Wednesday, June 15, 2016

From Taiwan to Thailand and Back Again



About a year ago, I hopped off a plane in Taipei, Taiwan, ready to tackle a year of teaching overseas. When I stepped foot off that plane, I wasn’t prepared for the crazy adventures that lay ahead. While there have been many frustrating and difficult things that have happened this year, I want to share one of my favorite memories from this year. Over Chinese New Year, when our school was on winter vacation, we had the opportunity to travel to Thailand with our sponsor, King Car.

Our time in Thailand was so refreshing. After spending months in the city and outlying townships of Taiwan, experiencing the mountains of Chiang Rai was incredible. The mountains are so big and covered in a sea of tea farms. We went from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai in a five hour long (semi-nauseating) drive through the windy mountain roads. It was good to have time to pull away from our teaching in Taiwan and briefly experience the teaching in Thailand.

Though the teaching itself didn’t differ much from my typical days of teaching in Taiwan, it did have a new element to it. Most of our students lived at the school and rarely saw their families. I felt like many of them lacked adequate love and support from family. My heart was burdened for my students and really made me want to return there some day.

I was assigned to teach the oldest highschoolers, which was daunting at first. But after a few days of teaching, I really grew to love my students. I was able to talk briefly with some of them about their situations at home and about their stories. There are so many hardships that those high schoolers are facing; it was overwhelming. Many of our students were much older- even in their mid-20s. It is very common for students to withdraw from school for a period of time to help support their siblings and parents. Since the school we taught met in the evening, many of our students held regular jobs during the day and went to high school at night. The idea of having to support my parents and siblings at such a young age is frightening for me; yet so many of my students willingly jump in to serve their families in this capacity. It’s so beautiful yet heart wrenching.

While we were in Thailand, I worked to try and break barriers and be able to love my students well. In our free time I would attempt to, although I can’t actually, play basketball with them. It was so much fun to be reminded that even though we don’t necessarily speak each other’s native language, we could still have a blast together. 

Overall our time in Thailand was well spent. I really wish that our time there could have been longer. I felt like I barely got to know my students, and it was over too quickly. I gained so much from my experience. I so wish to return to the beauty of Thailand, found not only in the mountains, but also the people. 





~Becky Bush

Becky is currently serving with VOICE Missions in Pingtung County, Taiwan. Her love of traveling and experiencing new cultures has led her all across the globe. A few of her favorite things are coffee with friends, a home cooked meal shared with friends and family, and hiking. She is looking forward to returning home after spending a year away and is waiting in anticipation of what’s to come.