Volunteer reviews & feedbacks of Andreia from Portugal for Volunteer teaching in Mai Chau project
I have been in Mai Chau for 3 weeks teaching English. It was an amazing experience! I taught 1 to 3 hours per day in one of the local schools and 2h to adults in the evening. I slept in a homestay with the lovely Xuan, who took care of me as if I was her daughter and took me on bike and hiking tours to see the surroundings. Mai Chau is a quiet place, where you can really take your mind off the stress of a city life. There you really get in touch with the traditions and life style of the white Thai people, one of Vietnam’s ethnic minorities. People are very friendly and although you can rarely find someone who speaks English it is amazing how one can communicate without a language, if there is good will and a smile.
Teaching in the school was sometimes challenging as not even the teachers could speak English and the organization in the school was not very good, but I saw that as part of the experience, it would have been boring without one adventure or two. Although the students were doing 5th to 9th grade, their English level was very basic. Until they got used to me they had problems understanding even the most basic sentences. So I invested in vocabulary, using drawings and mimics, we played game and sang songs. In the end I was proud of how much they had learned in only 3 weeks.
About Vina Volunteer Service I have only good things to say. It is a very small organization orchestrated by Vietnamese people. I was a bit nervous about it, normally people look for very big and controlled organizations acting worldwide, but it worked really well. I got the feeling that Vietnamese people are very honest and caring. Everything went on as planned, I was picked up at the airport and taken to Mai Chau, David stayed with me overnight to explain me everything, introduce me in the school and translate. Every time I needed I could reach him on his phone and get his support. When I returned alone to Ha Noi, I went blind, without understanding anything of what people were saying to me and I got to my destiny without any kind of problem. David also helped me afterward organizing my trip in Vietnam, buying tickets etc.
Thank you for the wonderful experience.