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Elsa Thomasma

Elsa Thomasma SEM Director, GoAbroad.com

“With realization of one’s own potential and self-confidence in one’s ability, one can build a better world.” - Dalai Lama XIV

After growing up in a small town in Southern Michigan, Elsa earned her bachelors degree in Psychology and Sociology from Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In 2009, she embarked on her first international volunteer trip to the Philippines. After returning multiple times, she began her own community project in a rural village called Cangumbang. Elsa presently works at GoAbroad's Asia Office, where she focused on co-managing the Content Team and leading SEO related initiatives, while also serving as Director of GoAbroad's charitable wing, the GoAbroad Foundation.

Articles By Elsa Thomasma

7 Benefits of Homestay Programs Published 02 May 2017

Why do homestaying?If the opportunity to eat delicious, authentic, home cooked (and might add plentiful) foods or the chance to make remarkable relationships with incredible locals wasn't enough, living with host families while volunteering abroad is b...

GoAbroad's Top Picks for Malia Obama's Gap Year Published 12 May 2016

Gap year has become a buzzword over the past few weeks, with the announcement from the White House that Malia Obama will be postponing her studies at Harvard next fall so she can “take a gap year”. Though they have yet to divulge what Malia has planned...

Raising Awareness About the Needs of Transgender Students Published 20 Nov 2015

Female or male. Boy or girl. When our mothers were pregnant everyone wanted to know the sex of the baby. When we went to school, girls wore skirts and boys wore pants. As we got older, girls were expected to like the color pink and dolls, while boys we...

How to Study Abroad as an LGBT Student Published 16 Sep 2015

Study abroad can be quite an intimidating idea to approach, but an entirely worthwhile challenge to take on no doubt. For LGBT students, study abroad comes with a host of additional considerations. We're here to lay it all out on the table and hopefull...

Create Sustainable Change Through Literacy Volunteer Programs Published 08 Sep 2015

Since 1965, September 8th has been celebrated around the world as International Literacy Day. To commemorate the event, organizations, schools, community groups, and individuals put together fundraising events, reading marathons, and various activities...

12 Best Countries for LGBTIQ+ Study Abroad Published 27 Aug 2015

Choosing your destination for study abroad may just be one of the hardest and most important parts of the process. For LGBT students contemplating study abroad, choosing a location can present slightly different concerns, and prove to be even more infl...

FREE Ebook! LGBT Student Guide to Study Abroad Published 24 Jul 2015

Studying abroad can be a defining moment in any student’s educational journey, one filled with opportunities for growth, numerous realizations, and many more meaningful experiences. For LGBT students, studying abroad can be not only an incredible power...

A Guide to Working Abroad in England Published 12 Dec 2014

Working abroad in England provides individuals with a plethora of resources and opportunities at their fingertips, whether it is traveling throughout Europe on the weekends or working for one of the top companies in the world. Experiencing British cul...

A Guide to Teaching Abroad in the Philippines Published 23 Apr 2014

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...

Six Reasons You’ll Regret NOT Studying Abroad Published 16 Mar 2014

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 pricele...

12 Reasons to Do High School Volunteer Work Abroad Published 17 Sep 2013

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 stre...

Will Volunteering Abroad Change Your Life? Published 04 Dec 2017

The benefits of volunteering abroad are sometimes indescribable and undefinable. Volunteering shapes a person’s heart, mind, and soul completely. Being given the chance to share your own resources—even simply your own voice and two hands, let alone oth...

How to Accept the Challenges of Volunteering in Developing Nations Published 05 Sep 2013

International volunteer opportunities are very frequently located in developing nations, as 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 reso...

People To Avoid On Your Study Abroad Trip Published 04 Jul 2017

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 yo...