is the last post in a four part series comparing the volunteer
experience in Nong Khai and Krabi, our two main bases in Thailand,
written by Andy from the UK. He attended the Volunteer & Cross
Cultural Training in Nong Khai and then stayed for around six weeks
teaching at Hat Kam School. He then headed down south, where he has now spent twelve weeks so far, teaching at Ban Nong Kok School among others. So, which is best...?
both are! It isn't a case of one location being better or worse than
the other - they are just different. If you want to concentrate on a
completely alternative cultural experience to what you get back home,
you may find Nong Khai more to your liking. If you want a more limited
cross cultural experience and to enjoy the beaches in Thailand, then
Krabi is ideal.
if Krabi appeals to you more as a location, I would still highly
recommend that you begin your volunteering experience by visiting Nong
Khai for the training course. The basic Thai phrases that you learn are
invaluable - especially if you are teaching during your time here - and
the discussions about culture do provide a good insight into the way the
Thai people think. Although Krabi is a very accessible place for
tourists, I believe that having an increased understanding of the Thai
culture has enriched my experience here and you can still face some
cultural challenges at your volunteering placements. For example,
understanding how the Thai schools and teachers operate and learning not
to get frustrated when you find the school closed for a day or your
lessons have been re-arranged with no warning - it's all part of the
location would I choose if I were to do it all again? I would still
spend time in both places. If you can, I think it's worth it to get a
broader taste of Thailand. Volunteering with Openmind Projects has been a
fantastic experience and has enabled me to scratch beneath the surface
of this beautiful country. I just hope that I get the chance to come
back to both Nong Khai and Krabi in the future.
Read Part 1: Teaching English, Part 2: Culture & Language and Part 3: Volunteer Life.