Thailand trip sparks interest in world travel for HHS gradFor 19-year-old Hannah Noser, a trip to Thailand was her first out of the country, but it likely won’t be her last. The 2007 Hudson High School graduate recently returned from a six-month stay, where she taught English at the Santisuk (Peace) School in Bangkok.
By: Meg Heaton, Hudson Star-Observer
For 19-year-old Hannah Noser, a trip to Thailand to teach English was her first out of the country, but it likely won’t be her last.
The 2007 Hudson High School graduate recently returned from a six-month stay in the country where she taught English at the Santisuk (Peace) School in Bangkok. She heard about it when the man who runs the school came to her church, Faith Community, to talk about it last February.
“What he said stuck in my mind. There was an opportunity to go over and teach, and I decided to hold off college for a time and do it,” said Noser.
The first month she was there, she worked at “English camp,” where the staff used games, skits and other activities to teach students English. Following that she taught several month-long English courses. In her level 1 classes, she taught sounds and pronunciation to students. Level 2 involved more conversational English and the students ranged from college age to “sweet old ladies.”
Noser had considered making teaching a career, but the experience in Thailand, as positive as it was, helped her decide against being a teacher.
“I enjoyed my time in the classes and getting to know my students, but I also really was moved by the experience of sitting down with a beggar and talking and eating with them. That was an experience I don’t ever want to forget,” said Noser.
Growing up in Hudson, Noser said her initial days in Bangkok couldn’t be more different than the life she knows here. She said the infrastructure throughout the city seemed in serious disrepair and it bothered her at first.
“I have never lived in a big city. It was hard to get used to the idea that even in the same four-block area you probably would never run into the same person twice. The city was kind of uncomfortable for me.”
But she found the Thai people to be very nice, “almost to a fault. They never question authority, and older people are always right. They don’t get angry and they rarely voice their feelings. They seem pretty shy.”
Noser said the students in her level 1 classes were very hesitant to ask her any questions. “I had better luck with level 2. I explained that if they don’t ask questions, they won’t learn. Once they got that, they asked about school in America, all kinds of things, and it was more interesting for all of us.”
The school also encouraged field trips in and around the city. One of the trips was to a theme park that had fake snow. “They had seen videos of snow but were really curious about what the real thing was like. It is very hot and humid there and tough for them to imagine. I’ve been thinking about it a lot these last few days with all the snow and cold.”
Noser believes that the majority of Thai people have a positive attitude about the United States and Americans. She said the presidential election got lots of attention in Thailand, and she fielded lots of questions about both President-elect Obama and Sen. McCain. She voted absentee at the American Embassy.
Among Noser’s favorite things in Thailand was the food.
“It was delicious and spicy. At first they assumed I wouldn’t like it that way but I was finally able to convince them.” Thai meals generally are made up of smaller portions and there are more of them. She recalled that at the Bangkok Dairy Queen, a small Blizzard came in a sample cup that amounted to about three bites.
Noser would recommend a mission opportunity like the one she had as a way to experience another culture and understand your own in a different light.
“I can get pretty emotional and upset, but Thai people aren’t like that. They are very peaceful, very slow to anger and they don’t see much point in getting upset or frustrated. Their favorite thing to say is, ‘It’s nothing. Don’t worry about it.’”
Noser said her experience in Thailand has made her anxious to experience more of the world. During her six months she saw both the very beautiful and the pretty ugly.
“The two experiences that moved me the most were the times I spent running through a bamboo forest and sharing a meal with a beggar and her child on the street. Beauty and suffering are all part of life, and I want to see more.”
Before beginning her travels, Noser plans to attend college. She is the daughter of Kristi and John Noser of Hudson.