- Spend one week working with gentle Asian elephants at an elephant sanctuary and one week teaching English to local children.
- Responsibly care for elephants living at a true sanctuary. These animals are an important part of Thailand’s culture. They are traditional symbols of royal power, an essential feature of traditional art and regarded as spiritual mentors. Learn how their cultural significance, conservation and place in tourism are all deeply interwoven.
- The goal of the elephant sanctuary is to let the animals lead their lives as naturally and as stress-free as possible. Work with locals who have committed their lives to promoting healthy relationships between humans and elephants. You’ll harvest organic elephant food, feed the animals and help with daily tasks of the sanctuary.
- Discuss complex cultural and ethical issues regarding captive elephant welfare, tourism and conservation. Listen to experts speak on these controversial topics, and determine your own first steps in encouraging a culture that promotes high standards of animal ethics around the world.
- Teach English to enthusiastic primary school students, who have had limited exposure to foreigners, and make a difference in the lives of local youth. Play learning games and come up with ways to help them improve their language skills. Reflect on the similarities and differences in education systems and culture between East and West.
- Hike a trail that leads to a breathtaking waterfall, swim in its pools and visit a natural hot spring which will inspire a lifelong appreciation for nature.
- Go on a full-day bicycle tour around Chiang Rai spotting numerous temples, rice fields, orchards and experience the natural beauty of Northern Thailand.
- Visit colorful night bazaars, shop for artisanal handicrafts and sample Thai cuisine.
- Contribute 30 hours of community service.
- Student/Staff Ratio: 6 to 1.
A typical Elephant Sanctuary and Teaching English Experience:
- Students travel to two different Home Bases on this program – the elephant sanctuary and a boutique resort.
- At the elephant sanctuary, the group stays on premises. Wake up to elephants meandering feet from your window.
- During the rest of the program, students stay at a boutique resort north of Chiang Rai.
- In both Home Bases, students live with roommates and have access to shared bathrooms.