February 2011

During the week of  GCW, my life was affected much more than I expected.   Firstly, the “disconnect to connect” idea that Mr. U had was something I was not a fan of at first.  But after the first day though I realized how much I had been missing in my daily life by having my phone and Ipod in hand.  Getting the chance to meet people was amazing as I made many friends that I probably wouldn’t have gotten to know otherwise. Bonding through song, french fries and manual labor we became close in the short amount of time we had, a week that changed our lives. The children of the school we worked and taught English to were amazing, simply because the joy they showed by us just being there was life changing. Babies with missing, rotting teeth smiling at us as if we were the best thing ever, children so eager to learn from us were more excited with the fact that we were there then what we were teaching. By doing something as simple as showing them attention, love and that we cared made their week. Little did they know how much we actually learned from them.  The […]

This year I was excited to go up to the North of Thailand and put some of my thai speaking to good use. The course was perfect for me because I love to help the community,  I am very good with children and I can also teach them English. I this year i didnt have to do a community service trip because i have already over achieved my community service hours but my freinds were doing a community service trip so i went a long and joined them. The trip started off very slowly and just felt like a trip away on holiday with my friends because we had no chaperones nearby for the majority of the time at the airport and on the plane. When we landed we had to utilize all of my technology such as my ipod, for the last time on the trip. Our chaperone was an strong believer that when you are visiting somewhere, you should be able to disconnect from technology and be able to enjoy the environment that you were in. I think the only reason that i did not find ity hard to disconnect was that almost everyone i would have talked to anyways was on my trip. Once […]

Over my global citizens week trip, I travelled to Maekok Village located near Chang Rai, in Northern Thailand. It was nice to select a trip outside the city and experience a different atmosphere. The region consisted of mountains with small villages and towns spread far apart. These villages and towns were populated with families from China, Burma, Cambodia, Laos Thais, creating a unique culture.  The trip involved providing community service to children at a near by school. I was able to get a hands on experience in teaching and construction. Working along with my peers aloud me to get to know them and make new friends. I found that teaching was the most difficult aspect of the trip and involved more patience than I expected. I was able to make connections with the students and felt that I was providing a meaningful service. Although teaching didn’t always go so smoothly, I enjoyed teaching the children along side with my classmates. Having been teaching at the school for almost a week, I obviously noticed the poor educational system put into place already. The classrooms and supplies weren’t up to standards, the teachers were never in sight, some children lacked motivation and there […]

I’m proud to have been in the group that collaborated in building the Mae Salak School, as well as bringing joy, unity, and change to the lives of less-fortunate hill tribe children. Unlike the two previous WWW trips that I have been to, Jordan and Japan, this one obviously had a different feel to it. Less of a cultural and traveling trip like Japan, and less adventurous and once-in-a-lifetime like Jordan, what makes Maekok unique in its own way is the strong bond and friendship we have built with the children at the school. Getting to teach the kids, build a room for them with our name etched in, and just simply playing with them surely left me with memories I will never forget. This trip was almost as mentally demanding as it was physically. Teaching the kids was not an easy task, frustrating to be more exact, because I wanted to give them the best I can offer. However, many of the kids did not seem as enthusiastic as I expected or did not always pay attention, so many things did not go as planned. A great were very shy and quiet. On the other hand, when I discovered […]

During Global Citizenship Week, which is what they now call Week Without Walls, I went up to Chiang Rai for the Maekok Village Trip. The trip consisted mostly of two activities, constructing a multi-purpose area for the school as well as teaching groups of kids some basic English terms in categories such as the alphabet, numbers, body parts, and etc. The trip format seemed basic enough and I felt assured that I would be able to head there, get to be part of something good and get some much needed Service hours in order to complete the CAS portion of my IB Diploma. What I found in Maekok was not at all what I expected and I found myself really reflecting on the realities of rural Thai society, the worth of “Global Citizenship Week”, and often the possible futility in our attempts to do good in the world. Maekok was for me, at once both emotionally and intellectually frustrating as I wrestled with all the implications and lasting effects of what we were trying to achieve there. It was an experience that is difficult to put into words but here I’ll try to make my best attempt at explaining what […]

I joined this trip thinking all I will get out of this trip is the community service hours I wanted. But by the end of the trip, what I got from this trip wasn’t just the community service hours; I learnt many things about myself, being a teacher, students, and the people around me. In the beginning of the week, teaching the students was more complicated than I thought. I struggled getting their attention or thinking of ways to get them interested in teaching. I went back to the resort on the first day clueless and hopeless about teaching the kids. This feeling I had, I learnt, is a feeling teachers get after a day of teaching. The feeling of wanting to improve and wanting to be able to teach the students and the care teachers have. I also learnt about the society in Maekok. The situation the students were in really touched me. We went to the villages in the mountains and examined the area, we went through the living conditions and we learnt about the children there. They go to school on some days, and some days they don’t and they work with their parents. This is to […]

A number of jokes come to mind when I first think back on my GCW experience this year. A number of them stem from simple things done during the trip, such as me eating a banana on our way to the centre we were staying at. I would include a few more in the title, but that would make the slight reference null. It’s difficult to really say what I learned the most on this trip, but if I am forced to pick, I would have to say that it’s that simplicity truly offers the best that can be offered for happiness. We did nothing very truly sophisticated during GCW – teach children, play games with them, built a cafeteria and participate in team building activities. Not too much thinking involved, but it was amazing anyway. I learned of the joy that can be had from simply working with a friend, simple sports with children and really just sitting down and having a talk with a friend. That, actually, was probably the best thing. I learned more about my friends during a single week of GCW than I have for months at school. My emotional experiences went through ups and […]

Ever since this trip ended I was thinking about what I would write on this reflection. It’s actually a rather difficult process of scanning through the entire trip and picking a moment impact on me. I think this impact began before we even left ISB. I had been struggling with my wants, I knew that what I wanted was not what I necessarily needed but it seemed incredibly important to me at the time. By the end of this trip nothing really seemed to matter any more. The cell phones we had handed in to “disconnect to connect” did not have the value they had before. This trip helped me to realize the importance of connecting and living in the moment. This altered mind set came about because of a personal challenge. I had challenged myself to connect with one child in particular. I thought it was going to be difficult because we won’t speak the same language. Near the end of first day this language barrier had proved itself to be a challenge. I felt incapable of connecting with these kids, let alone teaching them simple english. Right before we left the school on the first day a little girl […]

For my GCW trip I traveled up to Maekok, located in Chiang Rai of Northern Thailand.  Having not been in northern Thailand, or even out of Bangkok for a while, I was grateful to be able to escape the chaos of the metropolitan Bangkok area to a more tranquil and natural surrounding.  From the instant I arrived, I noticed how unique the culture of the area was.  Given its geographical location, the culture there was more an amalgam of Chinese, Burmese and Thai culture/ norms rather than any specific one. Though it is true that the diversity in culture of the region proved to be a fascinating aspect for tourists and outsiders like myself, it is also true that this cultural diversity has become an obstacle for many of the natives of that region.  Firstly, it could be seen that the majority of the hill tribe people are not of Thai decent but rather immigrants of bordering nations.  Though true, to us this is a unique opportunity to explore the clash of cultures, but to them, it proves to be a huge impediment to development.  Not being of Thai decent means they are not officially registered as Thai citizens, and […]

Before coming to this trip, I didn’t read the course description because i picked this trip to follow a friend, so i have no idea that I’m going to teach kids English. Once i realize that I’ll be doing that, i felt disappointed since I personally hate kid because they’re annoying. During the second day of the course, the very first thing I have to do is to teach elementary boys. And when I saw the kids that I’m teaching, they were just running, jumping, and screaming everywhere. I was shocked at what i saw but when I told them to stop, they stopped and they come sitting in front of our group and ready to learn. At that moment, I thought: Oh this is not so bad after all. When it comes to build the multi-purpose building, it’s really hard work and really slow at first, but when we start to create a system on who’s doing what, we really made a lot of process. This teach me that teamwork is really important when you are working on something. Without teamwork in a team, the progress will be very small. Then on the fourth day where we have to […]

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