In the heart of Southeast Asia, the Kingdom of Thailand is renowned for its Buddhist tradition, ornate temples, and scrumptious cuisine. Our program is located in Northern Thailand in and around the ancient city of Chiang Mai, known as a “temple town” and considered to be Thailand’s most spectacular wát. There is a pleasant pace to life in this calm and relaxed town and program participants will be immersed in the culture, history, and cuisine of this stunning country.
For hundreds of years, the Karen tribe has cared for elephants in the jungles of Southeast Asia. But many have recently been forced to lease their elephants to trekking camps and elephant tourist shows, having little access to gainful employment. Participants in this program will work with the community to improve education for the Karen tribe and care for the elephants that have been rescued from camps and shows.
Through our educational partner, Bethel University, all rising junior and senior high school students are eligible to participate in the immersive, online dual-enrollment course- Global Service Learning and Citizenship (GST 140). This virtual classroom experience not only provides program participants with an edge during college admissions because of their unique dual-enrollment university experience, it will provide them with a much richer service work experience and increased cultural understanding after they embark on the international service work component of the program.
Hands-on, immersive cultural learning opportunities include interactive visits to the beautiful ancient temples of Chiang Mai, hiking into the forest to see the Hidden Temple, participating in the act of giving alms to monks, waterfall hikes, a visit to an orchid and butterfly farm, cooking lessons, umbrella making class, and an outing to the Hmong Tribe Market.
Our main service work component in Thailand consists of working in teams at our partner organization- an elephant refuge center- and working on a variety of tasks associated with the care of the elephants in their facilities. Other service project opportunities such as teaching and working within the Hmong community are available as well, depending on the interests of the group.
Program participants will exit the program having:
– Demonstrated an understanding of the definition and value of global citizenship
– Developed awareness of one’s own personal reactions to those from different cultures (personal biases, beliefs, attitudes)
– Demonstrated knowledge and understanding of local, national and/or global issues and the interconnectedness and interdependency of different countries and populations
– Developed skills for critical thinking and analysis of global issues
– Developed a sense of belonging to a common humanity, sharing values and responsibilities, based on human rights
– Developed familiarity with various cultures / cultural practices of the host country
– Acted effectively and responsibly at local, national and global levels for a more peaceful and sustainable world