We are Team X – Introduction
Hello everybody, we are Team X!
We are happy to introduce ourselves to you!
“We” stands for five students of Primary or Secondary Education at the University of Education in Karlsruhe: Lena Koch, Chelsea Hog, Christine Blersch, Celine Victoria Seeger, and Morten Bilger.
Three of us are still on our way towards completing our Bachelor’s degrees, one is a student in the Master’s degree, and one is a graduate.
We are all new to the project “Teaching English in Laos” and have been very motivated and eager to start our work there since we applied in November and got accepted. Just like our predecessors, Team IX, we also had three preparational workshops with Prof. Dr. Isabel Martin. We are happy that everything has gone so smoothly – from managing the dates of our workshops, booking our flights to Vientiane, sorting out our accommodation, preparing all relevant paperwork, and finding out what our work in Laos is going to be like.
This is us:
Team X.1 at the Lao-German Technical College (LGTC), Vientiane
My name is Morten Bilger and I am 23 years old. Just a couple of months ago I heard of this exciting project that has been running since 2015, which involves teaching, living, and learning in Southeast Asia. I was intrigued as I felt like this would be a great opportunity for a new hands-on teaching experience as I am currently studying in the Bachelor of Education Degree to become an English and history teacher in secondary schools.
To tell you a little bit about myself outside of university, I am an amateur photographer, hence my “Special Task” as a media manager and photographer for our team. Other than that I love travelling – it is through time spent in other countries that I began to really enjoy the English language, which is why I am passionate about teaching it. l also enjoy home-cooking in my spare-time, and I am looking forward to learning about the Lao cuisine.
The “Bi-directional learning and teaching project” in Laos is now in its fifth successful year, and I can happily call myself part of the tenth team with Ms Moukdala Keomixai as my tandem-partner. I am going to work at the Lao-German Technical College together with my teammate Christine and I cannot wait to throw myself into all of the experiences, challenges, and successes we are going to encounter along the way.
Hello, hallo, and sabaidee!
I am Christine Blersch – my friends call me Chrissy – and I am a 22-year-old graduate of Primary Education at the University of Education Karlsruhe. My subjects are German, English, and mathematics. I just recently finished my Master’s thesis and spent one exchange semester in Hungary. Therefore, I lived abroad during the last couple of months.
But as I have never been to Asia before, I am already fascinated by the idea of arriving and living in Vientiane soon. Thanks to Mr Napha Khothphouthone, who spent one semester in 2019 at the University of Education Karlsruhe in the Erasmus+ Germany/Laos Mobility Programme and for whom I volunteered to be a “buddy”, I got some insights into the Lao culture and how daily life in Laos differs from that in Germany. If you want to know more about his time in Germany I can highly recommend his blogpost “Frog in the well” – an ancient tale retold by Napha Khothphouthone. I got quite curious about the Lao culture, which I by far do not know enough about yet.
As the best way to get to know a culture is to live abroad and interact with the local community, I feel highly privileged to be part of the “Bi-directional learning and teaching project” in Laos. In addition, I am glad to get further hands-on experience while working at the Lao-German Technical College (LGTC) for the four upcoming months. As I recently graduated from the University of Education Karlsruhe, when I go home again I will start teaching English (and my other subjects) at a German primary school from 2021 on.
My German teammate and colleague at the LGTC is going to be Morten and my tandem-teacher is Ms Ketsana Siphonephath, who I am very excited to get to know soon. As a team we want to work on language and didactics together, getting our own inter- and transcultural tandem-experience and professional and personal exchanges as our very beneficial “upgrade”. Together we can grow and develop our teacher-personalities and focus on global education chances. In my opinion, in a world characterised by constant change, teamwork and cultural competences are one of the main future driving forces of the education system. Great help in working together as Team X will be the structuring of the group by different “Special Tasks”. My “Special Task” is preparing agendas for team meetings, writing the minutes, and taking care of the Didactics Room and Lending Library of the LGTC.
Team X.2 at the Vocational Education Development Institute (VEDI), Vientiane
Hello everyone, my name is Celine Victoria Seeger.
I am 23 years old and have just finished my 5th semester at the University of Education in Karlsruhe. I am studying Secondary Education, and my subjects are English and history. Last but not least, I also study in the Bilingual Profile, which means that I am doing some training to teach history to German students in the English language. I really enjoy being a student and being able to continuously expand my knowledge – I love to read as well – which is probably one of the reasons why I also truly enjoy working as one of the tutors for the “Introduction to Literary and Cultural Studies” lecture. The latter is one of the first classes students of English have to take when they start studying English at our university.
From early February to the beginning of April, I will be working as a volunteer at the Vocational Education Development Institute in Vientiane together with my team colleagues Chelsea Hog and Lena Koch. I am lucky to have already collected some experience regarding living and working abroad: After graduating from high school, I went to Australia for half a year and spent the same amount of time teaching in a secondary school in Ireland in my fourth semester. However, I have never been to Laos or Asia in general before, so naturally I am very excited about going there, getting to know Lao people and culture, working for the project and professionalising myself! Finally, my “Special Task” will be to act as the blog mistress, which I am sure will also be very educating.
Good day everyone!
My name is Chelsea Hog and I am 22 years old. Currently, I am studying at the University of Education in Karlsruhe to become a future secondary teacher of English and history.
In my spare time, I love listening to music, going to the gym, swimming, and travelling. Since 2013, I have been teaching children in swimming – all this is happening in the “DLRG Achern e.V.” (German Life Saving Association, district Achern, in our federal state “Baden-Wuerttemberg), where I am also engaged as the youth leader and have the chance to continue my work as I got elected for another period of three years this January.
After a seven-month-stay in Australia, I realised how small my “cultural” knowledge still is – although I experienced quite a lot by living in Australia and meeting many people from all over the world. Consequently, I decided that I would like to learn more – and as much as possible – as Albert Einstein phrased it: “The only source of knowledge is experience.” Therefore I see it as a great privilege to work and participate in the “Bi-directional learning and teaching project” in Laos. Since I love to travel and have never been to any Southeast Asian country before, I cannot wait to experience the Lao way of life – and to learn more about their vibrant culture.
Together with Celine-Victoria and Lena, I will be working at the VEDI – the Vocational Education Development Institute in Vientiane. The three of us will continue the work of Team IX by working with our tandem-partners, observing and planning lessons together as well as offering English “Activity Time” for the students. In addition, it will be my “Special Task” to organise the team meeting and writing the minutes – this means that it is my task to organise and document the meetings we will have at the VEDI.
My name is Lena Koch and I am 24 years old. Since 2015, I have been studying at the University of Education Karlsruhe (“PH”, as we call it, stands for “Pädagogische Hochschule”, in English “Pedagogical University”) to become a teacher for secondary schools. My subjects are English and Catholic religion. This year I will finish my studies with a Master’s degree.
When I am not at the PH I like to do sports and also teach young girls and boys in gymnastics. Last year I gained my trainer licence for this sport. Three times a year we go to competitions, where I also judge the performances of the children. It is a great fun to teach the children new skills and to observe how they learn more and more over the years. For a long time I played the French horn. My favourite composition is the music of the movie “How to train your dragon“. The movie tells the story of a shy young Viking boy who actually needs to learn how to kill dragons but instead catches one and starts to train him.
Just like both my VEDI team members, between school and university I went to Australia for 8 months as an au-pair. To work as an au-pair is mainly interesting for young women or men who have just finished their school career and want to go abroad to live with a family for a longer period of time. The tasks are to assist the family in their everyday life like bringing the children to school, cooking, and helping with the laundry. If you are lucky – which I was – you become a real member of the family over the time. It was a great time for me which helped me to decide to choose English as my future subject because of the positive experiences with the language and the people.
One of the many things I learned in Australia was to be open and interested in people and traditions of other cultures. The “Bi-directional learning and teaching project” in Laos already raised my interest several years ago. For me it feels now like the perfect time in my studies to become part of this very interesting project. I am looking forward to meeting new people, getting to know a very different culture, and experiencing life at a Lao College.
In the upcoming months we are going to work together as a team, do tandem-teaching, and prepare workshops. Even though we cannot yet predict what we will experience, we are sure that it is going to be “simply beautiful“!
Text by Team X (M. Bilger, C. Blersch, C. V. Seeger, C. Hog & L. Koch)
Photos by M. Bilger