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GAP YEAR | VOLUNTEER ABROAD | WORK EXPERIENCE OVERSEAS

 

Volunteers' Stories

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CATHERINE WILLIAMS
British

Teaching English to Children on a voluntary program in Madurai, India

         

I am gaining immeasurable amounts of experience over a whole spectrum of issues and  primarily, excellent experience of teaching which will aid my PGCE application. I feel that I am gaining experience of another culture first hand, experience of life and learning a lot about myself too. 

The placement in India has challenged me in so many ways. I have a much deeper sense of gratitude for my life at home now. It is very unique to live in another country for a protracted period and embrace a different way of life. After all, you don't learn about a country just through a textbook!

The best thing about the about the placement is the children, their enthusiasm and energy has been delightful. I would most definitely recommend this placement. I abhor clichés but this really is an experience of a lifetime, miss at your peril! 

This placement would suit someone who is enthusiastic and enjoys working with children. This may seem an obvious point to make but I really do feel it is important (for the volunteer as much as the children) that the volunteer has had some kind of pervious experience of teaching or working with children; to gain the most from the placement. The teachers expect you to plan lessons and teach straight away. Without previous experience and added culture shock, I can imagine it possibly being quite daunting.

Can you describe a typical day?

School begins at 9:10 and finishes at 16:00. There are 7 periods of teaching in the school day and I teach for 4 of those per day. During my free periods I interact with other staff and plan lessons. Lessons are a mixture of my own material and syllabus expected to be studied by the school.

Lunch time is 12:25-12:50. I alternate between sitting with the secondary school teachers and with the primary teachers and their students.

I've tried to throw myself into the whole experience to gain the most enjoyment and I can eat successfully with my right hand now!

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