OSU Student Changes Lives in Thailand
From teaching English to the sweetest students in a Thai school, to exploring the jungles of Asia with elephants, CCS Thailand fostered the most incredible experience for Ohio State University’s Kim Hosbach. As a member of the Second-Year Transformational Experience Program, Kim was required to choose an organization to partner with to gain credit. After much research, the answer was a no-brainer for Kim. “CCS seemed like it was able to provide me with the most through my experience. They incorporated the perfect balance between service, travel, and cultural activities.” With CCS, students are provided with the opportunity to participate a wide range of activities to ensure they get the most out of their trip.
When Kim arrived at the Home-Base, she was greeted by the friendly CCS staff and a mix of college and corporate volunteers that would soon become some of her closest friends. Within a few days, she bonded with students from Ohio State University, Pennsylvania State University, and Eli Lilly and Company. “We quickly became a big family. We made jokes with each other and bonded through traveling and volunteering with the kids. When you are in a situation that pushes you out of your comfort zone, you learn so much about yourself. It makes it even better to be able to experience that with other people. Everyone on the trip immediately related to each other through their love for travel and service.” CCS brings together the kindest and dedicated change-seekers who are driven to make a difference in the world. Being surrounded by this environment during your trip inspires you and provides you with comfort.
At her volunteer site, Kim served as an English teacher at a local Elementary School. “Meeting the kids was definitely one of my favorite parts of the experience. You can tell by their smiles how much they appreciated getting the opportunity to meet us. They would excitedly run up to me to give me a high-five and greet me with a joyful ‘Hello.’ Every day we helped serve the students lunch, and they always respectfully replied, ‘Thank you, teacher.’ By being able to meet people who were native English speakers, they were exposed to different pronunciations for words and expanded their perspective of the world.” In Thailand, English is a major language requirement in most schools, but most teachers are not native speakers. Learning English opens up limitless doors to the Thai people--they are able to connect and interact with people on an international level. Meeting a native speaker like Kim provides teachers the opportunity to understand how certain words are pronounced, and inspires other students to continue to learn English.
During the weekend, Kim was ecstatic to travel to Chaing Mai with her new friends. “I truly felt like I was living like a local. I was able to hike through the jungles of Thailand, and see wildlife like Thai people do. The sights, the sounds, and the smells were amazing; it was so unique and different that anything else that I’ve experienced. Getting the opportunity to interact with the elephants was also truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.” CCS volunteers have the opportunity to explore the country that they serve with their fellow volunteers. From taking a dip in Phuket to trekking through the jungles, possibilities for adventures are endless!
By the end of the trip, Kim left with a better understanding of the world and herself. “I am so grateful for all the experiences that I had in Thailand--it opened my eyes up to the world in so many ways. It was amazing to experience a culture that was so different than mine, and see how respectful people were to each other. I loved learning about the influence of Buddhism on society. Although I am a mechanical engineering major, I was able to develop important communication skills that I know I’ll use throughout my life. The entire trip was absolutely incredible and CCS did a great job with making sure there was a great balance between service, learning, and fun. I feel like I came there as a friend, and left as a member of a warm, loving family. Given the choice, I would 100% choose CCS again--I am looking into their other programs!” Cross-Cultural Solutions provides volunteers with a meaningful learning experience that they will take with them for the rest of their lives.