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Full review

02nd January 2014

TEFL Heaven Thailand + Volunteer

Katie DreweryContact

(5 Stars)  
Benefits

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Support

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Fun

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Overall

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"My time volunteering in Thailand was truly amazing. I was looking to go travelling, but I didn't want to spend all my time with other travellers in the busy places; I wanted to experience what it is like to live in a different culture on a day to day basis. I don't think you can truly know a place if you only spend a few days there. The volunteer program definitely gave me this opportunity. Living with a Thai family (who didn't speak English) for a month was very difficult, I wont lie! But their kindness and generosity made up for any communication problems we had. You just learn to get by communicating in ways other than talking. It really was a great learning curve for me. The training on Koh Chang was fun and supplied me with the tools to teach the children. However, when I arrived at the school I was simply told to teach them conversational skills! So I had the opportunity to create my own curriculum for the students, adapting it to age/ ability. This was very freeing and I enjoyed this, as from working in schools in England I know how rigid it is concerning what you teach the children. Thailand was so different! The training had a good balance of work (9-4 I think?) and freee time! So I had plenty of time to get to know the other 20 or so volunteers. This was very important, as when we reached our teaching placements we could all support each other. Especially as my family did not speak English, if the language barrier (or deep fried chicken heads) ever got to much too me I could go see the other volunteers staying 15 mins away. Even though I am raving about this experience, it is no way easy. You definitely get out what you put in. You need to be able to adapt to a new living environment for a month! I did find it really difficult, but that made it all the worthwhile once it finished. The teachers in my school also made it a lot easier, as they took me out every night to all the hot spots in Chiang Mai. I even met one of the trainees in a night club on a Wednesday night in the city, as I had gone out with some teachers... she was quite confused to see me. You will collect strange and bizarre stories as you go along. The support was great, as I could ring Chris and Prae at any time, however if I didn't need them they just let me get on with it. I found this refreshing, as I wanted to try and get by on my own, having as much fun as I could. They did not suffocate me but were definitely there when I needed them. As regards to safety, fun, benefits... that's really up to the individual. This trip is safe if you have common sense! It is fun if you make it. If you stay in all the time pining for your friends at home it would not be right for you. You have to get out and embrace it! It was very beneficial to me when I returned to England. I applied for a few teaching assistant jobs in schools (I'm aiming to train as a teacher) and I got the first one that I interviewed for. The volunteering experience really stood out on my CV and I had so much to talk about in the interview (they couldn't shut me up). It also gave me such a bright outlook on life, as Thai people are such smiley positive people it's hard for it not to rub off on you. So that's my review! Amazing experience, wouldn't change a thing, lots of ups and downs but I got through it in the end and I am proud of that. So if you have read this.. think you can deal with the great challenges as well as the fun you will have, just go for it! That's what I did and I wouldn't change a thing."

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