It was five o’clock in the morning when our host mum was already up to prepare our breakfast. I decided to turn around another time to catch a bit more sleep. At 08:30 we (Barbara, Shirley and I, Evelien) were sitting in front of our breakfast: traditional Thai food – including squid and shrimps – and food that we are more familiar with – croissants, white bread and coffee.

After breakfast we were driven to our fellow students. We all got in the back of a truck. Together we headed for the orchards. Host parents, drivers and other people that were involved in the CBTI home stay project went with us. They told us about the different sorts of fruit and taught us how to use this long stick to pick the fruits. We went to three different types of orchards: a mangosteen, rambutan and a pineapple orchard. In the end you could take the fruits with you that you had picked. After the visit to the orchards we went somewhere else to have lunch. It started pouring, so we had to bide our time.

The next activity on the agenda was a Thai sweet workshop. The group was divided in two. One group made Thai sweets and the other group made sticky rice. The group that made Thai sweets had to make little figures – from something that looked a bit similar as batter – and paint them. The other group made sticky rice. Chris, one of the CBTI staff, explained about the different sorts of sticky rice and their meaning and we could all have a bite of it. We then left again, to go on a boat tour.

We put our life vests on, made groups of 5 and off we went. Some one from the home stay went with us to be our guide. Peter, another CBTI staff member, translated everything in English. Although some groups had some troubles with the boat, the boat trip was a big success.

Finally we had all went back to the center to have dinner and to close off the home stay program. So we first enjoyed our delicious Thai homemade meals and then had a feedback session. Every home stay group gave feedback to CBTI and the host family. Then the host family would also say something about the students and a photograph was taken. Everyone was extremely positive, besides some minor criticisms. My impression was that people overall really enjoyed their home stay. For myself I can say that I loved it. Especially communicating with the host family, while they didn’t speak English and we only spoke a few words of Thai. It was a busy, but exciting day.

Written by: Evelien