By: DARLINE ST-JUSTE
George Leboeuf started as a normal student here at Norwalk Community College and continued his education as someone who made a difference in someone else’s life.
Leboeuf attended NCC in the fall of 2008 and finished in spring 2011. During his time here at NCC; he has changed his major four times, worked in the book store, maintenance, and became president of the Wellness club. Leboeuf then transferred to the University of Connecticut the following semester. Still unsure of what he wanted to do going into his eight semesters at NCC, he decided to take a semester off to travel and teach English to students in Thailand.
Leboeuf was in Thailand for six and a half weeks. He made the decision to leave only a couple of weeks before taking the trip. He taught English to students while he was in Thailand, as well as Computer Literacy to Monks for one week.
“I always wanted to see different places,” said Leboeuf. “Teaching was what I didn’t want to do, and it was kind of scary to me…so I thought teaching English was probably the least kind of scary.”
When he visited Thailand, the students were not in regular school so it was similar to a summer camp to learn English.
“We just did English camps throughout the entire time that I was there, so every week we went to different places in northern Thailand,” said Leboeuf, “trying to control thirty-five kids by myself the first day was horrible.”
Usually he would stay in a dorm, but sometimes he would stay in various people’s homes.
“My first week I started off in a place that looked like a hotel resort, and then every week it got worse and by the end of the stay we were in this place with no bed, no running water, and no electricity,” said Leboeuf. “I met people who did not know what America was, so you know you’re in the middle of nowhere.”
Leboeuf had to learn Thai himself in order to teach the kids English. The easiest phrase they were able to learn was “How are you?” and Leboeuf said that the hardest was anything with “Rs” that interfere with their accent. According to Leboeuf, they stuck with the basic words such as; “Hello”, “How are you?”, “How much is this”, etc.
“I think I have met kids who learned enough English to survive if they visits America”, said Leboeuf.
He said that the people were very nice.
“If they heard you speaking English they would grab you and try to talk to you, and then take you to their house and give you some food, and you can’t leave unless you’re full.”
Leboeuf is interested in going to Ghana, India, and China to teach English to other students. Southeast Asia and Buddhism is very interesting to him. In his free time, he would go into the city, Chiang Mai.
“There is a lot of stuff to do there like yoga and massage,” said Leboeuf.
“I would definitely recommend it [going to teach younger students in other countries to NCC graduates],” said Leboeuf. “I’m glad I did it now…it kind of open my eyes, it teaches you a lot more than just teaching kids.”
Leboeuf started at NCC majoring in Architecture, but switched to Business and then Philosophy and then finally Psychology.
“I hope it [Psychology] sticks all the way until the end”, said Leboeuf.
“I have known George for quite some time as a student here at the college and as a friend,” said NCC Bookstore Manager, Kevin Gibson. “He is a soft spoken and caring person whose selflessness is evident in his actions.”
Leboeuf hopes to graduate from University of Connecticut in May of 2013.