Thailand - Nong Chang
Numerous countries are in need for humanitarian help. Thailand is one of them. Located in South-East Asia, between Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia and Myanmar, the country is well known for its capital, Bankgkok, and its beaches such as Koh-Samui. The country is divided into a more developed south surrounding Bangkok and a north part which is characterized by mountains chains and poverty. Poverty and Education are recurrent problems developing countries are nowadays facing. Thus, there is room for humanitarian help.
4,017,103! This number represents the amount of illiterate persons in Thailand. Yes, this number is tremendous and represents more than 5% of the population but the implementation of a compulsory education system tends to reduce it. English has become one of the most important language for Thai people to unable them to pursue higher education and to develop their country outside their border. In addition, a lot of the country’s wealth come from tourism, which make them extremely dependent on it. However, some regions such as Nong Chang have difficulties teaching a suitable English. Therefore, Pieces (in cooperation with Jan & Oscar) has find the opportunity to implement a volunteering system trying to improve the English level in school located in remote areas. This system is sending volunteers from the University of St. Gallen to Nong Chang twice a year in order to teach English to students from 7 to 12 years old.
In Switzerland, we have the chance to receive an incredible education which teaches us strong values. These values, we believe, push us to act accordingly and help people which got less lucky; which might not be less smart but are just born in poverty! The Thailand project is, in this sense, really important as it provides English education to children which might latter help their country develop and reduce poverty.
A famous sentence on a wall at the St. Gallen university states: “happiness is expensive”; volunteers all around the world would disagree to that. They will state that people in need give you everything when you come to help them, they breathe happiness, they are clueless and innocent. Isn’t it time that we give a bit back? That we help them?
Lots of ways exist to help others, lots of association, lots of actions, lots of funds levying, … Pieces is an association as others but being a student association requires found to pursue actions and to have a greater impact. Donators are the most important… without founds, any actions would not be possible. The Thailand project being made with a particularly present association in the county offers a big opportunity for donators which want to have an impact and help. Pieces sponsors housing and board in a local host family to, on the one hand, support locals and, on the other hand, ensure a high quality of teaching by being able to engage those volunteers with the highest qualifications and not those with the highest income. This volunteering is of primarily importance for Thai children as it provide them with proper contact to English accent and pronunciation which their English teacher cannot teach them.
A practical approach to making a difference
By participating you are actually filling a need in the local community. You are not taking away opportunities from local teachers but enriching the local education environment by offering your time and your resources!
Volunteering for students
We adapted our volunteering offering to fit the busy schedule of students at the University of St. Gallen. Volunteering will take place during the semester break and will not extend further than one week into the next term. All projects have a duration of 3-4 weeks.
Additonally, Pieces covers the volunteers lodging and food costs for the duration of their stay.
As opposed to other volunteering platforms we are completely run by students on a voluntary basis. All funds we collect goes directly to our partner schools and to finance our organization. We DON'T give money to third parties but are directly in contact with our partnerschools.
Experience a new culture
Experience new food, new customs and meet new people. This is an incredible opportunity to leave your comfort zone and to truly commit to something you have never experienced before.
You will also be dealing with different important problems you might not have been confronted with before.
Before leaving for your project you will receive pedagogical training during our mandatory two day long bootcamp during which you will receive the tools required to communicate and teach in an effective manner.
14.3.2022: Startpoint - Board's Decision
Board's decision on whether projects will be carried out - dependent on the covid-19 travel requirements and the overall safety of the host country.
14.3.2022-8.4.2022: Application Period for Volunteers
Upload your CV and a motivation letter (both in English) in ONE PDF-document, naming it “firstname.surname” (e.g. “frida.kahlo.pdf”). Introduce yourself in the motivation letter (1 page A4), and mention one or two preferences regarding the project destination, as well as why you are interested in going to these countries.
First application period: Ends on the 30th of March
Second application period: Ends on the 17th of April
The two application periods help us to organize the interviews so we can ensure that you will have the best possible experience with PIECES and receive all necessary information on time.
14.3.2022-29.4.2022: Interviews of Volunteer Candidates
Your English level will be tested while we get get to know you. We will also assess if you are fit for teaching at one of our projects. The interviews will take place on a weekly basis. If you meet our internal application standards we will send you a selection of possible interview time slots from which you will be able to freely choose. The later you apply the less choices you will have so keep this in mind when applying at the end of our applicaiton period. The interviews will take place online (Zoom) or at the University of St. Gallen.
2.5.2022: Selection of the Volunteers
Volunteers will receive a confirmation e-mail with the final Board decision and respective details (including volunteering contract and further travel details).
The Volunteer Bootcamp will take place in person at the University of St. Gallen. During the duration of the bootcamp you will receive the tools required to effectively teach and communicate in a foreign environment. Former volunteers will also give you insights and personal advice for your specific project destination. You will also get the oppoprtunity to meet your new volunteering team members.Attending the Bootcamp is mandatory for all prospective volunteers!
Exact dates of volunteering
Zambia 24.07 -20.08
Thailand: To be announced...
Warning: Exact dates will be subject to change but will usually fall within the lecture-free-period. We highly recommend that applicants keep the end of July and the whole of August open.
What Our former Volunteers say
Questions and Answers
Q: Will I still be considered if I apply in the second application period?
This highly depends on the applicants of the first period. If we already were able to recruit our volunteers for our summer projects, we will not consider applicants in the second period. However, if we still need motivated volunteers, applications in the second period period will be considered.
Q: Should I apply during the first or second deadline?
Your chances to become a PIECES volunteer are higher if you apply during the first application period.
Hannah Winterfeldt (Volunteer Summer 2018)
"They (the schoolchildren) were shy at first but they quickly saw us as their friends and treated us with so much love and kindness. And that is what made the whole experience so special to me. I came to Thailand because I wanted to teach the students. But I returned home feeling that the students might have taught me just as much"
PIECES is not a travel agency. We do not engage in “Voluntourism” but real volunteering, which requires volunteers to adapt to extremely precarious living conditions, discomfort, and enter foreign and sometimes hostile social environments dealing with serious issues. This is a risk of volunteering abroad and PIECES cannot issue any explicit safety guarantee or accept any kinds of liability. We are also not liable for organizing your trip and travel documentation – we are, of course, here to help, but you remain responsible.
While living at the project site, you might not have a western bathroom, you might fall sick, you might have spiders or cockroaches wandering by your bedside, have no electricity, hospital and public transportation close by, have no road, and long teaching hours. Make sure you are able and willing to deal with these kind of problems if you apply for volunteering. It is an incredible, life-changing experience but it is not meant to be a holiday.