Location
  • Thailand
Length
2 - 12 weeks
Need-based funding, General grants/scholarships, 529 Plan eligibility, BIPOC funding
Health & Safety

Program Details

Program Type
Provider
Timeframe
Summer
Housing
Host Family Hotel Lodge Tent
Language
Thai
Age Min.
15
Age Max
18

Pricing

Starting Price
7950
Price Details
The land cost for Thailand: The Spirit of Greng Jai is $7,950 for 4 weeks. Financial aid is available.
What's Included
Accommodation Activities Meals Transportation
What's Not Included
Airfare Travel Insurance Visa
Sep 28, 2023
Dec 24, 2022
16 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

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.

Video and Photos

Diversity & Inclusion

BIPOC Support

Unfortunately, discrimination based on race, ethnicity, national origin, and skin tone exists in different forms all over the world. In some destinations, especially rural or ethnically homogenous areas, people may not have had much exposure to racial diversity. As such, people with certain physical characteristics may experience unwanted attention. Most commonly, this might include staring, insensitive comments, people taking your photo (with or without asking), or attempts to touch your skin or hair. Black students traveling in parts of Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and North Africa have often reported higher levels of unwanted attention than their peers. White students traveling in parts of Asia and Africa have also reported receiving unwanted attention. Students are encouraged to communicate with staff if they feel their personal boundaries are being violated or if they feel unsafe or uncomfortable in any situation. We encourage you to believe your peers if/when they share experiences like this with you.

LGBTQIA+ Support

Social, cultural, religious, political, and legal attitudes toward the LGBTQ+ community vary around the world. According to the Global Acceptance Index, average levels of acceptance for LGBTQ+ people around the world have been increasing since 1981. However, many countries where Dragons operates programs may have social discrimination or even laws against being LGBTQ+. We have safely supported LGBTQ+ students in all of our program areas, and provide specific cultural and geographic advice to help students stay safe on course.

In some cases, students may be advised not to speak about their sexual orientations and/or gender identities with local contacts (such as homestay families, ISP mentors, language teachers, and guest speakers) due to safety concerns. Likewise, transgender and non-binary students may have to choose to present outwardly as male or female in certain contexts during the program. In other cases, “coming out” to some or all host community members may be a safe choice.

Neurodivergent Support

For students with neuro-differences (such as dyslexia, ADHD, ASD, TS, and dyspraxia), it is important to be aware that neurodiversity is likely viewed differently abroad than at home. People might not be familiar with labels or terms that are very common where you come from. If you struggle with lots of external stimuli, you should be prepared that you will be in some environments that are louder and busier than what you are used to.

Accessibility Support

If you are a student with a physical disability, you might encounter challenges around accessibility than you have at home. Many of the places we travel at Dragons don’t have building codes or other regulations in place to support people with visual, hearing, or mobility impairments. You may need accommodations or support that you don’t usually require in your life at home.

Impact

Sustainability

Dragons defines responsible travel as travel that is culturally conscious, environmentally responsible, and focused on developing meaningful connections and mutual respect in the communities to which we travel. Over the course of Dragons 25+ year history, we have cultivated long-standing relationships with respected community leaders, academics, social entrepreneurs and professionals involved in environmental and cultural preservation. In the more than 20 countries in which Dragons has operated, we have steadfastly adhered to minimum impact travel, an accurate and informed understanding of place, and the realization of maximum benefit for the communities we visit.

Ethical Impact

Dragons believes that we need to shift the way we think of volunteer travel. Instead of focusing on “service work”—on the idea that short-term volunteers can contribute to communities abroad—we advocate a paradigm shift: we choose, instead, to focus on “learning service.”

Learning Service is a holistic experience that combines an intimate and authentic engagement with the local community, the study of effective development, and the contribution to an established community-driven project. It is the process of living, working alongside, and humbly absorbing the culture of those being served while coordinating closely with project managers to understand the trajectory of the project, from inception to completion and beyond. It is an acknowledgment that often it is the volunteer who stands to gain as much or more from the work. And it is a commitment to making contributions that create positive impacts in the communities coupled with the humility to always listen and learn first.

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.

Program Highlights

  • 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.

Scholarships

Where There Be Dragons Financial Aid & 529 Funds

Where There Be Dragons offers need-based financial aid to students that demonstrate reasonable financial need and are excited to engage with communities around the world.

Program Dates

Application Deadline
Program Dates
-

Program Reviews

4.75 Rating
based on 4 reviews
  • 5 rating 75%
  • 4 rating 25%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Growth 5
  • Support 5
  • Fun 4.75
  • Housing 4.5
  • Safety 5
Showing 1 - 4 of 4 reviews
Default avatar
Margaret
4/5
Yes, I recommend this program

LOVED this experience!

I loved my trip with Where There be Dragons to Thailand. I was fully immersed into Thai culture. I learned about their language, customs, and traditions. We even participated in a week long homestay in a rural village. My host mom was amazing and I was so sad to say goodbye. After our homestay we city hopped and visited some super cool monasteries, night markets, and museums. Parts of the trip are definitely challenging and way out of your comfort zone. As long as you keep an open mind to change you will have an awesome time!

Pros
  • Learn something new just about every second
  • Exploring your limits
  • Make lifelong friends
Cons
  • Housing might be out of your comfort zone
  • Using the bathroom can be very different
  • Limited food diet
59 people found this review helpful.
Response from Where There Be Dragons

Wow - great photos! We're so glad you loved your experience, Margaret. Thank you for your thoughtful review!

Default avatar
Cristian
5/5
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.
87 people found this review helpful.
Palm tree
Priya
5/5
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.
95 people found this review helpful.
Read my full story
Default avatar
Chad
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Kobe!

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.
88 people found this review helpful.

Questions & Answers