I began my journey with GVI Chiang Mai as a short term intern and got far more out of my stay than you could imagine. After spending two months on an internship I was offered a scholarship and extended my stay to a total of 10 months! This place has truly become a piece of my heart. The people are the kindest and most hard working people I’ve ever met. They welcome strangers into their homes like family and give people a true understanding of Karen culture. I loved to cook with my homestay mum. After spending long a day in the fields she would never mind if I asked her to let me help her cook. Teaching English didn’t come easy to me at first, but the more I got into it, the more I learned to love the people I was teaching and I looked forward to it each week. Even teaching grade one at school was a totally different experience to the UK. They were enthusiastic and enjoyed learning games we played to keep their attention! The project itself offers volunteers the chance to get up close to nature; walking through forests and rice fields on almost a daily basis and what do you see at the end of your journey an elephant or two! Getting a chance to study the behaviour of these fantastic animals truly opened doors for me in the conservation field and I look forward to the day I can return to my second home.