I'm not so sure what I, myself, had expected to gain from this trip but I know I gained so many great memories and experiences I never thought possible.

It was nothing like I had expected; as cliche as it sounds my time in Thailand was just that. I have to admit this trip was my first time traveling outside of my own country so my expectations were unlimited; I can remember having doubts and insecurities about traveling to Asia but looking back now I can hardly remember the exact feelings I had.

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I’m not so sure what I, myself, had expected to gain from this trip but I know I gained so many great memories and experiences I never thought possible.

April Leonard

I am from Dayton, Ohio USA, and having said that I’ve come to realize most people picture ‘country farm girl’. Now… There are quite a few farms where I live but I am most certainly not a farm girl. I do however live in a very small town surrounded by lots of people who care very much about everyone they know. My family and I are very close and when I told them about my upcoming trip to Thailand I had a lot of concerned comments pushed my way. ‘You are going to get kidnapped… Or murdered… Or something bad is going to happen to you… Thailand is full of poverty … The people are so poor… It is a really dirty place..’. I forgot to mention these comments were not just from the family trying to scare me into staying home they came from co-workers and other acquaintances as well.

I know in my heart the people who tried to stop me from traveling were just very uninformed and trying to persuade me to change my mind. Well, I didn’t get scared into staying home and I am so glad I chose to volunteer.

My volunteer project was to teach English with a co-teacher, whom I expected would be fluent in English and in the classroom with me at all times. Too good to be true right? I’ve always imagined teaching to be a very easy profession and I know now it absolutely is not! When planning this trip I had it in my head ‘ oh I can speak English and play with kids… No big deal.. Piece of cake…’ well my job teaching was much more difficult than I had expected. For starters creating a lesson plan is a lot of work. Not to mention creating a lesson plan that is fun, entertaining, successful, and easy to translate without knowing any of the languages.

As the weeks went on I finally got into my own groove of teaching. Thai students are just absolutely amazing. I enjoyed seeing their little faces and hearing their accents. Being at the school was a great experience. I got to see how hard Thai teachers work and care for their students as well as their school. Teaching was such a great opportunity for me because I have always been interested in doing it. I do have the desire to maybe someday teach again and the curiosity to see how different the students from another country may be.

Aside from teaching, the rest of my time in Thailand was absolutely unforgettable. The beaches, mountains, waterfalls, and scenery just about everywhere are nothing less than astonishing. I fell in love with the beauty here and not just the physical beauty.

Thai people are genuine and strong, despite how much money they have. It is the addition of this inner beauty and their culture that makes Thailand such a beautiful place. I spent three months in Thailand and I was not kidnapped, murdered, or felt disgusted by poverty. On the other hand, something really bad did happen: I left wishing i could stay longer.

By April Leonard

At the end of my program, I left this report for uVolunteer. I hope it helps future volunteers have a good understanding of the uVolunteer program. I've also allowed uVolunteer to give out my email address to those interested in asking me questions about my trip and the uVolunteer program.

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