Joyi Ung- Care Project in Thailand
Care Project in Thailand
I volunteered at a Day Care Centre and I was very nervous and excited to start and see everyone. The nursery was bigger than I had expected and the teachers were all very welcoming and helped me fit into the nursery’s routine. The children were very friendly and although a little shy at the start, they soon let me join in on their play. Throughout my time at the nursery, I got to know the children and they got to know me. Every morning they would say hello, give lots of hugs and smiles and were always willing to learn new things.
The children in my placement loved morning exercise! We would do stretches and sing songs that encouraged a lot of movement. Quite a few songs were in English and Thai; I even learnt a few Thai nursery songs along the way! My favourite part of singing-time was when we would all sing “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”. When the kids sang the section of the song about the crocodile, the children would all scream “Ahh!” at the end and this was really cute!
Throughout my stay at the nursery, I learned that children can be very unpredictable and surprise you in many amazing ways. Learning the English language is not an easy task, especially when they are still young and are still coming to terms with their home language, Thai. Nevertheless they still managed to pick it up pretty quickly. For example some were able to count from 1-10, say “thank you”, “hello” and “goodbye” all in English. All the children were so friendly and kind and I have so many lovely memories that I will never forget. I am grateful that I was able to be part of their learning journey and I wish them all the luck and success in the world.
My host family
Meeting my host family was quite nerve-wracking because I didn’t know what to expect. Luckily for me, I travelled to Thailand with my cousin which made me feel a little more at ease. When we arrived, Pi Nong, our host mother, greeted me with a warm smile which made me feel very welcome. She was so lovely and caring and cooked the most amazing and delicious food! During dinner time, she would come and sit with us and although there were language barriers, we still managed to have long conversations. She would tell us stories about her adventures around Thailand and about her love for animals. She would help us with whatever we needed, even with the smallest things, like providing us with balm for our mosquito bites or offering us her umbrella when is rained. Every morning she would say “good morning”, or say her goodbye’s to us when we left for our placements. She also greeted us again when we came back; it felt like my second home.
Getting to know the neighbourhood was extremely easy; I got to know the area well and managed to get to and from places on my own. Everybody was so kind and friendly and would greet me with a smile and say hello or “sawadeeka” which again made me feel very welcome.
Traveling around Thailand
With it being my first time travelling to Thailand and it being very humid and hot (in comparison to the British weather), I did not let this stop me from wanting to explore as much as I could. We went on trips to the Tiger Cave Temple, which had an exhausting 1260 step climb to the top, but after a lot of encouragement from the other volunteers, we made it to the top and the view made every step worth it. We went to the beautiful Ao Nang beach, kayaking through caves and we explored the streets of Krabi Town. We also went to the Krabi night market, where you could buy so many things in one place; the market was lively and bustling with both tourists and locals coming to have a look and bag a bargain- I realized that I am not a very good haggler. Luckily for me, going from my placement to my host house and to the Krabi town were all within walking distance. So, we would end up in Krabi town nearly every day!
Saying goodbye was honestly really hard. My stay in Thailand was only two short weeks and it felt like as soon as I began to settle-in and get to know everybody, I had to leave again. Nevertheless, the two weeks I spent in Thailand will never be forgotten. I miss the children and teachers at the nursery, my host mum, the Projects Abroad staff and the other volunteers dearly. I will definitely visit Thailand again!
This volunteer story may include references to working in or with orphanages. Find out more about Projects Abroad's current approach to volunteering in orphanages and our focus on community-based care for children.