It was one of the best Xmas presents ever. It really made me realise so much. New Year was really good fun.  We set off a lantern to represent everything  bad  that had happened in the past year to start a fresh new year.  I then had string tied around my wrists to wish me good luck for the new year.  It was really good seeing how new year was celebrated in a different culture.
I spent two and a half months in the school and have enjoyed every minute.  At times there were other volunteers and  at other times there was none.  Every experience with each different set of people I found to be so different, but each time has been enjoyable. I found some people are here more for travelling and didn’t really get as involved as much as others , where as some  really got in to the flow of teaching like me. I got more out of the experience the more I put in.
Overall I found my experience to be so rewarding and has inspired me to want to teach  English as a foreign language.  I have loved every minute and enjoyed everyone’s company. I am so grateful for what every one has done for me.
Devon volunteered in Ghana, South Africa and Thailand.

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The children were amazing in this part of Asia

The coordinator in Thailand was incredibly organised. They got me picked me up from the airport, told me all about the school, and generally looked after me every step of the way.

The school was really lovely and all the villagers went way out of there way to look after me and the setting was incredible. The children were amazing and were so easy to teach. After a couple of days in the classroom it felt like I had been teaching for a week or more. It is definitely something I would like to try again.

The accommodation was fairly basic but it was nice. Their children went to the school I was at. At least it meant I wasn’t on my own in the evenings when there wasn’t another volunteer with me which wasn’t very often.

I picked up thank you and please easily and managed to get by. Thai people are very friendly and patient and miming became the normal way of talking for anything that wasn’t about food.

I really enjoyed it and found it to be an immensely rewarding. I can definitely say it was the best summer of my entire life and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who wants an incredibly fulfilling personal challenge.

Rebecca volunteered in Thailand.

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