I completed the Marine and Wildlife Conservation program in Phang Nga, Thailand. GVI offers extensive support both prior to and during your program including pre-departure information, airport pick up and information about the local area.
The staff on base are amazing in not only helping us integrate into our program but also understand how our time contributes to the development of the community. They are very knowledgeable of the local culture and anthropological narratives that have shaped the community. They provided us with both Thai language and culture courses, to alleviate the stresses of adapting to a new country and integrating smoothly into the community.
The staff supported us beyond the program. When I fell ill, a staff member helped us organise transport to the hospital as we couldn’t speak Thai. In addition, they helped us plan our short holidays and encouraged us to explore different parts of Thailand when we had days off.
We were even allowed to join in with other programs to get the most out of our experience. Thus even though I was in the conservation program, I joined the teaching and community teams in their orphanage visits and English classes.
The living conditions were modest, which is expected when you are volunteering at a developing country. Living in a village among villagers helped me appreciate the program and its contribution more and learn more about the locals.
Overall I highly recommend GVI and their volunteer programs.