Graduate of St Ignatius College, Riverivew
Graduate year: 2016
Future Degree: Bachelor of Communications (Social and Digital Media) – University of Technology, Sydney.
Future Ambitions: Visit every continent in the world, to travel and experience as many cultures and to meet as many people as possible, making meaningful and reciprocal relationships with people all around the world.
Volunteer Location: Huay Tong Village, Chiang Mai, Thailand.
School: Maewinsamakkee school, Mae Win, Chiang Mai. Tom rides his motorbike to and from school everyday. His school is about 30 mins down the mountain from Huay Tong Village.
Greatest Challenge this year: Independence, your mum isn’t there to pull you out of bed in the morning, to write lesson plans, to do your laundry or to drive you to school. At the beginning of the year it was extremely difficult for me to discipline myself to do these things. What drives me to do these things now is the people that I’ve met here, and how their lives have impacted mine. Most days we’re up at as early as possible, trying to squeeze as much as we can into the day, doing as much as we can. Learning to drive myself through this year was the greatest challenge this year, but it will help me throughout the rest of my life.
This year had a rocky start for me, with sickness and the language barrier. Some days the efforts just seemed hopeless, especially within the first month or so. This ends as soon as you get into the swing of things, begin to get a handle on the language and start making friends. I began at Khun Wang school, where I taught primary school. I taught there for six months, before I was asked to move to Mae Win. Leaving Khun Wang was so heartwrenching, which is nothing compared to what we’re all going to experience when leaving at the end of this year. It’s so weird to think that we’ve been here for 8 months already, but its great to see how close we’ve gotten with this community in this time, with a huge chunk of time left to come. I’ve grown close with a lot of people, and I hope when we go home in December, that it won’t be a ‘goodbye’, but rather a ‘see you again’