I designed a project for Molly Last and she
enjoyed the program, and the time with her host family so
much that she returned a year later for another project.
Molly Last, a Kindergarden teacher, at Longfellow Elementary
School in San Francisco,CA., taught English to Thai school
students and novice monks.
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.
Looking back, I was profoundly moved by my experience as an
international volunteer. Even though the large size classes
in Thailand compared to the U.S struck me at first, I was
pleasantly surprised by the effective teaching practices,
respect shown for teachers, and enthusiasm of the students.
At the monastery (Wat), I adjusted to removing my shoes at
the door and teaching in my bare feet.
I also had to learn certain taboos in working with the young
novice monks. For instance, because, I was a female, the 45
student monks were not allowed to take any object directly
from my hands. Therefore, I had to be very careful
constructing lesson plans to insure no direct contact with
the monks. Nevertheless, I 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
I lived with a family whose Mom, was an English teacher and
Dad an Assistant Director at a local secondary all girls
school in Kanchanaburi, Thailand. I had such 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, my family took me on travel excursions in the
local area, floating markets and to visit Cambodian ruins in
In coordination and partnership with Bruce Houser, we hosted
a whirlwind North American cultural Immersion tour for Air
and Tumnu, my host family. This included spending time in
San Francisco with me, and travel and time with Bruce Houser
and family in El Paso, TX, We were also able to coordinate
travel and visits to Seattle, WA to spend time with former
participant Susan, and travel and time in NY, with former
I am looking forward to 2008 when I and my hosts have plans
to have a reunion in San Francisco.
TSC is a non-profit 501(c) 3
corporation incorporated under the laws of the state