Name : Jennifer Kettles
Age : 18 years old
From : Scotland

: January 2011, 3 months


I spent 2 months volunteering with Isan Survivor from January- March this year. And had the schools not broken off for their Summer holiday, I would have stayed MUCH,MUCH longer! I came to Thailand eager to broaden my horizons and experience some of the true culture, wishing to stray from the tourist trail in search of something more meaningful. I am honestly so glad I found Isan survivor, as it gave my the opportunity to be involved in exactly that. Jack and his family could not make you feel more welcome. His mother; a beautiful, kind lady makes you feel like one of her own children; lavishing you with some of the most delicious Thai cookery I have ever tasted.

Songkran, Thai New Year

I regularly had dinner at his 90 year old grandfathers house, where their amazing hospitality was further demonstrated and all 3 generations of the family come together in a vibrant fusion of traditional Isan music, dance, laughter and some of the loveliest food and company you could ever wish for.


Despite having no previous teaching experience and being a little unsure what to expect, the support and enthusiasm of Jack, the local school and the beautiful children soon put me at ease. Through focusing on games, art and activities, improvising in the classroom and trying out new and exciting ideas, you soon uncover what works for you and interacting with the kids comes very naturally. It is not just about building their vocabulary, but more about building their confidence and giving them the encouragement and attention they crave. Living in such a rural setting they do not often get the opportunity to speak with foreigners, so you are made to feel very much valued. The children I taught at nearby Pak Suay school, on the banks of the Mekong were absolutely adorable, enthusiastic, affectionate and each had their own quirky personality traits.

Good bye party at school

Saying goodbye to the children was one of the hardest yet most beautiful moments I have ever experienced and we sang and danced together before saying a very tearful goodbye. I feel that through exploring new ideas in the classroom, I learned not only a lot about my students and the Isan culture, but also a lot about myself. Nothing can match the sense of pride I felt from watching the children develop their skills and I know deep down that the friendships I have made here will stay with me for life.

Jacks infinite knowledge on Isan culture, great sense of humor and kind-heartedness really makes you feel part of the community here. I have been out to watch the glistening red sunset on the Mekong river in a local fisherman's boat, visited beautiful temples and had many spiritual experiences, taken part in local festivals, parades and celebrations and dressed up in traditional Isan dress.

Thank you Isan Survivor for making my experience so magical, I will definitely return to see my children and all the wonderful characters I have met along the way. It is now only a question of when...