Editor's Note: The University of Baguio deploys its Education students in schools and institutions in the country and abroad for its local and international on-the-job training program. In the following article, UB intern Fred shares his experience student teaching at the College of Asian Scholars in Khon Kaen, Thailand, from April to May 2018. All photos courtesy of Fred.
Fred with his Thai resource teacher and students
I never thought I would have the chance to intern in Thailand, carrying the name of the University of Baguio. Allow me to share some of the memories I will never forget about this journey.
From the tedious and tiring moments at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport up to the exhausting hours in Bangkok under the scorching sun, I could say it was all worth it. We were welcomed with warm smiles and greetings on our arrival.
In the course of my practice teaching, I handled both tertiary and secondary students. At first, it was hard for me to teach, primarily because of the language barrier. But I saw in my students the willingness to learn, and they behaved well, so that made things easier. I was also assigned in different offices of the school.
In my 51 days of teaching and being with Thai people, I learned a lot. In life, one must go out of his comfort zone to learn more. The sacrifice is all rewarding in the end.
I had the chance to experience a piece of the Thai culture in different settings. For one, I witnessed a funeral ceremony, wherein the people mourned solemnly and sang a prayer song for the dead. I also had the chance to attend a wedding ceremony. Everyone was dressed glamorously, the place was majestic, and the foods were well-prepared. Also, I and my co-intern had the opportunity to watch a football game – live – inside a huge football stadium. When you're watching an actual game, you will really feel it – the heat, the pressure, the energy. Things are a lot thrilling when compared to watching it on television. Everyone is just restless and every goal makes the crowd go wild and crazy. More importantly, I saw how the all the players, teammates or not, showed respect for each other.
It was the Songkran Festival, Thailand’s New Year celebration, that I enjoyed the most. I completed the three-day celebration with Thai and Japanese friends I got to meet. Everyone was in the streets, splashing water to each other and throwing powder on each others’ faces which is usually followed by a “khor thot krab” or “excuse me.” Street parties can be found everywhere, music blasts in every corner, and the beautiful Thai people, so respectful and polite, will give you the sweetest smiles. Thailand, really, is the land of smiles.
On food, Thais love cucumber and tomato as side dishes. I will never forget the amazing spices in the Thai recipes that I had the chance to taste. On religion, the Thai people have an immense respect for religion.
Wrapping up my Thailand journey, I will always remember my students, who gave me respect not only as their teacher, but also as their brother, and all the Thai I met. The fun and joy we had can never be bought by any amount of money.
It was my dream to be in a foreign land. Now, that dream came true. I can now at least tell myself, “Fred, you reached far. But you can do more.” –Fred Florenz Abastillas
Fred Florenz Abastillas is a senior Bachelor of Secondary Education (English) student of the University of Baguio.
Fred at the College of Asian Scholars compound
Fred attending a Thai wedding
The Thai architecture is heavy on bright colors, rich ornamentation and sweeping, multi-tiered roofs.
The Thai architecture, often appreciated for its details, reflects the country's
climatic conditions, sense of community and religious beliefs.