Each year we welcome over 2,500 students and staff from schools worldwide.
At the start of March, the barge played host to an unusual group. Year 9 students from Appleby School Toronto and Ivanhoe School Melbourne met up to spend three days on the barge together learning all about globalisation and its impact on Thai culture, history and Thailand’s lifeblood - the Chao Phraya River. The students and teachers impressed our barge team right from the start with their open and friendly nature and their wish to get to know each other.
As the students had little previous experience of Thailand and its culture, we were impressed by their determination to grapple with Thai language. After an introductory lesson on the barge, students used Thai as much as they could at Pathum Thani market for our "shoppers' choice" buffet, after which they cooked on the barge and presented their dishes to their peers. We were impressed by the disappointment the group showed when they found out spaghetti was on the menu for our last evening. We loved sharing their eagerness to try authentic Thai dishes and involve themselves in Thai traditions, such as alms giving. Some students were even lucky enough to receive a blessing from monks on Koh Kret after the Maka Bucha celebrations in Thailand.
Singing games in the evening was a favourite for some students and they agreed it was fantastic to share a sunset at Wat Chai Wattanaram after an afternoon exploring Thailand’s history. Of all the activites we got to share, our last turned out to be the favourite for many students - visiting a local Thai school. Students were all hands-on and impressed us with their ability to adapt to teaching, and bonded so quickly with the local children despite the language barrier. Many were sad to leave the school and we have a feeling this will not be the last time some of the Appleby and Ivanhoe students teaching abroad. Perhaps we may see some teaching on our very own barge at some stage in the future!
Environmental Educator Intern