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Testimonial from

From February the 10th till the 19th I was in Phang Nga (Thailand) with GVI. During my time over in Thailand we went on hikes, cleaned beaches, had cooking classes, got to go to two turtle conservation centres, the Similian Islands, participated in a mangrove clean up and visited a primary school in Koh Phra Thong. My favourite activity was our trip too Koh Phra Thong primary school. Anna (one of our GVI leaders) told us our brief and then we all split off into pairs and thought about how we could teach the Thai children English in different ways. Myself and Eden paired up and we were given the topic of ‘the shop’. From this we spoke to our GVI leaders as they had previous experience teaching the children English. We came up with ideas and from this we created our own little shop and shopping lists for each child. We set up the shop with the items on the lists. It took us a two hour car journey, as well as an hour by boat to get to the primary school. On arrival, we were greeted by one of the teachers from primary school and she took us up to the school and showed us around. After lunch, we set up our stalls in the main room with the children. The children were split into age groups. We would get a set age group for 20 minutes and then they would move on and we would get a new group. Although there was a language barrier, both sides tried very hard to prevent this from effecting our time there. Once we finished all of our work on the stalls we split the school children in half. The older children played football outside. The younger children played games inside. I went outside, and after about ten minutes of playing football I noticed that some of the older girls from the school didn't seem to be enjoying the football game. I got a ball and began playing catch and piggy in the middle with them. At first it was hard to explain what piggy in the middle was, as they didn't call it that, so I used one of the other volunteers to help demonstrate it and then the others got it straight away. It was so rewarding seeing all of the children smiling and enjoying themselves, as we taught the children to count from one to ten in English they came running over to us and taught us one to ten in Thai. Doing the volunteer experience with GVI gave us more of an inside view of Thailand. We got to see and speak to people we wouldn't have if we were just tourists. We also got access to places such as the school and the turtle conservation centres, which wouldn't have been accessible if we did it on our own. GVI kept us all safe from harm. If there were any problems we could go to them and talk it through. This whole experience has allowed me to grow and become more confident. After each day we would have reflection time, or circle time as we called it! Anna and Vartan (our GVI leaders) would ask the group a question such as "What did you learn new today?", "How has it changed your view?", "Use one word to describe today?" I found this time beneficial to help think over all the wonderful things we had done each day and what I could do to change or better myself from the things I have learnt. Since returning home I have planned my own session to run at my local Brownies, which will be all about Thailand and what I have learnt, to help educate them on the rich culture of Thailand and also to tell them about my volunteer experience.

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