The Thailand trip was an amazing opportunity for me. One of the best experiences of my life, the Thai Immersion Trip taught me a lot. Though there are many highlights I have chosen to share three.
My first highlight of the Thailand trip was teaching the students English and bringing the world to them. It felt really good to give up your time and become a person for others. These students who don’t have as much as we do, value every bit of education they receive. They worked hard to learn everything we could teach them and we the teachers were able to grow a special bond with them. The first days of the teaching experience were quite long and I was very nervous. You could say that I was a bit uncomfortable and I was focussed on getting through the lesson tasks and hoping for the end of the lesson rather than immersing myself in the experience. I was a bit shocked I didn’t know what to expect, I was more comfortable sitting behind a desk not standing in front of the class. Once I began to immerse myself in the experience and saw how the students so wanted to learn and I didn’t want the lesson to end. During the eight lessons my attitude towards the experience changed. I began to develop a relationship with the students so that the learning became a two-way experience. The students taught us about the Thai Culture and a lot about ourselves.
My second highlight of Thailand was celebrating my Birthday. This was the first time I had spent my birthday away from my family and away from home. Before going to Thailand I thought spending my birthday somewhere else other than home would be cool. But actually it wasn’t. My birthday was on October 3, the day after we were to set off back to Bangkok for our trip back home. I remember Su, one of the Thai teachers whom we all grew a strong bond with, bought me a slice of cake at the night market. First of all I say thanks but then I ask her why and she says “for your birthday tomorrow” and at that point it hits me. All this time being a teacher and being a tourist, I forget that it was my birthday the next day. I started getting teary and sad and it wasn’t because I forgot it was my birthday but it was because I just realised that I wasn’t going to spend my birthday with my family and with my other friends in Australia. It just felt like I needed to be home and thankfully we were going home the next day. So this highlight of my birthday being overseas and away from my family made me realise how much I missed home and how important friends and family are. I had the expectation of how it would probably be cool to spend my birthday in a different way but in reality I just wanted to be home with my family and friends to celebrate it. But overall my birthday was great thanks to the Thai Immersion crew who spent the morning of my birthday waking up a whole hotel by singing happy birthday to me.
My third highlight was becoming a tourist. When we were not teaching we enjoyed being a tourist. I was lucky enough to experience the great wonders of Thailand as well as their profound culture. The food we had every day was amazing, there was always a great variety to choose from. I felt very lucky to be able to learn how to cook a Thai dish.
Lastly I am just happy that I was able to grow a special relationship with all my friends that went to Thailand. I was already close with everyone before the Thailand trip, but during the trip a special bond developed. We supported each other all time and I am happy to call them my good friends. We were 16 and 17 year olds who went overseas to try and make a difference, it was one crazy experience and we will never forget it.