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Thetford Grammar School pupils tell of inspiring volunteer trip to Bali

Thetford Grammar School students Cecily White and Maia Chalfen have spent their summer in Bali teaching English. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2017

Thetford Grammar School students Cecily White and Maia Chalfen have spent their summer in Bali teaching English. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2017

ARCHANT EASTERN DAILY PRESS (01603) 772434

Two school friends have said spending part of their summer teaching English to children in Bali was so inspiring they are now planning another trip.

Cecily White and Maia Chalfen volunteered in Bali teaching English. Picture: Cecily White and Maia Chalfen Cecily White and Maia Chalfen volunteered in Bali teaching English. Picture: Cecily White and Maia Chalfen

For two weeks Thetford Grammar School pupils Cecily White and Maia Chalfen taught English to children aged between five and 13-years-old.

The 17-year-olds were motivated to take part in a volunteer project after hearing friends talk about it.

Miss White, who lives in Thetford, said: “It was the best two weeks of our lives we say.

“One lesson we taught in a hut to six children and then the next lesson we were in a room with 55 children.

Thetford Grammar School students Cecily White and Maia Chalfen spent their summer in Bali teaching English.
Byline: Sonya Duncan
Copyright: Archant 2017 Thetford Grammar School students Cecily White and Maia Chalfen spent their summer in Bali teaching English. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2017

“We had to plan all the lessons ourselves in the evenings and adjust them to the different age groups.”

The year 13 pupils were given £750 as part of the school’s Peter Large Scholarship, which gives a donation to two students every year to encourage them to get out and make a difference.

But they still had to each fund £1,000 themselves.

Miss White worked in a supermarket and Miss Chalfen worked for a marketing company in London. Both also saved up money given to them on their birthdays and at Christmas.

“It was unforgettable,” said Miss Chalfen who lives in Norton, near Bury St Edmunds. “I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity given to us by the school.

“Everyone was so friendly and it ended up being the best experience of my life so far. Seeing the children’s eyes light up was unforgettable.”

Miss White added: “I want to be a teacher so doing that was really good work experience.”

On the weekends the pair got to enjoy discovering what Bali had to offer outside of the classroom.

“Climbing a mountain to watch the sun rise, that was incredible,” said Miss White. “Seeing Bali was really interesting.”

The pair have a tough few months ahead of them as they prepare for their A-level exams.

Miss White is taking business, PE and English literature and Miss Chalfen is studying English Literature, biology and chemistry.

What will help them through is next summer’s trip to Vietnam. The duo hopes to spend a month teaching there along with some of the friends they made during their Bali trip.

Miss White added: “Everyone has said how amazing the country is and how nice the children are.”

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