Teach English in JinjiApu Zhen - Huanggang Shi

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Ever since I was a child, I had hoped of helping people in need. It started when I saw my first homeless person. I was a changed person after that. My study of philanthropy and people in need continued throughout high school. When I finished school, I wanted to plan a philanthropic trip. I wanted to join the Peace Corps, but I couldn't commit to the three year position. After a lot of thought and consideration, I decided to volunteer teaching English to children in Thailand. The organization I found was a non-profit called, "Cross Cultural Solutions." They offer volunteer programs all over the world. The organization provides opportunities for people to come face to face with serious global issues. It helps individuals become part of a productive solution. Cross Cultural Solutions is a beautiful organization that contributes to a world where people value cultures different from their own. I had a very memorable and amazing experience volunteering in Thailand. Even though it was an expensive trip, it was truly life changing. I’m grateful that I had the experience. When you volunteer in another country you are completely immersed in the language, culture, cuisine and religion. The first thing I learned about Thai people is that they are always happy and smiling. My first month was in Bangkok teaching and caring for orphans in need. There were fifteen children, ranging in age from two years old to six years old. I couldn't have asked for a better group of children. Volunteer teaching is a great experience, especially for the inexperienced teacher. It gives you a chance to try out different methods and see what the children respond to best. There is also not a lot of pressure put on you, everyone is thankful, happy and appreciative every day you show up. Moreover, I had a very educational and challenging teaching lesson when I was in Thailand. It was a great way for me to learn my strengths and weaknesses. I taught English in very uncomfortable situations. The temperature could reach over a hundred degrees at times and there was no air conditioning. The children were so well-behaved, they made me admire their strength and patience. I felt so spoiled missing my American air conditioning, modern toilets and comfortable luxuries. I had no idea how draining and difficult it can be in other countries. To this day, I still acknowledge how we live in such large homes in America. People in other countries think we live in mansions like royalty. Compared to the rest of the world, we do live a very comfortable, luxurious and bountiful life. I badly wanted to spoil the kids I was teaching English too. Unfortunately, Cross Cultural Solutions had a bad experience and made a strict rule of no gifts allowed. The volunteers are only allowed to use what is available at their job placement. A volunteer gifted a tribe in Africa money before she left her job placement with them. There was an argument on whether or not to buy cows or pigs with the money given, then the tribe disbanded. The tribe had been together for five hundred years, but since the gift they are still separated. I found that story to be very interesting and unforgettable. Furthermore, there were limited teaching supplies and I did the best I could. I used my clothes and some broken crayons to teach colors. There was an English alphabet poster on the wall that I used for many different things. I used the poster to teach the alphabet and the name of an animal for each letter. By combining the animal and the letter it will help the child remember the sound of the letter. It is also much more fun for the kids too. They had a lot of fun doing this! I had them practice what sounds certain animals make while I pretended to be the animal. I also learned children love to sing and dance. They would remember English songs I taught them. Their favorite song was, " If you're happy and you know it clap your hands!" The children became engaged and we're great listeners. After a week of volunteering teaching English to some amazing children, they started running to the gate to greet me every morning I came. They would yell, “Hello, teacher Alicia.” My sweet little student Bo and Jackpot would hold onto my shirt all day following my every move. I stopped wondering why teachers continued their career while making such a small salary. I learned why in Thailand. It is such a heart-warming experience to hear and see children replicate what you taught them. The experience is indescribable. Children have a way of making you feel superhuman. The experience in Thailand was unforgettable and truly rewarding.