The one week adventure at Openmind Projects Nong Khai was truly a mind opening experience. This experience can be divided into two parts, the teaching part and life at the Openmind Projects Center part.
On the very first day of teaching, we were taken by surprise by the situation at which the school was in. These students, from grade 1 to 6, were definitely lacking the necessary one on one attention from their teachers, as one teacher had to teach multiple subjects and classes outside their field of expertise simultaneously. On top of this, the students had very little access to computers as there were only four computers that needed to be shared between sixteen students. With very little exposure to the outside world, the majority their life goals were limited to soldier, teacher and farmer.
With restricted resources and time, we decided to not teach a particular subject, but to carry out and guide the class through a “design thinking” workshop. The workshop involved lots of games and brainstorming activities that they have never done before and this allowed the students to actively acquired transferable skills such as critical thinking, creative thinking, teamwork, and presentation skills. Furthermore, the workshop was aimed to expose them to entrepreneurship and to generate curiosity about the outside world.
Although, we were only there for a short period of time, it was incredible to know that we have changed lives, made an impact and opened the world possibilities for these group underprivileged students, show them that the world is more than just being a soldier, teacher or farmer.
Life at the Openmind Projects Training Center
Aside from the teaching, we spend the rest of our time with other volunteers and trainees from all around the world. The Openmind Projects Training Center is a very international place with lots of diversity but at the same time it is very inclusive and welcoming. We play games together, cook together, eat together (very delicious by the way,) and at the end of the day we just chill by the Mekong river and watch the beautiful sunset. It is a great place to learn foreign cultures and make lifelong friends.