Volunteer in Thailand with Friends for Asia

Getting Experience Before Volunteering in Thailand

Here are some Good Ideas of ways to get experience in the area of your Thailand volunteer project, before you leave home. Much of this is from my own personal experience, along with some other tips that may be helpful.

This piece of advice comes from my own personal experience of getting ready to volunteer as a Peace Corps Volunteer in my first placement in Kyrgyzstan, and then Thailand. Before leaving a Peace Corps headquarters staff recommended that I volunteer, or observe at a school before I leave (as I would be volunteering in a teaching position as a volunteer). Oddly, this was an awkward thing to do and approach. I was ready to pack my bags and go half way across the world to volunteer at a school. But, I didn’t feel confident in connecting with a school in my own community to help out, or just observe. I found my courage, and contacted a school in the town of where I went to college. I explained to them my interest, and they were delighted to have me come and observe some classes.

I was only a college student, and I didn’t know what to expect, but found it very easy to connect with the teachers, and really take in the school environment. The school I was to observe at was a school in the inner-city of Dayton, Ohio. My nerves were settled when in my first hour at the school, I was observing a kindergarten class and one of girls in the class ran up to me, hugged me and said “I love you”. I mentioned this to the teacher after his class, and he said that she does that to everyone.

I only visited and observed in this school a few times. However, I found that this experience allowed me to feel more comfortable in a school and teaching atmosphere, and even provided me with some great techniques in approaching how to teach students of various ages and abilities. Some of these techniques I ended up using in my daily teaching routines for over 10 years. I never went back to that school after my Peace Corps Volunteer service, and I do regret it.

Getting Experience to Volunteer with Elephants

It can understandably be difficult to try to gain experience in some of the project areas that we offer, before leaving home. There aren’t many elephant camps to visit in most of the US, Canada, Europe, or Australia, which is where most of our volunteers are from. This may sound silly, but if one is going to be volunteering at an elephant camp, I would highly recommend trying to observe, or do some part time work at a stable for horses, or other large animals. Seeing and learning some of the “ins and outs” of interacting with large animals, and seeing how large animals are treated at home can really help how volunteers approach their project in working with elephants in Thailand.

Getting Experience to Volunteer with Children

Without the proper checks it can be difficult to spend time in orphanages at home. But not impossible. Some orphanages and children’s homes in your community may provide more of an open door policy towards visitors coming to observe, than one might realize. Alternately, if one is coming to volunteer in an orphanage or children’s home project in Thailand, they can also spend a week or two helping out at a day care or after school program at home. Here they can see children of varying ages, and how they are interacted with by staff, and with each other.

Getting Experience to Volunteer with Women in Need

Most large cities have organizations that assist women in difficult situations. Spending time with one of these organizations can really help provide a well-rounded picture of the issues of working with women in difficult predicaments, and will allow volunteers to more personally connect with the people they are coming to Thailand to work with.