Life at Camp: Ayutthaya
Living abroad has allowed me to become involved with areas in need that are suffering from extreme poverty or are unable to offer the skills or resources necessary for living a sustainable life. Being able to participate in English camps for Global Teaching Adventures where we offer free English lessons to those in need, I am fulfilling a life goal. We visit different areas of Thailand where we provide three to four days of lessons to kids that may never get the opportunity to learn English and use it in the real world. Whatever your opinion may be about teaching English abroad, we can all agree that this skill is an asset. It can help a person to get a job, exceed in school, and for older students, it can broadened their opportunities tenfold.
One of my favorite places to go for English camp is Ayutthaya.
If you have ever heard of the face in the trees, an ancient Buddha face intertwined amongst the roots of a tree, then you have heard about a very special place in Thailand, called Ayutthaya. This city, just an hour from Bangkok is known for its ancient temples and famous Buddha statue. In its time, Ayutthaya was a grand city, bustling with hundreds of thousands of people which resulted in the creation of beautiful architecture. In the mid-1700s the city was destroyed by the Burmese army and what stands today are the ruins of ancient temples and the city grounds. You get of sense of being taken back in time when you walk through the ruins and you can feel the spiritual history and still see Thais paying their respects to these ancient buildings today.
When you imagine yourself in Ayutthaya, you can imagine the smell of incense, the quiet sounds of ancient chants, and see the overlapping infrastructure of past and present. English camps in Ayutthaya are some of my favorite camp experiences because we are able to experience real culture and literally walk among the historical past of a great nation. When I am traveling in other countries, visiting ancient ruins is always at the top of my list. Pompeii in Italy was one of the greatest trips I've ever taken and you get the same feeling here. My footsteps are walking the same path that people thousands of years ago walked as their daily commute to work. In the same place where I am I standing, there were people once laughing and talking with friends. I love that feeling, the feeling of being to connected to people and imagining myself in the same place so many years ago.
Locals here usually only interact with tourists who come to visit the ancient ruins, and so it is a joy when a group of foreigners come to teach and interact with eager students. We are treated like family in Ayutthaya. The days are filled with exciting teaching adventures and nights are filled with the sounds of laughter reflecting on our day as we mingle with students, our hosts, and other counselors.
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- Johna Hunger