During your 2 weeks stay in Laos, you get to explore the beautiful ancient city of Luang Prabang, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is situated in northern central Laos. Teach English in this idyllic setting, at the meeting of the Nam Khan and Mekong rivers, famous for its Buddhist temples and monasteries.
In addition to spiritual and traditional beliefs, many males from rural villages commonly travel to cities such as Luang Prabang to seek out food, shelter, education and employment opportunities by joining the temples and becoming Novice Monks. This program seeks to increase students’ access to education which in turn can positively impact their future employment opportunities, socio-economic status and quality of life.
During your last 2 weeks you will volunteer in the mountain forests of Northern Thailand and spend part of each weekday in the field with elephants relieved from working in tourist camps. Leaving their tragic pasts behind, these gentle giants now live improved and more natural lives in the Chiang Mai Province of Northern Thailand - an area famous for its traditional elephant keeping communities.
In Northern Thailand you will learn about elephant history, behaviour, training, biology, social interactions and more. You will have the incredible opportunity to observe our elephants in their natural habitat. While learning about elephants from the local Karen community, who have worked alongside elephants for centuries, you will witness the improved welfare conditions you are involved in bringing to these incredibly intelligent animals.
I have recently returned from being involved in two fantastic GVI programs – teaching Novice Monks in Laos and the elephant reintroduction program in Chiang Mai. My experiences were incredible! Teaching a ‘sea’ of orange-robed boys and adolescents is a complete change to what I’m used to! It was such a rewarding and amazing experience! The group of volunteers I taught with were a group of wonderful people. We had so much fun together teaching and exploring the beautiful town and surrounding areas of Luang Prabang.
<em>The thing that hit me the most with my time in the Elephant Program was the passionate nature of the interns and staff. It was so easy to become enthusiastic to learn about the ‘gentle giants of the forest’. They really take your breath away! My home-stay family were wonderful! It was such a privilege to be a part of the village culture. My trip was jam-packed with life-long memories! Thank you, thank you GVI!</em>