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Volunteers' Stories


Mark Chalmers, voluntary work in Teaching           


Teaching Children in Schools on a voluntary program in Malaysia


I am having a great time here in Sabah. The placement is great and I am looking forward to exploring the rest of the surrounding area in the vacation coming up. So far I feel that I have experienced not only a balanced interaction with children and teachers but also a clear insight into the local culture and the hospitable character that surrounds the school.

I have also experienced the everyday life of a world that was completely alien to me before. The diversity between the Western lifestyle and the Eastern has opened my eyes to travelling more often and has given me a real thirst to come back.

As a teaching placement, the best part is seeing how the pupils develop their understanding of English due to your influence. The noticeable difference in their pronunciation and basic understanding of the language is very fulfilling.

However, once you find yourself outside of the classroom many opportunities arise to discover Sabah and what it has to offer. Among many of the highlights, staying on Mamutik (one of the islands off Kota Kinabalu) has to have been the best part of my placement outside of the classroom. The coral beds and the vast variety of fish accompanied by the perfect sand make the island truly unique. 

I would strongly recommend this placement to anybody else as it gives a perfect combination of teaching and free time, allowing you to discover Sabah but at the same time feel fulfilled, as you have added to the children’s education. Everybody I have met in Malaysia is very friendly and always willing to help with any problems that you may face.

The local cuisine is very tasty as well and I feel it would suit everybody’s needs. I think this placement would suit somebody that is not afraid to try new things. If you are easily moved by different cultures and cannot adapt very easily then I feel this placement shouldn’t be on the top of your list.

The lifestyle is far more relaxed and therefore this placement would suit someone who can find things to do in their spare time but also be willing to involve themselves with school after classes. It may seem quite daunting teaching children that have a basic knowledge of English, but if you are confident and innovative then this placement would be very suited to you.

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