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Photo by Sampor Burke, Mekong Semester.

Instructor Introduction: Gai

“The gift of a quiet mind brings peace and healing. The gift of a quiet heart makes love sweet. Winning or losing, quietly breathing, watching the snow fall on cat’s feet.” -The Plum Village

Dear Dragons’ parents and students,

I am delighted we can now get to know each other through the Yak Board. It is my honor to introduce myself to you all. Students, I am eager to learn more about each and every one of you from your introduction.

My name is Chatchai Krongyut, but it is easier to call me by my nickname, Gai. I was born and raised in Ubon Ratchathani, a province in North-east Thailand; the so-called Isan region. Isan is home to many different ethnicities namely Tai, Kui, Lao, Khmer and Bru. The majority of Isan people speak Lao. I grew up in a village where most people speak Lao and some speak Khmer. My family, however, speak Lao.

I started to work with Dragons in 2016 and have always been interested in working more Dragons’ programs. Students are always kind and enthusiastic to learn about the places and people we visit. I will be more than happy to help you gain a better understanding of Southeast Asian culture. You do not need to worry about offending anyone or not knowing what to do. I will be there to act as a bridge of understanding for you. Western and Eastern cultures are quite different and both are wonderful in my opinion.

We will be gaining many awesome experiences throughout the journey. One of them is to be exposed to languages such as Mandarin, Lao, Thai and Khmer. I am fluent in Lao and Thai; please do not hesitate to ask me if you want to learn some words or phrases in these languages. I love languages and I am currently learning Mandarin. If you are also learning Mandarin, we can practice together on course. If you are just beginning to be interested in learning languages, I will be happy to share my learning tips with you. At the end of the program, we might be able to show off our Southeast Asian language skills!

Before this course begins, I want to ask you to tie up all your loose ends at home. That way you can just be with the present moment when we are travelling. Now that you know where to find this Yak Board, please continue to check-in regularly; we will be posting up different Yaks (updated itinerary, packing list, pre-course assignments etc.). You can even subscribe to receive notifications every time there is a new post.

I think this is enough about me for now. If you want to know more about me, feel free to ask- honestly, you can ask me anything! Start getting excited because this is going to be three months that bring out another awesome version of you. Let’s do it!

-Gai 😊