Volunteering in Thailand with Volunt2Thai has affected my life and I hope to share some advice and encouragement from it, answering any questions you might have about trying it out yourself. I grew up in suburban New Jersey. I loved soccer and video games as a kid.
My first job was camp counseling, which I did for five summers in a row during my teenage years. I went to college in Miami, volunteered in Nicaragua, and then studied abroad in India. Somehow, I paddled my way to the water-buffalo-dotted rice paddies of Issan and the tiny village of Baan Nong Pong floating among them. There, I both struggled and succeeded in living with people in an entirely different cultural context.
I had difficulty teaching the children English as all I wanted to do was learn Thai. But, I found redemption in delivering heaping bags of milled sticky rice to people in the surrounding villages and farms, who never failed to remind me of the basic joy of smiling. I learned to speak some Thai, which undoubtedly brought me much closer to the native Thai people in the village while spawning impromptu journeys to the fish market in overcrowded motorcycle carriages. Mushroom scavenging turned out to be a rewarding pastime too. I just hope that you do something you’re good at, or learn something your not, while meeting people whom you may perceive as different. If you can smile back, you’ll know they’re not.
Send me a message at https://web.facebook.com/Volunt2ThaiUSA if you’d like to talk more.