Meet an International Volunteer : Julie!

We are pleased to welcome Julie, an American volunteer who joined us at our headquarters in Mae Sai last month after spending the last two years here in Thailand teaching English.  Julie taught in several different parts of the country while also improving her Thai language fluency and literacy.  She brings with her altogether more than four years of experience in Thailand and a genuine desire to utilize her teaching, language, and writing skills to contribute to DEPDC’s efforts to prevent and protect young people, in particular those of at-risk groups and communities, from labor exploitation, sex trafficking, and other forms of human rights violations

“Doing humanitarian work in Thailand has been an aspiration of mine since the initial time that I lived in the country during my early twenties, the first period of which was when I joined a study abroad program from my undergraduate college in 1998 to study for a semester at Assumption University (ABAC) in Bangkok.  The program attracted me especially because our group would have opportunities for volunteer service, cultural enrichment, and independent travel, and because I majored in Philosophy and was very keen to learn about eastern cultures and religions firsthand in Thailand and other parts of Asia.  I also had a growing interest in ethics and human rights, and my experience during those six months opened my eyes wide to the world and to my own cultural conditioning.  This sparked a profound internal change which, along with an affinity for Thailand and the Thai people, motivated me to return upon my graduation in 2000 to teach English as a Foreign Language for a year in Bangkok and then in Khon Kaen for another year.  I then went back to the United States and worked as a social worker and a teacher, all the while with a persistent sense of wonder about what I could do in Thailand as a trained teacher of EFL, and then with further cross-cultural experience and advanced Thai language skills what I could eventually do there as a humanitarian worker.”

In class with young learners in Shanghai, China where she taught English in 2011.

“An increasingly burning need to find out led me to return to the country in 2011 to do a full TEFL course and I have since immersed myself in the culture as a full-time teacher of all ages from pre-school through adult, as well as a largely self-taught learner of Thai.  Within about two years, after witnessing evidence of human rights issues almost daily while living and working in Chiang Mai, Mae Hong Son, and Bangkok, I knew it was time to move forward into a position to do something about it.  I discovered the impressive work DEPDC has been doing and, with much reflection on my personal experiences and knowledge of the social issues which have historically affected women and children globally, I pursued a position as a volunteer with the organization in Mae Sai.  I have thoroughly enjoyed my work here thus far teaching English and Thai, writing articles, researching human trafficking and grant opportunities, developing training materials, and most of all learning from and getting to know the Thai staff and my fellow international volunteers.  I am grateful and inspired to be a part of DEPDC and to be able to utilize my skills and experience in a variety of ways to contribute to its mission.”     


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