Alumni Spotlight: Britt Van Oost

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Britt Van Oost, 23 years old, is from Bruges, Belgium and is in her gap year after finishing her studies as an Occupational Therapist and Master public health science. She enjoys everything that’s outdoors, adventures and crossing your limits.

Why did you decide to volunteer with Travel to Teach in Thailand?

I decided to volunteer abroad in Thailand because I heard good things about the culture, nature and the friendly people. Then I started my search on the internet I found that Travel to Teach was the cheapest and had the best offer. The guesthouse looked very nice and the project seemed really well organized. All my expectations came true.

Describe your day to day activities as a volunteer.

On school days, me and my friend got picked up from our guesthouse by two teachers from the school at 8.30am. After a 30minute drive we watch the children pray in front the Buddha and do some gymnastic and then go to their first class. We then had some time to look at our preparations we made the day before. Then we had our first class from 9.30 till 10.30am and our second class from 10.30 till 11.30 am. We had a long lunch break till 14.30pm. We got a very nice lunch at the school and after that we prepared lessons for the next day and fill in or lesson plan in the computer.

After our preparations we had time to relax and walk around the neighborhood, by food for dinner. Then our last class was from 14.30 till 15.30pm. Then we just waited on the teachers to close off the school and then head back to the guesthouse, made dinner or get is at a nearby shop. And then chill with the other volunteers, or go swimming, work on the computer. We had Friday, Saturday and Sunday off, so we had a lot of time to go on trips, visit the city, go hiking or just relax at the pool nearby.

What made this experience unique and special?

Me and my friend had such nice schools to work at. The teachers and students where so nice and I loved teaching there. There are so many holidays and celebrations in Thailand. It was so nice to experience them at school and really get a sense how the local people live. You get to share the happiness of the locals.

How has this experience impacted your future?

This experience has had a big impact on how I look at life. I used to be stressful, nervous and worry a lot. Now I know I have nothing to worry about, or to be stressful or nervous about. I have everything I need at home and I appreciate it much more. So because of this, I’m a more happy person. I know it’s going to be heard not to slip back to old habits, but at least I can experience it know and try to hold on to it as long as possible.