Tag Archives: Teaching English Abroad

An Introspection of an American Teaching in Fiji

Ivhq teaching english

What is it like teaching English in Fiji?

Like usual, kids all over the world generally have the same youthful mindset, so it felt familiar, but different. Challenging, yet gratifying. However, and this is a BIG however, teaching English in Fiji to a class of 47 students is a whole other world of challenging.

I repeat–47 individual eleven and twelve year olds all at the same time!

Among the forty-something volunteers currently at the Green Lion, only a handful of them volunteered to be teachers. Most of them were on the construction or kindergarten programs.

Why did I decide to teach? One, Fiji is a freakin’ HOT tropical island, so I couldn’t be bothered sweating my ass off doing construction work. Secondly, spending my afternoons with hordes of poopy baby kids every weekday sounded like the worst thing ever, so skip that.

Teaching it is!

It was an easy choice. I have loads of experience teaching around the world, so much in fact that recently I became certified to teach English internationally. It’s something I have if I ever wanted to pursue it further along. But I gotta admit, I came a loooooong way.

This was back in South Africa in 2012 when I was unexpectedly thrown into teaching for the first time and I had no idea what the heck I was doing…

I taught a few more times since in different parts of Africa, and then again in Vietnam in 2013 and later again in 2014 is when I started to get the hang of things…

I found my stride teaching in Nepal (2014) and Guatemala (2015)…




So naturally I had positive expectations for teaching English in Fiji!

Junior walked me and a couple others to Nasinu Sangham Primary School, just a few minutes walk from the volunteer house. On the way, he asked us what class of students we would like to teach.

Wow, I had a choice! 

It’s rare to have the option to choose which class of kids I wanted. Normally the volunteer organizations just plop me into some class.

“What classes does the school go up to?” I asked him.

“Class eight,” he responded.

“The older the better for me.”

“Okay, class six?”

“That’s perfect.”

Teaching class six was my preferred choice. They were at the age where they were old enough to comprehend grownup matters but still oblivious to the world at large. This was the age where the choices they made now would trickle into their higher education learning and beyond. I was here to help guide them on the correct course.

“Not many volunteers choose the older classes,” said Junior as we entered the school grounds. “Most choose class one or two.”

We first met the principal of the school. He was of Indian heritage and had that typical ‘principal look’. The look of dominance and if you misbehave, this is the guy you are gonna see and it won’t be pretty. He welcomed us to the school and soon after Junior escorted me to room 601, the class I would be a part of. We entered.

Holy crap there was a shit ton of kids in here!

Some of them out of their seats, all chatting, and seemed to be in the middle of a laid back assignment. Their teacher sat at the desk and welcomed me with a warm smile. Her name is Mrs. Kurisaqila, a Fijian woman in charge of the class. She directed the students to welcome me. They all stopped what they were doing and stood up.

“This is Mister Daniel,” she told them. “He will be helping to assist the class for the next six weeks.”

“Good morning Mister Daniel!” shouted the class in unison.

“Good morning!” I responded. “How are you?”

“We are fine, thank you! How are you today” they shouted again in perfect harmony.

“I am fine as well, thank you!”

They all sat down and curiously stared at me snickering, while making small talk with one another probably saying not-so-great things about me in their native tongue. Maybe. I know I did when I was in elementary.

“How many students are in the class?” I asked her.

“Forty-seven,” she replied. “But some of them are absent today.”

My eyes just about popped out of my head. Forty-seven!? I think the most I’ve ever had at once maxed out at about 25. This was almost double.

“Half of the students are Fijian, the other half are Hindi,” she continued to say. “So some days we split the class so half of them learn Fijian language and the other half learn Hindi language, but all predominately learn English.”

The idea for me being here was to assist Mrs. Kurisaqila with checking assignments and helping the students with their course work. Once I got the hang of things, she would let me teach whole subjects on my own as she did paperwork. By the looks of it, these students could use all the help they could get.

Floats like a mosquito and stings like a snail?? 

Damn, what kind of snails do they have here on this island? I giggled when I read that. But then again, I wouldn’t expect these students to understand the metaphor. I don’t think I knew what that meant at their age!

I also saw these posted on the bulletin boards which were a little alarming:

You must spend money to make money? I guess…when you’re investing as an adult but when I was their age, I was taught to save my money. Also, they only require 50% of the students to pass? Yikes!

I spent the first day getting to learn the students names (which will take me awhile). and observing the process. Every country I teach in has different rules and standards that I needed to familiarize myself with. Like with this one, I’m required to wear a decent button-up and a sulu.

What’s a sulu? It’s basically a skirt for men.

Fiji was getting sweaty hot so wearing a sulu felt cool for my under carriage, but I absolutely hate wearing flip-flops or sandals. Only when I’m in a beach environment. Wearing my sneakers would look silly with a sulu so I had to make do. (Eventually I began to wear pants and no one minded.) As a matter of fact, only the Fijian teachers wore the traditional Fijian outfit. The teachers of Indian background wore a button-up and slacks. I alternated between both, with favoritism towards the latter.

During the second day of assisting, Mrs. Kurisaqila asked if I wanted to take over a period. I happily accepted and went on the whim. I didn’t prepare any lessons yet because I still had to gauge the class. I had to find out their general academic skill level, sort out who were the smarties, who were behind, who were the troublemakers, and let the students grow comfortable with me. I implemented an “ice breaker “ in the form of an old fashioned, traditional Spelling Bee. They’ve never heard of a Spelling Bee but when I explained to them the rules, they were excited to strut their stuff. It was a way for me to meter them as well. After an intense few rounds, Adi came out on top to which the class applauded her. By the way, I got the list of appropriate age-level words just from googling a website on my phone.

I had ideas as to what lesson plans to conjure for the coming weeks. In the mean time, I still had all of Fiji to explore with my new housemates. We have our evenings and weekends free to do whatever we wanted!

So far, my class turned out to be pretty neat, my housemates were entertaining, and with the unbeatable setting–Fiji– I had a good feeling about the rest of my stay here.


However, I knew from prior experiences that each week could change for no reason other than for life to toy with me.

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Sellers Abroad Meets Students Abroad

I just want to point out that the spanish keyboards are pretty confusing. So if there are any weird accent marks anywhere, it’s because I haven’t figured this thing out yet! But anyways…

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With pretty much all of my volunteer housemates gone, it’s just Carly and I now holding down the Olga fort. Usually every week we get a new volunteer or two but this week we came up completely short. I believe the reason is because Olga also rents out to people outside of Maximo Nivel and they’ve been taking up potential space for other Maximo volunteers who are more around my age. The others who have been staying here are generally a lot older and are here solely to study Spanish. They’re nice people but it’s just not the same hanging out with 50 and 60 year olds. Wondering at all if we’re going to get anyone half as awesome as the previous crew we just had, Carly and I still enjoyed the setup we had at Olga’s. From everything we learned the past few weeks, it sounded like our accommodation was the best in many regards. My bed is always made for me everyday. I have my own bathroom, fresh towels and linen every week, and the food Olga prepares for use every day always hits the spot. We’re pampered here. One day during dinner, in walked three guys who looked around my age. Olga said they were students studying abroad. They were actually a few years younger than me. Their names are Nic, Lincoln, and Hayden, all from Indiana, which is very close to where I live in Michigan. The three are here for about a month studying the history of Guatmela, fair trade, and Guatemalan coffee and chocolate. Interesante!

After dinner, Carly, the three new housemates, and I went out into the city to show em` the ropes of Antigua.  We were planning to meet Hanni and her housemates at an Irish pub but weren’ sure which one. We found a pub with a green clover on it and when Carly walked in, she was applauded and cheered by all the women sitting at the rail. But when I walked in, I was booed and gestured to get the heck out! So out I went, a little baffled by what just happened. Why would they boo me out? Carly went back in with more applause and cheers and I went back in to more boos and sneers…just to make sure I was hearing correctly. I noticed everyone in the bar was a woman. “Is this a lesbian bar or something?” I asked them. One of the women pointed to a sign that was hanging by the door that depicted a picture of male genitalia with a huge red ¨x¨ on it. It made sense now. We immediately left and found the correct Irish pub just down the street where we met Hanni and the others. The next night, Nic, Hayden, Lincoln, and I went to Monoloco and sat at the bar. The bartender offered a challenge to the bar guests. Whoever can shoot the most plush basketballs into the hoop behind the bar would win a pot of money. The pot of money was ten quetzales that everyone who participated threw in. Nic and Lincoln easily, EASILY, whooped all the Guatemalan locals. But when it came down to just the two of them, Lincoln walked with the win and the pot of a little more than 100 quetzales. 100 quetzales is only about $13 USD so it wasn’t much, but here in Guatemala, $13 can stretch a lot further. Currently, they are considering coming back here often to hustle the locals each week, in which I think is a great idea!

Lincoln with the winning shot.
Lincoln with the winning shot.

School Days

Johnathan told me there were two new volunteer teachers joining me today. Ben (Australia) and Ron (NY, USA). Ben´s a swimming coach back home and Ron is retired and has just been doing some travelling. Johnathan asked that since they were new, that today in school they would be observing me and the structure of the classes. I told them that tomorrow, since the classes have been growing in size, we will split them up. I´d take three classes while they would split one. Even though Ben`s never taught English before, I was fully confident in his ability to do so based on his coaching experience. Ron´s a whole other story though. Nice guy, means well, but he´s a bit on the odd side. One day when I let Ron have a whole class for himself, I walked in to check on him and I heard him telling the younger class that his dog was dead. He then asked them if they had any dead dogs. What the heck are you teaching them man? Ben on the other hand was really great with his kids and didn`t need any help from me whatsoever. Ron told me he had difficulty because he wasn`t sure what to teach them or what to do with them at times. Poor kids would beg me to please comeback to them whenever I came near. As much as I wanted to, I needed Ron to get some experience because he was going to be doing this for eight weeks. It takes a few classes for a teacher to adjust and find their groove.

New volunteer Ben teaching body parts.
New volunteer Ben teaching body parts.

Cerro de la Cruz

The Hoosiers at my house are studying abroad so they´re a bit really restricted as far as free time, especially over the weekends. Their professors plan everything for them, whether they like it or not. They also have to do homework assignments and report to classes everyday. I cringe every time I hear that. I´m a free bird here, besides the teaching thing. They came with a group of students with the three of them being the only males, so they were put into my house, on the opposite side of Antigua away from the other students and professors from their college. It´s probably the best thing that could have happened for them. We have the best homestay and Carly and I were here to made sure they had a great time outside of their normal school activites by introducing them to our group of volunteers spread across Antigua.  But unfortunately, it was Carly´s last night in Antigua, so we all went out to a nice restaurant called Casa Blanca for dinner. Carina (Wisconsin, USA), another volunteer we met joined us. She’s also pretty awesome.

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Left side: Nic, Carina, Carly. Right side: Me, Lincoln, Hayden.

Normally, when I’m travelling, I always meet other travellers who we can all relate with, by sharing our stories and current plans with one another. I’ve never met a group of students from my country, a good chunk of them being their first time outside of the USA during my travels though. I do notice the difference. Everything they see here is weird, different and amazes them while I was mostly unphased. I’ve been spoiled. My tolerance for the ‘strange’ has grown tremendously over the years. The students, especially Nic, were baffled when I told them I’ve been travelling since July going to pretty much any random country I felt like at the time and have been doing it for a few years now. I got the same questions I usually get when I’m at home, most of them beginning with the word “How?”.

We went around town for a bit more that night in celebration of Carly who had just about enough. She passed out at one of the lounges we went to.

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The next morning, Carly, Hayden, Nic, Lincoln, and I woke up at 5:30 in the morning to go hike Cerro de la Cruz. Hayden came up with the idea and we thought it would be great for everyone to go. I knew the way there and led the pack in the chilly midst of morning. It’s not a long hike at all. It took about a half hour total to walk to the north of Antigua and up the flight of steps to the viewpoint looking over the city.

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We stayed up there for about a half hour while the sun rose and the city came alive. At the view point, we met up with a couple of other volunteers from the Shekina house who were already up there.

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When we went back home, the guys went to school and Carly and I hung out a little before we said our goodbyes “see you later’s”. That was the end of one really great group of volunteers. Jacob, Katie, Uma, Mark, Marco, Valerio, Ellie, Laura, and Carly. Thankfully now, the students were here and I wasn’t stuck in an elderly home by myself. I am also in the stages of planning a new expedition–my biggest one since Kilimanjaro. Up one of the largest, most active volcanoes in this region: Acatenango. It’s about a thousand meters or so smaller than my old pal Kili, but altitude sickness still happens there and I know all too well that altitude sickness is not my friend.

Acatenango is the big one in the backdrop.
Acatenango is the big one in the backdrop.

I’ll update about all this later!

The English Entertainer

Out of all the countries I’ve taught English in, this one has been the most challenging.

The major difference here is that I’m not teaching at a school. I’m actually at an after school program teaching free classes for students who want to learn English. No grades or passes or fails. Students can come and go as they please which makes it quite difficult to keep structure. There aren’t any consequences if they are absent or don’t study. There are always a few new students every week, which means I have to backtrack a bit each time so they can catch up.

Roxy has never taught English before but has learned to hold her own the past two weeks. She has an advantage. She is completely fluent in Spanish. It helps when both your parents are from Honduras. The downside is, it’s tempting to speak to the students in Spanish when they don’t understand something. My Spanish is a little less than basic so not speaking any Spanish to them is easy. Roxy only applied to be here for two weeks and now her time was up. The students took a huge liking to her because they were able to communicate with her better than they could with me. But I warned the kids that once Roxy leaves, everything will be primarily in English!

On Roxy’s last day, she wanted to give each student cookies and cupcakes. We handed them out to each class and took pictures with them.

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She even donated supplies for the school to use. Spare books and writing utensils. Roxy was great at remembering all their names. I was not. It didn’t help that I was absent from class most of the week from being away in Monterrico and Semuc. I felt a little guilty leaving her on her own all week but I would pay the price the following week when I was all by myself, meaning I had to be there until new volunteers arrived. If I didn’t show up, it meant the kids wouldn’t have a teacher. I had no intentions on missing classes the next week though.

Roxy and I
Roxy and I
Our last chicken bus ride
Our last chicken bus ride

The next day, Roxy headed to Honduras to stay with her parents for a while before she headed back to the States. Roxy, I’ll catch up with ya sometime in the future! Also soon enough, Katie and the Italian guys, Mark, Valerio, and Marco would all be heading to El Salvador for the surf program over the week. Since it was a holiday week, there would be very few new volunteers arriving. None of them English teachers, which actually I preferred. I like having classes all to myself. I just had to figure out how to keep these students motivated. And I think I knew the way! I’ve gotta entertain these kids. Keep them coming back for more.

Since there aren’t any consequences for the students being absent and not studying, I began to implement fun English games with candy as bribery for the winners. Maximo prefers us not to give candy or gifts to the students because they will begin to expect it, but I will only give out candy as rewards and it won’t be everyday. I’ll be strict with it. I borrowed four small white erase boards from Maximo and broke up each class into small groups. I gave each group a board, a marker, and an eraser.

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To ensure the students remembered the new vocabulary we taught them such as colors and numbers, I would say a word or phrase in Spanish and they would have to write it down in English. Each team that got it correct would get a point. For the older classes, I would ask them a question in English and they would have to write a proper response for it. I told the groups that the winning teams would get a pile of candy by the end of the week. It became quite competitive which is always a good thing. Over the days, I introduced new games like relay races outside of the class and other fun games all with the basis of learning English. Every time a student asked me something in Spanish, I would say to them “Only English!” Whenever they asked me to use the bathroom, I told them they had to ask me in English otherwise they’d have to pee their pants! No Spanish!

I'd say "Perro Amarillo" and they'd have to write the English equivalent.
I’d say “Perro Amarillo” and they’d have to write the English equivalent.

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Some of the students were stumped! But these were the students who didn't show up everyday.
Some of the students were stumped! But these were the students who didn’t show up everyday.

Some of the students excelled at the games. Some did not. Those students who did not, didn’t get any rewards. Hopefully that will motivate them to study and do better. I’ll find out how each student progresses over the next few weeks. There would be days where we would review everything and I would tell the students to pay attention because the next day we will play a game with everything we learned with the prize being a pile of sweets and treats! It peaked their interest and in order to maintain seriousness, I had to be stern. No sweets whatsoever for the ones who lacked.

I really, really enjoyed my time with the classes. They’ve grown to really like me and would stick around after the day was over to ask me questions. I found out from Johnathan that the next week I would be joined by two new volunteers. I’ve already got a rhythm going with these students so we’ll see how that works out. I asked the students to not come on New Year’s Day, I’ll be out and about.

New Year’s Eve was approaching and it was going to be a fun one in the city of Antigua, Guatemala!

 

 

 

 

 

Sai Gone

It’s mine and Lucy’s last full day with the volunteers, so my core group (Lucy, Lex, Tom, Sophie, Addie, and Rochelle (Melbourne, Australia)) planned a special day in District One. It was also a day that Quyen wanted to take the volunteers out again. What to do!? I split my time between Quyen and my group. Quyen took all the volunteers out to try a variety of fruit among the alleys in HCMC. My group separated soon enough but I told them I would meet them later on. The fruit was tasty and consisted of purple dragon fruit, strawberries, bananas, mangoes, and other strange ones that I cannot pronounce. Soon Quyen treated the rest us of that were left to fried bananas and deep-fried sweet potatoes. I didn’t want to miss out on the Vietnamese cuisine so I knew the others would understand. But immediately after, I took a motorbike to the Financial Tower, the tallest building in Vietnam, to meet up with everyone.

Financial Tower
Financial Tower

I caught up with them and we went up to the highest floor we possibly could without paying and found a nice, ritzy bar at the top with an ingratiating view of Saigon!

Saigon City
Saigon City

And so begins the wave of goodbyes. I woke up the next day and found that I only need to wear my neck brace for when I’m sleeping. I started to pack that along with everything else into my bags. Will, Tian, and a few others were leaving early this morning to go to Mui Ne beach, which meant this would be the last time I would see them. Out of all the new volunteers that arrived two weeks after I did, I was fond of Tian and Will the most. Tian just cracked me up with everything she said and did, even if she wasn’t trying to be funny. I bonded with Will a little later into my stay here in Saigon. I really didn’t get to know him until about a week ago and I found he shares the same enthusiasm for venturing the world and making fun of each other’s home countries as much as I do! He’s also savvy with a camera and would go through great lengths to get that great shot, just like me. I have a few friends I need to visit in Australia, now adding Will to the top of that list, which solidifies the fact that I need to get there soon! Watch out for those drop bears Will.

The group of five Australian girls were due to leave next. I barely got to knew them until the last couple of days here, which was a shame. I hung out much more with my students and locals than I did with the other volunteers. Even so, I helped them with their luggage and walked with them to a taxi. Afterwards, I went back to my dorm to finish packing before I went to teach another session at Cuch Gach with Duong.

This time, Duong let me teach whatever I wanted. So for the majority of class, I went over consonant and vowel sounds, in addition to changing certain words to the past, present, and future tense. The later part of the class, I helped them fine tune their conversation skills when meeting an English speaking foreigner for the first time. I loved this!

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The students were really into it!
The students were really into it!

After class was over, Duong took me to another restaurant to treat me to breakfast. Bittersweet because this was the last time I would see Duong here. She showed me around the restaurant and she was keen to hear about what I have in store for the rest of my travels. She was very interested about the Reaching Out 2 The World project I’m working on in South Africa and thought that it was the most awesome idea in the world! As a matter of fact, most of the students that knew about it, thought it was the coolest thing ever! I would never expect, nor want these students to donate so all I asked of them was to follow along to see what I would be up to. Still to this day, I have never seen Duong without a smile – still one of the most pleasant people on the face of this earth. I also found out that Duong came all the way to the hospital to check on me when she found out something happened. Once she saw that I was okay, she left but didn’t want to bother me. What an angel! After breakfast, we said our farewells, and I set off on a motorbike back to the college as she rode her bicycle back to her home. It then hit me that I have a LOT of people to say goodbye to before my flight at 8pm! Hopefully I would get to everyone!

As I walked back into the college, luckily I bumped into Duc as he was on his way to the restaurant. I told him not to leave the college quite yet, as I had something for him. I went to my dorm to get a shirt I had with me that had the “University of Michigan” emblem on it. I’ve had it for awhile but it was always too big for me. I thought Duc would be the perfect size for it and he was! We said our goodbyes. Soon he would be going to Luxembourg for a year to start his schooling there to become a chef. Good luck with everything Duc!

Duc with his a-MAIZE-ing new shirt.
Duc with his a-MAIZE-ing new shirt.

I heard a “Hey Dan!” as I was walking around the college. It was the group of students who took me out to karaoke a few days ago, lounging on the benches nearby. I was glad to see all of them here at once because I didn’t think I would see them again before I left. 20130719-104200.jpgThey remembered that I was leaving today so we all took pictures together in the center of the campus. They would ask me what my plans for the rest of my trip were and then follow up with, “When will you come back to Vietnam Dan?”. That question would always kill me. Before coming to Vietnam, I thought this would be a one-and-done visit. Now that it’s just about over, I can definitely see myself coming back to teach at the college and visit many of the students, but I have no clue when. I would always say, “One day, but as soon as I know, I will tell you all on Facebook.”

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Lucy was in the middle of packing, so I decided to go grab a quick lunch on my own at the restaurant downstairs. That’s when I saw another group of students from another one of my classes enjoying lunch. “Hey Dan!”, they said as they were flagging me over to come join them. I went over and mentioned to them that I would be leaving in just a few hours and was glad to see them one last time. We talked about a lot of different things and then eventually they gave me a keychain and one of the girls made a card for me with a 3-D basket that popped up when you opened the card. I felt really terrible because I didn’t have anything to give, because I never expected this much gratitude before coming to Vietnam. They just made me promise to skype them when I got back home to help them with their English. I would love that and can’t wait for that to happen!

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After lunch, Quyen spotted me walking past her office and so she called me over. She had a certificate for me, stating my completion of teaching English at this college. The date is a week short, but no matter! It’s still pretty nice to recieve this. Always dressed in professional business attire, Quyen has been one of the best coordinators for any volunteering establishment I have ever been a part of. Not only is she incredibly sweet and informative, she’s amazingly funny and wants nothing but the best for us. Anna and Bryan have been very helpful too. Bryan loved to hang out in the city with the volunteers and Anna was always around to make sure we were all ready for the days events. A top notch team!

Anna, Me, Quyen, and Lucy
Anna, Me, Quyen, and Lucy

On the way back to my dorm, I saw that Ms. Chi was in the middle of teaching a class, so I popped over so she could see me through the window. She knew it was my last day and wanted to say goodbye. My intention was to take a photo with just her but it turned out that the entire class wanted in on the action!

20130719-104349.jpgOnce I said my goodbyes to Ms. Chi and her students, another student spotted me from her office. Her name is Annie and she is one of the top students of her hotel management class. Good luck in all of your future endeavors Annie!

Annie and me.
Annie and me.

I had a few food tickets left that I decided to use all on ice cream instead of dinner. So I headed back to the restaurant real quick and that’s when I spotted another teacher I worked with and his student assistant enjoying a meal. They spotted me and invited me to sit with them and just like everyone else in Saigon, they wanted to treat me to a delicious dish. So nice! But, I literally had 30 minutes left before a taxi came and picked me and Lucy up, so I had to decline, but I made sure to get a photo in for memories sake!

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This whole day I was worried I wouldn’t get to say a proper goodbye to three of my closest students, Bin, Bone, and Macu. I messaged Macu on Facebook telling them goodbye and I came to terms that I wouldn’t see them before I left. Then suddenly, Macu messaged me to meet him in front of the college. And before I knew it, here he was walking along towards the college. I have been showered with small gifts and tokens from students and teachers and I felt horrible that I didn’t have anything great to offer. Macu shared in my love of food and ice cream so I handed him some money. “I want you guys to buy as much ice cream as you can!” I said. Macu is a modest one, and didn’t want to take the money. “But you must save for your trip!” he said trying to hand me back the money. “I’ll be fine.” I responded. “Tell the others goodbye for me and stay in touch!” He was the last local here that I bid farewell to. Now it was time to say goodbye to the other remaining volunteers, the ones Lucy and I have become very close to…

My roommate from the very beginning, Tom, and his girlfriend, Sophie, have been great to have around. Sophie had an English accent as if she came straight from royalty and Tom’s accent was so thick that it was hard to understand him sometimes, but it made for constant laughs. They are both leaving the next day and traveling around Southeast Asia. There is a high probability that we will run into them again soon. Addie has grown as a person, considerably since she arrived. Poor girl has been through so much here (having her phone ripped and stolen right from her hands, nearly getting her purse snatched, a kidney infection, etc). By the end, she handled everything like a pro and she’ll remember this experience for years. Rochelle likes to snicker and giggle at random moments throughout the day to herself, which we all found highly amusing. She has been here longer than the rest of us, and once her original group left, she blended very well into ours. She would remain in Vietnam for about 6 more weeks. Lex also arrived the day we did and will remain in Vietnam for a total of three months. Her and Lucy became close as they always had the same thought process. Lex lives in Toronto and I am an avid visitor of that city so it’s likely that I will see her again. One more group shot for the books guys…

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Sophie, Rochelle, Lucy, Lex, Tom,.Addie, Me.

I came to Saigon with little expectations. I thought I would stay in more of a village, with barely any electricity, bugs flying everywhere, and help teach in a school full of little kids. Turns out, Saigon is a huge city with towering buildings and bright flashy lights that really come alive at night. It’s a city that is growing economically and independently into a major attraction. I predict in a year or so, Saigon will have it’s very first McDonald’s! The college was well organized, quaint, and I felt that I was put to great use here. And to any of you students that I didn’t get the chance to say goodbye to, remember to send me some long messages on Facebook so I can correct your English grammar for you.

Cheers to the world guys – I’m off to the wild North!