Michael Wu’s ATYAP Adventure

ATYAP 2015 was a month to remember, an unforgettable journey. My journey began on the 15th of February. I was so excited to head to Thailand, as it was the first time I have been there. I was ready to meet new people and to start my experience of a lifetime.

Heading to Thailand and teaching English to the children there made me very nervous at the beginning. I was nervous about the language barriers and how tough it would be to communicate to the children. We were also assigned partners or groups depending on the size of the school. I was also a bit nervous about this, as I wasn’t sure how well we would work together and if any issues will occur. I soon found that I shouldn’t have been worried by any of these things. Planning lesson plans was tough for me although I think I had it a bit easier as I was partnered up with a person who had previously done ATYAP

My teaching experience was something novel to me, as I had never done anything like that before. We taught at Ubon Rachatani for 3 weeks. Before ATYAP I had never heard of a place called Ubon. My school was the furthest of all the schools, which meant were the first to leave every morning. But I soon realised the travel time was nothing compared to the experience I received and finding out new things about myself. Even thought the schools were quite disadvantaged everyone was so welcoming and offered everything as if they knew for a long time. What got to me was how happy and content the children were even though they had minimal possessions. It really made realise how lucky I was and how much I had compared to the children I was teaching. It really has made me look at my life from a different perspective and taught me what real happiness is.

Besides teaching we would also go out on excursions. We went various places. Each time we went out I was so excited as I was very keen to explore Thailand. Travelling to these different places showed me Thailand’s real beauty and culture. I saw things that I don’t think I would have ever laid eyes on such as the Mekong River during dry season (pictured below). It looked incredible. The Grand Palace in Bangkok was spectacular but also had so much culture around it. it taught me about the great importance of the king and how Buddhism is a massive part of Thailand.

The food was amazing. Every night after a long day of teaching we would head of to the night markets, which was a short walk away. The food was so cheap compared to Australian prices. 2 dollar pad thai and mango sticky rice was our life, not to mention skewers and all the fruit. I also tried to branch out from the classic thai foods. Things like papaya salad and crickets were both new to me, both were different in there own way. Experiencing all the new food was great fun for my stomach and me

The ATYAP experience and been the best experience I’ve had so far. It has shown me the real Thailand and its people. People think Thailand is just for partying and the full moon but it is way more than that. This experience had taught me so much about my self and will be something I will remember for a lifetime.

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