Thinking of volunteering in northern Thailand with us? Past volunteers Melissa and Becky took part in our 'Childcare Volunteers' program and after having such an amazing time, decided to talk us through their schedules in the gorgeous Surin.
8:30 We get picked up by our coordinator (Tuk, she was amazing!) with the other volunteers. It's about an half an hour drive, and if there's a few of you, you get to sit in the back of the truck and enjoy the scenery (and the cool breeze) along the way!
9:00 The day starts, the kids are already there, they get picked up and arrive shortly before us, and it's time to say good morning and get started!
9:30 It's Thai teaching time. The teacher does some exercise games, things like heads, shoulders, knees and toes, as well as some other Thai songs. Our job is to make sure they're paying attention.
9:45 It's time for some English! This is where the volunteers come in. You can prepare things before hand, us and the other volunteers made a couple of books with animals, numbers and simple phrases, such as 'Good morning teacher' and 'more food please' which went down well! Also, top tip for them learning English, chocolate helps! They love it! Plus, you'll love giving it to them.
10:00 Hokey Cokey! This was a daily special during our time there, the kids absolutely loved it!
10:05 Play time - the day care centre has lots of toys, Lego, balls, dolls etc, so they either play with these, or do an activity, either painting, or drawing, or something like that. This is where nature comes in handy as you can use all the big leaves outside to make stencils and things for them to use. There's also music on in the background, and some of them just dance the whole time! It's the volunteers job to make sure that they're having fun, paying attention to the task, and making sure no one is attempting to cut off anyone else's hair (It does happen!)
10:40 Lunch - The kids have lunch so it's the volunteers job to dish out the food, and then clean the dishes when they're finished.
11:15 Nap - not the volunteers, the kids! They have a sleep for a couple of hours, and this is time when you get to do other things.
11:15-2:00 - We have lunch, and then get to work on the afternoons activity, it depends on what needs doing at the day care centre. As they're building a new centre at the moment, we did different things, such as sieving sand, plastering, mixing cement. But we also put a net around the fish pond, went and bought some catfish, helped cement a new floor, loads of things! We also spent this time making resources for the teachers to use in future classes.
2:00-3:00 They start to wake up at 2pm, so it's time to hand out milk, dish out the talc for their faces and have a final play with them before leaving at 3pm!
3:00 Once it's 3pm, your coordinator will drive you back to the town, then the evening is yours.
There's loads to do in Surin, such as the night market, swimming pool, few bars and restaurants, you can even get a Thai massage. Just ask your coordinator for advice on what to do if you're not sure.
You get Friday, Saturday and Sunday to yourself, so you can either stay in Surin, or venture out. Things to do are:
Go visit the elephant project, and ride an elephant into the river- a definite highlight of our trip so far!
Visit the silk village and buy some real silk You can head to Cambodia, which is only an hour away from Surin, and visit the famous Angkor Wat. Just ask your coordinator and they will help.
It's been an absolute blast and we're very sad to be leaving, but Australia awaits and it need to be explored!
Melissa and Becky