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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...

Announcing GoAbroad's Top Rated Organizations & Programs of 2015 Published 04 Feb 2016

Ever looked up a hotel on TripAdvisor to see if it’s legit? Considered NOT going to a restaurant because it’s online reviews were anything but impressive? Do you always look up movies on IMDB before ever stepping foot inside a theater? Why wouldn’t yo...

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, so it is time to lay it all out on the table and simpl...

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...

Where to Study Abroad as an LGBT Student? 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...

An 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...

Top Regrets of International Volunteers Published 29 May 2015

We hear it over and over again in interviews, reviews, and testimonials from alumni volunteers; they all wish they had known the same things, wish they had done things in a different way, or had planned for their eyes to be opened and their hearts to g...

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...

Seven Foods to Try in Chiang Mai Published 11 Apr 2014

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 ...

Top Things to Do in Chiang Mai Published 07 Apr 2014

While Bangkok and Phuket are clearly the most frequented cities for study abroad in Thailand, the north has much to offer tourists, students, and long term visitors all the same. Chiang Mai provides students with a laid back, small town atmosphere, a b...

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...

15 Ways to Maintain Modesty Abroad Published 04 Feb 2014

When you step outside the borders of your country to study abroad, 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 homela...

Top 9 Things to Bring When Volunteering in a Disaster Zone Published 25 Dec 2013

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...

Must Have Travel Items for Travel Around the World Published 30 Sep 2013

Traveling around the world in any regard requires quite a lot of preparations, accommodation reservations, tickets, budgeting, currency conversion, and the list goes on. When you are studying abroad, your travel plans will expand even further to includ...

12 Reasons to Volunteer Abroad in High School 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...

Volunteering: A Life Changing Experience Published 17 Sep 2013

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 r...

Top Five Volunteer Abroad Destinations Published 17 Sep 2013

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...

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 When Volunteering Abroad Published 27 Aug 2013

Anyone who has volunteered abroad has come across some interesting characters who they may prefer they had never met. Unfortunately, not everyone who chooses to volunteer internationally is able to adjust to life in a new country. These are the top ten...

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...

Top Seven Things to Do in Bangkok Published 16 Aug 2013

Interning in Bangkok 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 vas...