Cultural Exploration & Community Service
Throughout our journey we will have meaningful opportunities for enriching cultural exploration and community service. In order to fully appreciate these opportunities, each teenager should come in with a curious and open mind. Each person will participate in all of the following activities.
Upon completion of the program, each participant will receive a certificate recognizing 20 hours of community service.
Take part in an enlightening Monk Chat. This cultural exchange was designed with two things in mind: to help people better understand Buddhism and the way of life followed by Thai monks, and to help young novice monks improve their English skills by chatting with foreign students and learning about their backgrounds.
We’ll spend a fun evening at a traditional Khantoke Dinner Theatre. Served on large wooden platters, Khantoke is the customary northern Thai style of eating food. We’ll enjoy authentic local dishes while being entertained by traditional dance and music performances.
The mountains surrounding Chiang Mai have long been dotted with Hill Tribe Villages of Thailand’s many ethnic minorities. We’ll visit one of the tribes and learn about the village’s unique customs and heritage. Take some time to converse with the villagers, food vendors, and skilled artists to get a better understanding of their unique culture.
We’ll take a trip to the local market to learn about local fruits and vegetables and pick up the tasty ingredients for our Thai Cooking Class. The choice is yours as our instructors teach us to make Pad Thai, curry, stir fry, and more.
Let the stress slip away while you experience a traditional Thai Massage. Also known as yoga massage, your therapists will use their hands, knees, legs, and feet to move you into a series of yoga-like stretches. Some say that Thai massage is like doing yoga without any of the work!
Spend Quality Time with Thai Children
Our teenagers will have the amazing opportunity to volunteer with local non-profits that help children living under challenging circumstances throughout Thailand. We will spend time with the children at a pre-school for underprivileged children in Bangkok, playing with our new friends and helping them read in English. While in Chiang Mai, our teenagers will have the opportunity to volunteer at a children’s group home. Some of the children at the home are orphans while others come from at-risk ethnic minority villages; others are refugees of the turmoil in neighboring Myanmar. We will spend quality time with the children, playing games with them and sponsoring a lunch for everyone at the home. We will also participate in an enriching school exchange with a local high school, sharing ideas with local students and learning what life is like for teenagers in Northern Thailand.
Volunteer at an Elephant Camp
We will head to the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary for a memorable day of volunteer work and the opportunity to gain a broader understanding of these remarkable animals. Located beside a Karen (the local hill tribe) village in a densely forested mountainous region, the Sanctuary is a sustainable and ethical eco-tourism project that promotes the proper and humane treatment of elephants. The resident elephants have all been victims of abuse and mistreatment, all of whom can now live full and free lives in their new home.
When we arrive at the Sanctuary, our English-speaking guide will first teach us a bit about the elephants and the way of local village life. Next we will get changed into traditional Karen clothing, grab some bananas and sugar cane for feeding, and get ready to meet the elephants! Interact with each of the friendly and gentle animals, learn about elephant behavior, and discover the unique and interesting history of each elephant as we play with them and feed them their delicious snacks.
Next we get the elephants their daily exercise by walking along jungle paths to a nearby river where we join them for a bath in the refreshing water! You will have the opportunity to bathe and brush the elephants while they enjoy wading through the river. Next up is a therapeutic mud spa! Feel free to get dirty as you cover the elephants in a protective layer of mud and have a blast playing with them as they joyfully frolic in their “spa”.
When it is time to say goodbye to our new friends, we will leave with a better understanding as to why the Sanctuary is so important for the long-term health of these majestic animals, and how the Sanctuary’s profits also support jungle reforestation, tree and land purchases, local job creation, and educational scholarships.
- Service Details
- In order to fully appreciate these opportunities, each teenager should come in with a curious and open mind. Each person will participate in all of the activities.
- Upon completion of the program, each participant will receive a certificate recognizing 20 hours of community service.
- The goal of community service is not only to give back to the community but for our participants to also learn and grow through their experiences.