These past ten months have been an amazing experience. I’ve learned so much about another culture and I’ve had the opportunity to work with some great people here. My Thai coworkers can be a bit intense sometimes – showing up at my door un-announced or just walking into my apartment without knocking, and my students can be a bit obsessive – ambushing me outside my office or taking hundreds of pictures of me without my knowing, but there’s no denying that they have given me some Good memories that I will cherish.
I arrived at the school knowing no one, and people happily took me under their wing. Teachers were willing to take me to the store when I first arrived and didn’t even have a towel or sheet for my apartment. Strangers on the street were quick to give me a smile and attempt to point me in the right direction if I looked confused. In my desperate attempts to learn more Thai, my students were more than happy to take on the role of teacher and expand my Thai vocabulary. This is not to say that they were necessarily successful, but they gave it a shot!
My students will be what I miss most about the small town of Uttaradit. They were all so eager to learn more about western culture and to teach me about Thailand. It was a great exchange and I truly appreciate the energy that they put into it. Of course, there were plenty of students who were less then energetic or participatory in class, but this is to be expected. In a small town like Uttaradit, many students don’t see the benefit of learning English, nor can a blame them for this outlook. I might wish that they felt differently, but when they aspire to sell chicken at their family’s stall, there’s only so much influence I can have on them in the classroom. That said, I hope that I have managed to teach some students something and that they will continue their pursuit of English.
Still to come- more backpacking adventures!