BSc Sociology, Graduate 2012

As part of my placement year I lived and worked in Chiang Rai, Northern Thailand for seven months. I lived with a host family and voluntarily taught English in a rural deprived school to children of all ages. I worked for the charity Volunteers for Education and Support Learning (VESL). Before the project I raised £2,100 to go towards the charity and my individual project. Alongside teaching English, I also organised and hosted several English Camps throughout Chiang Rai, this involved me creating fun English learning activities for primary and secondary school children. 

After this project I was asked by VESL if I would like to take on the role of Project-Coordinator for Aston University. This was a new role created by the charity, therefore I felt very privileged to have been asked. To recruit students to join this new project I sent out emails, advertised in newsletters and magazines, made a Facebook group and put up posters. The response was overwhelming, my task was then to decide who I felt was right for this role and interview them. The students have now all been chosen, there will be a team of fifteen Aston University students heading out to Thailand this summer. These students are going to be paired up and sent to different projects across Chaing Rai, where they will be teaching English in deprived schools for six weeks. I will be the in country manager, visiting everyone on their projects and making sure there are not problems. 

I feel that travelling to Thailand for my Placement Year really opened my eyes to what I wanted to do after university, before this I had no idea. I decided that I wanted to become a primary school teacher. I applied and have recently been accepted onto PGCE course at Durham University. 

After Placement Year I felt that I was ready to work hard in Final Year to try and achieve my goal to get a place at Durham University. My Placement Year also allowed me to really explore Thai culture in depth through my placement essay. I really enjoyed this aspect as I discovered new things about the culture which I may not have found if I hadn't researched it for my placement essay.

Hannah Pilcher

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