WorldTeach

 

Mzumbe Running

Posted by WTTech in Tanzania

For many of our WorldTeach volunteers, staying in shape while serving abroad is a priority both as a way of developing a daily routine in a new home as well as a great way to relieve stress and unwind after a challenging day of teaching and straining to understand a foreign language. WorldTeach volunteer Matt Mills shares below the adventures of his daily running routine in Mzumbe, Tanzania.     For anyone who may or may not be aware, running is a very big constant in my life and has been for many many years. Even back at home when I’m at my busiest, I always found time to run on a regular basis- almost everyday. When I came to…

Peñablanca!

Posted by Heather Tang in Chile

Another WorldTeach day-in-the-life from Chile Semester volunteer Lauren Lastra, reporting from her site in gorgeous Peñablanca. We are still accepting applications for both our year-long and semester-long programs in Chile for 2011, departing in March and July, respectively.     6:55am- I awake from my Dreamland to the sound of my alarm. beep! beep! BEEP! Somehow I always know its coming and wake up just moments before it goes off, wishing, hoping for a few extra minutes of sleep. I roll over, slip on my pantuflas (slippers), and turn on the lights. My body still longing for some shut-eye, I crawl back into my warm, cozy wool blankets and check my email all the while applying my mascara and lip-gloss….

Living, Breating, and Eating Isaan

Posted by Heather Tang in Thailand

A big part of cultural adjustment, enjoyment, and sometimes difficulty for all of our volunteers revolves around food and the daily diet in a new environment where cuisine, traditions around eating, and available produce differ dramatically from those we are accustomed to. Below, WorldTeach Thailand volunteer Caitlyn Pisarski tells us about the food culture at her site and in her home.       My WorldTeach roommate Steph and I have a pretty sweet deal when it comes to living arrangements. Our Thai roommate, Pi Yok, prepares or buys our food every night so we never have to worry about where to find our next meal after a long day of teaching. This convenience does come with some setbacks (my…

Community Ties: An Unexpected Honor

Posted by Heather Tang in Thailand

WorldTeach Thailand volunteer Caitlyn Pisarski writes about taking part in a cultural ritual that drew her into her community and helped her re-connect with her experience, her colleagues and her students.       This picture is a result of a string-tying ceremony I was a part of last Thursday at Wang Yang Elementary School. These ceremonies are an important ritual in Thailand, usually performed when someone enters or leaves a community, or when two people are wed. The ceremony I attended last week was to welcome the newly appointed principal to our school and say goodbye to the former; Teacher Bai-Khao was to receive strings as well, unbeknown to me until the ceremony was underway!   The ceremony started…

Wai Kru: Teacher Appreciation

Posted by Heather Tang in Thailand

WorldTeach Thailand volunteer Kate Mast writes below about discovering and participating in the Thai tradition of teacher appreciation day…   Today was “Wai Kru”, teacher appreciation day, in Thailand. After reciting a few Buddhist prayers and singing traditional “Wai Kru” songs the students presented the teachers with flowers and paid their respect by bowing (“wai”, means to bow and “Kru” means teacher) on the ground at their teacher’s feet.   At first I felt a little uneasy. Coming from America I would never expect a student to give me flowers and pretty much bow down to my “greatness” just because they were thankful for my lessons. It made me feel a little uncomfortable to have students bowing down to the…

Old Prom Dresses Live a Second Life

Posted by Heather Tang in Marshall Islands

Sarah Lipson, WorldTeach Marhsall Islands volunteer, has been collecting old prom dresses from friends back home to throw a memorable party for some of her students. Below she shares the touching story and beautiful photos as she prepares to wrap up her year of service.   The much anticipated Prom Dress Party, or PDP, was a huge success and a reminder of the remarkable, and for a brief time, connected worlds to which I belong. Home in Boston. Home in the Marshall Islands. Seeing Sarah B’s prom dress on a Marshall Islands High School senior was indescribable. My childhood friend sharing from a world away. Seeing my own prom dress on a skinny, skinny MIHS girl was also indescribable (but…

Weekend at El Puerto and La Playa

Posted by Heather Tang in Chile

WorldTeach’s in-country orientations provide a great opportunity for volunteers to get to know one another and form a solid support network, creating strong bonds in just a few short weeks. Once volunteers are scattered across their varying sites, they have numerous opportunities to visit one another and explore the country together over weekends and school holidays, sharing their disparate experiences and accumulated stories. Below, Chile volunteer Heather Tang shares some photos from a weekend spent in Valparaíso with a group of her fellow volunteers.   Valparaíso (Valpo) is considered Chile’s most important port and even though the entire country is coastline, it is the gateway to the Pacific. As a World Heritage Site, the city is eclectic and cultural, characterized…

Last Chances

Posted by Heather Tang in China

As many of our year-long programs prepare to depart this summer, our current volunteers in-country are faced with looming goodbyes and the end of their time at their schools and communities. Below, WorldTeach China volunteer Jolie Lee reflects on her last weeks as an oral English teacher at her school.       My students received their last batch of pen pal letters today.   “This is your last chance,” I told them. “Think hard about what you want to write.”   My students were surprised that we would not continue writing letters next year. I broke the news that I was only teaching at their school for this year. After that, there would be a different foreign teacher.  …

The 1st National Youth Nitijela

Posted by Heather Tang in Marshall Islands

Sarah Lipson, WorldTeach volunteer in the Marshall Islands, writes below about some of her students’ impressive accomplishments.     This week I cried in the national chamber of the Marshall Islands. Though the state of national affairs in the RMI is often depressing, I was crying not in sadness but in pride. This past Saturday was the first-ever Youth Nitijela (Nitijela is the RMI national parliament). As I wrote about for The Marshall Islands Journal, forty-six MIHS seniors were selected to participate in a full-day mock government session in the national chamber, debating issues of great importance to Marshallese youth before members of the RMI Parliament (senators, ministers), teachers, peers and the Majuro community. At first I was fighting back…