Teach Explore Asia (XploreAsia)
Rescue Paws is a non-profit organisation that started in 2013. Rescue Paws aims to first stabilize and then reduce the stray animal population in Thailand over time through...
Dream come true
Submitted by Lindie - Busan South Korea | August 28, 2016
Where to start when trying to put my 1 month volunteering in words. I have been to Thailand twice before and new this was the country that I wanted to return to for volunteer work. I opened up google and started searching for shelters in Thailand, I came across Rescue Paws and just the next day someone sent me a Xplore Asia add to do my TESOL course, to my surprise they were one and the same and I new God had wanted me to go there without a doubt. When I first arrived I had no idea what to expect, it took my a day or 2 to settle in and then it was like my heart had just starting bursting out of the seams...I could not wait to get up in the morning to get to the doggies to be greeted by Georgie boy, Pork, Branca, Benjamin etc. After breakfast with the dogs I would just lay in their kennels with them on the dirty floor and I loved it. There is something magical in not caring how dirty you are or how smelly you are and I loved it- to them you were beautiful any how- I started my first week with only walking 2 dogs at a time, but then every time I felt so guilty for not being able to take more- so I did- by the end I would take 6 at a time(all by my lonesome)- I would obviously pair them up- all the dogs that easy to handle etc. and when I got to the beach I would let them all run free and swim with them- and people kept coming and saying this is so beautiful- and I remembered feeling so lucky to be apart of something that makes people smile!! I would walk for hours with the dogs!! I love the feeling of taking the leash off and they look at you like: " I can run now?" and I would shout go go go. The group of dogs at the kennel at that stage was just so great!! By the last week we got in a dog named Daisy and I completely fell in love with her- it is so difficult to take dogs back to South Africa and it just broke my heart- I still think about her and keep our time close in my heart and her picture in my wallpaper. I still think of coming back for her. Being part of a group/organisation that could help, love and support the dogs was just..speechless. I have been so lucky in live to have been part of this, to have been able to give so much and receive so much love back from a wet tongue and wet nose!! How privileged am I to have been able to have an experience that has shaped my entire future. Rescue Paws, Jaco, Hanli you are incredible human beings and I wish you all the best. Rescue Paws you left a paw print in my heart. Never forgotten!! I miss you still every day!!
A pawfect rescue: volunteering in Hua Hin
Submitted by Ebeh Diaz - Melbourne Australia | July 27, 2016
I knew this trip was going to be incredible from the beginning, but my expectations were exceeded! The whole town felt safe, the people were super friendly. Rescue Paws itself was a real gem. Jaco and Hanli made me feel at ease the moment I arrived. They educated us about what this program was all about and the significant difference it was making in Hua Hin. I spent 8 weeks at Rescue Paws and I wish I could of stayed longer! I was excited every morning to arrive at the clinic and kennels to greet and cuddle all the dogs and cats. The daily runs/swims at the beach with the dogs and puppies was so much fun, especially seeing how much they enjoyed it. Every week our team would visit different Packs' to feed, worm or collect for sterilization. I found most stray dogs quite friendly especially when you become a familiar face to them, then you pretty much become their best friend. The Vet and her assistant (Dr. Aey and Ghet) are super hard workers and incredibly talented. I was lucky enough to watch them at surgery and even got to assist during an emergency C-Section with a fellow volunteer. We were on such a high for the rest of the night because of how amazing the whole experience was. Bottle-feeding and taking care of a new born puppy with the other volunteers was also an awesome opportunity. Training dogs who were soon to be adopted. But one of my favourite experiences was with a dog who we named "Monty". He was dropped off to us with signs of poisoning. Unable to walk, he couldn't even move a single muscle on any limb. We were so worried for him, I wasn't even sure if he was going to be okay. We spent time on nursing him until he was strong enough for rehabilitation. Now my favourite part was that the rehab worked. Watching him on his feet again, after a few dozen stacks and a regular swim in the ocean, he pretty much had it down pat again. This isn't even the half of it, the program is surreal and the best way to describe how amazing it is, is if you buy a flight to Hua Hin right now and experience it for yourself. It is completely rewarding and I will be returning very soon! Thank you so much guys for the memorable experience!!
P.S. The night life is pretty great too ;)
Submitted by Sophia - Bangkok Thailand | July 26, 2016
Overall, my experience with XploreAsia has been a great one. The TESOL course prepares you for teaching in Thailand and the XploreAsia staff creates a network for you that includes pretty much everyone that has ever gone through their program. The course (and Cultural Immersion Program) is definitely geared more toward people staying in Thailand vs. others going to Vietnam or Myanmar, for example. It is understandable since the majority of the participants do stay in Thailand, but there was definitely a lack of information and organization in regard to people not staying in Thailand.
Zach Snoderly taught the class I was in and he did an amazing job - it was obvious that he had gone through the program himself and was able to provide us with his real life experience, which gave us a better understanding of what we should expect, etc. He provided us with constructive criticism, helped with anything and everything, made the class fun by getting everyone involved (i.e. presenter and people observing) and he was always entertaining.
Regarding practical experience, it was really great (and extremely important in my opinion) to teach in a classroom before finishing the course. I liked that we were given the time to build up our confidence and get comfortable with our lesson plans before going to the school to teach, as well as getting some time after teaching to go over any questions/concerns.
We had a good amount of homework, so it was difficult to do much else and that was good in a way, because it made everyone take the course seriously. I really enjoyed doing things as a group (i.e. movie night, homework) - aside from getting some 'bonding time', it also led to everyone exchanging information about what we can do in Hua Hin (to XploreAsia: give the diary sooner!!) and getting/providing feedback on lesson plans/teaching, which was quite nice. Beach BBQ and all the activities were awesome!!
Thai lessons - Pear (Thai teacher) is a breath of fresh air, she's absolutely hilarious, which really helps when learning another language - it's been 2 months since I took her class and I still remember almost every single thing she taught me.
I haven't exactly settled down quite yet (had some trouble with my placement), so I am still in touch with XploreAsia while I figure everything out - Megan from the placement team is fantastic and she has been very supportive throughout my time here. I would highly recommend getting some information on your placement or being clear on what you want in terms of schedule. I was originally going to be placed in Vietnam and wasn't aware that the jobs offered there (language centers and not public schools) require you to work 5 to 6 days a week and you never have two days off in a row (a weekend). I'm sure this would be totally fine for some people, as everyone has different priorities, looking for different things and at different points in life - for me, this was not the right fit. If this information had been communicated from the beginning, I would have been able to avoid the rough patch that I am currently going through, being unemployed for about a month and a half now. Truth be told, XploreAsia jumped on re-placing me and provided me with a list of schools they could place me in right away, but at that point I just wanted to stay in Bangkok and not spend any more money traveling. That is most certainly not on XploreAsia and as you'll quickly be taught upon arrival 'mai pen rai' - that being said, save a bit more money than you expect to use, just because you never know!!
All in all, I really enjoyed my time with XploreAsia and I am happy to have them by my side throughout this whole experience, it's truly comforting to say the least. The people that work for XploreAsia haven't lost site of the 'big picture' and what this experience is really about - Jon, Rose, Zach, Megan, Andrew, Krissy, Justin, Kathryn - don't be afraid to talk to them about literally anything that is on your mind; they likely have already been through it!!
A great experience!
Submitted by Carolyn - Nakhon Pathom Thailand | July 24, 2016
I really couldn't be happier that I went through TESOL certification and the placement process with XploreAsia! They were helpful every step of the way from orientation to supporting us while we are at our placements. Having never taught before, I was nervous about being a teacher for the first time. But they really work with you to make you feel comfortable in front of the classroom while giving you constructive tips. By the end of the four weeks, I felt ready to start teaching and get to my placement! And it's so helpful knowing that if I have any problems, questions or concerns, the XploreAsia staff will be there!
Submitted by Nicole Anderson - University of Windsor | July 23, 2016
My month spent volunteering at Rescue Paws was an amazing experience. The work that this organization does is invaluable for the community and its impact is evident. The work that you will do as a volunteer is meaningful and rewarding. Furthermore, the staff is amazing, caring, and very helpful. I highly recommend this program!