Touching Down in Thailand
Anyone who has traveled to Thailand will tell you that there are countless ways to spend your days there, whether it is culture or adventure that you crave! In a country that is known for its beaches, night marketplaces, and lush rainforests, it can be difficult to pick only a few activities, and the itineraries of visitors to this corner of the world fill up quickly. Fortunately, the students that are currently in Chiang Mai, Thailand with GLA’s “Cultural Kaleidoscope” Service Learning Program have plenty of time to soak in all of the life that this colorful nation has to offer, and they haven’t wasted a second of it!
In the 9 days since they have arrived in Thailand, this group of adventurous teenager volunteers have already learned to cook traditional Thai cuisine, visited an elephant conservation camp, trained with champion Muay Thai boxers, bartered at street markets, and visited the peak of the tallest mountain in Thailand! They’ve also made a tremendous impact on several non-profit organizations in Chiang Mai through their volunteer work, including a home for single mothers and an orphanage for those affected and infected with HIV.
Our GLA students also had the opportunity to soar through a rainforest canopy when the group added zip lining to their quickly growing list of adventures. Using technologies that originated in Asia when Chinese farmers used zip lines to cross rivers in lieu of building bridges, these thrill-seekers had the chance to see a whole new Thailand- one from hundreds of feet in the air!
“Today we woke up later than usual- a chance to sleep in and catch up on our rest! We headed down to the zip line course and set off for the mountain. We split into groups, but as Leaders of the Day we decided to play a trick on our fellow peers by dividing them again from the group they split themselves into. The point of this was to encourage the students to work in new groups. We all got our harnesses on, and we rode in vans to the starting point. The first group started and we each took turns flying down the lines. Some were short, and others were very long. The longest line was around 800 meters! One of the coolest lines was called the “Superman” because the instructor attached you from behind and you had to jump off the platform and soar like Superman! It was so much fun, and the views of Thailand’s rainforest were beautiful. Everyone was famished by the time we finished, so we sat down and stuffed our faces with food! There was a Thai band playing in the background, and the overall effect was quite soothing. After picking up some delicious Thai ice cream, we rallied and went on a hike through the mountains! It was a tough climb, but the view at the top was really pretty. Once we finished the hike, it was time to go back to our Home Base for some dinner. This was the best dinner we’ve had- Pad Thai, some strange shrimp doughnut things and apple pie! Afterwards, we played some games and got to listen to some Peace Corps guest speakers, who were all extremely charismatic. Overall, this day was a great day for bonding, and it was packed full of adventure- definitely one of the highlights of the program!”
-GLA Student, “Cultural Kaleidoscope” Program
While these students are experiencing day after day of life-changing adventures, it is clear that they are not only making an impact on people native to Thailand through their service projects. They are also experiencing great personal growth, learning about themselves and others, and making friendships that will last a lifetime in the process!
To learn more about Thailand, or to explore opportunities to travel there yourself, schedule an appointment with an enrollment advisor today.