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Elsa Thomasma

Elsa Thomasma GoAbroad Content Manager Asia Office

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” -Mother Teresa

Elsa received her Bachelors degree in Psychology and Sociology from Grand Valley State University in Michigan. In 2009, she embarked on her first volunteer trip to the Philippines, and after returning multiple times she began her own community project in a village called Cangumbang. Elsa presently works as Content Manager and Editor at GoAbroad's Asia Office.

Author Articles

7 Benefits of Living with a Local Host Family created on 2013-10-30

Living with a home stay offers students, volunteers, interns, and teachers alike the opportunity to experience a plethora of benefits while traveling to a foreign place. Not every program offers this engaging opportunity, but those that do may be best prioritized for individuals who are looking for a well-rounded cultural experience. Spending day to day life with a local host family gives...

Must Have Travel Items for Travel Around the World created on 2013-09-30

Traveling around the world in any regard requires quite a lot of preparations, accommodation reservations, tickets, budgeting, currency conversion, and the list goes on. For many, the hardest part is packing for a trip, what to bring and what to leave at home, which varies so greatly depending on where you are going and what you are doing. But what to bring for use in transit never changes,...

Exceptional Volunteering in the Philippines created on 2013-07-17

Volunteer work in the Philippines not only gives volunteers the chance to explore the world and experience a new culture, it gives individuals the opportunity to expand their world perspective and gain an understanding of poverty that may not be conceivable without firsthand experience.

12 Reasons to Volunteer Abroad in High School created on 2013-09-17

The teenage years can be some of the greatest years of growth and development for humans as a whole. With these years come many struggles, challenges, and changes, posing many situations where the ability to adapt, overcome limitations, and pursue strengths is needed. By volunteering abroad during high school, students can gain priceless abilities that go beyond any classroom education at...

People To Avoid On Your Study Abroad Trip created on 2013-08-16

So you are about to study abroad and you want to get the most out of your experience!  Some of the larger study abroad programs attract a cross-section of U.S. students. Some of these classmates will become your lifelong friends, others you may find yourself avoiding.  The latter may not simply be annoying they may have the ability to ruin your day or your study abroad experience.  Here are a...

Top Seven Things to Do in Bangkok created on 2013-08-16

Interning in Bangkok not only opens doors for individuals interested in fields ranging from culinary arts to social work. The city effectively encompasses nearly every component of Thai culture, the cuisine, architecture, religion, and traditions. There are vast amounts of things to do throughout the city, but in order to gain a well-rounded understanding of Thai people and the city itself,...

Seven Foods to Try in Chiang Mai created on 2014-04-11

Of course, Thai food is amazing, and of course, it is very spicy. But when you are a newcomer in Thailand it is sometimes overwhelming reading a menu of so many mouth-watering dishes. Not to mention all the Pads and Khaos, that are sure to confuse any non-Thai speaker. Check out this list of Chiang Mai’s top dishes to narrow down your choices, when your growling stomach is overpowering your...

People to Avoid When Volunteering Abroad created on 2013-08-27

Anyone who has volunteered abroad has come across some interesting characters who they may prefer they had never met. Unfortunately, not every individual volunteering internationally is able to adjust to life in a new country. These are the top ten people to avoid when participating in a volunteer program; they may simply annoy you or possibly embarrass you, but either way if they could be a...

How to Accept the Challenges of Volunteering in Developing Nations created on 2013-09-05

International volunteer opportunities are typically located in developing nations. These locations tend to have the greatest social welfare and development needs, because they lack a local infrastructure or the government may not have the resources to support particular high need projects. Volunteers, therefore, have numerous opportunities for meaningful work in developing countries.

Volunteering: A Life Changing Experience created on 2013-09-17

The benefits of volunteering abroad are sometimes indescribable and undefinable. Volunteering shapes a person’s heart, mind, and soul completely, the chance to share the resources of one’s voice and own two hands. An incomparable opportunity to fully release one’s hold on everything familiar. By simply opening your eyes and heart to the culture of a new place, you can have an entirely...

Top Five Volunteer Abroad Destinations created on 2013-09-17

The first, and ultimately most essential, step to volunteering abroad is deciding what you want to do and where you want to go. Opportunities to volunteer are present in every country in the world, with projects ranging from healthcare and childcare to environmental conservation and development. Making this first decision can make or break your experience of volunteering, so choose wisely,...

Top Seven Cities for International Student Travel in the United States created on 2013-09-17

Some students may be overwhelmed when traveling to a country as enormous as the United States, with some states measuring twice the size of many countries in Europe or Latin America. However, students should never miss out on the chance to visit some of America’s most unique cities. They may be spread across the country, but to visit each one is to get a taste of every side of American...

An Intro to Filipino Education created on 2014-04-23

A nation of islands settled in the South Pacific, the Philippines awaits teachers interested in working in a relaxed setting amidst a friendly, inquisitive culture. From sprawling rice terraces to crystal clear waters, and untouched remote villages to bustling cities, the Philippines can satisfy any teachers desire to experience a new way of life.

Top 9 Things to Bring When Volunteering in a Disaster Zone created on 2013-12-25

Natural disasters bring about numerous challenges; volunteers entering the affected area must be prepared to overcome those challenges alongside the locals. However, volunteers have the valuable opportunity to prepare before they arrive, unlike victims unwillingly exposed to the initial event. Volunteers have the ability to make an incredible difference in the wake of a calamity, but the first...

15 Ways to Maintain Modesty Abroad created on 2014-02-04

When you step outside the borders of your country, you must keep one word in mind at all times. Modesty. Clothing, spending, physical closeness, money, conversation. Every part of your being must remember that you are not in your homeland, not necessarily surrounded by people who have been educated, socialized, or experienced the same things as you. It is one of the easiest ways to avoid...

Six Reasons You’ll Regret NOT Studying Abroad created on 2014-03-16

Looking back on university days, many adults wrapped up in their careers and families regret not taking the chance when they had it. Studying abroad can be a once in a lifetime opportunity, and to not look into the possibility is to turn down a priceless experience. Expand your experiences and your perspective on the world. Don’t look back years from now with festering regret.

Experience English Charm created on 2014-03-24

Of all the nation’s in the United Kingdom, England tends to have the most recognition as a travel destination and seems to be frequented by business professionals possibly even more. Multiple English cities are world-renown for their exquisite history, and many others for their superb academic institutions. The British nation provides numerous prestigious internship opportunities amidst a...

Top Things to Do in Chiang Mai created on 2014-04-07

While Bangkok and Phuket are clearly the most frequented cities in Thailand, the north has much to offer tourists and long time visitors all the same. Chiang Mai provides visitors with a laid back, small town atmosphere, a bubbling and humorous nightlife, culturally-enriched chains of markets, and breathtaking countrysides, all under the blanket of Thailand’s ancient history. There is much to...