GVI: Internships in Thailand

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About Program

This is an opportunity to gain practical experience in wildlife and marine conservation, community development, and experiential education in health and teaching. Get ahead in your chosen career, with improved knowledge, enhanced skills, and the CV to show for it.

Your contributions support sustainable development objectives that are measured against the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals. GVI ensures that ethical best practices are in place for all communities, partners, and participants involved.

Thailand is a Southeast Asian country with a Southern coastline of beaches, traditional temples, islands, and mountain terrain. In the North you’ll find forested landscape, a diversity of hill tribe cultures and an array of Buddhist temples.

Program Highlights
  • Improve your CV with professional skill development in a variety of conservation and community projects.
  • Experience Thailand in a cultural, environmental, and social context.
  • Contribute to ethically run programs and their UN Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Meet people from around the world and connect with local communities.
  • Take traditional Thai cooking lessons, go island hopping in your free time, relax on a nearby beach, or start to learn a new language.

GVI global programs are open!

We're thrilled to announce that nine of our global locations are now open, including Greece, Thailand, Nepal, Seychelles, South Africa, Costa Rica and Mexico. We're also taking bookings for our Thailand, Chiang Mai, Lao and Peru locations for 2021. Stay tuned for more locations coming your way soon, including a new location addition in the Canary Islands.

Popular Programs

Interns working with sea turtles in Thailand

This is a short term internship in Thailand where you'll support the conservation and protection of the endangered sea turtle. You will visit nearby islands to conduct biodiversity surveys, learn camera trapping, and collect data. This is an opportunity to gain an ILM leadership qualification and develop your skills in marine conservation to further enhance your career opportunities.

Two elephants in Thailand

This is a conservation internship with a range of focuses and skill development opportunities. You will teach English to local communities, learn about Chiang Mai’s biodiversity by surveying and identifying species in the area, and assist local caretakers provide needed health checks for the forest dwelling elephants.

Interns diving with a sea turtle in Thailand

Gain hands on field work experience and improve your research skills in conservation. Alongside GVI staff and other international volunteers you’ll learn how to conduct biodiversity surveys, engage in plastic pollution clean-ups, and contribute to environmental education in the local community.

Intern working with a student in Thailand

Based in Phang Nga, assist in WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) workshops for local schools, and communities. Other topics could include nutrition and exercise, sport activities, and education on the prevention of transferable diseases. Improve your own professional development by gaining skills in these areas while also contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Goal 3: Good Health And Wellbeing, among others.

Program Reviews

9.81 Rating
based on 27 reviews
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  • Growth 9.5
  • Support 9.7
  • Fun 9.7
  • Housing 9.4
  • Safety 9.6
Showing 1 - 8 of 27
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Yes, I recommend this program

My best and happiest memories are here. <3

Coming here has been one of the best decisions I've ever made, and I am beyond grateful for all of the incredible experiences I've gotten have, wonderful people I've gotten to know and love, and to have had the opportunity to fulfill my lifelong dream of working with elephants. The only thing that convinced me to go for this in the first place is the fact that I share GVI's ethical and moral values when it comes to working with elephants, and I really do feel like getting to see them in their natural habitat, spending time with their families, and being free to live with as little human interference as possible has been the most gratifying and fulfilling experience I could have asked for.
As for everyone else that I've worked with during my time here: this place seems to attract the best kind of people, and they've truly become like family to me. I can't imagine having to say goodbye to all of them tomorrow, but I know I will see some - hopefully most - of them again (especially the other long-term interns I've spent the last six months with!)
The staff team have been the best group of people I've ever had the opportunity to work with, and their kindness and humor and support make this project what it is. They are as much my friends as anyone else on project and I will miss them all so much.
Each day on the project is never the same as the one before, and you end up being so busy here participating in all the activities/fundraisers/events, that you forget about all of the books you brought with you to pass the time! (Or at least most of them - reading on the balcony under the tropical sun is one of the best feelings out there.)
Everyone who comes through here brings with them such a diverse set of skills, background, and personality, and it's part of what makes this place so special. We're all so different from each other, but our passions and sense of adventure bring us together, and that bond can be a hard to find.
If you're thinking about doing this, I cannot recommend it enough. This place has given me some of my best and happiest memories and I will always be thankful for this place. I guess that's all for now!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
I would say that if you're coming to this project, throw yourself into everything the project has to offer - activities, events, fundraisers, social gatherings, learning Pakinyaw, teaching English at the school - everything. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and as Mark Twain once said: "You will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do.". Fully immersing yourself in the community here and helping out in every way you can will be the most rewarding part of the whole experience!
4 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Very enjoyable!

My six month internship here was absolutely amazing, I would recommend this to everyone, since it's not just about the conservation but all the other activities through which you learn. You also start to appreciate small things as the environment is so different that what we are used to. In general - a brilliant opportunity to develop as a person. I would also recommend coming here for at least one month to really embrace the whole experience, since anything less just makes you want to cry when leaving.

What would you improve about this program?
- More education on elephants
- Elephants should be unchained at least 8 hours per day
- Better internet (interns can not do their job properly if they don't buy data)
- End goal more determined and clear
3 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Chiang Mai Fun

GVI Chiang Mai is one of the most incredible programs that I have ever been apart of. For starters, you live in a remote village, Huay Pakoot, with a Karen hill-tribe who are probably the most hospitable, kind and hard-working people I have ever met. You learn how to live a simple life and to really cherish what you have and the people around you. It is a home away from home where people with the same passion come together and learn from each other and bond. Not only do you become apart of the amazing family on base, but you become immersed in Asian Elephant Reintegration and data collection and grow to love all of the lovely elephants and mahouts. You also gain experience with biodiversity surveying and learn the local language Pakinyaw. I would highly recommend this programme to anyone looking to gain hands-on experience in the field as the staff team is very supportive and you receive a lot of information regarding controversial conservation topics especially if you are an intern. All of these things help you develop strong teamwork and leadership skills in a safe environment that you can then use in future jobs. Overall, amazing program and anyone who comes will have an amazing time.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
I would suggest doing an internship here as you get to really challenge yourself and learn new things alongside other people that share your passion. The internship also has many different components and you always have work to do!
5 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing Experience

The GVI Chiang Mai program with the Elephants is by far the best volunteer program I have ever done! Mixing Community and Conservation, this program will make your experience unique and varied. One day we hike to observe the birds, another day we will take care of the children in Garden school and Nursery, the next day we hike to study the elephants, followed by a walk to locate Gibbons the next day ! there is a lot of diversity, and especially à la carte with often 2 possible choices of hike in the morning. Although the morning hike is the important element of the day, the rest is not boring. Several presentation options are available, not mandatory. Ranging from the study of snakes, to training to teach English to foreign children, you can also go through an orientation and presentation of jobs in conservation, or even a presentation about the ethics of elephant camps . On Tuesday and Thursday, you can help to teach in selected class at school. For the social aspect this program is also really interesting. On the Wednesdays you have quiz evening , and on the weekends you have the possibility for a cultural/tourist outings. To conclude, an unforgettable experience in an exceptional atmosphere.

4 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

GVI coastal marine conservation internship

I have always loved animals and marine life and wanted to give back in some way so after a lot of thought I decided that the marine conservation internship in Phang Nga was the best option for me. I was nervous before leaving Scotland on what to expect from Thailand and GVI but I was made to feel welcome straight from the arrivals at the airport.

Thailand is an incredible country with so much to offer and the program gave me so much to think about and take back home with me, from using marine litter as an art installation, being able to name approximately 30 different bird species to asking how much something is in Thai.

I undertook the 3 month internship which also gave me a qualification that I can use to better my CV and job prospects in the future. I came out here looking to find what I wanted to do as a career and after working closely with the sea turtles I have decided that veterinary nursing is what I would like to pursue, I am so thankful to Thailand and GVI for helping me make this decision.

With regards to the staff and the people that you will meet they have all been great people and some friends for life made. Living on base can be difficult at times but it’s easy to get past this, as it’s clean and comfortable. The food is also really lovely and cooked fresh everyday.

Of all the activities that I have taken part in during my time here I would say that the bird surveys and beach cleans were my favourite, the bird surveys are really interesting and you get to see some lovely places and the beach cleans are hard work but you can see in a short time how much of a difference you can make. Snorkelling was also a highlight for me as I had never done it before coming out to Thailand, getting to see some beautiful fish and sea life. Learning to survey the reefs was also really interesting, it’s such an eye opening experience since you never really know the scale of coral reef bleaching until you see it with your own eyes.

To anyone thinking about coming out to do some conversation work I would highly recommend this program as it’s so diverse and you will learn a lot from it and make a huge difference in the world. Not only this you will also meet some incredible people and learn a lot about yourself.

4 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Inspiring internship with GVI in the costal conservation program

I did the three months ILM intership for costal conservation just after getting my graduate degree to get experience in a different field. I was blown away not only by the resources at our disposal, but also by the quality of the formation I recieved. You have a plethora of different activities which keep you working and entertained throughout the whole experience. This is due to the amazing staff team that organized every moment with discipline and passion. Futhermore, you are supported in every step during your internship, and you can feel that the staff team have confidence in you for any project you want to carry out. Therefore, you are able to develop social, practical, and organisation skills in a short period of time while enjoying every minute of it.

What would you improve about this program?
The trip to Koh Pra Tong island is amazing and i think we should get more time there.
3 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

An amazing experience!

Interning with GVI was the best decision I have ever made. Before I left I was extremely scared to get out of my comfort zone, but after 8 weeks in Thailand I had grown so much as a person. Immersing myself in a completely different culture opened my eyes and showed me a beautiful world outside of my own.
I always wanted to make a difference in the world, but didn’t have any opportunities to do so in my hometown. Being an intern for GVI finally allowed me to do work that would actually make a difference for animals.
Volunteers, interns, and staff members were absolutely amazing. It was so fulfilling to be surrounded by people who care for animals and the environment as much as I did.
Overall, it was an incredible experience that I would recommend to anyone. I can honestly say that it changed my life in the best way possible.

What would you improve about this program?
I wouldn’t improve much, but maybe more conservation on surrounding mammals.
3 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

The most amazing experience

Volunteering with the elephants in Thailand was the most amazing experience. Everything in Huay Pakoot was perfect. You get to witness how beautiful the elephants are up close (at a safe distance of course) and help take data on them to see how they’re improving! The staff was out of this world and they went out of their way to make sure you enjoyed your time there. The relationship you make with the villagers and other volunteers while there, is amazing! It’s such a great thing to be able to experience another culture and have the village welcome you with open arms! I definitely feel like this program has made me into a better person and helped me become the best version of myself! I can’t wait to return to the project! I would highly recommend this program to anyone and everyone!!

What would you improve about this program?
I can’t think of anything to improve!! 10/10 experience
4 people found this review helpful.

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