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GLA Thailand: Cultural Kaleidoscope (for Teens)

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

The Land of Smiles

Thailand is coined the "The Land of Smiles," and with smiles also came many laughs and tears too. The respect for their culture is one like no other, and the traditions they have in Thailand are upheld by all citizens. They have a devote appreciation for Buddhism and their King and Queen. They dress conseratively, talk kindly, and live a happy and peaceful life.
Growing up on Long Island, NY, I have never been to a country like this. They appreciate everything life has to offer - including animals, especially elephants. Elephants were one of the key points that drew me to the program. I had the opportunity to bathe an elephant, and also ride one. I will never forget the tears that came with this special moment, because I had never seen an elephant in my life; yet they were my favorite animal. Aside from working with elephants, we also taught English and worked at an orphange. I had never imagined teaching first grade English in a foreign country in my life, yet, I had the opporunity to do so for a week. We were able to create special bonds with the children there, and leave making an impact on their English speaking and writing abilities. At the orphange, we painted the housing buildings a new color to make the center look nicer. I did not think though, that I would leave creating a bond with a child that would lead me to still pen-pal him to this day. While I was at the orphange, a little boy came up to me and immediately attached to me when we got there. Wherever I went, he went; wherever I painted, he painted also. It was like he was my little brother, but I knew he viewed me as a father-like figure since he had no parents. We played all the games together, ate the same food together - literally everything I did, he did as well; and I will never forget the moments we shared. Luckily, my friend had a polaroid camera with her, and on the second to last day we were there, we took two pictures and I wrote my name on his picture, and he wrote his name on my picture. When we were leaving on the last day, as the van pulled out of the driveway, he held up his picture of me at the gate. I bawled my eyes out for the next few hours. I still remember that moment so clearly, and I'll never forget it. To know I made an impact on his life, has forever impacted me. Besides doing community service, we also had the opporunity to go ziplining through the rain forest, kayaking, and take trips to local night bazaars. These were just some of the fun activities we did. Global Leadership Adventures, and the Cultural Kalediscope program in Thailand has forever changed my life, and my outlook on life. I'll never forget the three weeks I had spent creating bonds with children there, and creating new friends across the world.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Thailand Cultural Kaleidoscope

I decided that instead of having a Sweet Sixteen, I wanted to volunteer in Thailand. It was probably one of the best decisions of my life. In Thailand I learned so much about their culture. I learned about the different foods that they ate, their religion and how they prayed, and their history. I learned so much about the country and the Buddhist religion. We had 2 service sites while I was there, which was an orphanage and a home for women. We played with the children at the orphanage and helped prepare the home for the rainy season. Both were rewarding experiences that I will never forget. The element of adventure was definitely prevalent as well. We went zip lining, biking, kayaking, hiking, and we rode elephants. I loved the program and I would recommend this to anyone who is considering it. It's worth every penny and I am more than thankful to have gone on this trip with Global Leadership Adventures.