Volunteering in Malaysia


Lai Xinyue Southern University of Science and Technolog […]

Lai Xinyue

Southern University of Science and Technology

Helping others has always been a virtue. For a long time, I have been enthusiastic about being a volunteer and always eager to do some volunteer work such as teaching in poor areas and doing some cleaning for a better environment. During this winter holiday, I went to Malaysia to volunteer teaching and finally made my wish come true.

The first time I heard about the GAPPER INTERNATIONAL VOLUNTOURISM (Gapper), an organization to provide people with the opportunity to volunteer while travelling around the world, was last year. I was looking for such an organization that I would be able to do some volunteer work within another culture, to become part of the new community and to experience life in a completely different perspective. Fortunately, a friend who had taken part in Gapper before recommended it to me. Among Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Morocco, I made up my mind to go to Langkawi, Malaysia with my best friend Laheman, to begin my wonderful volunteer trip with careful consideration.

With a lot of preparation like buying flight tickets and applying for the visa to enter Malaysia, we arrived at the Langkawi International Airport on 25th, January. It was the next day when we were introduced to Shengsheng, a Malaysian boy speaking fluent Chinese, who is the leader of this seven-day teaching program. We were told some techniques for teaching primary school students and some rules about the school due to the fact that most of us were inexperienced in teaching.

Scared but excited, I started to teach the first class of my whole life. It was an English class for the students in their third year. Anna, Laheman and I were responsible for this thirty-minute class. However, it seemed much longer than we expected, resulting from the poor condition of the local school and a lack of teaching experience. The school did not have extra textbooks so we had to share the books with students; the students were so naughty that our teaching plan made before hardly went well; the classroom was not accessible to some fundamental teaching facilities like computers and screens and the only teaching tools available was a blackboard…… All these things made our first class quite hard and we ended up singing English songs and playing simple English games with the kids. Thus, in order to change the situation, we decided to make some adjustments the next day. We bought some chocolate for the students so as to encourage them to behave well in class. This time, the math class proceeded without a hitch.

Besides teaching, our group also assisted the kids to decorate their classroom for the Chinese New Year, which was around the corner. The strong atmosphere for the Chinese New Year in Langkawi did surprise me and we gave a hand to show the kids how to make lanterns and write couplets. It is truly rewarding when I saw the big smile on their faces.

The meaning of this journey is far beyond doing volunteer work in a foreign country. I came to the realization that there are a lot of places that need assistance, there are a lot of schools that do not have enough teachers and there are a lot of children who need to be taught. No one person can do everything, but each of us can do something. Our actions are our voice, saying that we should try our best to make our world a better place.