LAURA ARNOW (Thai 103)

I was in the National Parks program, very small even by Thailand standards, with about 5 volunteers per group. But the whole Thailand program closed a few years ago, or so I understand. I feel very lucky to have been a part of it. I worked in a Karen village in a national park in Petchaburi.

The experience has helped me a lot in my teaching career; there are no Karen people that I know of here in Oakland where I teach, but a lot of Mien hilltribe people from Laos are here, and I can communicate with the parents in Thai. Having had the experience of life in a hilltribe village has made it a lot easier for me to understand the particular culture shock they go through coming to Oakland.

Plus I am still pretty good at ordering food in Thai restaurants.

choke dee, Laura