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 was a wide age range of students within one class. Even with a native Thai in aid while teaching, there was still a language barrier. There were large amounts of children from Burmese, Chinese, Cambodian and Laos villages, which created a difficult task of teaching. I felt that we were helping the children by teaching them English, but English shouldn’t be the children’s priority. I felt the communication between the children were already poor and needed to be improved, but with out set of skills and knowledge we were only able to provide a very basic English Education.

Although teaching the children was fun, I very much enjoyed the process of constructing the canteen for the school. I learned how the foundation of a building was set out and constructed, and the process of creating cement and laying it down. The manual labor did get frustrating and tiring, but working along with our peers and receiving support, the process became enjoyable and allowed us to get to know our other peers.  I felt that all the students tried teaching the kids to the best of their abilities, but knowing that the children may forget what they were taught, its nice to know all our efforts put into building the canteen will permanently remain at the school.

Even though as a group we made a large impact on improving the school, there are still thousands of other schools just like the one at Maekok with children suffering and experiencing the same difficulties. Which makes me feel frustrated but yet very appreciative of what I already have and the environment of  which I grew up in. Although working at the school for a week made a difference, I felt that it was nearly no where near enough and made me feel guilty when children were asking us when we would return on the day that we were departing. This truly hit me and made me decide to try and make an effort of coming back and providing my services again, along side with my other friends. I felt that this trip did change me as a person but I know the trip changed the whole group as a whole. Working along side with my peers aloud me to make connections and get to know them better. Even with my already close friends I felt the trip made our friendships stronger and created memories we could carry together. Our improved relationships between our peers was defiantly contributed by Mr. Utecht’s staying disconnected policy. Taking away my phone and ipod made me realize what we as teenagers have been missing out and relying too much on technology. We were able to have meaningful conversations and create friendships that technology could never do.