Top 5: Volunteer in Thailand
If you’ve been poring over the CCS website for hours, wondering where your first —or next — CCS volunteer experience should be, I’ve got some advice. I’ve volunteered with CCS in a variety of countries, and I must admit, Thailand stole a piece of my heart!
Here are my top five reasons why you should enroll to volunteer with CCS Thailand this summer:
1. The smiling never stops. Thailand is often referred to as “The Land of Smiles.” Not only will you spend your entire experience surrounded by the warm and welcoming smiles of delightful members of the local community, but the smiling is completely contagious. I kid you not, my cheeks were sore by the end of my experience.
2. Feel like a superstar. Chris Forti, a recently returned volunteer, put it best when he said “If you ever want to feel like an international rockstar, volunteer to teach English at a Thai primary school.” As an English speaking volunteer in Thailand, you’re offering members of the local community a unique opportunity to practice with a native speaker—a skill that can be very helpful when they go on to seek gainful employment in the future. Don’t be surprised if you find your social calendar full of coffee and shopping dates with your new Thai friends, eager to practice their English and welcome you to the community.
3. Be a spiritual seeker. Whether you’re interested in learning about Buddhism, or you’re already practicing, you’d have to sleep through your entire CCS experience to miss out on the many opportunities that you'll have to learn about Buddhism in Thailand. In fact, in Bangkok, Buddhism is not just a religion, it’s a way of life. For me, visiting Bangkok from New York City was incredible. I couldn’t believe that such a bustling city could also have such a peaceful quality about it.
4. Bucket list alert! In Thailand, you can ride an elephant, and have an opportunity to connect with this incredible animal in a way that most of us only dream about. Elephants are actually an integral part of Thai culture and history, and members of older Thai generations harbor great love and respect for these gentle giants.
5. Markets, markets, markets! Flower markets, night markets, and floating markets are just the beginning. In Thailand, markets are just another part of daily life, and at the CCS Home-Base in Bangkok, you're just a short ride from Chatuchak Market—one of the world’s largest markets. Thai markets are a great place to explore local culture while keeping an eye out for inexpensive gifts for parents and fundraising sponsors, as well as a great place to try tasty Thai treats. My challenge to you: visit as many of the 15,000 stalls at the weekend market as you can. You’ll be amazed at what you can find.