Written on: 17/04/2012
Volunteering as an English teacher at PIO has been such an insane blessing for me! At first, the kids wore me out like crazy, but my enthusiasm shot up as soon as I realised the amount of knowledge they had gained in my time there. Nearing the end of the three weeks, I found myself getting emotional over the many letters, notes, and paper craft my students wrote and made me, showing their incredible appreciation for what they've learned and the fun songs we got to sing together - the macarena is imperative, haha.
The tuk-tuk ride from the Frontier Headquarters takes about 25 minutes, and never ceased to amuse me. The crazy traffic and the bizarre amounts of people that can fit onto a motorbike kept me entertained, as did the many looks of astonishment from the locals when they saw a foreigner. Mr Riem, the regular tuk-tuk driver, charged $8 for the return trip to the school, though apparently riding a bike is also possible, just an early start.
The Vietnamese supermarket takes less than a minute to walk to from the Headquarters, which was quite convenient! Speaking of convenience, there are so many vegetarian restaurants for all you fellow vegos out there.
I have to admit that coming to school and visiting new places meant that toilet paper had to be brought, as did hand sanitiser. I was a little iffy about the hygiene of many of the toilets, but I'm sure everyone will survive.
There's an option of having a full day, where you teach a class from 8.30am to 10.00am, have lunch, and teach another class from 1.00pm to 4.30pm. Personally, I felt it allowed me to engage more with the school environment. There's also a half day option, where you just teach the afternoon class. The whole school is like a family in almost all aspects. The teachers care for the students, and the students take care of each other.
The last time I ever saw the students, I couldn't help but cry. The students have so much potential, and they are all so beautiful. Yes, it gets difficult at points (i.e. having to continually tell the students to be quiet), but the end result is well worth it!
One regret is not spending more time at the school. It's definitely something worth considering!