Hannah is a bilingual 15-year-old who has a passion for learning about new cultures and teaching.
Why did you choose this program?
I chose this program because I wanted to venture out of what I call home, and go somewhere that was completely different. Although I have read an endless amount of articles and books about different cultures, I have never actually immersed myself into a different than my own.
Thailand just seemed like the perfect country to go. The Thai culture really interested me and I really wanted to learn more about it.
Another reason why I chose this program is because I wanted to experience teaching first hand. I work as a teacher's aid at my school to help students who immigrate to the United States, but it is not the same thing as actually being the head teacher. I eventually want to be a teacher myself, so I want to get as much teaching experience as I can.
What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?
The program provider basically helped me with everything. I had so many questions and they always had the answer. The only thing I had to do on my own was figure out what vaccinations I needed in order to go to Thailand.
What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?
The biggest piece of advice I would give anyone going on any rustic trip would be to turn off all electronics. Without the constant stress of checking who texted you, or checking your social media, you're able to really experience the program. I honestly believe that since I didn't have a phone with me on the program, I had a better time than most of the other people.
What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?
An average day for me at the Children's Home began with waking up and meditating outside for 10 minutes. I would then go to eat the delicious Thai breakfast and talk to all of my friends about what we were doing that day.
After breakfast we would all go on adventure, teach, or go to our service project. All of which were very unique and amazing in their own ways. After a long day we would come back and hang out with our Thai buddies before eating dinner.
After dinner, we would usually have a reflection about how our day went (which was honestly one of my favorite parts of the whole trip). After that we would all go to our rooms and sleep.
Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?
My biggest fear going on this program was that there was going to be nobody like me. I didn't think I was going to make friends, and I was so terrified.
My fears were quickly washed away when I met my absolute best friend, Megan. We like the same things and loved talking to each other. I also became very close with all of the leaders and I still stay in touch with almost all of them.
I was the happiest when I was talking to the leaders because they were so fascinating to listen to. They all had such interesting stories and I will never forget them.
Is there anything that you didn't pack, but wished you would have?
PERFUME. We do not get many opportunities to do laundry so most of us were pretty stinky towards the end of the trip. With a little bit a perfume, that problem could have been solved.