On my arrival upon the Maesalak School in a rural area of Chiang Mai, I remembered making slight comparisons between the school that those children –assembled from diverse hill tribe villages –go to, and the prestigious school that I am privileged to have the chance to go to. The classrooms, the chalkboards, the toilets, to the dried up grass field. How many of the children had to walk for several hours to get home, sometimes through the pouring rain. There was also an issue of how the school was only licensed for a number of children to learn at the school, however, the school is currently instructing more than they are licensed to. As I taught these children, I cannot help but to notice their eagerness and yearning to learn, perhaps it is because they realize the value of education more than more fortunate students do. They would fully participate in the activities that I had planned for them. Along with my friends and as my volunteer work to help the children advance their educational experiences, I assisted in teaching English to students of many grade levels and constructing a multi-purpose building for the school. Once the construction of the new building was finished, a mural with inspiring quotes was painted on the wall. Hopefully these quotes will encourage the children to want to learn even more than they already do.

As a Thai citizen, I feel even more obliged to give back to the community since the future of Thailand depends on these children and I have no doubt that they will have bright careers waiting for them in the future. Spending a week with the children at the school, I admit, at first sounded like it was going to be hard work. And although it was as I had expected, it was in many ways better than that. The children were friendly and very energetic. For the week, I was their teacher, friend, and sister. I taught them English, I played games with them, but most importantly I was there for them to give them the attention and love that they equally deserve.

The most challenging part of this course would have to be the effort, both physically and mentally, put into the construction of the multi-purpose building and the planning of English lessons for each grade level. From demolishing an old building, mixing cement, and painting walls to choosing terms to teach the students, coloring animals, and playing memory games with the words with the children. I never knew before how physically demanding construction would be and also how hard it is to successfully plan and carry out lessons. On the contrary, the most rewarding part was to see their dance performances for our group in the newly-built building and the smiles on the faces of the children during their English classes. In the end, the time and energy spent on the building as well as the lessons were very much worth it. When the time came to say goodbye, I knew that those small details of happiness are ones that I am sure I would not forget.

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