I spent nearly 9 weeks teaching English in a home stay in Khao Tao, which is a small fishing village located about 20 minutes from Hua Hin- 2.5 hours south of Bangkok. It was an opportunity to... Kieran M.
Mai Pen Rai
Submitted by Teacher Peter - Belleville | July 06, 2015
It has been approximately one week since I returned to Ontario, Canada from my temporary home in Natab, Songkhla, Thailand. I was volunteering there at a local school as an English teacher as well as tutoring my host family in English. The experience was one that I wouldn't trade for anything. Interacting with people of all ages from a culture so drastically different from my own and discovering ways other than verbal in order to communicate and teach English was very rewarding, particularly when I was able to see the comprehension in the faces of the people that I was teaching. As previous reviewers have mentioned, the one truly becomes a member of the family when taking part in the homestay program. I felt that I was very quickly integrated in the day-to-day lives of the family, which was very large - a mother and father, three kids, two grandparents and two cousins and their mother, all of whom were extraordinarily sweet and charming, and did everything that they could in order to ensure that I was comfortable. In return, I made it my priority to do everything I could to help out, although after the first time, they didn't always let me cook...I'm not entirely sure that they trusted my cooking.
One of the largest things that I took from the homestay program, and the reason that I would recommend it to anyone else looking for a unique experience different from a teacher placement, was that I was able to observe and take part in Thai culture firsthand. As part of a Thai family, I was shown things that as a teacher exploring on my own, I don't think that I would ever have figured out. I experienced religion, cuisine, academia, family life, night life, and pretty much every facet of life and how it's done in Thai culture. The family and the small community from Natab (particularly the school) was sad to see me go, and the feeling was more than mutual. As part of a family, connections are developed that are much more than work relationships. I felt as though they are an extended part of my family now and I will most assuredly be keeping in touch with them as long as it's possible.
What An Amazing Opportunity This Is **My Mid-Stream Reflections During The Program**
Submitted by Kieran - | July 22, 2014
I am writing this review while I am still in Thailand:
I am currently on a home stay in Khao Tao, which is 15 mins from Central Hua Hin. I have been very much welcomed into the family home and made to feel comfortable. Mae-Thai for mother, cooks the most amazing food and she makes sure that I am fed-probably too much. I have been hovering as she cooks and writing down recipes as i know i will want to cook these foods when i go home!
Mae and I spend a few hours in the morning doing English words and we muddle through conversations about the difference between Thai culture and Australian culture. There has definateky been lessons for both of us!
In the evening, the family's maid drops off her 11year old grandson Ngeun for english lessons. Sometimes Mae and other family members sit in too. It's been wonderfully delightful teaching how to say hello, as well as beginning to learn words... There have some laughs and fun times and of course some frustration, but mostly it's been really good!
It's such an amazing opportunity to think that in some small way I may be contributing to Ngeun's future and his options. For me, the experience has been so rich and joyous, and also I've loved getting to see the local area and discover the temples, beaches and rural life of Khao Tao. I've even hired a small scooter and am zipping to the shops and to the beach,sharing smiles with people as I ride past. And I cannot fathom the kindness of my host family...GeoVisions and Xplore Asia have been brilliant in helping me settle in and making sure everything is ok...I cannot stress what a amazing opportunity this is..."
A Really Awesome Time - **My Second Review, Written 2 Months After The Program Ended**
Submitted by Kieran M. - | July 22, 2014
I spent nearly 9 weeks teaching English in a home stay in Khao Tao, which is a small fishing village located about 20 minutes from Hua Hin- 2.5 hours south of Bangkok. It was an opportunity to live with a family and to teach English, as well as to learn about another culture. It was a pretty brilliant time as well as slightly nerve racking- knowing that the family where depending on me to help them learn an new language/ I could ot have been made to feel more welcome by the Mum and of course the maid's so- both of whom i taught. They were ready everyday to learn and were using the things i taught them regularly. The benefit was i had wifi so i was able to download heaps of resources and flash cards into my iPad- which were invaluable. I also learned to cook some Thai food, and helped round the house as needed. We talked about Australia and my home town of Melbourne and i taught them our national anthem and about my culture. It was really sad leaving but i know that in some small way, the little boy i taught will have had his future changed because i was there...