Rural Empowerment and Development Program, Thailand

I did not expect myself to love the READ program in Thailand. To be honest, I wasn’t interested at all. First of all, it is in Thailand; I don’t really like Thailand. Second, when I looked at the itinerary that was given and I saw “Making a business plan”, I knew it was going to be boring and there was no shopping time. But after knowing that it is good for my application to university and that my friends were going, I started to reconsider going too. I decided to join the program along with my friends.

The READ program was a very different experience for me. In the beginning, I did not know how to make a business plan or what steps should be taken.  Not only that, I did not know you could make a paper out of leftover fruits and vegetables. I was immediately struck with amazement. Not to mention that the school was managed by the students themselves. So basically, they choose their teacher and subjects as well. They even work to earn some money for their education.

Additionally, I also made new friends from Brunei, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and the Philippines. I have enlarged my inner circle by just joining this 5-day study trip. We made many incredible memories together, like getting frustrated because we have to think of an idea for each of our group’s business plan and singing together. My favorite moment was the last day, the gala night. We got to see every country’s traditional dances as well as performances from amazingly talented musicians.  Also, staying overnight at Changi airport was an unforgettable experience. It was so fun but tiring at the same time. This trip was definitely the most educational trip I’ve ever had. (Cheryl Lim, HS-10)