"I'm sure when I ponder my life experiences, during the twilight of my years, I will regard my six weeks in Thailand as six of the most sensational weeks of my life... I traveled to Thailand hoping for an enriching experience. What I found exceeded my wildest expectations."
Chris Cox, International Health Program, Thailand

How long has GSC been doing international development volunteer work in Thailand?
GSC began doing international development work in Thailand in 1995.  

Does GSC have any religious or government affiliation?

No, GSC does not have any religions or government affiliations.

What is the average size of the service-learning program groups in Thailand?

Group sizes vary according to the time of year, but there is an average of seven overseas volunteers per group. You are together as a group in Bangkok for your tour, and during your cultural and program orientation.  

Where are the programs located and who are the GSC partners in Thailand?

The Teach English Abroad Program and the Orphanage Care Program are located in the Singburi region about two and half hours north of Bangkok.  GSC partners with Greenway Thailand on these programs.

How long has GSC been working with Greenway Thailand and what is the nature of the partnership?

GSC began working with Greenway Thailand (GW) in 2005 when GSC moved its base of operations from the Kanchanaburi area of Thailand to the central province of Singburi. With a complete in-country local staff, GW provided support to the GSC in-country coordinator in providing effective logistical support for the GSC community based programs. GW staff assisted with volunteer transportation, in-country orientation, project placements, and host family arrangements. As of 2008, GW now serves as GSC’s partner organization and continues to provide these services for the Singburi-based Service-Learning Programs. 

When will I receive additional information about my service-learning project?

Thailand volunteer participants will be provided additional project information upon arrival in Thailand.

For what date should service-learning program participants book their flight?

Thailand volunteers should arrive on the Friday prior to their Saturday start date, preferably landing in Bangkok between 10 am – 10 pm. However participants will be greeted at the airport by a GSC - Greenway representative if they arrive any time.  Saturday is the official start date on which the Bangkok tour will begin. When departing Thailand at the end of a program, participants should plan their outgoing flight from Bangkok as late in the day as possible on Saturday to allow time for traveling to the airport. Back

What if I arrive in Bangkok early/late?

Thailand volunteer participants who arrive in Bangkok before Friday are responsible for their own transportation into Bangkok as well as any needed accommodations and meals prior to meeting up with the Greenway staff on Friday afternoon at a prearranged time and place (arrangements will be made by GSC prior to your departure for Thailand). GSC will provide early arrivers recommendations on affordable hotels in Bangkok and provide instruction on getting from the airport to Bangkok in a safe and inexpensive manner. Back

What type of pre-trip and pre-placement orientation is provided for Service-Learning program volunteers?

Upon final acceptance into a GSC international volunteer program, participants receive a participant handbook with information on the country and program, a reading list, packing list and other health and travel tips. A short Bangkok tour followed by one week of orientation and training is given for Orphanage Care and Teach English Abroad participants. The orientation for participants at the Greenway site includes an overnight stay in a Buddhist Wat, Thai language lessons, Thai cultural discussions, training on teaching English as a Foreign Language, a trip to the local morning market to buy ingredients for a Thai cooking class, and a tour of local village areas. Back

Where do service-learning program volunteers stay during orientation?

During the two-day Bangkok tour, participants stay together at the designated hotel.   Back

Can I travel during my project time?

Yes. All Thailand volunteer programs include a cultural excursion arranged by GSC. In addition to this, however, you will have the opportunity to travel independently on weekends.

Many overseas volunteers choose to take a “long weekend” in order to go trekking or do other activities. Long-term Thailand volunteers especially can take advantage of the many holidays and weekends to travel. Back

What is the food like?

Traditional Thai food has rice at every meal, a meat or fish dish and some veggies. In addition, lots of Thai sweets and Thai fruit are often available. The food served at the Greenway accommodations is vegetarian. Back

Can special dietary requirements be accommodated?

Yes, many international volunteers have had special dietary needs, and GW can accommodate vegetarians, as well as other dietary needs. If you have dietary restrictions, please notify GSC as early as possible. Back

How do Thailand volunteers get around?

During the orientation, small groups usually use public transportation and taxis to get around Bangkok.   Volunteers are provided transportation by GSC to and from their project site. Back

How will I communicate with GSC staff in Thailand while I’m there?

Our in-country staff can always be reached by mobile phone, simply ask your work site to call. Back

Will I need a phone while I’m there? How can I contact home?

Phones aren’t necessary, but they can be purchased in Bangkok during your orientation and will cost around $30-$50 for a second hand phone (plus airtime minutes). If your cell phone carrier uses SIM Cards in their phones (AT&T, Cingular, T-Mobile), they can be used in Thailand by simply purchasing a Thai SIM Card ($8) plus airtime minutes. Be sure to call your carrier before departure and obtain the code to unlock your SIM Card. Additionally, all Thailand volunteers have access to a phone at their work site. Back

Will there be internet access?

Volunteers staying at GW’s facilities have access to free wi-fi.  Volunteer participants are also able to arrange transportation into the nearest town from their project site to visit internet cafes. Back

How much spending money is appropriate?

Volunteers will get the chance to do some shopping and sightseeing during the orientation so if you’re planning on picking up gifts you should bring a little extra money. All expenses are covered on the trip, but if a volunteer wants to travel on their own they should bring additional funds. $300 is often sufficient for covering shopping, extra food, extra traveling, accommodations, and transport. GSC also recommends bringing travelers checks. They can be cashed in Bangkok or at the banks in the provinces. Although there are ATM machines everywhere, which have good exchange rates, there are hefty international withdrawal fees from some banks that overseas volunteers should watch out for.  Back

Are there ATM machines near project sites?

Yes, in most Thai towns you will find many ATM machines! There are also plenty of banks where Thailand volunteers can exchange money. Back

Included in Service-Learning Trip: Airport pickup during scheduled times; project transportation; all meals as noted; accommodations at project site for the duration of your program; basic Thai language lessons and cultural orientation; Bangkok tour; bus transportation from project site back to Singburi at the end of your program during scheduled times.  Back

Not Included in Service-Learning Trip: Travel expenses including passport charges, applicable visa charges* ($60-$150), travel insurance** ($150-$350), and airfare** ($1,500-$2,500); accommodations, meals, and transportation for any personal trips during weekend free time; any additional costs for accommodations, meals, or transportation needed for those arriving or departing early or late; transportation from Singburi to the airport.

*This cost depends on your length of stay in Thailand.  Note: Volunteers arriving before their program start date or staying in Thailand later than their program end date may be subject to additional visa charges.

**These costs are estimates.  Actual prices will depend on program length, your chosen vendors, visiting country's governmental regulations, and other factors beyond GSC's control.

What is the English proficiency of school staff?

English proficiency among teachers is extremely low, and the language barrier is therefore often the hardest aspect of the program. To help with this, all GSC Thailand volunteers receive basic Thai language training during orientation and in-country-staff are always available by mobile phone to mentor or help a participant. Back

Can international volunteers choose what age group they will work with during their Teach English Abroad Program?

Participants can request a specific age group; however, the final decision depends on the community’s needs at the time of your program. The orphanage usually assigns participants to work with either elementary, middle school, or the high school. However, in the regular Teach English Abroad Program, participants may teach a wide range of age-levels. If you have a specific preference, be sure to let our staff know ahead of time and they will do their best to accommodate your requests, but cannot promise a specific placement. Back

What schools do volunteer participants teach at in Thailand?

Here are some sample descriptions of possible local school placements:

Vijitsuksa (K-6th) - Although this is private school the students are still in need of basic English training from native speakers. The school has an English curriculum that is taught by Thai teachers, but many of the Thai teachers’ English proficiency is not very high. Therefore, they rely heavily on the bilingual Thai-English books to teach their students. Unfortunately, the students encounter difficulties going from written exercises to actually speaking and comprehending. This is an area where GSC Thailand volunteers are extremely valuable. The school principal and teachers are very supportive of our overseas volunteers and greatly appreciate having them.  

Pasat Witiya (K-6th) - This public school is in need of international volunteers who are willing to dive right in with their own lessons and activities. This school has significantly less resources that Vijitsuksa, and they currently have no English curriculum. The students are not taught English unless GSC Thailand volunteers are there. There are very basic classrooms at the school with concrete floors, corrugated iron roofs, and old black boards. In addition, there are very little (if any) resources for participants to use at the school other than the materials GSC gives them or what they bring from home. Overseas volunteers are therefore encouraged to bring whatever they can in terms of materials. The English level of students is significantly lower than those of Vijitsuksa, but the kids are just as enthusiastic about learning.

The preceding descriptions are only samples of schools where GSC can place overseas volunteers. If you express your preference for working with a particular age group, we will pass these requests along to our in-country partners.  While your preferences will always be taken into consideration, we cannot guarantee that they will be met due to the ever-changing needs of the local community. Back

How much time do Thailand volunteers spend teaching each day?

This varies depending on the school and on the personal ambitions of the individual volunteer participant. Some volunteers, for example, take the initiative and set up extra studying hours or English clubs. The rest of the day they can play with the kids in the yard or hang out with the staff. In general, however, Teach English Abroad participants at Vijitsuksa spend about 4 hours a day teaching. Participants at Pasat Witiya, on the other hand, teach the entire school day, (about 5-6 hours). Back

How much time do Thailand volunteers spend teaching English at the Orphanage?

At the orphanage, participants teach between 2-4 hours a day. Some participants take the initiative and set up extra studying hours or other activities, and the rest of the day they can play with the kids in the yard or spend time with the staff.  Back