My Amazing Awareness-Raising Time in Thailand

By Huu Phuc Hoang, UWCSEA 2011, Singapore

“AMAZING!” is probably the first word that comes to my mind and also the most exact word to describe my Gap Year project at BABSEACLE in Thailand. Every day, I did something significant, learned new things and felt lucky to be surrounded by hospitable and interesting people from different backgrounds with different perspectives. The experience not only gave me a better understanding of legal systems, developed my affinity towards legal work, crystallized my principle of contributing to society, but also offered me an extraordinary opportunity to meet and learn from amazing people.

I participated in the training for the law student interns, so I learned about Clinical Legal Education, which offers free access to legal advice and support to disadvantaged people and at the same time, trains better lawyers. I learned how to write up a proper funding proposal and organize a big fundraising event, which will, without doubt, help me in my future projects.

I also took part in the teaching lessons for single mothers at Wildflower Home, to share with them essential skills and knowledge to protect them through a better legal understanding and to help them get a good job. Moreover, I was in charge of observing the lessons to write a evaluation report to help improve the quality of the next lessons. I also helped two Lao professors and the local Thai team with English and computer skills. I was glad to see them become more confident after time, and also how my teaching skills were sharpened.

Being Vietnamese, I was able to work closely on funding proposals to the Vietnamese government, in-house clinic and community lessons for Vietnamese students, teaching curricula for marginalized groups in Vietnam: ethnic groups, migrant workers, etc. My efforts were rewarded by approved proposals and successful legal conferences in Viet Nam.

I was proud to be one of the representatives of BABSEACLE to successfully present the organization at the MTV Exit concert, raising legal awareness, especially about human trafficking. It was a wonderful experience and I got to talk to other law NGOs presenting at the event.

I had a valuable opportunity to increase my cultural understanding through talking with local Thai people and interns from all over the world, the Malaysian cultural evening held by the Malaysian interns, the movie night every Thursday, hiking to Doi Suthep, and visiting lots of Wats (temples) and historical places. I learned more about Burma and organized a Burmese documentaries night with a guest speaker from the Burmese library.

All of this in one month. Words can’t fully express how grateful I feel for this opportunity. I learned. I’m inspired. And I will act for a better world.