Jaylyn Rachel recounts highlights from her Thailand trip this summer
This summer, Jaylyn Rachel, a senior at Westfield High School, was fortunate enough to visit the breath-taking country of Thailand for two weeks.
The program Jaylyn was enrolled in is called, Global Leadership Adventures. This is a program that focuses on helping inspire young leaders to make a difference in the world. The program has ten passions and nineteen countries to choose from. Jaylyn chose the teaching passion, In and Beyond the Classroom, and chose Thailand for her country.
Jaylyn spent her trip learning all the basics of what teachers do each day, but most importantly, she got to teach English to the Thai elementary students. She taught a variety of ages, ranging from first graders to sixth graders. The different level of English that each student was at was a bit challenging at times but very rewarding in the end.
Having the opportunity to visit local schools, teach your native language and culture to students, and watch their true excitement and gratitude hands on, is such an eye-opening experience, said Jaylyn. The amount of friendly, excited, and genuinely happy children made her appreciate what she has back home, and helped solidify how people don’t need gifts of large monetary value, but the gifts of thoughtfulness and simplicity.
Along with teaching, Jaylyn did lots of fun activities such as ziplining, white-water rafting, a visit to an elephant sanctuary, attended a Thai cooking class, got a Thai massage, chatted with a Buddhist Monk, visited many ancient temples, took a Muay Thai boxing class, visited a private Thai High School, and so much more.
Some things she learned from this trip were that traveling alone isn’t all that bad; although, it can be challenging, nerve-racking, and lonely at times. Jaylyn learned that she prefers teaching older students versus younger, solely because they can hold a conversation better, and they gave her a greater feeling of success when they understood the lesson she was teaching.
What I took away most from this trip is that Buddhism is not a religion, but a way of life. Buddhist’s believe that there are three things you have to train to live as happy as can be. You train your mind, train your wisdom, and train your morals. After learning about Buddhism, Jaylyn was left amazed at how simple and content their lives are, which is how she wishes to live her life in the future.
Without this program, a lot of the activities would not have been available had Jaylyn been just a tourist. This program is a friendly, welcoming program that gives students a great opportunity to change the world, and make some of the best friends.
Jaylyn said that she appreciates the generous monetary donation that allowed her to visit Thailand for two weeks. This was a once in a lifetime experience that wouldn’t have been possible without their generosity. Jaylyn will always remember this trip and all the amazing experiences and lessons she learned.