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GAP YEAR | VOLUNTEER ABROAD | WORK EXPERIENCE OVERSEAS

 

Volunteers' Stories

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JOHN LISNEY
British

Teaching Children in Schools on a voluntary program in Malaysia

         

My placement is giving me a full perspective of how people in a developing country live. Having lived here for a few months now, I am starting to realize that there are many luxuries we take for granted back at home (access to hot showers, decent public transport to say a few). Also, I have been confronted by a completely different way of seeing things, different opinions on what life is about. The people here are very superstitious. They all strongly believe in ghosts, for example. It is extremely interesting to have conversations with people here.

So far what is the best thing about your placement?

I think it would be life with the host family. The parents are really friendly and treat me like their own child. The children are also very entertaining at times. Secondly, one of the best moments I’ve had here was the trip into the jungle with the school’s campus’ four-wheel drive club. That was an amazing experience.

Would you recommend this placement to anyone else?

Definitely, to anyone who is looking for a completely different experience and a culture shock.

What type of person do you think this placement would suit?

It would suit anyone who is patient and who can get used to not doing anything sometimes. The person has to be adventurous also, and has to be able to rough it at times. Someone who does not mind not having a luxurious life, without washing machines, having to spray your room with insect spray every evening if you do not want to suffer the mosquitoes, having to wake up in the night to get rid of the occasional cockroach visit!

Can you describe a typical day?

The time I wake up at depends on what time my teaching begins. The earliest I wake up is at 6.30 to be able to have a shower, take breakfast and be at school at 7.30, when class starts. Lunch is at 12.30, either at home or at the school cafeteria. School usually finishes at 1.30. I don't have school all morning though, I have 2 hours of class a day maximum. The rest of the time I sit in the teachers room speaking to the teachers, or I go home and take a nap.

After school, there are some other activities, such as football, badminton… I play badminton everyday here, they’re all pretty good at sports. The foster parents get home around 6 or 7, and we have diner. After diner, the family usually watches television. They all watch their favourite Filipino sitcom together, which I have also started to follow.

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