Applications for LE Thailand are now open!
Program dates: June 24 - August 10
Orientation: June 24 - 27
Midpoint Break: July 14
Closing: August 10
- Takes initiative and is resourceful. Teaching and living abroad can create unexpected challenges.
- Is open-minded and independent. You may be the only volunteer in your village.
- Is a leader and service orientated. Volunteers complete service project (see below).
- Is adaptive. Living conditions, culture and traditions greatly differ to those of the US and UK.
- Understands the program begins the moment of acceptance. Teaching takes place through the school year, and volunteers must be prepared to teach full classes in state schools.
THINGS TO KNOW
- Volunteers will be staying in Phichit, a province in North Central Thailand approximately 210 miles (or a 4 hour drive) north of Bangkok. The province is made up of rural towns and villages. Most have paved, albeit pot-holed, roads but lack infrastructure. Phichit is located on swampland, so be prepared for mosquitoes and lizards! Malaria is not a problem, but certain diseases should be vaccinated against before travel - see your physician or a travel vaccine specialist before departure.
- Thailand is predominantly Buddhist, so although you will not be obligated to participate in Buddhist worship, it is almost certain that your host family will take you to see various temples, festivals, etc.
- Since Thailand is a monarchy, it goes without saying that visitors to this country must show respect to the royal family.
- This program has no language requirement, but any experience with Thai is welcome! This year, LE in Thailand is expanding to a school for deaf students, so there will be a spot reserved for a student who knows sign language.
The towns are essentially hybrids of rural villages and suburbs - there are paved roads but poor infrastructure. All houses have running water but might not have automatic flushing toilets. Most houses will have air conditioning and all will have running water. Internet should be accessible from most houses and/or schools, but not convenient to Western standards.
Host families may or may not have children. The food is usually diverse with lots of vegetables and meat - pork is a particular staple in most Thai meals. Vegans and vegetarians fare very well; however, keeping strict Kosher or Halal is virtually impossible. Host families are very hospitable. Most are Buddhist and may participate in religious ceremonies.
Another important mindset for the program is to embrace the culture with an open mind. Volunteers may find that the Thai students are not the only ones learning. Keeping an open mind will pave the way for a true exchange of ideas and will "expand horizons" for everyone involved.
Our mission is to increase access to education and this could mean bringing the class to the student. Volunteers teach classes during the school year (Thai school system vacations are in March-April and October). Volunteers will teach in schools within their communities, and will inherit the teacher's classes throughout the length of the program. Each class can be as small as 10 students or as large as 50 students. Volunteers also teach classes after school to teachers and other community members. In total, volunteers teach between 20-25 hours a week.
Volunteers should not be surprised by occasionally overwhelming attention from students and teachers. All of our host communities have specifically requested native English-speaking volunteers and will be very excited to have you in their schools and spend time with you. The most important aspect of teaching is to have fun! You are not held back by archaic standards of teaching: mix things up and have a great time while learning. Volunteers are encouraged to use creative methods in the classroom and to focus on the communicative side of the English language, rather than on strictly writing and grammar. You can accomplish this through games, theatre, songs, art and crafts or whatever you can think of! We want our volunteers to bring their own personality to their lesson planning.
SOME AWESOME THINGS ABOUT THAILAND
- Teachers are held in very high regard. Volunteers are treated with respect by students and coworkers.
- The people are generally extremely hospitable and will go out of their way to make you happy.
- Food is cheap and good! You won't go hungry.
- There are some beautiful places to visit, including Chiang Mai (about 4 hours north of Phichit).
MEET YOUR PROGRAM DIRECTOR, ADELAIDE!
Adelaide is a second year at the University of California Berkeley studying Public Health. She is very passionate about service and education, and hopes to make a career out of a combination of the two.
Of her experience, she says,"Last summer I volunteered with the LE Thailand program, a truly incredible experience. I fell in love with the people and their culture. I was so inspired by my students that I had to return. I am incredibly excited to bring another group of amazing volunteers back next year as Thailand Program Director! I am also very excited to work as a part of the UC Berkeley Campus Director team to help build awareness of LE and recruit new volunteers!
Adelaide will be serving LE in a dual role: as Thailand PD as well as a CD for UC Berkeley. We are so excited to have her on both teams! Interested applicants can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.