Mackie pupil prepares for Thai gap year

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A MACKIE Academy pupil is preparing to set out on the experience of a lifetime later this year.

18-year-old Stonehaven teen Andrew Cameron is leaving in August to spend a year teaching conversational English to primary and secondary children in Thailand with organisation Project Trust.

And he has the daunting task of raising £4950 before he goes.

He said: “I’m going to run the half-marathon, wax my legs, shave my hair off - lots of things. I’ve also sent out letters to businesses in Stonehaven and also the oil companies in Aberdeen.

“I’m feeling quite positive about it now, definitely. At first it sounded like a big feat, a big thing to do, but I think with the support of my family, especially my mum, I think I should be able to do it.”

Andrew added: “On May 20 I’ve got a quiz and disco night at the Stonehaven Bowling Club, on June 9 I’ve organised a cabaret featuring staff and pupils from Mackie, which will be at the school and on June 24, there will be a ceilidh in Stonehaven Town Hall. I’m also going to have a stall at the Feein’ Market on June 4.”

Talking about what made him want to get involved in the project, Andrew said: “I really feel like I have a passion for teaching. Even though this is not what I want to do in later life, I really like teaching younger children and I feel that I am a good teacher with a creative side that would be really good for making learning fun for younger children in Thailand.

“I felt that uni was not the best next step for me as I feel I am not ready for it yet. I hope by doing this it will give the life experience I need to go to uni and get the best experience out of it.”

In order to be selected for the project, Andrew had to attend a week long course with 36 other hopefuls on the Isle of Coll where the Project Trust is based.

“ I was over the moon when I heard I had got a place,” he said. “I was supposed to be getting a letter, but after a week I just phoned them up and my heart was thumping with the beeps of the phone. The guy just said, yep, you’re on, you’re going to Thailand and that was it.

“I’m not sure exactly where in Thailand I’ll be based yet - there are 20 projects in the country, mainly in the north, and I could be placed with any of them.

“Of course, I’m nervous, I do realise that this is a whole year away from my family and I can’t just pop back to see my mum every time I need my washing done. But still I am very excited for going and I think the excitement outweighs the nerves.”

Project Trust was founded in 1967 as an educational charity on the Hebridean Isle of Coll in North West Scotland. Since then the charity has sent over 5,500 volunteers overseas. sending 200 volunteers to 25 countries annually and is widely respected as one of the most experienced and professional gap year organisations in Britain.

If anyone wishes to buy tickets for any of the events or give sponsorship for Andrew’s trip they can contact him by phone on (01569) 767296 or by email at wecometwo@hotmail.co.uk.