Volunteer in Thailand with Friends for Asia

Teaching Monks – Volunteer Stories

Teaching Monks Volunteer Project Stories – 2010

Nadja Bernhard – Herzogenaurach – Teaching Monks, December 2010

“I don’t regret having done this adventure and run the risk to come here. Chiang Mai is a really amazing city providing a lot of fun. I loved walking around the old city, got a massage and enjoyed one of the great ice cafes or fruit shakes. The organization went well, pick up from the airport and the orientation weekend were helpful.”

Anke Anemaet – Lelystad, The Netherlands – Teaching Monks, July, 2010

“ENJOY YOUR STAY HERE! You will be sad to leave, as I am now. It’s hard to explain to the boys that you won’t be coming back next week and you have to go home. They have all been such lovely students. Each one of them has their own personality and you’ll love them all. Take pictures so that you can remember them forever. They have become so important to me, which is unexplainable. I will truly miss them a lot.”

Helen Lam – HongKong – Teaching Monks, July, 2010

“Friends For Asia has definitely made my trip marvelous and unforgettable. Living in Chiang Mai for 2 weeks as a volunteer, I had the precious opportunity to experience Thai life almost as a local. People here always wear a big warm smile, and the city would just melt everyone’s heart. I would highly recommend volunteers to come teaching English to Monks. The satisfactory feeling that comes afterwards is truly rewarding!”

Danielle Marasigan : Washington,USA : Teaching Monks June 2010

I taught novice monks during my stay in Thailand. It was such an enriching and amazing experience. It is something that I will never forget. The students really have a special place in my heart. They were all so open to learning and were very welcoming! It was so rewarding seeing them progress each day. I couldn’t believe how far they have come in just these three short weeks. I am so glad that I was able to spend my time with them. Chiang Mai is also a great city to be in. All the people are so friendly. Traveling within Thailand is very easy as well. I got to explore and fall in love with Thailand! I can’t wait to come back!

Christopher Thomas : Arizona,USA : Teaching Monks June 2010

I thought that this project was so much fun! I was here for almost three months and it never got boring. The project was great and I definitely got a lot out of it. The teachers were awesome and the students were really fun. I learned just as much from them as they learned from me! The Friends for Asia House is also very nice and I met so many other really cool volunteers since I’ve been here. Chiang Mai is a beautiful city that is very calm and laid back. It’s never too hectic or stressful here like you might find in Bangkok. There is always something to do at nights whether you go to a fun bar or night club or just go to the night market and look at all of the interesting things that they have there. All in all, I think that this trip was a great experience and I would suggest it to anybody looking to volunteer somewhere.

Kelly Erickson – California, USA – Teaching Monks February, 2010

“Life in Chiang Mai in the Friends for Asia program is entirely what you want to be and what you make of it (other than when your classes are), but here is a day in the life of me!”

“I’d wake up around 6:30, right as it started to get light and go for a run around the neighborhoods in the area. I loved this time partly because I got to watch the sky turn brilliant colors as the sun rose, but also because I got to see all the people in the neighborhoods wake up and get a little insight into their morning life and daily routine. I’d bike to school and go to my first class at 9:30 which ended at 10:30. The hour between class and lunch was filled with anything from talking with my teachers, reading in the temple courtyard, going for an exploratory walk around the temple, creating worksheets for class/preparing for class, running errands, etc. I ate lunch in the teacher’s room and then usually spent the afternoon between another class or two and in my free time more of the same. School ended at 3:30 at which point anything and everything could happen. It wasn’t uncommon for me to not leave school for another hour or two due to the incredible conversations I was having with my teachers which would sometimes move locations to the park and continue. I spent my afternoons and evenings simply exploring the city on foot or bike, perusing the amazing markets, getting massages, writing post cards, sitting in the back of my temple as the monks chanted (which they do every evening), happening upon a game takoh (a game only found in this area that is kind of like volleyball, but the ball is smaller and lighter and, like soccer, they can’t use their arms), etc, etc, etc! Life here was wonderfully relaxed and slow paced, so each activity and part of my day happened at it’s own pace and could take as much or as little time as I wanted. The short end of the story is that I have absolutely loved my time here, my ability to fill my days with anything and everything that I wanted, and my incredible ability to, due to working in the schools and the opportunities that Friends for Asia provides, truly dive into the culture.”

Tanja Kersch – Kirchheim, Germany – Teaching Monks February, 2010

“Teaching English to Buddhist Monks at the Temple School was a great experience. I got to know a lot of different people and learned a lot about other cultures. I really liked about the project, that I never felt alone and there was always somebody to talk to in case of problems. I will never forget my time in Chiang Mai or the friend I made here.”

Ben Randall – California, USA – Teaching Monks February, 2010

“Teaching Monks for my short time was a good opportunity to look into the lifestyle of teaching, as it is something I plan on doing after I graduate from college. If teaching is not your profession, this is still a positive experience to do something out of the norm and something you can look back on later in life and appreciate the small difference you might have made in someone’s life.”

Julia Kaye – Heidelberg, Germany – Teaching Monks January, 2010

“Being part of this project was one of the best experiences I have ever had! I learned a lot about intercultural communication and teaching under other circumstances than at home! I can highly recommend staying for a long period, so you will have the chance to immerse yourself into a totally different culture. You will learn about yourself and find many new friends! I will always remember the times in Chiang Mai and never forget all the kind and welcoming people I met.”

Marissa Kent, California, USA – Teaching Monks January, 2010

“Teaching English to novice monks in Chiang Mai, Thailand was a truly unique and special experience that I will never forget. The opportunity to work directly with the teachers and students at Buddhist temple schools was amazing and I feel lucky to have been able to participate in the learning process here in Thailand. I have learned far more than I ever could have imagined. For example, on the first day at my temple school, while talking to one of the teachers, I expressed an interest in learning Buddhist meditation. Later on, that same day, I found myself sitting with a monk in one of the classrooms, learning meditation via two other teachers at the school who helped translate his Thai to English. This type of generosity is commonplace here.”

Haley Massey – Connecticut, USA – Teaching Monks January, 2010

“I came to Thailand alone and basically without a plan other than Friends For Asia. As soon as I arrived, the pieces began to fall into place. The Friends For Asia staff and the other volunteers were incredibly welcoming and my transition into Thai life felt almost effortless. Before starting my placement at Wat SriSoda, I was worried about the “farang” stigma- they seem to have a very set opinion about foreigners. Friends For Asia is special because it helps you find a way to integrate into Thai culture and become friends with Thai people. On my first day of my placement, one of the teachers told me that I looked like a doll because of my long eyelashes and curly hair. So, she gave me the nickname “tukkata” which means doll in Thai. She spoke very little English but just enough for us to communicate. She shared her food with me the day we met, bought me Thai treats after lunch. She started a joke that she wanted me to meet her son. Before I knew it, all the other teachers started referring to her as my mother-in-law. I think this is typical Thai humor, and also I found it pretty funny. Even though we knew each other for a short time, I began to feel like she was like my Thai mother. My “mother-in-law” ended up inviting me to her house to learn how to make Kowsoy, a traditional northern Thai dish. Her daughter spoke better English so it was easier to communicate while cooking. It was so lovely being able to spend time with the two Thai ladies and learning how to cook in their home. Plus, the food was incredible!”

Volunteer Stories – Teaching Monks – 2010

Volunteer Stories – Teaching Monks – 2009

Volunteer Stories – Teaching Monks – 2008