My time with GVI Laos was really life changing. I had never realised the extent to which people could simply be happy on such a large social scale. The students and novices are wonderful, not only to teach, but to know as people. Each have a story about their ethnic group, their home province or their career aspirations. Their commitment to their studies is almost as endearing as their broad smiles when they meet you. The GVI staff are also incredibly respected in the community and are thorough and mindful in their volunteer training so that we never felt like foreigners. For anyone studying to be a teacher, as I am, the teaching experience is invaluable, and for anyone else the cultural experience is incredible. One of the highlights of my time on the program was the invitation to a Lao wedding extended to the GVI staff and volunteers. We attended the traditional ceremony, where the mor phon laughingly told us our scarf was on backwards, and tied white strings around the happy couple’s wrists in the baci ceremony. Back at the college the Lao teachers brought out the speakers and we all (clumsily, but with style) learned traditional Lao dancing in preparation for the party to come. That night was the wedding party where we experienced dancing, beer Lao, traditional foods and good company. It was the kind of experience no tourist could hope to have and one for which I am very grateful to GVI and our Lao hosts for.