Volunteer in Thailand with Friends for Asia

Volunteer Stories – Teaching Monks – 2009

Franziska Twardy – Munich, Germany – Teaching Monks December, 2009

“This experience has taught me so much about myself and gave me the opportunity to explore another part of the world. I really appreciate having the Friends for Asia staff and their support. Teaching Monks has been an unique experience and the chance to get an insight in the daily life of the novices is something I will never forget. I had a wonderful time and the people I met here will always be remembered.”

Sadie Lehman – New Jersey, USA – Teaching Monks September, 2009

“No words could possibly describe this volunteering experience, it is truly has been an experience of a lifetime. I have learned so much about Thailand, its people and their culture, but also equally as much about myself and teaching. This volunteer project would not have been the same without Friends For Asia. The director and coordinators were so friendly and helpful; they really made me feel at home. I gained an invaluable amount from this experience and would recommend Friends For Asia to anyone interested in volunteering in this part of the world.”

Anna Wasowska, Surrey, UK – Teaching Monks September, 2009

“This trip was extremely invaluable experience from me. I’ve learned more than I’ve expected. I love the Thai culture and always a relaxed atmosphere around. I will definitely miss that at home. The direct contact with local people enriched this experience. It’s something I would not get as an ordinary traveler. Thanks to the teaching program I had an amazing chance to learn a lot about Buddhism and practice what I’ve only been reading about before. Fai and Nirandr were fantastic, and always there whenever we needed them. I couldn’t imagine this trip to go any different…”

Laura Lentz – North Carolina, USA – Teaching Monks July, 2009

“I taught English to the monks for 2 weeks and went to the elephant camp for 2 weeks. I wish I could have stayed longer and done each project for a month each, however I had an amazing time and felt like I experienced a large part of Thailand. Teaching the monks and experiencing their culture and beliefs was awesome. The elephant camp was nice to get out of the city and experience life with elephants! I enjoyed every second of my trip and will never forget it!”

Dylan Rapoport, New York, USA – Teaching Monks July, 2009

“I have always been the political type, probably headed for a career in business, politics, or some other money making endeavor. In six weeks I have discovered my real calling. There is no doubt in my mind that I will return to Thailand as a teacher when I graduate college. It is the most fulfilling work I have ever done, and believe I will ever find. The novices, the teachers, and the people of Thailand made this experience the best of my life thus far. Friends For Asia connected me with a Wat and provided the support needed to work as much as I possibly could. It was the experience of a lifetime, and has redirected my entire life.”

Julia Schmaltz, Muenster, Germany – Teaching at the Single Mother’s Home April, 2009

“In addition to running English lessons I was happy to organize and lead different creative workshops. I taught them the techniques of felt making and how to produce woollen pompons made of knitting yarn. They can be used as decorative elements for jewellery, clothes, bags etc. which can be sold on the market, for example. To teach creative techniques will help the women to gain valuable knowledge and experiences that benefits not only the Single Mother’s Home, but which will help them to find steady jobs or continuing education after leaving the home. It was fun and made me proud to see how the women adapted the basic techniques dexterously and how they put their own ideas into action. I will keep the image of how they are sitting together on the floor of a bamboo hut, looking interested and appreciative at me while absorbing my words and imitating my action and instructions forever. I know, although I am back in Germany they still are producing the woollen pompons which was the easier one of the two projects – that makes me smiling and happy.”

Denise O’Donnell, Pensylvania, USA – Teaching Monks, Elephant Park, Animal Sanctuary March, 2009

“Volunteering through Friends for Asia is an amazing experience. I volunteered for 6 weeks in 3 different projects and would have liked to have extended my stay if it were possible but unfortunately my schedule was fixed and I needed to return home. The experiences are wonderful. You are welcomed to each project with open arms and a smile by everyone. You definitely know that you are appreciated and make a difference in someone’s life. The memories and friendships you make will last a lifetime.”

Linda van Ruijven, Monster, Netherlands – Teaching Monks February, 2009

“Teaching English on Wat Phra Sing was an unforgettable experience. I’ve never taught before, but Phra Natchanon helped me out with teaching and my English was good enough for doing this. I’m really glad I stayed here for two months, I think 6-8 weeks is the minimum to see some accomplishments. Time flies when you’re here anyway! I felt at home at the friends for asia house and got to know my way around the city. Todd, Fai and the other friends for asia volunteers made my stay here even more pleasant. There was always someone around to talk to with advice or the same kind of problems and issues, this helped me out when I had a bad day. I not only got to see a little bit of the Thai culture and experienced their way of living, but it also gave me a great opportunity to reflect on myself and my life. The volunteering will always be a part of me, I’m really glad I took the opportunity to do this. I will look back on this experience with great appreciation!”

Laura Dassen, Berg En Terblijt, Netherlands – Teaching Monks February, 2009

“Teaching English to Buddhist Monks in Chiang Mai was a great experience. I learned a lot from them and they learned English from me! The monks find it very interesting to meet people from other countries, because they have a small world. I think it is also good that you’re showing a lot of interest in them, because most monks are orphans and only the temple cares for them. They definitely appreciate your time and help. Now I’ve learned about the real life of monks and other local people, which you can only experience if you stay a couple of weeks/months in one place.”

Logan Hopper, California, USA – Teaching Monks February, 2009

“I believe that volunteer service with the Friends for Asia is one of the most unique and rewarding experiences of my 60 years to date. The Friends for Asia staff are dedicated and remarkable people who will be very helpful in making service a pleasant one. They provide you with the opportunity to undertake valuable service to others; how you go about it and what you make of it is up to you. The teachers and students at the school that I was assigned to were some of the nicest and most dedicated people that I have ever met. My service there was demanding, but rewarding. I thank the Friends of Asia for a great experience.”

Logan Hopper

Kayla Reeves, Massachusetts, USA – Teaching Monks February, 2009

“Though I made the decision to leave a few days early and cut my time here shorter than expected, I’ve had a terrific three and a half weeks. The Friends for Asia staff was incredibly attentive to my needs and more than willing to do anything possible to help. I would recommend this organization to friends, relatives, and strangers. The variety of different programs available to volunteer under is quite impressive and would allow for anyone and everyone to find a way to enjoy volunteering during their stay in Thailand, regardless of their length of time available. I would really like to thank Todd and the Friends for Asia staff for making my time here the best it could be, and for being so understanding.”

Eline Hertroys, Hilversum, Netherlands – Teaching Monks January, 2009

“Volunteering for Friends for Asia for me was a great experience. I learnt a lot about myself and I met some great people along the way. It was interesting to learn more about Buddhism and the Thai culture. I loved Chiang Mai. It would make things easier if the house was in the center but I was lucky to use the bicycle that was out here. Todd answered all my questions and even gave me some advice how to teach. During my stay there were no other volunteers so I pretty much had to figure it all out by myself but overlooking everything now, I think it made me so much stronger. The neighbors are great. They are so friendly. They invited me to spend New Years eave with their family. We had a great dinner and did some Karaoke J”

“Whatever you do, try to teach for at least a month. Because the Thai people have so much celebration days, you won’t be teaching all 4 weeks.”

“All I can say is that this past month has been amazing and that I will never forget this experience. I have learned so much about myself and it’s such a great way to get to know you better. That’s what I’m most grateful for.”

-Eline from Holland (20 05 1978).

Volunteer Stories – Teaching Monks 2010

Volunteer Stories – Teaching Monks 2009

Volunteer Stories – Teaching Monks 2008