Having a 4 month break before going into my final year of university, I decided I would like to spend some time abroad and gain some experience using skills I have learnt during my time studying. I wanted to do some volunteering so, started to research different volunteering projects in various destinations around the world.
I went for uVolunteer, partly because it had by far the best website, it was very competitive price wise and because of the excellent reviews I had read online. I have been to Thailand previously in 2012 and enjoyed my time in the country so much I decided on the Physical Education project in Trat.
Overall my whole experience has been fantastic and I would recommend the project to anyone. From the time I landed at Trat airport and Meaw our co-ordinator picked me up until the time I left , I have been made to feel welcome and everyone has been so kind!. On my first weekend Meaw took myself and Mya, an American volunteer on the English project, to the beach for our orientation and we had excellent nights out with Meaw, her lovely Polish friend Agnes and her Thai friends, over the weekend as well!
Having been to Thailand before and very much followed the well-trodden backpacker trail, I was looking for a different kind of experience this time. All the Thai locals are so friendly, from the teachers at school to the strangers you meet in the street. I even had the chance to attend the ceremony of a young Thai gentleman becoming a monk. The ceremony was for the nephew of a friend of Meaws and it really was incredible to be invited to such an occasion. Something I’m sure 99% of western travellers to Thailand haven’t experienced.
My time spent at school was excellent, I was on the PE project so I was either assisting the Thai PE teachers with the older children or leading the lessons with the younger ones.
Teaching a class by myself was a challenge at first, however the teachers taught me a few basic words so I was able to communicate with the small children. The school I was placed at had a football team so each day after school I helped coach the team and I was also invited to attend the team’s weekend match in the neighbouring city of Chanthaburi. The teachers at the school also liked to take me out for dinner and beers on the way home from school, which was an excellent way of meeting local people and trying different foods.
At the weekends I liked to spend my time in and around Trat and Meaw was happy to include me in her plans for the weekend. Over the 3 weekends I spent in Thailand I had so many meals at local restaurant’s (which I would never of went to if I was just a tourist), went to local bars, sang karaoke (badly) and visited quiet beaches and waterfalls.
Overall, during my time with uVolunteer, I got everything that I was expecting from the project and much much more!. The chance to live, work and socialise with local people was an unforgettable experience I will never forget and I can’t wait to come back to Trat!!