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The first study visit, out of three within the project EuroAsia took part in Thailand, from 19 March – 24 March 2018.

During the study visit in Songkhla, Thailand, 8 participants from Slovakia, Macedonia, Czech Republic and France got a chance to visit 7 organizations working with youth and youth programmes, see their potential that should be developed in voluntary management as well as the potentials to host volunteers as a part of EVS or other European programs. Apart from the visited organizations, participants got to find out more about the local culture and enjoy the beautiful landscapes of Thailand. The study visits was also a chance for establishing contacts with local organizations and sharing experiences and knowledge in non-formal areas.

The purpose of this study trip was to visit and identify organizations with which our partner organization in Thailand VSA (Volunteer Spirit Association) works as well as to learn what volunteers will be in charge of, what their daily program will be, what competencies they should have, and so on. The individual meetings have been very inspirational for us and our work with young people and, thanks to interviews with homeworkers, we can somehow better prepare future volunteers for the new environment and the challenges they might face. VSA welcomed us with the basics of Thai. We learned what customs and traditions of greetings in Thailand, and how to ask for food without a pungent spice or without seafood. Very useful for some European visitors.

Our first visit was to the local school, Ban Kuan Kob school, where we found only the teachers and the director. In Thailand, it was the summer holidays. The school has already had experience with foreign volunteers who worked with the children teaching English, doing crafts, playing sports and similar.

The second day we spent in the town of Songkhla, one of the largest cities in the south of the country, and thanks to its historical part, the museums and the Chinese Quarter are trying to write down the list of UNESCO cultural monuments. We met with representatives of the Songkhla Network Association, which is striving to preserve the cultural heritage of the city and also make the town more attractive for the tourists. In the afternoon we arrived at the Institute of South Thai Studies on the other side of the river. In this museum, volunteers would be taking care of the region’s folk heritage, perform cultural events, and thus promote this beautiful historic site.

On the third day, our place of visit was a local farm where local farmers produce vegetables and fruit and which also serves as a local training center. Thanks to the method of work and the innovative methods used on this farm, it serves as an example of good practice and as a training center. During our visit, we met local farmers who were just attending a training seminar in here.

The last day we spent at Thaksin University. Thanks to volunteers who come to the university, they try to motivate young people to speak English. Finally, our last stop was the Association of Volunteer Rescuers. There are 150 volunteers in this association who work 24h a day. Volunteers in this association are professionally trained in such situations – fires, accidents, medical aid, and even have to undergo diving training and offer their services free of charge.

Author

Ivana Petrisková