Overall Rating:/ 10Volunteering with children is always rewarding, no matter where you are, but what makes volunteering on the monastery so special is that you're not just volunteering; as cliche as it sounds, you're becoming a part of an entirely new family, one that happens to consist of nearly 100 monks. Everything you do from the moment you wake up until the moment you go to sleep is together with all of the amazing 'mini-monks'. You eat breakfast together, defending your food from monkeys all the while; teach and learn together, always interesting when you're in a room full of kids bouncing off the walls; and - most importantly - play and laugh together, all day every day. The boys at the monastery really become like little brothers, and everyone there becomes like family.
There's a perfect balance on the monastery between being able to really make a difference in a child's education and also being able to let loose and enjoy yourself with your new family. The kids have a really infectious ability to play and laugh, to turn everything they do into a game, and it spreads to everyone on the monastery - even some of the older monks. Being there really allows you to be a child again in the best way possible.
In the three months that I was there I taught 4 classes of 9-13 kids, including 2 math classes, 1 English, and 1 science, besides doing tutoring sessions on the side. The monks were so eager to learn, and I was approached to do 2 different English tutoring classes, including one with the monastery's Buddhist philosophy professors, as well as 1 Spanish tutoring class. The monastery is an amazing place to be not only because of the family that you become a part of, but also because of the active, curious nature of the monks in both learning and play that quickly infects your own attitude and daily life in a way that stays with you long after you've left the monastery.