Thursday, October 27, 2011

Arijana's Internship - Targeted English Classes and Infant Elephant Care

Hello, my name is Arijana Arpadzic, or Ari as the villagers know me. I’m 24 years old and from Toronto, Canada. I started my 6-month internship at the GVI Thai Elephant Project on September 10th. Before arriving in Thailand, I spent a year teaching English and living in Seoul, South Korea.
I have undertaken several projects which will span my 6-month period in the village.My largest and most consuming project is teaching focused, and will see me teaching 3 English classes: 1 mahout class, 1 adult community class, and 1 junior class for 7-12 year olds. Each one takes place twice a week and has a general focus on applicable language for interacting with foreign visitors, GVI volunteers, and for everyday use. The mahout class will be more elephant focused incorporating elephant activities/behaviours (feeding, bathing, etc), elephant safety (distance, temperament, etc), and common elephant medical concerns (scratches, tics, broken toenails, etc). Plus, to encourage further interaction and relationship building between the mahouts and volunteers, following each lesson there will be 1:1 socializing time when mahouts can practice their English with a volunteer.Along with my teaching projects, I have been assigned the observation and care of the youngest elephant in our herd. Songkran is a one and a half year-old male elephant and is the son of beautiful Boon Jan. His young age ensures that he will go through many changes during my 6 months here, and I am already excited to see the social and physical transformations that he is going through. My responsibilities with Songkran include conducting his twice weekly health checks, observing his behaviour, collecting data on foraging/social interaction, and taking millions of photos!!