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Volunteer with Elephants in Thailand
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Volunteer with Elephants in Thailand

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Da Blue!

It has been an awesome experience, so sad that I was only there for a week. But it was well worth it. There has been some communication barrier, not only as the local speak the Pakinyaw, but as myself being Deaf as well.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

It's been an amazing experience overall

Learning about the village itself, the culture, the people; teaching the beautiful children, and walking with the magnificent Elephants were the highlights of my trip. I've made some great friends here too, the staff included, it's been an amazing experience overall, and the staff are actively trying to improve base and the program itself, and are doing an amazing job.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Huay Pakoot Stole My Heart...

Completing an internship on the Elephant Reintroduction programme is one of my proudest achievements to date. It was a complete honour to have had the chance to experience the real authentic Thai culture, whilst living with my host family and being immersed into the community.
It was always a pleasure to hike and see the elephants every day, and completely mesmerizing to see these beautiful animals in their natural habitat.
There was always plenty of activities to get involved in on a daily basis, and I learnt more than I anticipated. The friends I made from around the world, during my time on project, I shall remember for the rest of my life. The elephants, mahouts (elephant keepers), villagers, staff and volunteers made my experience unforgettable and I am so thankful to have participated in the project.

  • GVI responded to this review January 05, 2017 at 12:59 AM

    Hi Victoria,

    Thank you for your kind words about your time in Huay Pakoot, we always love hearing stories from our Alumni!

    Do you know that we run an Ambassador program which allows you to stay connected with GVI from home, and earn points towards a future program? If you'd like to find out more, you can email me and I'll be able to give you more details!

    All the best,

    Jon, Alumni Engagement Manager

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

The elephants!!!

Volunteering with GVI was one of the best part of my life. I was in Thailand working with the elephants and they are adorable despite their big size.

The best thing that happened was being immersed into another culture while also meeting people from other parts of the world. Also getting to know the mahouts and their elephants.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Amazing

Meeting all the amazing people on project and in the village and obviously meeting the beautiful elephants in their natural environment was a wonderful experience.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

It removed me from the familiar (comfort zone)

Being witness to elephants being reunited with other family members & how significant that appeared to be. Living so simply with the Karen people in their village (them sharing their space with us). Being able to spend time observing elephants in their natural environment.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Good experiences and opportunity

The community involvement when not taking behavioural research data of the elephants - it was nice to have that as a break and be able to really indulge in such a different culture. Good experiences and opportunity to get out and see the world whilst making a positive impact and having fun.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    9

The staff exceeded all expectations!

The staff exceeded all expectations! They were real scientists! We loved that! In addition to being knowledgeable of all aspects of the project and region, they are wonder people: kind, patient and encouraging. I would be honored to have any of the members of the staff stay as a guest in my home.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Spending time with the elephants

My most positive experience during my stay in the program of GVI in Thailand was spending time with the elephants in the conservation and of course becoming so connected to the community where we were posted.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Really felt like we are making a positive difference to elephant conservation

Loved the location and the programme was everything I wanted it to be. Really felt like we are making a positive difference to elephant conservation. Very well organised and GVI seem to want to benefit the local area rather than just a simple animal watching exercise.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Unbelievable experience

My most positive experiences were the new friends I became close with, which were mainly the mahouts, as well as the unbelievable experience of living in such an opposite way than I do in the western world. Other positives include the educational presentations and the in-field experience.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

It was everything very different than at home

It was everything very different than at home. This was a challenge to me and broadened my horizons.
But I felt too old - there were very young people. But it was really good to find out how they think, see the world and socialize. I know better understand my own daughter.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

I loved everything

Loved the project, tried to extend my stay but couldn't fund it this year. Now interested in Costa Rica and Africa animal programmes in the future. I loved everything. The involvement in the community and elephants.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Combining travel and volunteer work is a great experience which I am bound to repeat soon

My most positive experience during the program was staying in a homestay with the local community, the hikes in nature, and working with interesting people from different backgrounds. Combining travel and volunteer work is a great experience which I am bound to repeat soon

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

It was a wonderful week

It was wonderful week and I was grateful for the opportunity to be able attend a GVI project just for a short period of time (many other organisations wont allow you to simply spend a week on project). The timing (i.e. over the christmas holidays) was convenient in terms of obtaining leave from work. I had a particular good group of people on project which made it even better... and the elephants were awesome.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

I loved the elephants!

I loved the elephants! My home-stay family were so welcoming, hospitable and helpful. The villagers were also very friendly and welcoming. Lyndsay the base manager was fabulous. Her passion and enthusiasm for the project and the elephants was infectious. Kylie one of the support staff on base was so nice. Kylie's extensive knowledge and willingness to share that knowledge was a real plus. Both Lyndsay and Kylie always made sure safety came first without being overbearing and restrictive which made the treks and activities informative, interesting and enjoyable. Both are great leaders. Patti Sai-ee is a true gentleman.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Working with the elephants was amazing

Working with the elephants was amazing, I think the best part of the program was being able to have a well-rounded experience of the culture, village and country. The organisation is very supportive not only on the program but also with travelling.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

I fell in love with the project and the village

Being able to get up close for elephant bathing and health checks was absolutely amazing. I loved working with and simply having fun with the community as well. I fell in love with the project and the village. I want to do this kind of work for a living so after college I hope to work for the project for at least one year.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

I've never enjoyed anything as much as my time with GVI

I expected the Elephants to be the main highlight of the time I spent in Thailand but spending time in the village with both the locals and the GVI staff and volunteers was just as positive an experience.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    9

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

I had a wonderful time!

I loved working with the locals as well as doing the job that I traveled to the project to do. I had a wonderful time! Great staff, good project, lots to do. As a suggestion I would like to see the project make some more concrete, tangible advances if at all possible.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

I was very happy with the whole GVI experience

I absolutely loved the whole volunteer experience and I can't put into words the experience of seeing the elephants for the first time. I also have to commend the staff there, what wonderful people, so caring and so driven by what they do, they looked after the volunteers and have a wonderful way with the villagers of Huay Pakoot, it was an absolute pleasure to work alongside these dedicated people.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

I absolutely loved the GVI program

My most positive experiences were having fun hanging out with fellow volunteers, gaining knowledge about the culture & elephants, and interacting with my host family. I enjoyed feeding the elephants and health checks. I also loved watching their social behavior. I enjoyed the beautiful scenery and tranquility of Huay Pakoot.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

I enjoyed the project so much I would like to see what other projects have to offer

My most positive experience is feeding a calf and it's mother (Boon Jan and Song Kran) at the same time during one of the health checks. Most enjoyable about the GVI experience is the community - both Karen and volunteer/staff. The town is amazing and the people you meet are what make your experiences that much more enjoyable.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Everything is awesome

This was my first trip working with animals and I am so glad I went! Watching elephants and knowing that what we were doing was helping to keep the elephants AND villagers safe was such an amazing feeling. Ravi Corea helped set up a weekend trip to work at the elephant bath house, and being able to touch and directly work with the rescued elephants was an experience unlike any other. Like all my GVI trips, the staff was awesome and the fellow volunteers will be friends for life.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Living in the village of Huay Pakoot

Living in the village of Huay Pakoot was the most positive experience for me. GVI had good organization during our stay. It was nice to meet new people from around the world and to make a change at the same time.

Institution Affiliates:

World Youth Student & Educational Travel Confederation