International Teaching Practicum at XLC, Chiang Rai, Thailand

Tue, 17 Jan 2023

On November 21, 2022, eight Indonesian volunteers from Sanata Dharma University arrived at Chiang Rai to teach at Xavier Learning Community (XLC). I still remember the first day we arrived at XLC, the sky was so gorgeous and beautiful. That beautiful sunset marked the beginning of our journey and the first of many more beautiful sunsets to come.

The first week started off with two activities we did with the students. We had an English activity and a diagnostic test while all the teaching staff had seminars with Pak Kus and Pak Ouda from Sanata Dharma University. We ended the first week with a city tour with Marla, a Philippines volunteer, and Mr. Dodge to the Golden Triangle, Doy Din Dang Pottery, The White Temple, and Wat Phra Kaew Temple.

The second week was packed with classes and ended with a Cultural Night where we made Sate Ayam, an Indonesian dish. I still could not believe that almost 400 sticks of Sate Ayam that we made in 6 hours ran out in less than 20 minutes after we put the tray down. The Cultural Night was very awesome too. We got to see the diverse cultural background in XLC through their performances.

In addition to the classes, the English Camp at the Ban San Thaat School concluded our third week. It was safe to say that the English camp went beyond our expectations and we learned a lot from it. The most important point was that we were there to help one another when other people were not capable to do so.

Then the fourth week came. I feel like it was such a roller coaster of emotion, knowing that it was our final week before going back to Indonesia. For the last four weeks, we got to experience a classroom unlike anywhere else. The jokes and laughter we shared will forever live rent-free in our hearts.

Please allow me to talk about the students. Never in my life have I imagined growing such a beautiful bond with my students. I hope I speak for everyone on the team. During class breaks, we would joke around with everyone we met, whether they are in our class or not. At breakfast, lunch, or dinner, we would sit together with the students and converse with them. We sometimes would join their batch mass and have a pleasant dinner afterward. 

It is safe to say that: we have grown attached to XLC and everyone in it. We love them so so much and we’re very grateful for the opportunity to be a part of them. Nothing could compare with the opportunity and experience we had and the bond we built with everyone.
Those four weeks came with a package deal: love, laughter, joy, happiness, tears, a bit of annoyance, some arguments here and there, but most importantly, the growth and memories we’ve made. It was such a wonderful, lovely, and pleasant experience.
I never thought that our 4-week stay at XLC would have such a huge impact on us. Not only did we get the chance to teach, but also have a new family that welcomed us with the warmest hugs. That is exactly what XLC is: it is more than just a community; it is a family. A family that we would love to come home to.
The farewell party made it even more difficult, but goodbyes had to be said. But hey, there’s good in goodbye, so I wish this will not be the last time we see each other.
On behalf of my friends, I would like to say thank you. Words cannot express how much this experience means to us, and we’re eternally grateful for the opportunity to grow and become a better version of ourselves during our time here.
Thank you so much, XLC. We love you so much. 

By: Alfonsa Vina Kanasya (MPBI Student batch 21)

Some other testimonies of the program 

Nathalia Desi Prastyowati (PBI Student batch 20) 

Teaching English language to foreigners was never in my mind before and I am so grateful when I had a chance to teach at Xavier Learning Community in Chiang Rai, Thailand for three weeks. From this experience, I learned that building connections between students and teachers is significant in order to make the learning process run well, even though the language barrier is one of the challenges. Besides, I still remember the feeling of nervousness and happiness when I prepared and taught the students. It made me more bold to teach the English language. Thanks for the kindness of XLC’s staff and students that completed my remarkable experience teaching in XLC.

Zelza Adiningsih (PBI Student batch 20) 

I'm so grateful for the chance to conduct my teaching practicum in XLC, Chiang Rai, Thailand. This overseas teaching practicum program is fun and challenging. The teaching practicum gives me the chance to apply knowledge and skills to develop strategies for handling the different dimensions of the language lesson. Besides, I also got tons of love and connections there. I enjoy the environment and the people, students, and staffs. Thank you XLC and USD for giving me this opportunity, I hope I can visit XLC again.

Rachelina Larasati (MPBI student batch 21)

I am very glad and blessed to be granted the overseas teaching practicum experience at Xavier Learning Community in Chiang Rai. The three-week teaching experience has taught me a lot of lessons in terms of language teaching for foreign students. While language could be a barrier in the classroom, I learned that creativity, preparation, and collaboration, together with excitement and eagerness could make a classroom with foreign students become pleasurable. The students and staff at XLC were very kind, amiable, and warm which makes our stay very pleasant even though our schedule was quite packed. How I miss the classroom situations and the students!

Yoannes Yuka Krisdianata (MPBI Student Batch 21) 

It was a dream come true to get the opportunity to teach at Xavier Learning Community (XLC) again after four years! I am glad I got this chance to go to XLC again and even more, to teach at XLC. In XLC, I met my old friends and made new friends with the teachers and students. I was grateful and excited. In this opportunity, I can demonstrate my abilities and skills in teaching. Teaching in XLC means educating the students and doing what you can for the community around XLC. I got the opportunity to teach children in Ban Shantat School and do fun activities such as cultural night, English Camp, and Christmas Celebration. If I got another chance to revisit XLC, I would immediately answer, “Yes, I will.”