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Testimonial from

Hi! I’m Ryan Kennedy, and I spent ten weeks volunteering in GVI Elephant Project in Huay Pakoot, Chiang Mai. I was currently studying at university and off for the summer, so I decided very early on that I wanted to do some volunteering abroad and experience the culture. I was conceivably nervous as it was my first time travelling solo. I went ahead after some research and found GVI when I decided to book. On arrival, all my nerves were quelled as soon as I met up with staff member Myles and two other volunteers. Immediately I felt welcomed and excited to arrive at the village. On arrival at the village and after getting settled in time passed so quickly and every day was so enjoyable. It was such a pleasant experience ethically seeing the elephants and getting to interact with the volunteers/staff and the local villagers. The village itself was hard to describe. I believe all the volunteers agreed we would miss it dearly. The elephant hikes where the reason I came, and they did not disappoint. I felt I learned so much more with the data collection and local biodiversity hikes. After many weeks it was nearing my time to return home. After spending so much time there it began to feel like a second home, and I began to get very comfortable there. Had it not been for University starting again I would’ve extended my stay without a doubt. Overall the most fantastic experience I’ve ever had, and I can’t thank GVI enough for the great staff and friends for life that I’ve made. On returning home, my entire mindset had changed. I am more aware of how I can promote change at a local level and continue work in conservation. I still feel very connected to the village. Through my final year project at university, I am creating a data entry program to aid in the data collection carried out by the volunteers and staff. Undeniably looking forward to returning in June as a six-month intern, see you then Huay Pakoot.

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