"Mahamakut Buddhist University Isan campus in Khon Kaen is one of the subsidiaries of Mahamakut Buddhist University Bangkok. As the name implies, it is a Buddhist university and teaches Buddhism (Dhamma/Dharma) to the students in addition to the specific subject they are studying.
However, you don’t have to be a Buddhist or in any way religious to teach. They are very appreciative for any English speakers to spend time there.The two faculties I've taught students from are Humanities and Education.
There are monks who teach at the university and the student body is made up of novice and fully ordained monks as well as lay young people. The vice director Phra Ajahn Sakorn is a monk.
Luangpor Sudhiro, for whom the Buddha-Metta Society UK charity was setup to support, is considered to be the spiritual teacher of many of the monks and novices. He often visits the university to teach meditation and lead the monks and students on Tudong.
It is through Luangpor's links with the university that the volunteering opportunities have arisen. If anyone wishes to offer their time, it is important to first visit Luangpor's monastery in Phu Wiang so you can introduce yourself to him and he can advise you whether volunteering would be suitable for you.
The University is not a luxurious place and not well funded. The students who attend often cannot afford to go anywhere else. During my stays, I have been given a simple en-suite room at the university with air conditioning and am entitled to free drinks from the coffee shop and a free lunch at the canteen.
There is a possibility of a little money being made available for anyone wishing to spend time teaching, but the main benefit from this experience will not be a monetary one. At the end of my time at MBUISC, I, along with my colleague Liz Walford, have twice been the focus of students singing a ‘Thank you’ song for us. It is extremely emotional to have young people express their gratitude towards you in such a way and is a precious memory more valuable than money.
I have taught for 2-3 months each of the last 5 years and usually for 3 days a week, although it is possible to work more if you are so inclined. A typical day would start in the coffee shop around 8:30am where the head of English Dr Pairote usually stops by and you can catch up on what is going on. Morning classes start at 9:00am and finish at 11:30am so the monks can eat before noon. The afternoon lessons recommence at 1:00pm and end between 3:30pm and 4pm. If people are interested, I have a lot of lesson plans and notes to share with future volunteers.
What teaching is required depends on Dr Pairote and the classes that are available at the time you volunteer. Some students need help with pronunciation and confidence, others with conversational skills.
It is very rewarding to spend time with the Thai students and to give them an opportunity to listen to and speak to English speakers. The respect they show to their elders and their teachers is wonderful to see and experience.
If anyone is interested, I have a lot of lesson notes to share. However, it is essentially up to you to decide what you think they would most benefit from during your time there and you can use whatever materials you’d like in order to help.
They need English speakers to help, but you too will benefit from taking the opportunity available. Personally, I have acquired a new sense of meaning, a fresh perspective of ‘letting go’ and living in the Dhamma, characteristic of the Thai cultural and Buddhist way of life."
Peter Foster firstname.lastname@example.org