My name is Jared Richard and I am working with Care2Travel as an NGO Support Volunteer. I was asked to take on an additional task during the final week of my four week stay, which has proved to be a very fulfilling and worthwhile experience. In the small village of Csíkszentmárton, just 17km southeast of Csíkszereda (Miercurea Ciuc), is a foundation by the name of Serviciului Internaţional de Salvarea Copiilor (The International Child Rescue Service). There, children with disabilities are brought to be cared for by trained professionals who help develop their physical and intellectual capacities. Because this village is rather isolated however, the employees seldom have the opportunity to interact with English speakers, thus diminishing their ability to communicate efficaciously in the language. This is disadvantageous for them, as they intend to expand their foundation so as to broaden their child rehabilitative outreach, but are limited by their insufficient grasp of English.

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Care2Travel has been working with this foundation for eight years now and recognized their need for English improvement. Seeing as how Care2Travel has willing volunteers at their disposal, we offered to send English teachers to Sânmartin to hold English discussion/classes for the employees twice a week. I was fortunate enough to be one of these volunteers.

The employees vary in their level of understanding, but all have a rudimentary comprehension of the language, enough to engage in simple conversation. Volunteers organize basic, one hour long discussion topics so that concepts can be explored while practicing English. The aim is to allow for the employees to use the language in a more practical manner that allows for vocabulary development, sentence structure improvement, grammar supposition, and retention. Volunteers lead the discussion, asking open-ended questions, using a variety of means to prompt participation. In this way, the employees are able to recall words and are given occasion to use them in conversation. Discussion topics should be broad and relevant, but interesting, so that everyone has the opportunity to speak.

This is a wonderful opportunity for Care2Travel volunteers to exercise their teaching skills without having to formally teach. What is more important is fostering an environment in which the foundation’s employees are comfortable enough to speak freely, make mistakes to be corrected, and gain confidence in their ability to converse freely in English. They are very grateful to Care2Travel and are excited for the classes to continue so that they can improve their communicative capabilities beyond Harghita County.

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