There are so many ways to genuinely experience the innate culture of one country. And one of the many ways is to indulge yourself with the locals by directly communicating and bond with them without barriers. In this way, you’ll get to experience the real cultural exchange that will benefit you after returning to your home country. In return, the locals will get to learn from International visitors, which both parties will gain a mutual respect and understanding for a new culture.
It was two days before my trip to Bangkok, Thailand, I was invited by a Couchsurfer member who have been teaching English Language in Bangkok, Thailand for quite long already. The owner of the school is his girlfriend and they both run the school in Siam, Bangkok, Thailand. At first, I hesitated to attend the said event, as I was busy exploring Thailand and other neighboring towns. Simply because I’m very interested about cultural exchange, I said yes to the said event and was able to attend.
As I’m writing this article today, the event actually happened in the morning a while ago at nearly 10:00 AM. I was staying at the Juldis Mansion near Pratunam and took a grab taxi going to the said school. Unluckily, the grab taxi drops me off, but not exactly where the school is located. Hence, I amble around and showed the map with the locals I met along the way, but I was not lucky enough to find the place. After more than an hour of asking and ambling around, one guy knows where the school is and I was so happy. Shortly enough, I got to the 18th floor where the school is, and I was grinning from ear to ear when I saw the signage that has a school name on it.
Then, I entered the room with a warm welcome from the students. Upon arriving, the event actually started, and I was so late. I was supposed to see and learn some Thai food, but because I was late, I wasn’t able to make it. Anyway, hopefully next time I will go through it. Then, I saw a few people in the room with their warm smile. Some are from Switzerland, USA, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, India and of course the beautiful Thai students of the school. I introduced myself to them and in return, I passed on my warmest smile.
The event begins with a delectable Thai food, and games. But before the game started, we formed two groups, the first group was named Mairu and the other one is Mango, luckily, I belonged to the sweetest group, precisely like the group name is.
The following are the game mechanics:
- Take a photo with foreigners / Thai (1 Point)
- Video Showing Foreigners Speak Thai with Thai People for 1 minute (5 Points)
- Go and teach 5 useful words or questions to foreigners in Thai (5 Points)
- Talk to Thai or foreigners for 2 minutes and more (3 Points).
We departed by 11:40 AM and should go back to the school before 12:30 PM, so basically we had nearly an hour on the street to do the task. Soon enough, my team started to approach random strangers on the busy street of Siam. Some are actually willing to talk to us, some declined and some truly had enjoyed what we did. It was truly fun, I get to meet a few locals and was able to talk to them as well. I took some easy Thai words like counting numbers from 1-5, nèung, sŏng, săam, sèe, hâa and more.
After truly enjoying about our task, we got back to the school to check all the photos and videos, and whoever gets the highest score will be a winner. Luckily, our group had the highest score, which is 60 Points while Mairu team had a total score of 50 Points.
And just before the event was about to end, everyone was encouraged to share our experiences on the street. And for foreigners like us, we are encouraged to share some basic tips on how to learn English for the Thai students. The discussion went well, and we all learned from each other. We may have simply granted a little time for the event, but it was fantastic. We have come to learn not merely about the culture of Thailand, but we get to learn from other cultures, since there were few foreigners who have attended the said event. Truly, my time in Bangkok, Thailand is completely fun and amazing.
I would love to personally thank Sir Kwee Ming Tan and his girlfriend for organizing the event and for the chance to meet the students and for other travelers as well. An event like this is really beneficial for foreigners and really fun.