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Volunteering! Looking for ways to help in Southeast Asia?


Article about GSC Volunteer Molly Last. Photos of Molly with her visiting Thai homestay parents, Air and Tumnu, in US. Also included is GSC volunteer Brian who lived with the Thai family when he was on the program.

Air and Tumnu have now hosted 21 GSC volunteers!

According to officials, one of the best ways to help Thailand and other countries affected by the Tsunami get back on their feet is to travel to the countries' non-affected areas. Travel and tourism will support the economies and help them rebuild. Volunteer travel will help even more by touching the hearts of the people.

Molly Last, a teacher at Longfellow Elementary School in San Francisco, who volunteered with Global Service Corps (GSC) this past summer teaching English to Thai high school students and monks, has decided to return again this summer. She had plans to go to Poland. Due to the tsunami, though, she felt compelled to return to Thailand. She knew that her visit would help the Thai people more. "I couldn't believe the incredible outpouring of support for the countries affected by the Tsunami. I was very proud of my own country. The Thai family I lived with while volunteering was so grateful for America's support and love coming from half a world away. I decided that I would help in my own way by returning again this summer." Her upcoming work will be with elementary school children. She found that her past Thai teaching exchange enhanced her ability to understand Asian cultures and her own Asian students better.

Looking back, Molly was profoundly moved by her experience as an international volunteer. Even though the large size classes in Thailand compared to the U.S struck her at first, she was pleasantly surprised by the effective teaching practices, respect shown for teachers, and enthusiasm of the students. At the monastery (wat), she soon adjusted to "removing my shoes at the door and teaching in my bare feet." She also had to learn certain taboos in working with the young monks. For instance, because "I was a female, the 45 student monks were not allowed to take any object directly from my hands." She, therefore, had to be very careful constructing her lesson plans to insure no direct contact with the monks. Nevertheless, Molly thoroughly enjoyed working at the wat as well as the school, and found all the students eager to learn English and grateful for instruction from a native speaker.

Molly lived with a family (home stays are a part of the GSC experience) whose Mom and Dad both worked in high schools in Kanchanaburi, Thailand. "I had a wonderful experience living with the family. That was the key piece that brought me from the outside looking in to being a real insider." In addition to eating breakfast and dinner together, her family took her to the floating market and to visit Cambodian ruins in the countryside.

Molly got along so well with her Thai family that she hosted a whirlwind North American tour for them this past month with the help of our Thai director, Bruce Houser. This beloved family has hosted 21 GSC volunteers -many of whom flew to see them or welcomed them to their homes - during their month-long visit.

For more information about volunteering in Southeast Asia, you can contact Molly at Thaizerofour@aol.com or Global Service Corps.

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Founded in 1993, Global Service Corps (GSC) is a nonprofit international volunteer organization that provides opportunities for people worldwide to live and work abroad in developing countries. Volunteers work side-by-side with the local people and live with generous and welcoming families. These cultural immersion programs provide needed service and skills building in the areas of health, environment and education. Programs run year-round - from two weeks to six months. International Internships are offered in all areas including International Healthcare.

 

 

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