Before recently, I had never been out of the country, not even to Mexico, or even on a plane for that matter.
So, when I received an email saying “Volunteer in Thailand this Winter Break for Only 500 Dollars,” it was like winning a fake free cruise on one of those pop-up links: you never actually win them and they are never actually free, but they do always give you viruses.
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Realistically, I thought there was no possible way I could make something like that happen, but I still clicked on the link anyway. With only one week before the deadline, I submitted my application.
Somehow, with my family, friends, and the entire communities of Coarsegold and Oakhurst on my side, I ended up fundraising $2,500 in just two months and booking a trip to Thailand for a month.
For eighteen hours I sat nervously as we flew toward the sun, and I do not believe I slept once.
As soon as I stepped out of the plane in Bangkok, all of my fear and anxiety disappeared. I have never felt safer and more welcomed in an unfamiliar place.
For four weeks, I was immersed in a culture that I had hardly any idea about before, and where hardly anyone had a clue as to the meaning of any word I said.
I met countless memorable people who had come all the way from South Africa to France; some of those had been to 38 countries and others had left their everyday lives to travel all around Asia for a year.
What has stuck with me the most is, even though I could not have been any more different from the Thai people in every aspect, they never once treated me as anything less than their own.
Thai people are some of the kindest people I have had the pleasure to meet. It is an experience that touched my heart deeply and changed how I live and will continue to live my everyday life in the United States.
It is even more special to me that my family, friends, and community so willingly invested in something I was and am so passionate about and, in turn, we all get to be a part of something great and make the world a better place.
I am grateful and thank all the community for the high morale boost I was given and the unconditional kindness shown and taught to me. I would not be who I am today without you all.
Bree Lewis is a 2015 graduate of Yosemite High School currently enrolled at San Diego State University, pursuing Liberal Studies-Elementary Education.
Read the original story: Bree Lewis Is Off To Teach In Thailand