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Changing faces – We are Team VI.5 by Tara Wedemeyer and Svea Röhm

WE ARE TEAM VI.5!

Hello everyone! We are Tara and Svea and our path to Laos differed from the normal procedure of joining the program “Teaching English in Laos”. Although we are both from Germany and study English, our travel time to Laos was quite short. The reason for this is that we came from Sri Lanka, where we successfully finished an internship at a Vocational Training School. We are very happy to have the opportunity to be part of this program even though we come from a different background than the other participants.

The chance for this internship arose from a collaboration between the GIZ (Gesellschaft für internationale Zusammenarbeit) and the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz. The GIZ is a non-governmental organisation (NGO) that supports various projects in different fields in developing countries. One of these projects is the one we worked at: SLGTI (Sri Lankan German Training Institute) in the North of Sri Lanka. Due to a coincidence a lecturer from the University of Mainz came to sign up for a collaboration between the organisation and our university. This means that English students from the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz are able to join the “Teaching English in Sri Lanka” program. The internship takes place for the lenght of one semester, i.e. 6 months.

The program was initiated by the GIZ to help the Sri Lankan government to support the North and East of Sri Lanka. The two ethnic groups, Singhalese and Tamils, are to unite again. This is necessary as the war affected these two regions the most. Hence, education acts as the link between the two ethnical groups. As both come together in the classroom and in the housing situations, they are expected to learn to get along and learn new acceptance of one another.

At the end of our stay in Sri Lanka we could not stand the idea to abandon Asia just yet. This is why we decided to come to Laos to continue our work (and adventure) as English teachers on this fabulous continent. Therefore, we became Team VI.5. We arrived in Vientiane on the 27th of March, and after a short introductory phase with Anna and Tasja, we started teaching by ourselves on the 2nd of April.

Tara Wedemeyer

Sabaidee! My name is Tara Wedemeyer and I am a 24-year-old English student from Germany. I finished my Bachelor´s degree in my subjects German and English in September 2017. Shortly after that I left my home to do a teaching internship in Sri Lanka. I loved the time over there. I learned a lot for my teaching career and also about the people and their culture.

Now, I just arrived in Laos for my internship at LGTC that will last three months. I am very excited to get to know a new country, tradition and school system and draw some comparisons to my previous stay. So far, the people are very welcoming towards us and it already feels like we are already part of the LGTC community. I am looking forward to a great stay here. This is a challenge, as for the first time, I will not only be teaching students, but also teachers.

I will be working together with Ms Akina and Mr Thavone as my tandem teachers. I hope I can support them with my theoretical knowledge of didactics which I learned at university. Even more important are the things I have learned during my practical experiences. Connecting both will help me to aim for a realistic teaching goal and implementation in the English lessons. I am happy I can participate in the program as part of Team VI.5 and continue working with Svea.

Svea Röhm

Hi and hello to you! I am Svea Röhm and I just turned 26. In Germany I finished my Master’s degree in British Studies last October to then leave for Sri Lanka for my first teaching internship and my very first visit to the Asian continent. The last six months were an incredible experience, in which I did not only learn about the everyday life of being a teacher, but also about the people and their culture.

At the end of March I set foot on Lao ground to become a member of Team VI.5 at the LGTC, and I am looking forward to continuing my adventure for three months at the college – especially in comparison to my former experience in Sri Lanka. For me it is particularly exciting to eventually be able to not only work with students but also with fellow-teachers because I see my future in tertiary teaching (teaching adults). During my stay at the LGTC I will work with my two tandem-teachers Ms Moukdala and Ms Viengkhom, bothe teachers of English, but I will also teach the Beginner classes for the other teachers who want to take English lessons, as well as the Intermediate BHS students.

Text by T. Wedemeyer & S. Röhm

Photos by M. Fonseka, I. Samsudeen & M. Keomixai

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