GVI’s Thailand Conservation project is located in Phang Nga Province, two hours North of Phuket, with the Andaman Sea to the West and Phang Nga Bay to the south. The province is blessed with an abundance of natural resources, numerous national parks, and beautiful scenery, and is known for its white sandy beaches, tropical islands, majestic limestone rock formations, and the warm hospitality of Thai locals. The program will focus on gaining a better understanding of the local ecosystem in Phang Nga, and preserving its biodiversity. Other elements that may be examined are water security, climate energy, and access to clean energy.
These projects range in content suitable for students studying academic disciplines such as:
- Biological & Environmental Sciences
- Marine Biology.
Example project activities include:
- Identification of mangrove ecosystem’s flora and fauna
- Marine conservation surveys and identification skills (e.g. coral and fish species surveys);
- Investigation of turtle husbandry, data collection, and ocean release.
The responsibilities and trust that the staff gave me really infused a sense of achievement. As a result of me writing this years on, I have even seen some of the work on the Similan islands come to fruition and closed off to tourists, which will allow time for the coral reefs to heal and rejuvenate. As an environmentalist, that feeling cannot be replaced by anything; it gives you the sense of engagement with the wider picture. With the confidence I gained, I am studying Environmental Science At Oxford Brookes university in hope that one day I can return once more with GVI in a more professional capacity.
What's Not Included
This inter-disciplinary program introduces students to international service-learning and sustainable development in content and practice. Through lectures, discussion, research, service, and reflection (beginning two weeks prior to their departure and continuing two weeks after their return home), students in this program engage in meaningful, context-driven service-learning at home and abroad. Emphasis will be placed on relating long-term project goals with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and engaging in daily reflection surrounding the experience, which will be led by qualified group facilitators who are trained to enhance individual student development. The program curriculum will be tailored to your students’ academic needs as well as any faculty requirements.
A GVI service-learning program provides students with the opportunity to live and work within the “classroom” of their chosen field of study, and to develop professional capacities associated with intercultural competency, global citizenship, teamwork, problem-solving, and leadership. By participating in this program, students will be prepared to contribute to solutions for critical global issues related to sustainable development within a local community, and alongside an international team.
- 24-hour emergency phone
- 24-hour in-country support
- A dedicated course co-ordinator
- Access to Alumni Services and Discounts
- Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
- All necessary project equipment and materials
- All necessary project training by experienced staff
- Flight bookings service on request
- In-country transport costs
- Insurance on request
- Location orientation
- Long term experienced staff
- Meals while on project (except on work placements for long term internships)
- Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
- Welcome meeting
What's Not Included
- Additional drinks and gratuities
- Extra local excursions
- International and domestic airport taxes
- Medical and travel insurance
- Personal kit
- Police or background check (where necessary)
- Visa costs
The objectives for each GVI project are based on specific United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. In Phang Nga, students will largely contribute to pre-established environmental monitoring and research initiatives by collecting and reporting critical data. Emphasis will also be placed on increasing awareness surrounding pertinent conservation issues and knowledge of the local environment.
Phang Nga's short, mid, and long-term objectives
All of our programs have short, mid and long-term objectives that fit with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. This enables us to report on our collaborative impact across the world in a streamlined manner, measuring which UN SDGs we are making a substantial contribution to. Furthermore, this will help our local partners and communities measure and visualize their contribution to the UN SDGs.
Upon arrival to base, you will be educated about the history of the UN SDGs. You will learn about the specific goals of your location, the long-, mid- and short-term objectives, and also clarification of how your personal, shorter-term involvement contributes to these goals on a global level.
Our aim is to educate you on local and global issues, so that you continue to act as active global citizens after your program, helping to fulfil our mission of building a global network of people united by their passion to make a difference.
Learn about the long-term objectives you will be contributing to in Phang Nga:
1. To provide equal, quality education to children of all backgrounds.
2. To Promote Good Health and Wellbeing through education to all children
3. Increase skills for local people to assist with equal employment opportunities in our communities within Takuapa and Ban Nham Khem
4. Increase awareness of local populations to environmental issues and facilitate change towards sustainability through scientific studies.
5. Increase our in-country capacity by providing environmental and conservation education and training
6. To assist and develop local coastal conservation efforts through providing practical support to project partners, data collection, awareness raising and habitat restoration
This program varies in duration, depending on project requirements as well as cultural expeditions or activities. The below outlines a one week can-country program; however, your in-country service can run for as many weeks as set by your academic curriculum, objectives, and requirements.
Two weeks prior to departure, students will be assigned readings and assignments. These assignments make sure they have a basic cultural understanding of Cape Town and it’s local conservation-based issues; a foundational understanding of international service learning and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals; and begin a dialogue surrounding global engagement. Materials will be chosen based on collaboration with the group’s educational leader to ensure the work fits within the group’s in-class curriculum.
Day 1- Arrival at Phuket Airport, Transfer and Orientation
You will be met at Phuket airport by a GVI staff member or appointed representative. The group will travel immediately to the project location In Phang Nga province. Students will be accommodated in dorm-style rooms or homestays and will have a chance in the afternoon to relax and settle into their rooms and new surroundings.
In the afternoon there will be an initial welcome presentation and introduction to the GVI staff, history and background of the projects, as well as a health and safety breakdown. The group will then head out for an orientation tour to learn a bit more about the local area and language. In the evening, a reflection period will take place in which participants debrief and review their initial reactions and observations on the experience and location.
Day 2-5- Daily Structure: Service, Education, and Reflection
The exact project will be based on the requirements of our local partners at the time. The group can expect to be involved in a variety of environmental awareness activities, discussions and lectures. This may include sea turtle nesting research and conservation, biodiversity surveying in nearby National Parks, involvement at the local turtle rehabilitation center where you get the exciting chance to clean small turtles with toothbrushes, beach cleans, and environmental discussions with local community and school groups.
All service elements will be connected to a greater understanding of the cultural context in which the students are working. Assignments, in the form of lectures, readings, written response papers, journal entries, group presentations, and miscellaneous creative projects will be conducted daily to enhance student learning from their service involvement. Daily reflection sessions will act as the bridge that connects and helps to synthesize the many aspects of the experience.
Particular emphasis will be placed on the ways in which participants are working towards achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Students will critically examine their part in this process, by analyzing their contributions, challenges, and observations.
Day 6- Cultural Day
Understanding the complexity of the local culture is a key component of a service-learning trip, and will be emphasized with a Thai cultural day. Activities will be dependent on the educational needs of the group. Options include mangrove forest planting, a visit to a rubber plantation plot (which is a large part of local economy in Southern Thailand), a local handicraft-making session, a Thai cooking class, a visit to Khao Sok National Park, or the stunning Cheow Larn Lake.
Day 7- A Fond Farewell
GVI field staff transfer the team back to the airport and bid them a fond farewell! GVI will endeavour to keep the group informed of any updates there might be in the field and with particular reference to the projects participants contributed to during their time in Thailand.
Students will continue to engage with active reflection and educational expansion two weeks after leaving Cape Town, with emphasis placed on incorporating the international experience, and insights gained which are then applied to the students’ home context. Assignments will involve generating ideas to continue global engagement, connecting the experience to personal and career goals, and reflecting on the insights gained while in the field.