Testimonial from

I went to Laos to join the GVI teaching project in Luang Prabang with zero expectations, fresh out of school. In fact I was convinced that I would living in the middle of nowhere for 6 weeks with the most basic of living conditions. Imagine my surprise when I arrived at beautiful guesthouse in the middle of bustling city of Luang Prabang. The first weekend consisted of a crash course in TEFL, a Lao lesson and a tour of the city. Although a small city, I was terrified I was going to get horribly lost whenever I went out on my own. After the first week, I knew my way around. Most days, I got up early and went for a run with one of the other volunteers along the Nam Kong River which is the most beautiful view in the morning. I would get back and get changed into my teaching sinh (a traditional Lao skirt). Along with about 8 other volunteers at 8am, I would head out on a bus to a temple half an hour from the city centre called Wat Phao for a two hour class. When I got back I would leg it to the city library where another volunteer and I helped an 18 year old Novice Monk with his application to UK universities. After that, we would walk back to the guesthouse, grabbing a fruit-shake from the food market, arriving just in time for lunch. At 13:00 I had my favorite class at a temple called Wat Mano. This was a beginners’ class of about 8 Novices between the ages of 12 and 15 years old. They were always so eager to learn and put their all in very activity I gave them. When I got back to the guesthouse from this class, I would get most of my lesson plans done for the next day. At 17:00 I had my children’s class at Xayadeth College, just a short walk from the guesthouse and straight after that I would rush across the city for a 6:15 lesson with an independent student at the English clinic, Big Brother Mouse. This was my last lesson of the day so when I got back I could change out of my sinh, have supper and either go to the night market or the local bar with some of the other volunteers. The weekends were my own. On one weekend, I visited the beautiful Kuang Si Waterfalls, another time, another weekend, few other volunteers and I crossed the Mekong River with rickety hire bicycles to explore the abandoned temples in the jungle. On my last weekend, almost all the volunteers went to a nearby village and played a volunteer-Lao football match which was great fun. Six weeks went by too quickly and saying goodbye to all my students and the friends, I had made was heart breaking. It’s impossible not to fall in love with the people and the culture – I would recommend it to anyone and everyone.

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