Canada: The trip is scheduled months in advance and booked so everyone can arrange their personal schedules around it.
Thailand: The dates for the trip are not confirmed until a couple weeks before, as they try to arrange the trip to work with everyone’s schedules.
Canada: All the teachers involved are told well in advance of what they are in charge of so they have plenty of time to prepare their responsibilities appropriately.
Thailand: You find out you are leading two hours of activities the day before when the teacher organizing the event asks you what supplies you need.
Canada: The bus leaves at the unreasonable hour of 7am or so, getting the drive done as early day as possible.
Thailand: You are told that the bus leaves from the school at the ridiculous hour of “sometime between 1 and 2am”, so you get to school at one to see no one is there. Finally people start showing up around 1:30 and the bus leaves at 3am.
Canada: The trip starts with the teachers making some last minute announcements and double checking that everyone is there.
Thailand: The trip starts with everyone walking over to the small Buddhist shrine at the school to light incense and pray for safety on the trip. (Okay, I went to Rockway, so we prayed too, I just think we did it on the bus after we started driving.)
Canada: Students spend the bus ride watching movies, chatting, or sleeping.
Thailand: Students spend the bus ride singing karaoke or listening to music so loud it feels like you are in a night club.
Canada: Everyone has a copy of the trip’s itinerary, so they are aware of all of the activities that will be happening, where the bus will be stopping, and close estimations of arrival times and the sorts.
Thailand: No one knows. When asked what is happening on the trip, other teachers shrug and make some guesses.
Canada: The group stays at a hostel, hotel or camp, with teachers and students split up in pre-arranged rooms/cabins.
Thailand: We stay at Fountain Tree Resort Cowboy and Adventure World, where all the cabins look like little barns and some cabins can fit upwards of 50 people. The beds are not bunks, but mattresses laid side by side creating two lines of long, mega-beds.
Canada: Most activities on the trip have some educational purpose that line up with the reason for the trip.
Thailand: The only English-based activity at English Camp was the two hours of activities led by yours truly. Other activities on the trip include walking through gardens, paintball, archery, go-karting, swimming, and shopping at this neat little shopping village-like place.
Canada: While on a tour of some beautiful gardens, people take photos of the flowers and sculptures.
Thailand: While on a tour of some beautiful gardens, people take selfies on the bus.
Canada: Everyone is dropped off again at the school where they are picked up by their rides home.
Thailand: The last hour of the bus ride home is full of stops as students request to be let off at locations closer to their homes.
In conclusion: Although the trip was not what I expected, and I had no idea what was happening most of the time, I had a fantastic time at the “English Camp”. Overall, I would say my first overnight school field trip in Thailand was a great success.