Open Mind Projects

Program Reviews

Francis
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

To be able to work alongside local staff and trainees from Laos and Myanmar was also a very joyful experience as well as a two-way exchange of experience.

The 3 days training was fun as well as a very efficient way to get into the team very quickly.
Everybody was very welcoming and nice, and all in all it was a very rewarding experience.

I miss everybody, and look forward to do it again soon

Keep up the fantastic job

Francis Ponce

What would you improve about this program?
This program is a very small organisation, which plans to develop further its concept of camps, going to the schools when school kids cannot move to the training center.

They therefore need resources and support, and I definitely plan to be part of these camps in teh future.
Shona
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Excellent program and believe me, i'm not sugar coating it.

At first, Openmind Projects took me by surprise - the size of the training centre / facilities / living conditions / way of life but with every new place, environment and culture, it has its own challenges and i knew i had to learn how to adapt.

Adapting was easy for me because of the extremely helpful and genuinely nice local staffs and trainees. It didn't take long for me to feel at home.

One of my bestest experiences were the learning camps in October. They were out of the norm with engaging and exciting programs like debates and v-logs. It pushed me out of my comfort zone to patiently interact and converse with locals who speak minimal english. Despite the language barrier, it was so much fun making videos, preparing for debates, cheering them on and the best part, was to see the change in them overtime. It was very, very rewarding!

Indeed, my highlight of 2016 (:

What would you improve about this program?
Frankly, Openmind's vision to foster learning through IT is relevant, effective and it is an excellent way of utilizing IT to motivate youths to become life long learners, instil confidence to speak up in English and it gives them hope to dream big despite the current circumstances they are in.

If you come in with an OPENMIND not expecting much, you will have a great time with the locals and people you meet along the way.
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Irene
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I volunteered with Open Mind projects for about 4 months and I had sooo much fun! I taught English in the volunteer center in Nong Khai for a month and in a village in Phuket for the rest of my stay. In Nong Khai i received a 3-day intensive cultural and language training which really helped in the communication with the locals and the students as well as behaving respectfully towards the locals, so if you are thinking about volunteering for this organisation, I absolutely recommend it. It a bit tiring, because for 3 days you learn so many things, but it is also very helpful. The accommodation in the training center is not great, but it is comfortable, even though it can get a bit warm at times, despite the fans. Also, the stuff of the organisation are very friendly and helpful.

While I was staying in Phuket I lived with a host family. At first I was feeling a bit nervous about doing that, as it was my fist time volunteering abroad etc. but they people from open minds talked me into it and i never regretted it.The family was very welcoming and polite and I had my own room with 2 fans! The assisted me in every way possible and they were just amazing :D In Phuket I taught in a school and helped in the promotion of the local activities for tourism purposes.

Teaching at schools was a wonderful experience and the children give you so much love and most of them are really interested to learn. Yet, it is school so there are always troubles with some. Also, Open Mind projects encourages the "learning by doing" teaching method which I found very beneficial for the students, as it helped them memorize things better! So, you have to be creative and come up with games to teach them things, which can mean as much fun for you as for them.

Also, Thailand is so very cheap! Both Nong khai and mai-khao, the village i stayed at in phuket, were very cheap. You can have an hour for massage for less than 10 euros! An extra bonus to the very low fees of the open mind projects, which are very reasonable.

What would you improve about this program?
1)It would be nice to pair volunteers when they go to secluded places, like villages, as it can get a bit lonely.

2) They should be clear on the visa matter, as i had a 3 month visa and i had to go out off the country to get another 30 day visa which i wouldn't have to do had they done the proper paperwork...so going out and back in was troublesome and expensive..So if you go for more than 3 months, insist that they be clear about whether they will do the paperwork cause they tend to be a bit misleading concerning that matter...
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Malin
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I'm now back at Openmind projects for the second time this year. I was here for a month in march/april and I loved it so much I came back again in june for another two months.

I've done/still doing teaching English at the centre in Nong Khai, teaching English at a village school in Cambodia and also took part in two holiday camps in april.

Everything has been so much fun, an experience i'd never want to be without. At the centre you all live together and it didn't take long til I felt like a part of the Openmind family. I really enjoyed staying with a local family in Cambodia too, Hak and his family are absolutly lovely and it is such a great way to experience a new culture.

Thank you my openmind family for everything! x

Malin

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Henrika
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

We had a new experience in Ubon Ratchathani and Samrong Hospital as nurse students. We were the first ones who did it was amazing. Our hostfamily was great! They took very good care of us, learned us thai language and important things about the rules and culture things.

Hospital staff was great! They loved us because they do not see much white colored people, so we were also the first western people for some of the thai people! They learned us about the thai style of nursing but at the same time they learned things from us as well.

Great experience overall and Openmin staff took good care of us from first beginning and all the way to the end.

This will not be my last time cooperating with openmind! I will be back helping them soon as possible :)

What would you improve about this program?
We did 4 week nursing in Krabi healthcare center and that program was not good enough for a nurse students who don't have a right to vaccinate, who don't know enough of the children care and mothernity. So we recommend the program for nurses or nurse students who have all this basics learned.
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Daniel
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I spent a total of 2.5 months at Openmind projects barred at the head office in Nong Khai helping with various projects including development of staff members and trainees at the centre. I also took part in the two October camps and did some teaching in a local school.

From day one I was given a fantastic amount of support and made to feel like part of the Openmind family.

This is something I'd really recommend to anyone looking to get up closer and personal with a culture that is very different from that of what we consider a western culture. You learn a whole lot more about life here in southeast Asia than simply just traveling and you get to make a difference to so many people lives here that really need it.

The main thing I'd recommend to anyone looking to come volunteer at a place like this is not to have too many set expectations and to never assume that everything runs to a strict plan all of the time. Take each day as it comes and learn to enjoy it even if it's not what you had originally planned. It all works out in the end!!

Come for the experience, come for the enjoyment, come to help in every way that you can. You'll be making a difference even when you thing that your not.

Thank you to everyone that made my time in Nong Khai so special!

Daniel

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bela
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I volunteered to teach with Openmind Projects for 2 weeks in July 2012 and had a fabulous time there.
Before I started to teach, I attended the 3-day Volunteer and Cross-Cultural Training at Nong Khai. I am so glad that I did because I was better prepared as a volunteer. By the end of 3 days, we were able to introduce ourselves and carry out a very simple conversation in Thai. Getting to know the Openmind Projects' primary approach to teaching, 'Learning by Doing', was also crucial to making my volunteer stint an effective one.
I taught English at the Tessaban 3 Primary and Secondary School in the mornings. The English teacher who coordinated my schedule there, Tassanee, was very helpful and friendly.
I was very glad that I could also teach some C# programming to a few of the trainees under Openmind Projects, together with a small group of students from Nong Khai Technical College.
I am very impressed with the staff and trainees at Openmind Projects. Each of them was committed to their work and handled their responsibilities professionally. Outside of work, the staff took care of us splendidly!

What would you improve about this program?
There was a day when we were teaching conversational English, and we were teaching students how to order food at a fast-food outlet.

On one hand, I understand the need for practical knowledge, but I regret it if the locals feel it is 'cool' for them to eat junk food!

Knowing conversational English is important in helping them operate in the real world in this day and age but I hope it does not come at the expense of disregarding their local foods, knowledge and culture.

Learning about sustainability now - how we can help strengthen local economies, support livelihoods and promote indigenious foods, I have come up with this focus that I hope can add value to your program.
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jane
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I went at the age of 60 and found the experience not nearly as daunting as I had expected, volunteers are generally either fit retired people or students. all there because they want to be there. We all got on very well together.
The staff are very supportive, doing their best to fit the volunteer with the project. However it's also up to the volunteer to be tolerant, adaptable, energetic, positive.
The time in Thailand (a month in Nong Khai) was comfortable and interesting, but the two weeks in the Lao jungle village were challenging, right away from my European life style, a memory for life.
Parenthesis: A little added advantage: while I was there I ate very healthily, (delicious and abundant food) lost two kilos and continued the same diet when I got home. Now down to my ideal weight!

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Sam
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I went when I was 19 and spent 3 months at the OpenMinds training centre in Nongkhai and 2 weeks in a remote Laos village.

The time at the training centre was amazing and the people are so friendly and nice. You meet other people volunteering and the town is beautiful and a much better Thai experience than just going to the party islands. The staff also know some incredible places to visit nearby as well.

The village in Laos was probably the most challenging but most rewarding thing I have ever done.

100% recommend and the prices are so much better than most volunteer places where it costs a fortune to help out just because of admin fees.

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Brian
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Fünf Tage Nong Kai mit eine ganze Menge an kulturelle und sprachliche Information...mit Mikrowelle und Kaffee in englischer Umgebung waren einfach im Vergleich zu dem was kommen würde.

Eine Handvoll Menschen die, wie ich auf der suche nach Veränderung. ..einem tieferen Sinn im leben. .den Wunsch, sich im Dunkeln unserer westlichen Kultur und Stress...das Streben nach Erfolg...finanzieller Sicherheit und Status, für eine kurze (oder längere) Zeit, gleichzeitig ein Licht der Hoffnung fur andere zu sein...sie zu motivieren..sie und sich tiefer wahrzunehmen. Eine echte "win-win" situation zu erfahren.

Wir alle sind dann in den verschiedensten Ecken Asiens verreist. ..gewinnen jeden tag an Dankbarkeit für das was man hat. ..wägen was wichtig und unwichtig ist im leben ab.

An dem, meinem eigenen Projekt angekommen. ..müde vom Fliegen....Angst vor dem was und wer mir bevorstehen würde. ..wurde mir mit der zeit so einiges klarer.
Der Umgang mit anderen fängt glaube ich damit an, wie man mit sich selbst ungeht. Eine Sprache nicht sprechen zu können. .ein Außenseiter zu sein..zu fühlen wie man "studiert" wird machte mich unsicher. Jedoch. ..nach einer Zeit sind durch zusammarbeit. .Geduld. ..mit etwas Humor echte Freundschaften fürs Leben entstanden. Das zweite solar Projekt. .mit langen tagen..Stechmücken das es knallt...mit einfachstem Werkzeug, etwas gemeinsam zu schaffen daß den Menschen hier Vorteile bringt, und einem das Gefühl gibt, etwas für künftige Generationen zu hinterlassen...eine Art "zeitzeuge" zu sein... das macht das alles wett.

An Orte zu sein die so wunderschön sind, daß nur der Anblick einem den Atem raubt. Das rauschen des Meeres...schlafen auf einem Boot unter freiem Himmel. ..exotische Tiere, Insekten, Essen und Lebensansicht...unserer welt..Mutter Erde auch von ihrer rauen Seite erleben zu dürfen.

Nach drei Wochen hier weiß ich...ganz tief in mir, dass das Leben einmalig ist..wir müssen es genießen...auch die unangenehmen Dingen. Den die zeit, in der ich diese Zeilen schreibe..bereits Vergangenheit ist...nie mehr zurück zu bringen. Sich mit dingen wie Erfolg oder Status sind wirklich nicht wichtig... Familie. ..Freunde. .das Lachen und gemeinsam gutes Essen genießen...sich die zeit zu nehmen, einfach im Leben anzuhalten und bewusst das, und vor allem wem wir in unserem Leben haben zu schätzen...einfach lächeln weil man dafür dankbar ist.

Live your life...love your life. ..jeden Tag aufs neue. Sei froh am leben zu sein...teil dein Leben und sei teil des Lebens anderer. Mit Respekt...Hoffnung...Geduld und Nächstenliebe...mit so einem Projekt!

Sie werden es nicht bereuen!!!