Thoughts from TTC Volunteers

   
   
Our current and past Teachers share their experiences.

For an informative and entertaining update from Andrea Singer, member of the 2016 class of Teachers, please scroll to the bottom of this page to view her PDF file.


Rebecca Hutcheson

BS, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Mercer University, 2015

 

My experiences in Thailand have been nothing short of extraordinary. Teaching, learning, and living with Thai people has made me grow in ways I would have never thought possible. Even though teaching English is far outside my chosen field, I would not trade my time in Thailand for anything. 










Lauren Gonzalez

BS, Health Science, Boston University, 2015

Coming to Thailand has been the most rewarding and eye-opening experience for me. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to learn about Thai culture, teaching and myself. But what I will remember most about my experience is the amazing people I met and the adventures we had. Whether it be singing Karaoke and getting dinner with my coworkers or traveling through Indonesia with fellow volunteers my time here will forever hold a very special place in my heart.








Lea Josey

BA, Spanish, Mercer University, 2015

 

Thailand has been an incredible experience for me. I’ve gotten to know myself outside of formal schooling and been able to experience and enjoy teaching, something I thought I would never do, while making lifelong friendships with people of a culture different than my own. I’ve had many unforgettable experiences in this country and will cherish them forever.










Andrea Singer

BA, Global and International Studies, Arizona State University, 2015

 

To say I love it here would be quite an understatement. It’s been an incredible learning experience and I’m confident it will provide me with a strong foundation for what I will be able to accomplish in the future.











Deanna Smith

BBA, Marketing and history, Mercer University, 2015

 

My time teaching in Thailand has been enlightening and gratifying. I have learned a lot about myself, the country, and the people. When I look back on the individual moments that define my time in Thailand, more so than the places or the adventures, it will be the people I remember the most. I only hope that I can be one of many to influence my students on their educational journey. I will never forget this experience. 










Jesse Lehrman

BA, International Political Economy, University of Puget Sound, 2014

 

At the tail-end of two years in Thailand, this experience has come to define my young adulthood. The friends I’ve made and the good times I’ve had are unique and unrivaled. I love Thailand, I’ll miss it so much. 











Precious Patterson                                       

BBA, Economics, Mercer University, 2015

 

I burned out after graduation and came to Thailand to find inner peace. I found peace through service, reflection, and not only living, but fully engaging in Thai culture. Many thanks to TTC for this opportunity that led to an enlightening, pivotal, and truly life-changing experience.











Monica Hoyle

BA, Art History, Mercer University, 2015


Thailand is a lovely place with wonderful people. I've enjoyed my time with my students, and although the school year has ended, our connection will last a lifetime. I will never forget the people I met here! Thank you Thailand.











Steffiny Kallickal
BBA, Accounting, Mercer University, 2015

 

My experience in Thailand has changed me for the better. I have seen a variety of places, created meaningful relationships, and have found a way to live life simply and happily. I highly recommend others to take such opportunities they receive in life. You never know who you may meet or where you may go.










Dallas Esquibel

BBA, Economics, Mercer University, 2015

This has been one of the greatest experiences of my life. Throughout my years of education I have been everything from the teacher's pet to the class clown. I have been good, bad, disruptive, and angelic, but I do not think that I would have ever sympathized with my past teachers as much as I do now. The inspiration for learning English I have given my students makes all of this worth it.








Maria Plata

BA, Mass Communications, Florida Gulf Coast University, 2015

 

Despite the roller-coaster of emotions these past 10 months have been, I believe that this experience has helped shape me into the person I am today.  Even when the days seem hard, I tried to remember why and for who I decided to do this for: my students. Everyone has a different experience, but that’s the beauty of Thailand. This experience is going to be an adventure full of challenges, learning, fun, and so much more. You’ll also learn that you are much stronger than you have ever believed yourself to be.










Jacob Fanning,
BA, English Literature, Davidson College, 2014

Thailand is a phenomenal country with a unique culture based on kindness and tolerance. While teaching has its challenges here, the rewards far surpass the effort. I have enjoyed Thailand more than any place I have gone to before.












Sara Miller
BA, Spanish and Anthropology, Lewis & Clark College, 2014

Living and teaching in Phrae, I found Thailand to be an incredible and often very challenging experience. I learned an enormous amount about myself and Thailand. It was such a pleasure to watch my little students learn and grown. I’ll miss them and my Thai friends so much!







Matthew Brown
BS, Chemistry, Mercer University, 2014

This year in Thailand has been one of the most memorable experiences of my life. I am thankful for the lifelong friendships made with my students and fellow teachers.












Jessenia Acuna
BA, Psychology, Florida International University, 2014

Thailand has been a profound and insightful experience filled with fascinating encounters and interesting practices. I observed, while teaching, the prolific influences and effects of an emerging globalized world on traditional culture. And though I was in Thailand to teach students, it was the students who greatly contributed toward this journey and helped me gain enriching knowledge for both professional and personal development. My experience, though challenging at times, has been immensely unforgettable, to say the least. I have learned so much and feel grateful for all the lessons.  And I am glad to have been part of Teach Thailand Corps.









Katy Guetherman
BS, Biology, Mercer University, 2014

This year in Thailand has been nothing short of incredible. I have shared in both the good and difficult experiences, but I would not trade my time here for anything.











Marjorie Yandell


BA, International Politics, Belmont University, 2014

Teaching in Thailand has been a wonderful and enlightening experience!”












Sarah Wibell
BA, Women's and Gender Studies, Mercer University, 2014

I loved my students and coworkers at school. It was difficult the first couple of months learning how to teach effectively, but overall, my time here was very meaningful.












Kelsey Diez
BA, German, University of Miami, 2014

I love my town and the friends I made, especially in the church I attended. I absolutely loved my students.











Adriel Taslim
BA, French, Violin, Mercer University, 2014

Living in Thailand has definitely been a great experience. I've developed a great rapport with my students and co-workers alike, and, as I near the end, I know that it will be difficult to leave this place. I will forever cherish the times that I spent at the Mongkol WIttaya school in Lamphun, Thailand.


Allison Noe
BA, Pyschology, Lewis & Clark College, 2014

Teaching in Thailand gave me the opportunity to develop my communication and teaching skills, as well as to grow personally in many ways. It was enlightening to experience the culture and education system of another country so different from my own. It has been a truly unforgettable journey.


Ryan Heaton

BS, Elementary Education, Charleston Southern University, 2014

Teaches Grades 1, 2, and 5-10 1  at St. Francis Xavier School in Phrae Province


I traveled to Thailand to completely step out of my comfort zone.  I studied elementary education in college and had a passion to teach in another country. Little did I know how captivated my heart would become with this place. Learning another culture and often not having a clue with what is going on has helped me develop in ways that never could have happened without this experience.  I have built relationships that I will forever hold dear in my heart--some based solely on smiles, and I think that’s one of the most beautiful things.


Charlayna Braxton

BS Psychology, Mercer University, 2013

I enjoy helping and dedicating my time to those who are socially, economically, and financially less fortunate than me. My true passion is to volunteer and work on service projects.  My main reason for applying and joining the TTC program was to challenge my field of expertise, which is working with children. I wanted to add the challenge of culture shock, a new environment, and language barrier to my passion.  I enjoy being a walking representation of the ethnic diversity in America. In this country I am repeatedly asked if I am from Africa because most Thai students and people generally assume Americans are white. I enjoy showing them Americans are made up of a variety of ethnicities, and come in all shades, colors, shapes, and sizes.


Rebecca Cassidy

English and Spanish, Mercer University, 2013

I had never really had any desire to visit Asia.  But the more I learned about the program and the more I thought about teaching children, the more excited I became. The program looked like it offered a lot of support to its volunteers and the work appeared fulfilling.  After speaking to some others who had done the program in the past – all of whom had loved it and had few negative things to say – I decided to give it a shot.  The fit seemed perfect.  I could work with kids, live abroad, and experience things I probably never dreamed of.  Even know I’m growing in ways only made possible by living abroad.  I’m so thankful to experience a culture other than my own and to form relationships that cross language and cultural barriers.  It’s truly a rewarding experience.  Though I’ve only been here for two and a half months, I’ve come to enjoy Thai culture more than I imagined.  The people here are some of the kindest souls you will meet, and the culture is hospitable and easy-going – something that I very much enjoy.  I’ve found many adventures already and expect many more in the coming months.  More importantly, I’ve already begun to learn things about myself that I may never have known had I stayed in the States.  I’ve learned exactly how far I can be stretched out of my comfort zones. I’ve learned what I truly value and prioritize without the support or peer pressure of my family and friends back home. I’ve learned to see past stereotypes and expectations and to embrace anything and everything that can be thrown at me – and much more.  It’s definitely been a life-changing experience.


Brittani Howell

English, Mercer University, 2013

I have been incredibly blessed with helpful co-teachers, who are becoming our friends rather than our colleagues.  In my spare time, I’ve been systematically working through all the little restaurants and food stands in my time, visiting the post office with the regularity of Thai people going to the temple, and working on the scraps of creative projects in the hopes that I might have some manuscripts ready for publication when I return. I have a growing list on the wall of my room of places I want to go and festivals I want to attend in Thailand.  I hope that by the time I go home, I can speak a little more Thai, that I’ll have a host of new stories to tell, that I’ll have a deeper understanding of a culture so wildly different from my own, and that I will have made some true and lasting international friendships. It is definitely an adventure.


Nabil Hoq

International Relations and Arabic, Tufts University, 2013

I’ve had a great experience in Thailand so far. I absolutely enjoy teaching, getting to know the students and teachers, and experiencing the thrills and adventures that come with living in Thailand. I wanted to gain international work experience before my Masters, and TTC and Thailand have solidified my interested in working overseas for a few years before attending graduate school. I wholeheartedly look forward to the rest of my time here and experiencing life in this beautiful country.


Amanda Hutsell

BS Biology, Chemistry minor, Mercer University, 2013

Yonok Foundation provided me with an opportunity to travel outside of my comfort zone and training to partake in an experience that I simply could not refuse. Providing service to those in need, on a level of this magnitude, was not available to me while enrolled as an undergraduate.  I ultimately decided to join TTC because I wanted to make a positive difference in the lives of children that would enable them to prosper and achieve goals that would otherwise be unattainable without the help of TTC teachers.

  

Tyler Janzen

International Affairs, Lewis & Clark College, 2013

If you had asked me one year ago where I would be today, “Thailand” wouldn’t be in any part of my answer. And yet, here I sit, a twenty-one year-old American English teacher surrounded by wonderful people in a foreign country that I’ve come to love.  I was preparing myself to enter into the Peace Corps when I heard about TTC in an information session.  The TTC mission aligned so closely with my personal values of service and personal growth that I decided to apply.  So far my teaching experience has been full of joy and learning. Having been here for close to three months, I have learned to alter my lesson plans to suit the needs of a classroom with little resources and no set curriculum. Every day is a challenge and every day is rewarding in its own way. I am very happy to be here and look forward optimistically to the months ahead.  Every day I am amazed by the attitude and ability of my students. The look on their faces during an “a-ha” moment makes me love my job.


Caroline Lee

Sociology and Anthropology; Minor in Art and Art History, Colgate University, 2013

I joined Teach Thailand Corps because I wanted to fully immerse myself in a culture different from my own, push myself outside my comfort zone, and learn a different way of life.  It excites me to learn more about an education system so different from the US and to also see the similarities in how children act and learn within different cultures.  ailand continues to teach me everyday about accepting what is and knowing that everything will indeed work out. Mai pen rai.


Bouasvanh Lor

BS, Business Administration in Marketing, California State University, 2013

I am here today representing not only Americans, but Hmong Americans. Though we were a small tribe only living in the mountains to fend for ourselves, our families, and our culture; I can say that we have succeeded in America for the most part and would truly like to give back to the communities and the rich culture that we came from. I go to work every day with a smile on my face, knowing that I will learn more about my culture and while make a different in those children’s lives. These students will become leaders and advocates and I will know that I was that mentor/friend/or teacher that helped them as much as I could to get them to their goals. By the end of this journey, I hope that I will have impacted the community, my students, and the people that I’ve come across as much as they’ve impacted me.   Living in Chaiyaphum is very humbling. I get to do what I love, and the children are benefiting from it. It's a win win situation!


Kris Mahaney

I came to Thailand because it was here, because this place offered me experiences so far beyond my home town as to be nearly alien in nature. I came because Thailand was here, but I have stayed because of my students, because of these wonderful chatterboxes of culture and inquiry. I give them a second language. They give me a second life.


Mary Nichols

Sociology, Minor in Business Administration, Mercer University, 2013

I joined TTC because I wanted to get international experience, to immerse myself in a foreign culture, and to help people achieve their goal of fluency in the English language, as well as provide a service to Thai citizens who may not otherwise get the opportunity to learn the language from someone that uses it on a daily basis. I love working with children of all ages and expected that teaching English to people who had little to no knowledge of the English language would be both challenging and rewarding. I look forward to the further experience that I will get from living and working with these people, who have not only made me feel welcomed, but like I am a part of their family.  My time in Thailand so far has been a whirlwind of activity and excitement. I have had my ups and downs, but the feeling I get when teaching a concept to my students and actually having them not only understand me and my minimal Thai skills, but also understand the topic of the class, is probably one of the most rewarding feelings I have ever experienced. I am grateful to TTC for giving me the opportunity to further my international experience and for being able to reach out to these children, who have truly captured my heart.


Johanna Otico

BS Psychology, minor in Religion, Whitman College, 2013

I was extremely lucky to be employed by the Student Engagement Center at Whitman, the career center on campus, and so I was the one who received the email from Dr. Nirund about the opportunity to work with TTC and forward it to the rest of campus.  Now that I’m here in Thailand, I can see that this was the right choice for me.  I currently live in a small area in the province of Chaiyaphum with five other TTC teachers where we teach at several different schools and with a variety of different age groups. I have greatly enjoyed my time here thus far and am looking forward to the rest of the year here in Thailand.

In my spare time, I play volleyball and enjoy running long distances and have luckily been able to continue those passions in Thailand. The co-teachers at my school are so inclusive and help us learn more about Thai language and culture. I have had a blast learning Muay Thai and teaching my students volleyball. The opportunities to travel around Chaiyaphum have also been amazing and I feel so lucky to live in such a beautiful area.

Teaching in Thailand has been such a wonderful experience and I have greatly appreciated my time in the Land of Smiles.

 

Kelly Elizabeth Peel

English literature, Minor in German language, Mercer University, 2013

I knew that when I graduated from college I wanted to embark upon an adventure – to find myself, to mull over ideas and plans for my future, to travel the world. These were lofty purposes, but I knew the perfect way to fulfill the quest would be to travel with a purpose bigger than myself. I found that purpose when I heard about TTC. I knew that teaching English to Thai schoolchildren would be a life changing experience and one that I would cherish forever. And I was right. I cannot imagine having done anything else. I look forward to seeing my students and my Thai fellow teachers each day and I always come away from seeing them with a huge smile on my face and joy in my heart. It has been three short months and it feels as if time is flying. 

 

Mary Catherine Rosher (a k a “Teacher M.C.”)

Early Childhood/Special Education, Mercer University, 2013

I have always had a desire to travel, and my background in education made teaching in Thailand the perfect fit. I live in Lamphun, and it has quickly become my home away from home.  I teach Kindergarten, first, fifth, sixth, eighth and ninth grades, so some of my students are older than I am accustomed to teaching, but I enjoy it nonetheless. I have learned a lot about myself in facing the challenges that come with teaching English as a foreign language. I know to expect the unexpected. I have experimented with a variety of strategies in order to make the learning environment both productive and fun. I have a co-teacher for most classes which is very helpful considering the number of students and my inability to effectively communicate in Thai. Speaking of my Thai, I can undoubtedly get students to laugh at me whenever I try to speak their language. It’s quite humbling, actually.  I have enjoyed traveling throughout Thailand. It’s truly a beautiful country. I recently bought a bicycle that has allowed me to travel easily around Lamphun and explore the country roads that provide direct access to nature’s magnificence.  I cannot imagine myself doing anything else at this time in my life and I could not be happier with my experiences so far, and, undoubtedly, with those to come!

 

Emily Stephens

Family and Consumer Science, Major in Consumer Foods, University of Georgia, 2013

When preparing for graduation and deciding what to do next, I knew that I wanted to be around people, and I really wanted to provide a needed service. I also had a desire to go somewhere far from my home. I wanted to live in and experience a culture that was different from my own I am still adjusting to teaching and especially to teaching all ages, but I love them. I love everyone here. This place very quickly became my home. I love getting to spend time with the little kids on Thursday and Friday. They are so excited to go to English class. Everyone has been so kind and welcoming. It makes such a huge change so much easier.


Chase Williams

BA Political Science, Mercer University, 2013

Why I Joined TTC:  Interested in the field of international development and thinking about my future plans after university, I knew that I wanted to go abroad and work for an organization that could provide me with the opportunity to fill a need and make meaningful change in the lives of others.  As I will begin the MSc in Development Studies programme  at the London School of Economics in October 2014, I believe this year to live and work in Thailand -- to experience a new culture, a new language, and a new way of life -- will profoundly sharpen my interest in international development and will vastly enhance my graduate education.


Allison Perry
Lewis and Clark College 2012, BA in Biology

Teaches grades 7, 10 and 12 Uttaradit Daruni School, Uttaradit.

Teaching and traveling has been a blast.  I love my students and am constantly amazed at how much they’re able to teach me on a daily basis.  I’ve loved learning about and getting used to all aspects of Thai culture, even the squattie potties!
sawatdikha.tumblr.com


Alden Moore

Mercer University 2012, BA in Psychology and Sociology

Teaches EPDP grades 9 to 12  at Chakkham Khanathon School in Lamphun.

I desperately wanted to do something after college that I felt was worthwhile and to travel and experience new things while I still had the opportunity. Since teaching at Chakkham, I have not only gained teaching experience, I have gained a home away from home. I have now discovered my passion for teaching due to the incredible students and staff and will be forever grateful to TTC for opening this door for me.


Cassie Dutton
The College of Wooster 2012, BA in Anthropology

Teaches grades 7 and 8 at Chakkham Khanathon School.

I joined Teach Thailand Corps as a way to give back for all of the devoted and passionate teachers I have had over the years and to spread my love of learning. I felt like moving to Thailand would be setting the tone for the rest of my life, to do amazing things even if I was scared or they did not pay a lot of money. So, here I am, doing what I love: traveling, experiencing a new culture, meeting wonderful people, doing incredible things, and sharing my passion for learning with energetic kids.
http://timetothai.wordpress.com/


Christina Vasquez

Mercer University 2012, B.S. in Education (Elementary/Special Ed), Minor in Spanish
Teaches kindergarten and grades 5 and 7 to 9 at Monghol Vittaya School in Lamphun.

It brings me joy to show students I care about them as people and that I care about their education. Even through the language barrier, we connect because we are all human. I have learned how to show my students that I adore them, which has enhanced my relationship skills with others as well. Every day in Thailand can be an adventure if you choose to find fulfillment in the simple joys.


Drew Lafontant

Oberlin College 2012, B.A. in Law and Society, B.A. in Sociology
Teaches grade 1 to 6 at Bantan School  and grade at Bangamphan School in Chaiyaphum.

Living and teaching in rural Thailand has been the most challenging and rewarding experience of my life. My students are so excited to learn English that they will not leave the room when class is over. I feel loved and appreciated by my students, fellow teachers, and members of the community.


Jeannie Nora

Mercer University 2012, BS in Elementary and Special Education

Teaches grade 7 at Uttaradit Daruni School in Uttaradit.

The people in Thailand are so kind and helpful, I have never worried about going anyplace! I love forming friendships with my students and co-teachers. Thailand is full of amazing opportunities if you just put yourself out there to experience them!
imgenie.wordpress.com


Kelsey Crow

Jacksonville State University 2011, BS in Secondary Education-English Language Arts and Literature

Teaches kindergarten to grade 9 at Satit School in Uttaradit Rajabhat University in Uttaradit.

I had no idea what to expect coming into this program, but it has turned out to be the very adventure for which I’d been hoping. It’s been one of my top experiences in living abroad.
http://rollthailand.blogspot.com/


Kurt Lindsey

Dallas Baptist University, BA in Biblical Studies

Teaches grades 7 to 9 at Arunothai School in Lampang.

Laura and I got married in January of this year, and we knew that we did not want to live the normal American lifestyle. I enjoy being around young people, and teaching is something that I thought about doing after college. God has provided me an avenue to experience another culture through TTC, and I am honored to be here. I would not trade the experience for anything.


Laura Lindsey

Dallas Baptist University, BA in Psychology

Teaches kindergarten to grade 6 at Arunothai School in Lampang.

Teaching in Thailand has been an eye opening experience and has transformed my walk with God. There have been obstacles but the rewards for teaching children and loving them are innumerable. My husband and I desire to live outside the normal American dream and have been able to develop a foundation for our lives together in a new context.


Meredith Garrat

Jacksonville State University 2010, BA in English.

Teaches grade 7 at Uttaradit Darunee School in  Uttaradit.

Graduating in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts in English, my only wish was to fill that dreaded ‘in between’ span from college to career with something unique. Finding this program helped me bridge that gap, and the longer I am in Thailand, the more content I become.  Observing this culture, embracing its people and then being able to write about and share these experiences from across the globe has been the most fulfilling experience, and one whose memories I will hold captive forever.


Monique McDougall
Mercer University 2012, BA in Psychology
Teaches grade 4 to 6 at Khok Sawang School and grade 9 to 12 at Petpittayasan School in Chaiyaphum.

Nothing compares to the feeling of knowing that you are needed.


Rachel Hollar
Mercer University 2012, BA in Program in Leadership and Community Service, Spanish, and Psychology

Teaches grades 6 and 8 at Chak Khum Khanathon School in Lamphun.

I had a great desire to travel after graduation and to be immersed in another culture while pursuing a life of service. TTC allowed me to do just that! Teaching children in this beautiful country has been an incredibly rewarding experience, and I know the relationships formed here will be with me for the rest of my life.

www.gohollar.wordpress.com


Soorim Jin

The College of Wooster 2012, BA in Sociology

Teaches 1st grade to 9th grade at Huasra Wittaya School and Nong Pak Waen School in Chaiyaphum.

I am reminded everyday that the most effective tool of empowerment is simply to be there for the students, both as a teacher and as a friend.

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Nick Jivasantikarn,
Sep 16, 2015, 1:38 PM