Alumni Spotlight: Louisa Culley


Louisa, 21 years old and British. Just graduated this summer with a degree in Acting, now currently travelling Australia.

Why did you pick this program?

I knew I wanted to do a volunteering program and especially one that involved elephants. When I found the summer program, volunteering solutions provided, I knew it was the one as it literally had a little bit of everything and it was the perfect amount of time too. I also thought the price was pretty good too as many others I saw were a little bit more expensive.

What do you tell your friends who are thinking about going abroad?

Do it. Don't hesitate. If it's being by yourself that worries you then put it at the back of your mind because you seriously meet people from all over the world and you make friends instantly as everyone is in the same boat. But if you have just one thought about going abroad then do it, you won't regret it. The world is a beautiful place and your missing it!

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

Buy elephants pants straight away. You need them for the temples and for comfort. Also don't bring clothes that you don't want to get damaged or dirty because they will.

Also don't bring too much stuff. You can literally buy everything over there and you WILL buy everything because it is so cheap. So just be cautious over you luggage space. Also don't bring a suitcase, use a backpack. I had a suitcase and it was hell to move from place to place.

What's your favorite story to tell about your time abroad?

Probably all the stories from living at the elephant village. Getting to wake up to and walk 10 seconds to see a baby elephant and his mother everyday. An elephant giving you a flower being the most romantic thing to ever happen to you. Another thing I speak about most is the language and how beautiful it is. I loved learning to speak Thai and learning the culture.

Eating in Thailand

I am vegetarian, so before I left I asked people who had been to Thailand before if they thought I would be able to eat. The answer is yes. Thai people don't really understand your way of lifestyle so it can be difficult in that sense but they respect you dearly and want you to be comforable and happy at all times even when you decide you have had enough rice and noodles to last for a while and get your western food.