Volunteering in Thailand - yay or nay?
At some point in our lives, we've all considered packing our bags, quitting our 9 to 5, and just escaping to a tropical destination. It's all going well, until you realize you still need the $$$ to live pretty much anywhere in the world - awkward. In comes volunteering - a great way of exploring far away lands while giving back to the people you're meeting. Here's what you'll need to think about if you're considering volunteering in Thailand.
Choosing which kind of volunteering is best for you
When you choose to be a volunteer in Thailand, any job you choose will bring you happiness and that sense of community. However, the options must be considered. You can, for example:
Teach English (very popular, so make sure you have all the documentation necessary);
Teach computing, or IT;
Coach a sport;
Take part in horticultural projects;
Teach at schools for children with special needs;
And many other localised projects.
You will need to prepare in advance all the paperwork before you even consider landing and living in Thailand. As a volunteer you will be going through a company, and that company will give you all the necessary forms and signatures to send to the Royal Thai Embassy in your given country.
Be warned: anything other than complete paperwork will see your application delayed or rejected. You simply must have the right visa, and as a volunteer, you will need the volunteer visa.
Political and Cultural Frisson
Thailand has of late come under increasing political pressure. The death of the late King Rama the ninth has created a tense atmosphere in Thailand. Until the end of 2016, Thailand was in mourning, so it is prudent to check for the latest updates on etiquette surrounding this issue and that of the political nuances that are prevalent in the country.
Life as you know it
Despite all this, your life as a volunteer will change dramatically, and probably for the better. Depending on where you'll be located, you will have access to mountains, the prettiest beaches, and crazy cities. From driving around on a small motorbike along empty beautiful lanes to drinking shots with strangers, and of course the gloriously cheap food and the sunny climate - the exotic nature of the place will add to your adventure, together with the feel good factor of volunteering. A day doing good can only be followed by an evening feeling good.
Another great reward is the friendships made. Living in a shared house will mean less privacy, but it will also mean you'll create permanent bonds with other volunteers. The best part of it all is the faces of the people you'll be helping. These faces you will never forget, and will warm your heart forever.