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GAP YEAR | VOLUNTEER ABROAD | WORK EXPERIENCE OVERSEAS

 

Volunteers' Stories

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IAN AND KATHERYN MERRICK
British

Teaching Children in Wasgamuwa on a voluntary placement in Sri Lanka
         

Coming to Wasgamuwa ... everybody is extremely friendly and helpful to us. The area here is very rural and the villagers make their own entertainment so there is very little to do once it has got dark. It is unwise to leave the house because of the danger from snakes and elephants. It is ideal for people who are little bit older and would probably not suit GAP year students looking for a party atmosphere.

We were pleasantly surprised by the number of people wanting to learn English, between 100 and 120 in total. Originally we were to teach two hours a day for 5 days but thankfully due to class sizes we extended this to two classes per day 9-11am and 3:30-5:30pm.

The teaching we were soon to find out is quite difficult owing to the fact that that there is such a different range of ability. We have completed several role play situations and everybody was very good at repeating but unfortunately only about 10% understood, so we backtracked and explained every word singularly.

We have excellent interpreters in Jagath, Thushara and the girls who are all very helpful indeed. We were also asked to help the teachers at the school to improve their conversational English and so take 2 classes per week with them. We feel that we have made a fair amount of progress up to now, even though it is only 3 weeks since we started and hope to continue this. At present it is harvest time in the paddy fields so class numbers fluctuate daily, hopefully this will change quite soon as harvest time finishes.

The area is outstanding in natural beauty with excellent examples of flora and fauna every where you look. Time not spent teaching can be doing anything from swimming in the tank, visiting the local town (30 minutes away by bus), cycling or just lazing in the sun with a book. .

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Volunteers teaching in a classroom in Wasgamuwa, Sri Lanka
Ian and Katheryn in class