In June, we shared written first impressions from one new student at the EarthRights School Mekong. Below are additional first impressions from the rest of the class of 2010, in their own words.

Mekong school is the best place I ever met before, I feel very warm and happy here. It is the educative place that so impress me though it is just only one week here. I love this place, I love all of the staffs, and I love my friends and alumni. I live in the lovely place here no one looks down on me, we are equally and we are friends. I have gained lots of experiences and knowledge. I promise I will try my best to get experience as much as possible.  (Thai student)

The idea of being here with new nice friends and teachers thrilled me. I want to thank the Mekong School for offering me this fellowship, enhancing my education, empowering my passion and providing me a change to do something meaningful for people in my country, which I know I will do. To apply for the Mekong school was something that I put a lot of my energy to prepared because I wanted it badly. I prayed everyday for being accepted. Now I think I have more confidence and I believe more in myself, which is a good feeling. I am excited for the next months because I love my friends here a lot. (Vietnamese student)

It is very important for us to meet each other to gain experiences, share issues and bring our voice to our governments and agencies that support projects around the Mekong region and impact marginalized communities. (Cambodian student)

To stand up and fight for human rights issue is a taboo topic in my country. Everyone has their family or significant ones and to fight for some things the government does like may cause the harassments target to someone we love. I am happy that this class provided examples of the peaceful, consistently and successful demonstrates about human rights for us. (Vietnamese student)

I really like the teaching methods, both student-centered learning and participatory education. Before I came to Mekong School, I thought EarthRights is a radical organization that it is refers the Human Rights. Nowadays I am in the school; they did not force me to memorizing and tell me what it is. We can share our ideas, discussions, even debate, we can all speak up. We all enjoy ourselves and the course so much. (Chinese student)

All people have the right to show their own ideas and gain different responses that sometimes I have never heard before, but in the class show that something that might be not happen in my country but in the other country have the experience about that. Wow very interesting job to be here. (Lao student)

I felt really nervous to apply for Mekong School… When I first step in Mekong School, I just worried about how can I adapt with the others and how can I follow the class. In fact, those feelings were totally wrong. Students here are friendly, helpful and always want to learn from each other. After one week, we all could get along with each other well. Moreover, I always think here is my house even I am away from my family. I like to say that Mekong Home or Family rather than Mekong School.  (Cambodian student)

After a week I live here it looks like home more than school everyone kindness and lovely they try to help us everything as they can (include alumni), that make me warm like live in my hometown, they have everything in here, knowledge and friendship. In my opinion this here is not only school to come for study to get knowledge and leave. It’s a big home, there are many cousins living together. Although someone may leave here, they’re always still connected.  (Lao student)

The recent Red T-shirt demonstration in Thailand did not change my love to Thailand, because I have so many awesome Thai friends. Since I arrived in Chiang Mai, I have never felt regret. (Vietnamese student)

Let me have a chance to say thank you to you all Mekong Staffs. All of you are kind to everybody, I feel like you are a part of my family that I can share, ask, discuss with and open mind to you as I was in my home. I never feel alone again when I opened to you. (Lao student)

Living in the Mekong School, I feel comfortable and happy. The atmosphere is warm and friendly. My classmates are so friendly, kind, and funny. Chiang Mai , Thailand, and the Mekong School will be an unforgettable place in my mind forever. (Vietnamese student)

In conclusion, I strongly believe that, we, the Mekong school students in 2010, will support and cooperate in a big family to study hard, share together, and build a good relationship to protect our Mekong River. (Vietnamese student)