VOLUNTEER IN THAILAND

Sip a mango smoothie on your bike ride home from photographing tumbling ruins, while you wave at the locals. They love to shout “hello” as you pedal past.

Volunteering in Thailand means night markets crammed full of piles of papayas, prayers in temples adorned with gold Buddhas, and jungly vacations. See for yourself why this place is called the “land of smiles”.

THE EXPERIENCE

A semester in Thailand is a lot of what you’d expect — intricate Buddhist temples dotting the streets and thick jungles with lots of hot and humid weather. Vacations are all about the incredibly picturesque beaches. But during the week? You get to dive deep into the culture that the tourists don’t get to see. You’re living in Central Thailand, high up in the northern part of the country, tucked away in spots that are a flight away from the postcard beaches you’ve seen all over Instagram. Come live in cities small enough that the locals know who you are. Come ride rusted bikes down to the central market for your favorite smoothie place. Truly see how friendly the people are in Thailand. Here’s a glimpse at a typical day as a volunteer …

Glimpse a day in Thailand

Wake up on the campus of the school you teach at. You’ll be living all together with your ILP group right on the school grounds. Group sizes here are anywhere from 6- 15 volunteers, which is so fun. Get to know your students really well too: most of them sleep overnight at the school, so you’re in constant contact with the students who go to school where you teach. 

You wake up in time to brush your teeth, say “hi” to the friendly geckos hanging out in your bathroom, and laugh just a little when your roommates see a few creepy crawlies like beetles and spiders (they are huge here). You can’t have that gorgeous tropical weather without a few bugs!

Time for breakfast. Today, breakfast is all about tiny Thai bananas and fried scones drizzled with sweetened and condensed milk. That sweet stuff is everywhere here. Your ILP semester is all about a local experience, and the food is a huge part of that. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are all provided for you by school cooks —  on a special day, containers full of warm curries: yellow, green, panang, massaman, red, pumpkin, you name it. On other days, tuck into a plate of tuna-fish sandwiches or eggs. Sometimes, you’ll see stir fried veggies full of peas and chicken, and lots and lots and lots of rice. 

For teaching, you put on a pair of sandals just to walk to your classroom, then take them off before entering the school … you’ll be teaching in bare feet here.  Volunteers headed to Thailand should be excited to experience the culture their whole semester long. Thai culture is very respectful and modest, so you’ll need to stay covered up whenever you’re on campus. You will be teaching in dresses and skirts. No worries, because it’s much too hot to teach in something heavier than a skirt or dress anyways.

After teaching, it’s time for lunch with your ILP group. After, you all hop on old rusted bikes to ride down to the central market. It’s smoothie time (for less than a dollar).  You really like this smoothie spot because it’s delicious and it has A/C. It’s hot and humid in Thailand and you won’t find A/C in a lot of places. Take advantage where you can! As you ride on the way back, you do a lot of waving: the locals here are so nice — you don’t really ever run into people who speak English, but that doesn’t stop anyone from waving and saying “hello” anyways. 

After teaching the day is all yours. Volunteers say it’s more free time than they anticipated, which leaves time to check out that nearby wat (or “temple”). Think about shopping at the night market, and getting to know your Thai city in the afternoons. Weekends are long enough for a quick trip to Bangkok or up north to the jungles of Chiang Mai. Vacation days give you even more options: explore countries like Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Bali and more. But don’t forget to plan plenty of time experiencing the islands in Thailand. Some of the highlights of the semester are found in northern Thailand, like the artsy mountain village in Pai, or all the elephant adventures in Chiang Mai. 

HELP CHILDREN IN THAILAND LEARN ENGLISH

In this Exchange Program, you’ll be making a difference by helping children learn English, up to 20 hours per week. No experience is needed, we provide training on our teaching method! The school you are teaching at is very prestigious. It’s home to some of the top scorers in the entire country when it comes to the English exams required by the Thai government. They are high caliber schools, with parents who can afford to send their children to an English program taught by the very best — a native English speaker, like you. English is a top skill coveted by many Thai students, but to have classes taught by a native speaker is the best of the best, and exactly what the parents of your students are after. Teaching here comes with high expectations. 

Volunteering and Costs

$2,520 — Includes your roundtrip airfare to Thailand, visa, housing, meals, language and culture experiences, and training and support throughout the entire experience.

You’ll be teaching young kids which are very (very) cute, but can be a handful. For a few of them, this is the first time they’ve been away from home, let alone in a classroom! Teaching English some days may mean drying a few tears and handling meltdowns, along with some rowdy older kids (you know how kids are). Despite some hard teaching days, the kids are the focus of your semester. They really do make for the hardest goodbyes. Semester after semester, volunteers say that teaching is the hardest but best and most rewarding part of their whole semester. Despite high energy and difficult teaching days, the kids are so easy to love in Thailand, that’s for sure.

Thailand is one of our Exchange Programs which is the most budget friendly option while still giving you all the perks of a classic ILP experience. We’re able to keep your costs so low because your student’s family helps subsidize the program for you by paying a fee to have their child attend ILP classes.

WHERE
Live in central Thailand, in the large city of Phitsanulok or the nearby town of Phichit.

WHEN
—Spring: Depart early to mid January – return end of April
—Summer: Depart end of April/early May – return middle of August
—Fall: Depart end of August – return middle of December, just in time for Christmas

WHO
—6-15 volunteers in a group
—Single females
—18-about 25ish years old
—Volunteers from the U.S.
—No experience needed!

EXPLORING THAILAND

There are plenty of amazing things to do during your semester abroad in Asia. Go island hopping in southern Thailand. Hike to mountain-top villages in Chiang Mai. Spend a weekend wandering temples and watching the sunset on rooftops in Bangkok. Travel all over Thailand for your vacations and also jump on a flight to a nearby country like Cambodia, Vietnam, or even Indonesia.

Here are just a few of our favorite spots to go adventuring in Asia …

Chiang Mai — Take a Thai cooking class or visit an elephant sanctuary  … we love Chiang Mai! After, receive blessings from a monk at the temple in the mountains, or zip line through the Thai forest. Want a few more adventures? Head to the nearby hippie town of Pai for a couple days.

Bangkok — Explore beautiful Buddhist temples in Bangkok, then shop by boat at the floating market. Come get a taste of city life in Thailand’s highest populated city.

Chiang Rai — Visit one of the most popular temples in Thailand, “the White Temple”. After that come pick up souvenirs at the night market and bike through rice fields.

Phi Phi Islands — Take a trip full of ayaking, hiking to beautiful overlooks, snorkeling, and so much more! The Phi Phi Islands are also home to some of the most famous views of Thailand.

Krabi — We love Krabi. Here, come take a boat ride around the rocky coastline then relax on the white sand beaches.

Sukhothai — Ready for an adventure close to home? Hike around and explore ancient Thai ruins that are only a few hours away.

Cambodia — Walk through world wonder ruins in Angkor Wat. Come swim in waterfalls, then take a boat cruise through a floating neighborhood.

Bali — Fly south to visit the beautiful island of Bali (and nearby islands). Hang out with monkeys and jump on the famous swing over the rice fields in Ubud, enjoy the beach and go snorkeling in Lembogan. Come treat yourself to the trip you’ve always dreamed of.