A Discussion with Chaloemsree Tahong, Sophomore Student at Xavier Learning Community, Ching Rai, Thailand

With: Chaloemsree Tahong Berkley Center Profile

July 1, 2019

As part of the Education and Social Justice Project, in July of 2019 undergraduate student Allison Ross interviewed Chaloemsree Tahong, a sophomore student at Xavier Learning Community (XLC) in Thailand. In this interview, Tahong discusses student life, cultural diversity on campus, and the value of language.

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself? Your name, where you’re from, anything like that?

So my full name is Chaloemsree Tahong and you can call me Toon actually. I am from this province, Chiang Rai, and my home is not very far from here. It’s about two hours drive.

Could you describe, are you from a city area or a town?

Actually I am from the countryside, you know, but my home is like not very far from, how do you call, like the city?

Yeah.

And there are the hospital and also like the facilities like 7/11s or that stuff. And yeah, it’s about nine or ten kilometers from my home. Like from here to Chiang Saen.

Oh, interesting. Could you tell me a little bit about what life is like in your home town? What do people do, jobs, anything like that?

Yeah, most of them are farmers. Yeah. And they plant like corns, rice, and tea. And also coffee, something like that. But most of them, some of them, they work in the city. And also some of them work in the abroad. Like Korea, something like that.

Do a lot of people work abroad or just a few?

Just a few. And when they work in abroad they can get more money.

And then, do they just live there and send money back?

Yeah, they just live there and send money back. But they just come back home like three years, like once in three years or something like that.

That’s hard. So in the countryside area where you’re from, what ethnic group are most people from?

All of the villagers are Akha.

Can you tell me a little bit about what it means to be Akha? Or what you feel like that means?

I don’t really know what does that mean, you know? Like I don’t really know the meaning of Akha. But, yeah. I don’t know what it is.

Is there anything in particular that you feel is different than being Thai?

Um, actually, yeah. Being Akha is very different from Thai. You know like the culture, everything. Like food, language, your costume. Yeah, everything is very different from Thai.

Would you mind describing some of those differences a little bit?

Um, for example language. They speak Thai, we speak Akha. Or costume. Normally, like in the past few years like the old generation, they wear the traditional clothes which is like Akha. And they don’t wear something like this [GESTURES TO HER JEANS AND T-SHIRT]. But for Thai they wear like this since the past, you know. And also about food, yeah. It’s very different. Most of us like, we normally eat, how do you call it, vegetables. And yeah, something that we can find from our environment. Something like that.

Do Thai people not eat so many vegetables?

They eat but maybe normally they buy a lot. But nowadays in Akha cultures, we buy like a lot of things like that too.

That makes sense. So coming from your area, what motivated you to come to XLC?

Um, actually at first I, my parents not allow me to come here.

Really?

Yeah, but actually I was about to go to Australia because one of my cousins is there. And actually I’m going to there to take care of her child, so I thought that, “Oh, if I go there, my English must be improved. And if I come back here I will do the test of like being a tour guide.” So that I have to get a job. But I thought that it is much better when I have to, when I’m like educated. So I asked my parents again like, “Can I go there?” Something like that. But at first I know XLC from my friends. Yeah. But for the second time, I met Father Pichet in my high school. He came to my high school and he asked me like, “Oh, do you want to come? Do you want to come?” Something like that. And yeah, I decided, “Oh, I wanna go there.” Like I want to continue studying, like that. And also, actually my parents did not allow me. But when I beg them like, “Please, please.” “Yeah, okay.” They said okay. One of the reasons that I decided to come here because, yeah, we don't have much money. That’s why.

And XLC is free right?

Yeah, XLC is free, yeah. And I think English is like, I love learning languages, you know. And also I majored in English when I was in high school too. That’s why.

So you wanted to come to XLC to learn English more?

Yeah.

Why did you think you could learn it more at XLC than in Australia?

I think like because if I go to Australia, I just go there and live there. Yes, of course, I can get like language but it is very different from learning. Yes, maybe I can speak but not correctly. But here, when I come here… And also, actually I planned to go there only three months. That’s why. And also if I come here, I think that if I study more, I will be educated person, you know? Like I will be smart, something like that.

Yeah, that makes sense. What do you like about learning languages?

I think learning languages is the opportunity to know people. Like you can get to know more people. You have more opportunity when you know languages because, for example, if I know only Akha I am able to be communicate in my society, which is Akha. And there are only a little people who are Akha. But when I able to speak Thai, I can communicate with more people. But besides that, if I speak English, I can speak with like many people. Not only American, but in Australia and the people who are speaking English too.

Do you just speak those three languages? Or is there anything else?

Actually, I can speak a little bit of Chinese.

Really? How did you learn Chinese?

Actually, when I was in secondary school, I was living in the dormitory and my dormitory force us to learn Chinese. And also at that time, I was in like the, how do you call, people are like very, a lot of minorities and most of them are Chinese. And we force us to study Chinese because Chinese is like very important nowadays and the population of China is increasing like that. So the economy and the other things also grow.

Interesting. So you like learning languages, did you look at any other schools in Thailand when you were deciding? Or just XLC?

Actually, I decided not to continue studying, you know. Yeah. That’s why I didn’t look to any other universities. So this is my first choice.

Besides the classroom, what drew you to XLC?

Sorry?

Besides being able to study in a class environment, was there anything else that made you want to come here?

I don’t know. I just like, I actually didn’t know the place, you know. I haven’t come here before. And I think, I thought that at that time, I want to get a job. And also my, I think if I come here and I study, I will get a good job. That’s why I came here.

What do you think of as a good job?

Because like learning English, for example, I planning to study hospitality and tourism. But if I graduate, I cannot work only here, only in these areas. But I can work in any areas that use English. Yeah. So I think it’s good.

Yeah, that makes sense. So your parents didn’t want you to come here?

Mhhmm.

Why not?

Because they wanted me to start working so that I can support them and also my brother. And as I am the oldest of my family, you know.

And how did you convince them to let you come here?

I just asked them like many times. “Mom, I want to go there. I want to continue studying.” Because, you know, I didn’t have any experience of working so I was so afraid, like “How can I start working?” Because I didn’t have any experience like that.

So when you got to XLC, was it very different living here than in your home town?

Um, not really because since I was young, I lived in the dormitory, which I have to be with a lot of people. So I think it is easy to be here as well because I used to live with a lot of people.

Is there any way that living at XLC is different than living in the dormitory in high school was?

Um, I have never lived in the like dormitory which is in, dormitory and school in the same place. You know? But dormitory and school were separated when I was in primary and also high school.

Do you think that that influences your education or your life, having both of those be together?

Um, not really but I think it is very similar with where I have lived before. Because before that I have lived in two dormitories, like primary and secondary. And also when I was in high school, I was here in Chiang Saen. Like those dormitories were like Christian, yeah. The way, how they take care of the children and also, yeah they are not so different.

I guess, what’s your religious background?

Sorry?

Like what is your religious background?

Actually this is very complicated for me. I remember that when I was a little girl, my parents, my family, they believe in the traditional religion. Which means they believe in like our ancestors, something like that. And also when I was seven, I lived in the dormitory which is Protestant. But when I was eight, my parents changed the religion from tradition religion to like Christianity, which is like Protestants. Yeah. And also when the time passed by, when I was 14, they change it again.

To what?

Protestant to Catholic. So actually I used to like Protestant culture, something like that. But it is very, I could not change from Protestant to Catholic. Like is, “What?” Something like that. “I used to be religion, how can I change to this?” Like that. But at first, my parents did not force me to change with them. They was okay if I believe in Protestant. But after that, when I was in like high school, I continue living with the Protestants again. So they don't force me. But I believe in Protestant.

So you’re Protestant?

Yeah, yeah, I’m Protestant. And also after that, since I came here, XLC is Catholic. So when I went back home, I go to the Catholic church. Which is different from my primary and high school. So sometimes I confused like, “What? Are there like Protestants and Catholics, like they are similar? But why? Why do they have like Protestant and Catholic?” Something like that. So, “What should I be? What should I be?” Something like that. Yeah, so when people ask me, “What is your religion?” I was living with Protestants, but my parents are Catholic so what I am, something like that. But now I think if I’m, yeah, I think being a Catholic is not bad. Because we believe in one God. But the difference between Protestant and Catholic is that they have different way of praising, like praise God. For Christians, normally we sing a song and we dance or something like that. But when I came here, they just sing like a soft song and they do not dance. So this is different. Yeah. And normally for the Protestants, they don’t... communion?

Communion, yeah.

They don’t have like every day. They have like once in three months or once a month, something like that. It depends on the church. But here we have it every day. And for Protestants, when baptized, it depends on, for example, if you are ready for the, to baptize, you can do it. But for here I thought they baptize since when you were born. Is that right?

Oh so you’re saying Catholics baptize you right away and Protestants wait till you’re ready?

Mhhmm.

You probably know as well as I do. In my experience, with Protestants the timing depends a little. But I don’t know as much with Catholicism.

I don’t know much about this but as I know, yeah, they do something like this. So this is different.

Do you think Catholicism at XLC is different than the Catholic church that you’ve been to at home? Or are they very similar?

Catholic church at my home?

Yeah, was I right in understanding that you’ve been to the Catholic church in your hometown?

Yeah. It’s different because in my hometown, in my village, there is no priest you know. But there is the representative of the, how do you call that?

Like the Church?

Yeah, who can read the Bible and lead the, not the Mass, but how do you call it?

Hm, like the service?

Yeah, something like that. So they just have the communion like when the priests come to the village. Something like that.

In your village, does the Protestant church have a priest? Or is it the same?

Oh, actually in Protestant they don’t have a priests.

Not at all? Do you know if that’s just in Thailand or is that a broader thing?

I think everywhere, like Protestants they don’t have like priests. But they have the one who is like a priest, uh huh. But they are not a priest. How do you call it? They are just a representative of the church.

Oh, like a pastor? Maybe? Does that sound right?

I don’t know pastor. Yeah, but they are not a priest.

How would you describe them again?

Yeah, they are just the leader of the church. But when they do the communion, yeah, this one you like do it.

So the Protestant leader does the bread and wine?

Uh huh.

What do you think about that difference?

I don’t know. I don’t know anything about that. I think it’s very similar. Oh, and the way how when the bread and also the, how do you call?

Wine?

Yeah. They are very different. When you have the wine, they don’t have only one glass like we have it here. They have, they separated. Like this one, the small glass.

Like smaller cups for everyone? Yeah, that is different.

And also the bread is different from. For example, it is white here but sometimes they use, for Protestants they use the bread that we eat every day. You know?

Yeah, just like normal bread? Those are a couple of differences, yeah. So there’s not really a priest in your hometown. What do you think about having the priests here?

I think it’s good. I think it’s not, if it is possible I want to, it’s good to have a priest in the village. Yeah. And also here, I think it’s good because… I don’t know. They can preach and they can, yeah, teach the Bible more. And they can share the experience. Something like that.

So you’re not Catholic. How often do you interact with or talk to the fathers here at XLC?

I don’t talk to them much about the religion things.

What do you talk to them about instead?

It can be anything, like general things. Or when I meet them like, “Hi, how are you, Father?” Something like that. Just the general things.

So being at Xavier, how does it feel being a Protestant at a Catholic school?

I think it is not different. Like, XLC doesn’t make me feel like, “You are Protestant.” Or who you are. They treat me like everyone is equal, everyone is the same. Because here, we can be anyone. Even though you are Buddhist, Protestant, Catholic, or Muslim, yeah, can be anything. So I think I don’t feel any different from the others.

What do you mean by you can be anything?

Like we can believe in any religion.

And it’s accepted?

Mhhhmm.

Do the students at XLC, do they feel the same way? Or do they feel differently?

I think most, yeah, they feel the same thing. Because most of them are Catholic. And even the ones who are not Catholic, they feel the same way too. Yeah.

Do you find that you interact with any of the students or staff differently because you’re Protestant? Or no?

No, not really. We interact like other person, you know. Yeah, we don’t like separate “You are Catholic or Protestant” or “You are Buddhist” when we talk to someone.

Do religious differences come up in conversations that you have with friends?

No?

Are there ever any times that they ask you questions or you ask them questions, or not so much?

Not so much, but some of them yeah. Because they know a little bit about me.

That makes sense. So at XLC, how many Catholic activities are there on most days? There’s Mass. Is there anything else that you can think of?

About Catholic?

Yeah, anything else about how religion influences life around here.

How can I say this? The religion like, I think they influence us in a good way. They teach us to be good people, teach us to share, to help the community. Yeah.

Can you explain a little more about the “help the community” part?

For example, XLC, on Saturday, they bring here to teach the students who are in the village. The nearby village. So yeah. They teach the students who, yeah, even though they are Buddhists, you know? It not depends on their religion. They can teach anyone who want to learn English.

And that’s the students teaching English to the kids?

Yeah, and also the volunteers as well. And also we have sometimes, how can I say that… For example, for the fathers, we go to the village and collect garbage. Something like that.

Are there any other examples you can think of?

And also, we have done many things. To build the wall to one of our student’s village. In Mae Hong Son and also Baan Mae Village.

Do students just volunteer to do that kind of stuff, or does the school make them?

The school make them. And also I think the students want to do this as well.

What makes you say that the students want to do it?

Because I think it’s good to help the people, especially for our friends, you know? And those villages are the village of our friends. For example Dew, Dew’s village. And also the wall that we built is like a, the Catholic, they are a Catholic village.

But would students at Xavier build walls for villages that were not Catholic? Like if your village needed something?

Yeah. For example, last time, but for this one I didn’t go there, they built a house in Dew’s village, Ban Tab Village. I think in this family, they are old and one of them disabled. Or something like that. Yeah, I have heard about that. And also they are Buddhist.

Why do you think XLC has students do that kind of stuff?

Because I think XLC wants us to share and to help the community, to be a good people. Even though, they don’t want us to be good at education but for also to help other people as well.

What makes you think or know that they care about that?

Because in the society of nowadays, there are less people who care and help other people. So I think it is good if we have more people who can share with their hearts, who can do something by like, willing to do something good and do not expect to receive something back.

Does XLC encourage students to think this way on their own?

Like how?

So XLC makes students go out and help build a wall. Does it do anything to encourage students to do that on their own? Like when they're done with school, do you think people will continue?

Yeah, I think people will continue. XLC give the opportunity to every student here to come here and study. And I hope that, I wish everyone will be grateful for the opportunity that they receive. So I think everyone will do something good for the society as well.

And so you think students are grateful to XLC for the education?

Hm?

So you said that you hope students are grateful, do you think most actually are?

Yeah. I hope so. Yeah.

Is there anything else that XLC or the staff do to encourage you to be good people?

[SPEAKING IN AKHA] Can you repeat the question again please?

Yeah. So when you’re talking with the fathers, or when you’ve in a classroom, or anything else, does XLC do anything else to encourage you and other students to be good people and to help others?

Yeah. I think so. For example, when we have reflection class, yeah. Father Bee always shows us to the video of Mother Teresa. She has helped a lot of poor people in Africa and also India, right? So I think he want us to serve people like as Mother Teresa. As she is a good example of this. Yeah.

Do you think, does seeing a video of Mother Teresa change how you want to act?

Not really. Besides that, Father Bee also tell us like, “Why do you have to do this thing? Let us reflect on the video that we have watched.” Something like that.

And what do you think about reflecting on the video? Is that helpful?

Yeah, I think it’s helpful because it makes me feel like, “Oh, there are a lot of people that need help.” And also I think it is good to help other people who is poor. And sometimes we feel like, “Oh, why do I born this way? Why am I so poor?” Like this. But when I see the video, it makes me feel like, “Oh, there are a lot of people who is like need help more than me.” So I think it’s good to help them. And also when I watch movie, like this movie is based on the true story. In Africa they like, they don’t have water to plant the corns so they don’t have many things to eat, you know? And also, it makes me feel like, “Oh, how great if we can help someone.” Something like that.

And what kind of makes you want to help people like that? Why do you think that’s great?

Because sometimes like when we compare with people… Sometimes for example if I compare with the one, for example the Western, for the white people, they have a lot of money. Something like that. It makes me feel down, you know? Because why don’t I have something like that? Why I am so poor like this? But when I see the other things like in Africa, I think it’s good to help them because if I help them, they could have more opportunity. Something like that. The people, for example, if they have to eat something, the people who die will be like, less people will die. And also if I help them, they will get… If people help them to educate, you know, they will have more job to do. They can be like also like other country. They can more other country to work, something like that.

And when you talk about helping people in these other places, what does it mean to help people that way?

Like how?

What do you think would help them? What kinds of things?

I think it help them to be, I don’t know. Yeah, if we have a chance to help them, it good for them because they can have more opportunity to do something else. Sometimes I think like they should have the same opportunity with other people who are from different countries as well.

Yeah, that makes sense. Do you think, if you hadn’t come to XLC, would you think the same way?

Like if I didn’t have come to here, I should have…

Instead of going to XLC, if you had gone to Australia, do you think you would still want to help people the same way?

I don’t know, but being here, the fathers and also XLC help us to reflect more about helping other people. And if I am in other areas besides here, I think I don’t have any ideas of helping people. Yeah, this much.

Can you tell me a little bit more about reflection at XLC? What does that mean and how often do you do it?

Actually, we have a class called “Reflection” every week. Like once a week on Friday. So reflection is subject that help us to reflect something, who we are. Or where we are from, something like that. Yeah. It help us to know ourself better than sometimes, you know, sometimes we don’t realize what we have done. But because of the reflection, we can realize like what is good or what is bad. What we have done good or what we have done bad. Something like that.

Can you think of any examples of things you’ve realized by reflecting?

For example, being here like sometimes when I have free time, I just waste my time in the useless things, you know. I just scrolling on my Facebook or Instagram. Something like that. So when I in reflection class, I realize that it is better if I use my time to be useful.

Yeah, that makes sense. Besides the reflection class, are there other things at XLC that encourage you to reflect?

I think Morning Gathering.

Can you tell me a little more about that?

Actually, we do this like every morning. So 7:00 a.m., maybe 15 minutes. Like 7:00 a.m. to 7:15 a.m., something like that. So normally the leader will lead us. They give the passage to read. For example, the Gospel of, yeah the passage from the Bible. And they will let us close our eyes and they will ask questions and we can reflect.

What kinds of questions are you thinking about?

They will ask like, it depends like every day it’s different. For example, do you have any plan for today? Yeah. Do you have any plan for today? What are you going to achieve today? And when you go to bed, you realize this again, like what you have done. Have you achieved the things that you have planned today?

Why do you think XLC encourages you to reflect so much?

To know ourself better and also to know other people as well, I think. Sometimes you know when we don’t reflect something, we don’t care much about people. So when we reflect something, we do care much about other people as well, I think.

Can you explain that a little bit more?

Sometimes we don’t recognize, how can I say that? For example, sometimes we, for our friends you know, sometimes we don’t really know what he or she thinks. But when we do the reflect, I think it help us to understand them better when we know. Sometimes you know, when we reflect something, we know ourself and also other people because we know what we have done and also what we have done to other people as well.

That makes sense. Do you share your reflections with other people or do you keep them to yourself?

Sometimes I share to people, yeah. Father Bee always like ask people, like students, to share. Yeah. But sometimes not.

Can you think of any specific examples of when reflecting has helped you understand another person? Or treat another person differently?

You know, sometimes for me, I think that if I want to be treated in this way, I have to treat other people like how I want to be treated as well. Something like that.

So reflection happens each morning here, do you think when you leave XLC you’ll keep reflecting, or not so much?

Not so much, I think. Because when I, maybe when I have a job or when people do, when people have job, they will be very busy with their job. Yeah, they don’t have much time to do.

Reflection? Yeah. Does XLC do anything to teach you how to make time for reflection later? Or not so much?

Like how to do reflection by ourself?

Yeah.

Um, not so much, yeah. But normally Father Pichet did not force us to, for example, for different religion like Buddhist they don’t force them to come to Morning Gathering. But they let them to reflect on their own. Something like that.

Do most students who are Buddhist still go to Morning Gathering or no?

Normally they go, yeah.

Why do you think they go? Or why do you go?

But I think Morning Gathering is not about religion faith. It’s like, I think it’s good to go there because it is good to start our morning with, to do something good.

And do you think reflection helps you learn English at all, or not so much?

Not so much, I think. With reflection, yeah.

Can you think of anything that XLC does that was different than your high school that helps you learn English?

Actually, learning English here and also my high school, they are very different. So in my high school, even though I majored in English, I have to study like 10 hours a week for English. But mostly I study with like Thai teachers. Like they teach English but there were only one American teacher there. But here mostly we study with native speakers, with like the teachers who are from different countries. So when they teach us, they have to speak English. And even Father Pichet, he always speak English, you know, when he teach. And sometimes like when the first time I came here, when I study Thai or science, sometimes Father Pichet teach in English. But in high school, even though when I study English, the teachers they don’t speak English while they are teaching. As well as they, yeah sometimes they are very good at grammar. They know what is right, what is wrong, blah blah blah, but they don’t know how to speak. They are not able to speak in daily life.

Is there anything else that you can think of that makes education at XLC different than your high school?

I think because when I’m here, I have more opportunity to communicate in English with native speakers or the people who are from different countries. But in high school, mostly I speak Thai. Yeah, I speak Thai. But even with the American teacher, I have only one hour to study with her like in a week, so I don’t have much opportunity to communicate with her like that. So I think it is good to be here.

Besides an opportunity to speak English, is there any other way that living with all the volunteers from all over has an influence on your life?

Like the cultures or what?

Yeah, anything like that. Any cultural differences, how well you get to know them, anything like that?

I think living with them is good, because sometimes even though we have different cultures but we can learn from each other, you know. So I think it helps us to learn with, how to get along well with people even though we are from different backgrounds.

Can you think of a time you’ve had to learn that kind of thing?

Like cultures?

Yeah, any time you’ve learned something about a different culture or how to get along with someone.

Sometimes for example foreigners, like for white people, mostly when they speak, when they talk to us they will say anything. How they feel or like what they are thinking, something like that. But for Thai people, sometimes it’s very complicated. We don’t say what we are thinking or what we are feeling. Something like that. So sometimes it makes it very difficult to guess what, is he okay or what does he mean.

As a result, do you think people here are more expressive, or not so much?

Not so much, I think. Sometimes.

How would you describe the students here?

The students here, I think they are good. Even though we are from different backgrounds, but mostly we can get along well. Yeah, they are friendly.

Are there any times that being from different backgrounds has made it harder to get along?

I don’t think so, because normally in Thailand we have a lot of ethnic minorities and we have to live with them. And also in my, for example, when I was in primary school there were a lot of ethnic minorities as well. Like Akha, Lahu, or Chinese. Something like that.

Is there any way that XLC is different about ethnic minorities than your high school?

Um, not really, but in my high school I’ve never met Karen people. Because there are only less people who are Karen people who are in Chiang Rai province. So I didn’t have, no, I’ve never met them before I came here.

How did you feel meeting Karen people for the first time?

Yeah, as Billy said that most of them they like to speak their own language. Yeah. So sometimes it is very hard to understand, you know, when we are together.

That makes sense. Having lived and gone to high school and now being at XLC with a lot of ethnic minority populations, has that kind of influenced the way you think about the world or yourself? Anything like that?

Not really because, I think because I used to live with the ethnic minorities. And also for me, I think when I was in high school, it is very difficult for me to get along well with people because Thai people and ethnic minorities, they are different. Like sometimes the Thai, they look down to ethnic minorities, you know. It is much difficult for me to live there than here.

So here, there’s not very many Thai people, right?

Mhhmm.

Most people are ethnic minorities?

Yeah, there are three or four Thai people. But they are good, you know?

So you feel like you get along well?

Uh huh, I can get along well. Actually, not all of Thai that don’t like ethnic minorities or something like that. Only in my high school, because most of them like, you know, they wanted to be, how can I say it, arrogant or something like that. But from other people, I think some people are really good to me as well. Like for some type of people.

What do you mean by some type of people?

So besides the students of my high school, other people who are not from my high school. The Thai people who are in my province as well.

And they treat you just like anyone else, is that what you’re saying?

Mhhmm.

So really just the Thai people at your high school?

Yeah because most of students in my high school, they are Thai. And only some ethnic minority people were there.

Do you have any other comments or anything else you’d like to add or clarify about what we’ve talked about?

Not really.

If you had to describe broadly, what makes XLC different than another school you could go to?

Like another university?

Yeah.

For most of the universities, they don’t live and study at the same place. Most of them they live outside university. And I think if I were, for example, if I were in another university, I think I could have less friends… because as I can see my friends, like some other friends who are in the universities, they don’t have much friends like this, you know? Because when they are in the outside they don’t have an opportunity to be with people like this. Because they have their own business to do, like some people are working in the evening so they don’t have much time to hang out together like that. But for here, we live here together, we do all the things together. So I think it's easier for me to be friends with everyone.

Do you think that living and being friends with everyone makes it easier or any different to learn English?

For me, it not depend on people or friends. But it depends on myself, I think. I think that if I or like some other friends, they have more confidence to speak English, they will speak more than like this. Because a lot of my friends, they don’t have confidence to speak English. They afraid of making mistakes like that. So for me, it not depends on that. But at least, if I am here, I can communicate with them and no one make fun of me even though I make a mistake.

Why don't you think they make fun of you?

Because we are here and we are learning English as like together. So they understand. Yeah but for the outside, you know, as I experience when I was in high school, I have heard like someone when I went to Walking Street, I heard that someone were talking in English. And I’m like, “What?” And they got like very Thai accent, you know. So I said, “What? How confident you are to speak English here.”

Can you explain a little bit that confidence again?

Like here in XLC?

Mhhmm.

So even though like when we are here and when we make mistakes, no one make fun of me. So even when I make mistakes, I don’t care so yeah. I can speak it, you know? And also, I think when like, how can I say that, when people have more confidence, they brave enough to speak, to start speaking.

What is it about XLC that makes people more confident, do you think?

Because of, everyone here speaks English. Fathers and the staff and also all of the teachers.

Would you say that makes students more confident? Because other people speak it?

Because a lot of people, yeah, actually they can speak English you know but they just don’t have confidence. So when people, for example, like for the other friends, they start speaking in English, they will have more confidence. Like, “Oh, I want to be like you. I want to be like her. I want to speak like you.” Something like that. So they will have more confidence to speak.

Am I right in understanding that you’re saying the staff are examples for the students? Is that what you were saying there or not so much?

Like the staff? Or?

Like the volunteers and the people that are speaking English.

Yeah, they speak English as well. And also I think when we speak with them, we have to speak in English because they don’t speak Thai, which force us to speak English. So even though you cannot speak English, you have to speak. So when you speak it out you will have like more confidence.

Yeah, because you have to. Alright, that’s all the questions I have. If there’s anything you wish I had asked you that you wanted to say, feel free to say it. But otherwise that is everything that I have. Anything else?

No.

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