Life after graduation
The course is finished. So the next day I wake up and I have absolutely no clue of what to do. There’s no schedule, no to do list, I don’t have to study for the next test. I have free time. It is a new concept for me on this island. I’m kind of lost.
Volunteering and internship
The same time I applied for the teacher training course I also signed up for volunteering in Samma Karuna, the yoga school. Volunteering here doesn’t come for free, as you have to pay for your accommodation and also arrange food for yourself. So why people keep coming here to volunteer here, and not to other places, where the volunteers get food and accommodation for free? Samma Karuna offers all its classes for free for all the volunteers. For 4 weeks of volunteering (4 hours per day, 6 days per week) everyone gets 3 months access to the schools awakening and healing program. This includes usually daily 2-3 yoga practice classes, 1 meditation, qi gong, and self development classes. It is a good deal, as a yoga class costs min. 300 baht (10 USD), and if you book it well in advance, a night in a normal apartment/bungalow costs the same.
The other reason some people volunteer is to get discount from the teacher training’s price. This is partially the reason why I am volunteering, though actually the benefits coming with volunteering are not an extra for me, as all Samma Karuna graduates have lifetime free access to all classes in the school.
The school offers an internship program for its fresh graduates, so that they can start to teach immediately after the course not losing the momentum, and can gain some relevant experience. The school offers this classes led by the freshly trained teachers to the island’s community for free. Everyone who wants to come can come, and have the 90 minutes yoga class for free. Good for the public – free yoga; good for the fresh graduates – teaching experience in big classes, sometimes with 20-30 people; good for the school – good publicity and opportunity to gain new paying customers for other classes. Isn’t this cool?
So what I do is a combination of a couple of things. I was looking for a school, where I can stay after the teacher training continuing with my yoga practice to gradually phase out from this very intense period. I also wanted to start to teach immediately not to lose confidence and to have some positive experience to rely on later. And since I’m anyway staying because of the internship, it seemed to be a good idea to volunteer, so I can have the discount for the course.
How volunteering looks like
Currently there are about 15-20 volunteers in the school. We help around the school (keeping the yoga halls clean and tidy, the garden and the beach clean, registering guest coming for the classes, general cleaning, etc.) and occasionally help environmental projects and animal shelters. Actually there is a lot to do, especially after a rainy day/night, when the beach and the garden is full of coconuts, leaves and some dirt brought down by the stream from the hill.
Everyone is encouraged to participate in at least 1-3 classes per day, but actually there is much freedom in this.
I feel I have a lot of free time at the moment, but it is true, that my first real shift only starts on Wednesday. And actually it is raining, I meaning pouring, since Sunday. The situation gets worse every hour. The roads are flooded, in some areas the roads are under 50-70 cm water. At the moment I cannot even reach the next supermarket, as I cannot cross the river with my motorbike. So you can guess how much I can enjoy the pool and the beach at my place… they say this lasts until Sunday and we can hope for a little better weather next week.
By mistake I got my first day off on Thursday, when I am teaching from 12:30 to 14:00, right in the middle of the day, so it won’t actually be a free day for me. I was a bit upset about this, but as I see I could not really do much fun on my free day anyway because of the weather, I take it as a gift and will get the best out of the classes on that day too.
Once the sun comes out, I show you around my new home – so, wait for the updates!