It’s all about apparel
|Volunteers fitting in well with the local students|
Lao are generally smart dressers – a neat appearance is usually of high importance and modesty is expected, especially of women. As guest teachers in this community so do GVI staff and volunteers!
|Volunteers heading to school looking the part of teacher!|
At school, women will wear a sinh (a traditional, tubular Lao skirt) made of cotton or silk, or intricately and expertly woven by rural women – a highly regarded skill. GVI Laos have ones for loan throughout your time on the project, although they may be purchased for a modest sum at any number of locations around town, or made to order.
Shirts must have a collar and sleeves for both men and women (short or long are fine). The colour doesn’t matter but the shirt should not be see-through. Women need to pay particular attention to modesty regarding cleavage, and both sexes ought to be mindful of exposing midriffs in the case of raising your arms to write on the board. We do have some shirts for loan, but it is highly recommended to bring them with you as purchasing shirts in your size can be a very difficult task in a nation of tiny Asians.
- Short shorts (ie: ones that show thigh!)
- Singlets, tanktops, boob tubes or anything sleeveless
- Clothes which reveal undergarments (either above the waistband of shorts or any part of a bra)
- Swimwear (really! They swim fully clothed generally)
- Tight-fitting clothes (including lycra)
|Some good and bad examples of appropriate||swimwear|
It is a hot country, but there’s no ‘beach’ culture here. In the height of summer people cover up so as to protect themselves from the sun. Stripping down is a no-go.
|Uh uh! Short-shorts a No-no|
So what does this mean for GVI volunteers? It means, for the 2 – 24 weeks you’re with us in Laos, the locals would be highly appreciative of your respect for their culture by following an old motto…’When in Rome…..’.
Some notes for packing:
- Light-weight, quick dry fabrics
- Long sleeves/pants help protect against sun exposure and biting insects
- Sightseeing at temples requires all clothing below the knee and covering shoulders (men and women)
- It’s a dirty place at times so don’t bring your Sunday best!
- Regular clothing is hard to find here in western sizes so bring what you think you’ll need
- One piece swimmers beats bikini, but boardshorts and a rashie win hands down
|Temple attyre is extremely important for men and women|
If you have other questions, contact GVIdirectly. Happy to help to ensure we continue to show our respect to the cultural differences of Laos and its modest people.
|Volunteers and staff in ‘uniform’|
|Volunteer Christina dressed for a basi|
|Great examples of free time attyre|
|The kind of clothing to leave at home|
|A very well dressed male volunteer|
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