Thomas looks back on year teaching in Senegal

Our two Project Trust volunteers, Sara and Thomas have recently returned from their year long adventures in Honduras and Senegal.
Both of them had incredible experiences teaching children and contributing to the wider communities as well as experiencing cultures entirely different from our own.

Both Sara and Thomas now move on to placements at university but will carry the memories and skills they learned with them throughout their lives.

Here Thomas shares his experiences with us.

“Hello! I have recently returned from my travels supported by your donation. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for your donation and share some information about the project I was working on.

“After an incredible 10 and a half months teaching English at Lycée Djignabo in Ziguinchor, Senegal, I’m back in Glasgow. It has been truly unforgettable, I’ve done things and been places I’d never imagined doing. I’m so lucky to have had this opportunity to really learn about the country and get to know so many wonderful people.

“My work at the Lycée was challenging but incredibly rewarding. There were so many obstacles such as the huge class sizes of more than 60 students as well as the lack of resources. I literally only had a blackboard and a piece of chalk to work with. There was also the culture shock of how people conduct themselves in class. It’s not rude to click your fingers for attention in Senegal!

“We worked a lot with the English Club at the school and got to know the students very well. Our motto was ‘We learn and we share what we learn’ and sharing we did! It was these wonderful young people who helped us integrate and understand the culture and the language and in return we helped as best we could with their English.
Here is one of my ‘Second’ classes. That’s roughly S4 in Scotland or year 10 in England (I think). I would make class tests and have to mark them, go to teachers meetings and also help prepare end of term exams.

“I think this year has helped me become more confident and comfortable in myself. I believe that I am a very resilient person now and I have become quite adventurous too which I never imagined. I’m proud of all that I achieved – making friends, learning two languages (French and Wolof) and also learning Batik a traditional method of dying fabric.

“I really miss the food and the people and all the friends I’ve made but I’m looking forward to starting my course at Cambridge soon.”

Thomas with some of the students he taught in Senegal.