February 2011

Ring around the rosy. London bridges falling down. Hula hoops. Tag. Simple, ordinary games that were somehow transformed into an experience that was anything but ordinary. Concrete, sand, buckets, shovels, gloves. Simple, ordinary tools that are essential to an activity that I so dreaded, and surprisingly enjoyed. 21 questions, the geography game, the rhyming game. Simple, ordinary pastimes that defined the jovial atmosphere of camaraderie that existed throughout the trip. If I had to choose one characteristic or trend to summarize my experience on GCW 2011- Maekok Village, it would be that I realized that simple, ordinary things don’t have to be ordinary, but rather, they can very well be extraordinary. The activities that we incorporated into our games with the children, for example, were incredibly simple, yet contributed to an impressive learning process, as well as bringing the children joy. The tasks that we carried out when working on the new building were simple, yet the very fact that I was building something and doing manual labor contributed to a significant process of growth for me as an individual. The games we played with each other to pass the time while working, on walks and on car trips were […]

This year, for GCW, I went to Maekok River Village in order to do community service; building a multi purpose building for the kids and teach the kids English. It was an invaluable experience for me, and I will never forget it. It was a great trip, we all learned so much and we all enjoyed it. The first two days were hard for me to settle in, but once I was used to the place, it was one of the best trips I’ve ever been to. We had the opportunity to build a building for the kids, so that they can use it for their learning, as well as teaching them English. There were kids from first grade till fifth grade, and they all were eager to learn, some of the even helped us build the building! Every job in the process of building is as important as other jobs, and it really touched me to see the kids helping us put sands and rocks into the buckets. The kids were very eager and enthusiastic to learn, they rushed to their seats, once they saw us ready to teach. Just seeing this, made me realize how important it is […]

Hoping to give insight to students about the world surrounding us here at ISB, Week without Walls was changed to Global Citizenship Week. While many may have opposed the idea of trips focused on service, I am appreciative for the doors it opened for me as it enabled me to learn more about myself and become more like the ideal global citizen. Even though we were only a few hours away from home, I experienced a different culture important to Thailand, which I had never been exposed to in my 16 years here in Bangkok. Our community service project consisted of us spending time at the Mae Salak school in Maekok Village, where a dispersed community of Thais, Chinese, Burmese, Cambodians and other various hill tribes had shaped their lives. At the school, we built a new multipurpose room, and taught English to the students, but I believe these were not even close to the other accomplishments we made as a group. Personally, I felt the bonds and friendships made during the week had the biggest impact on both the ISB students, and the ones at MaeSalak. Despite language barriers, age gaps and cultural differences, I was able to develop […]

I spent my first Global Citizenship Week at the Maekok River Village Resort. I am new to ISB, and this has been an amazing start to my time in Thailand. We spent four days carrying out a community service project for a local Hill Tribe school in Northern Thailand. Some of the kids at the school are Thai, while others are refugees from other countries. The Thai government does not consider the students as citizens, so they don’t receive funding for their education. Therefore we spent most of our trip building a multi-purpose building and teaching the kids English. The building showed me, firstly, a lot about the significance of manual labor and hard work, and the satisfaction of seeing a physical outcome. It also taught me a lot about teamwork – the passing of the buckets, the role of a leader, and the importance of every single job in a team. Teaching the kids really pushed me to step out of my comfort zone. It forced me to gather up courage to get over obstacles like the language barrier, and simply holding their attention. My favorite part of visiting the school, though, was the free time we spent with […]

To speak the truth, although I have being living in Thailand for many years, I’ve never really get to know this country. However, this year’s GCW trip let me have a better experience of the Thai rural culture and being in contact with people who have lives that are so different from mine. The trip also gave me a chance to reflect on myself and the way I am living. I’m really grateful for this trip, for I learned to appreciate what I have and knowing that there are a lot less fortunate people in the world that need our help. This trip also gave us an opportunity to get to know each other. Everyone has come closer through the various activities including building the raft, cheering each other on at the obstacle course, or even handing buckets of sand and cement down the line at the construction site at the school. As we get to spend more time with each other, I got to know my old friends better and made new friends. The challenge of staying from technology also helped us get to know each other better since no one would get interrupted by their phone or trying […]

After living in Thailand for 15 years, I was able to experience the culture in a new light. Being exposed to a new culture in a region I had never been to before was helpful in gaining insight and perspective on the different customs within Thailand. Firstly, a major shock to the entire group was the campus and education system within the school. We witnessed a school far inferior to our own, with an education system that barely seemed sufficient. In helping to construct another building for the school, our entire group was able to see the benefits as the school was in obvious need of a reformed campus. However, when helping out with the children in the classroom, our group experienced much frustration as it seemed as if the simple lesions we were teaching the children was not sufficient and what was needed was a much larger reform of the system. However, throughout the course of the week, I felt that we provided for the children to the best of our capabilities. While it was not possible for our school group to transform the education at the school, or even the entire hill tribe education system, we were able […]

I never knew that one week on a school trip would have created such a great effect on my life. GCW Maekok has helped me understand deeper about my home country. Not only did it bring more knowledge to me about Thailand, but I had the chance to get to make friends with people whom I rarely see at school. I am grateful for this experience because it has taught me that there are so many less fortunate people in our world who have much greater needs than we do. This trip did not only teach me that they need our help to improve the children’s learning environment, but I learned that the children in the village wanted love and care from us. As the days progressed, I was able to connect deeper with the kids at the school. I discovered many talents hidden inside them and many different personalities. Although the kids lived in the same community, they were very unique in their own ways. Some of them could speak four languages and others could play soccer very well. It was great to interact with the children directly instead of only helping them by donating money. I believe that when […]

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