Thailand: The Spirit of Greng Jai High School Summer Program

This program has been paused and is currently not being offered. View more programs from Where There Be Dragons.

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Rainforests, emerald-green rice fields, rolling hills and remote valleys... There’s a subtlety to the landscape that immediately puts you at ease. The Thai philosophy of Greng Jai—loosely translated as “putting others before yourself” – continues to welcome you into Thai culture as soon as you step off the plane. Whether you’re harvesting rice with your home-stay mother in the emerald-green fields of Chang Muen or listening to the rhythmic prayers of a Buddhist abbot in Sukhothai, students are sure to be transformed by the strong culture of reverence and reciprocity that makes Thailand so unique.

We offer comprehensive, personal home visits so that we can answer your questions in person. One of our expert staff members will present on our program options and share stories from their own formative Where There Be Dragons program. To request a home visit in less than 2 minutes, fill out this form.

  • Explore the history and practice of Theravada Buddhism; discuss Buddhism, Animism, Christianity and Islam in contemporary Thai society.
  • Broad look at development issues, with focus on tourism impacts, in-depth look into the role of religion in Thai life, rural culture studies.
  • 8+ days of home-stay, single night village-stays with families while on trek.
  • Numerous opportunities for volunteering—directing an English camp, work at a migrant learning center, meet with NGOs to discuss pertinent ethnic/border issues. Approximately 20 hours of service credit earned.
  • Study development topics, such as land-use and ecology, ethnic minority and gender issues, border politics, effects of tourism.

New: Fall and Spring Domestic Gap Semesters

We are excited to announce two North American Gap Semesters - the Rio Grande Semester: Stories of Culture, Identity, & Environment Along the Southern Border and the Colorado River Basin Semester: Sustainable Relationships with Land and Water in the Western United States.

Questions & Answers


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Yes, I recommend this program

My Experience 8000 Miles From Home

Like most of my soon to be friends, I was filled with nerves, worries, and excitement for my program with Where There Be Dragons. Also like my friends, my month in Thailand is one I will forever cherish and credit for revealing the hidden wonder of the world outside of home. This program allowed me to connect with Thai Culture, nature, and people in a way that wouldn't be possible at home. I will forever remember fumbled through the broken Thai that I had just extracted from a dictionary to let my homestay mother know that I was leaving. I will forever cherish the time I spent with my homestay brother and other village children on the wet soccer field in the late evening. I will forever cherish all the bonds and incredible people I have met in Thailand. Just collecting this trip leaves me longing to be back in the depths of the Thai rainforest led by the warmest people I have ever met. I have gained a variety of perspectives in Thailand and from my homestay families. These are places I only saw in magazines, but experiencing and living one is without a doubt life changing. Although cliche sounding, an experience abroad in Thailand has left me awestruck by what the world has to offer. I have become more globally aware and plan to continue traveling all through my life. Not as a tourist but as a traveler and one who tries to appreciate all aspects of cultures outside the confines of the tourist attractions.
Amazing places, people, food, and adventures all await in Thailand for those interested. You may be nervous and scared, but without a doubt, you will be crying and longing for Thailand long after the trip has ended.

What would you improve about this program?
I don't have any suggestions for improvements as this trip was incredible and I could not ask for more out of an abroad experience.
1 person found this review helpful.
Palm tree
Yes, I recommend this program

My experience with Where There Be Dragons

I cannot recommend this program highly enough! Over the month, I got closer to Thai culture than I ever could on a simple vacation - having three extremely experienced instructors, one of whom was local, really made the trip flow easily, and helped me learn a lot. So much growth and understanding came from this experience - we learned about organic farming when we stayed on a permaculture farming community, and studied indigenous roots when we stayed in two different thai villages, learning traditional crafts and customs of the communities that were so kind to welcome us into their homes. Dragons changed the way I view the world and my place in it, and made me so much more aware of the empathy and kindness that exists between cultures and communities. I now divide my life into pre-Thailand and post-Thailand, as it changed the way I view the world that much.

What would you improve about this program?
Honestly, I think it was phenomenal as is. A little exhausting, there definitely wasn't a lot of down time, but we accomplished so much that I really didn't feel drained at the end of the day.
2 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program


While on my trip I spent a week at a homestay in the little beachside village of Baan Tele Nok in the Ranong Province of Thailand. Now a homestay for those who don’t know is when a student stays in a home with a local family and eats, does activites, etc. with them. I was fortunate enough to stay in a small fantastic muslim village. There I lived with my homestay family and my caring, charismatic mother who didn’t speak a lick of English. All we had between us in terms of communication was a small Thai-English Phrasebook and a lot of hand gestures. One day while sitting out in the front of the house, eating some small sour green fruit, I was instructed to throw the pits of these little fruits into the bushes on the side of the house. I would sit with my mother, grandfather, and 2 other students on my course and dip these sour fruits in the sweet and spicy chili sugar we had in a little bowl in front of us. As I sat there with my peers and newfound family we reminisced on a few of the things we did back home. Jokingly as I threw a few pits, I exclaimed, “Kobe!” in reference to one my favorite basketball players Kobe Bryant. However as my mother began to throw her pits into the bushes she also began to say “Kobe!” we laughed and she smiled back at me giggling. My homestay grandfather who probably had no idea what was going on let out a hearty laugh. It was a sweet and simple moment I will never forget. Throughout the rest of my homestay whenever my mom threw anything away she would always say “Kobe!” with a smile on her face and putting a smile on mine. There’s a reason Thailand is considered “The Land of Smiles” and it’s not from all the smiles you see but from the happiness you can feel.

What would you improve about this program?
There isn't really much that can be done to improve this program. It's just important to know that nothing is 100% and the itinerary is subject to change at anytime.
2 people found this review helpful.