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Krabi Magazine Features a GVI Intern!

By 6 years ago
Categories Phang Nga

The Krabi Magazine’s most recent issue features one of GVI’s 6-month interns, Dave Armstrong, who spent ten weeks living and working as a teacher on the Muslim island of Koh Klang. Dave details his experiences in Koh Klang in the following article.

After being introduced to several hundred Thai students and receiving a dozen red roses at the morning assembly at BanklongkamSchool, located on the island of Koh Klang, opposite KrabiTown, I’m eager to begin my English teaching career. My first class is Grade 7; I stroll into the classroom and am instantly confronted with approximately 40 sets of eyes, some excited, some not so much. Previously I may have strolled straight back out of the classroom and crept away to a nice, quiet, and controlled location but thankfully on this occasion I’m prepared. With my lesson plan, which I enthusiastically scrawled down the previous night, close at hand (not actually on my hand this time…) I manage to keep the large group of energetic and mischievous teenage students engaged – or at least I think so.

I’ve been invited to teach at this local government school for a period of 10 weeks as part of a volunteer English teaching program, run by a British company called GVI. After completing TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) training in nearby Ao Luk and obtaining accreditation, I’ve been posted at Koh Klang, one of several locations throughout Krabi province where GVI have established long-term volunteer English teaching placements. Given the islands proximity to KrabiTown, Koh Klang retains a natural beauty and charm which could cause you to dispute its close proximity to KrabiTown (5 minutes via long-tail boat).

I’ve been placed at one of the many ‘home-stays’ located on Koh Klang. My house, which is nestled in amongst the palm trees, although relatively basic, is more than comfortable. A local family manages my ‘homestay’ and has taken me under their wing so to speak. There are several other families living nearby and each day I bear witness to the simple yet intriguing everyday going’s on of this small, close nit, peaceful community. The surrounding environment is dominated by mangrove forests, with a smattering of rice paddies and an impressively engineered array of wetlands supporting an abundance of aquatic and bird life.

Teaching English to the students, as well as working with the Thai teachers, at BanklongkamSchool, has been an immensely satisfying experience. The students are genuinely excited to learn and always appreciative. I’ve developed a great appreciation and respect for the student and teachers ability to have fun no matter what the occasion and found their unique sense of humour, which might be considered somewhat indiscreet by Western standards, most enjoyable to witness and eventually participate in.

There exists a strong sense of community amongst the local people, who are among the most genuine and outgoing people I’ve met in Thailand. During my time here I feel like I’ve been adopted into the entyre community and have experienced countless random acts of hospitality as a result. Much of this hospitality involves the consumption of a variety of incredibly delicious food. Fortunately, Koh Klang is only accessible via boat and as a result the only vehicles on Koh Klang are motorcycles. This fact, along with the well developed local road network and the predominately flat topography of the island, make bicycle riding incredibly easy and enjoyable and balances out the side effects that would otherwise result from this seemingly inescapable eating.

My time living within the Koh Klang community and teaching at BanklongkamSchool over the last 10 weeks has been truly amazing and I would encourage anyone with a desire to experience the ‘real’ Thailand to consider opportunities such as this as provided by GVI.

Article and photos credit of: Dave Armstrong