I have had a lot of people ask me about Thailand and why Matt and I are living here. I wanted to go more in depth about our experience here and the organization we are working with.
Moving abroad (for any length of time) can be stressful, expensive, and exhausting. It can also be beautiful, exciting, and so rewarding! Luckily, the good times far outweigh the bad and I would suggest this type of experience to ANYONE. We have learned so much and I believe that it has helped us redefine our priorities and goals and helped us grow closer as a couple.
I’m so glad we decided to pack up everything and move here for the summer.
I’m going to do a little Q&A styled post and hopefully I will be able to cover most of your questions. If you are more of a watcher than a reader, you can just skip down to the bottom and watch the video we made 🙂 Q: What are you doing in Thailand?
A: We are Volunteer Directors for OSSO. This summer we have been in charge of about 20 volunteers and have coordinated their housing, food, transportation, and tourist activities. Because OSSO is very new in Thailand, we have spent a lot of time working to build their relationship with the orphanage and looking for other opportunities to serve. Q: How did you get your job with OSSO?
A: A friend of mine told me about OSSO and let me know when they were hiring and it just felt like the right thing to do. I actually applied before talking to Matt about it (wouldn’t suggest that) but I’m glad that he was also thrilled about the potential position. We didn’t hear back from OSSO for a couple months after applying so we figured they had picked someone else and planned our own little trip to Thailand. As luck would have it, we found out we got the position WHILE we were in Thailand and we were happy to accept it.Q: Are you getting paid?
A: No we are not paid. But they do cover our flights, food, and housing which is really great!
Q: How long will you be living in Thailand?
A: We are here for 3 months and we fly back to the United States on August 24th.Q: Where are you living?
A: We are living in Chiang Mai which is in Northern Thailand. Fun Fact: It’s also the greatest city in the world. You can read more about Chiang Mai in this post I did: Chiang Mai- A Complete Traveler’s Guide and also in this post: Doi Suthep- The Temple in the Clouds.Q: What is a typical day like for you guys?
A: Our days really just consist of going to and from the orphanage. The orphanage doesn’t like volunteers to be around while the kids take afternoon naps so we have a few hours in between shifts to get lunch, swim and take a nap (personal favorite). At night we usually do our own thing, go into the city, or play games. On the weeekends the group gets to plan their own activities and Matt and I usually accompany them.Q: What kind of food do you eat and how does it compare to American Thai food?
A: It’s kind of pathetic but we don’t eat much Thai food. Our hotel has a really cheap cafe and all our volunteers choose to eat there 90% of the time. When we do eat Thai food, I like to get Phad Thai, Spring Rolls, Khao Soi, Tom Kha Gui,Cashew Chicken, Massaman Curry, or the famous Mango and Sticky Rice. The dishes taste a little different in Thailand than they do in America but I like both versions.
I did a little cooking class with some of the volunteers and learned how to make a lot of my favorite dishes. It was so fun!
Q: Favorite moment so far?
A: It would be really hard to top our day with the elephants! You can see pictures on this blog post I did: A Day in the Life of a MahoutQ: Hardest moment so far?
A: Our first couple of weeks were really hard as we were trying to learn our way around the city and figure out what the orphanage wanted us to do. The language barrier can be so frustrating but we have some great Thai friends that have been helping us out. The lady in the picture with us is our best friend, Banyen. She has helped us so much and we honestly couldn’t have gotten through this summer without her. Q: I want to do a humanitarian project- should I do OSSO? Are there other organizations you would recommend?
A: I really have loved working with OSSO but every organization is so different and it really depends on what you want to do, where you want to go, how long you want to be gone, how much you want to spend, etc. Check out their website: www.orphanagesupport.org. I’m also happy to answer any questions you have about the OSSO Thailand Program, which is quite different than their program in Ecuador. If you decide OSSO isn’t right for you, I would also suggest looking into ILP, Charity Anywhere, and HELP International.Q: I want to go to Thailand on vacation. Where should I go?
Great question! Thailand is a beautiful country with so much to offer. We LOVE Chiang Mai and the beaches down south (specifically Koh Lanta). I planned my “ideal” trip to Thailand last February and you can read all about our itinerary on this blog post: A Detailed Guide to the Perfect 2 Week Thailand TripQ: What are your plans when you get home?
A: We have really missed having a “home base” this summer and so we are excited to get back to Utah. We found a cute townhome to rent and we are also getting another puppy! We haven’t picked her out yet but she is one of these little cuties.We don’t have anything planned until next year but we definitely plan to keep traveling. Next destinations on our list are: Cancun, Scandinavia and South Africa. If you have been to any of those places, we’d love to hear your suggestions.
Thank you for your questions and thank you so much for taking the time to read this or watch our little video. I love sharing our experiences with others.
Have a great day!