Language Ambassador - Romania - Lucas Thomas 2013

Language Ambassador Experience Report 2013

Over the summer of 2013, Lucas Thomas from Madison, Mississippi in the United States acted as a teacher in Romania through PTPI's Language Ambassador Program. Here is his account of his experiences.

Lucas teaching English

When I first applied to teach English in Romania this summer, I had very few expectations. I didn't know what the country would be like, or the people, or any other thing that I take for granted because it's all I know. I was born in America, and am an American through and through. Like almost everyone in this country, I lived on a cultural island, and knew almost nothing about the vast world outside of my country's borders. When I was told that I could go to Romania, I realized that I couldn't even point to it on a map of Europe.

But that was before I spent a month living with, and working by, some of the most welcoming, generous people I've ever met. They took me into their homes, they fed me, and they taught me about a wonderful country that I never would have heard of. And all in exchange for just a few hours a day of English classes.

For over a hundred years now, America has been one of the richest and most materially successful countries on the planet. But that success has made us weak, and over time we've grown used to being taken care of. We can refuse to pay attention in school and still pass classes, we can chose unemployment over a difficult job and still eat, and all because of the hard work of others.

In Romania I met children who don't grow up with safety nets. Children who work hard both inside and outside of their schools, and who want to learn English because they see the world their parents have grown up in and they believe that they can build on that world and make it better. It reminded me how little I deserve the life I've been given and how little I've done to improve it. If you are ever aware of an opportunity for me to help people like those I worked with this summer, I would be more than happy to once again give up some time and money to volunteer.

I want those children to succeed, and I believe that given the right resources and attention, they will. I look forward to the day when they grow up to be leaders, and can travel the world representing their country and spreading its culture, because it was a wonderful country and I'm proud to have been able to learn about it while volunteering this summer.