Alumni Spotlight: Rachel Daniels


Rachel is a self-contained special education teacher from the Pacific Northwest. She enjoys traveling, playing with her dog, and spending time with family.

Why did you pick this program?

I chose to travel with Volunteering Solutions because they were very affordable and provided many different program opportunities during the timeline of when I was able to go abroad. I went on a "Summer Special" which was equal parts volunteering and traveling/exploring throughout the country. This felt like the best of both worlds for me, as I enjoy giving back to the communities that I am fortunate enough to visit.

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

Many of my friends are avid travelers as well, but for those who have yet to experience wanderlust, I tell them that traveling is the absolute opportunity of a lifetime. There is no better way to learn than by immersing yourself in new cultures and ways of life that might be different from your own. Traveling is one of the greatest educational experiences you can ever offer yourself and will open your eyes to many of the beautiful places our world has to offer.

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

The biggest piece of advice I would offer to someone traveling to Thailand would be "pack less". You really don't need half as much as you think and investing in a comfortable backpacking backpack would be really, really smart.

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

My favorite stories from Thailand involve the elephant village we visited in Ban Ta Tit, outside of Surin. We volunteered by bathing, planting, harvesting, and feeding the elephants and it was surreal to see these beautiful and majestic creatures in all of their entirety. Elephants are worshiped in Thailand and in this working elephant village, they are part of the family. The "mahouts" or elephant trainers are deeply devoted to their livelihood and the responsibilities of caring for the elephants are passed down from generation to generation.

Why Should I Travel to Thailand?

Thailand is a country with rich culture, traditions, and beliefs. Thai people are honest, patient, and respectful and once you visit, you will understand why the country is known as "the land of smiles". There are so many things to do and see in Thailand that every day feels like a new adventure. Between the bustling city streets of Bangkok, to the jungles of Khao Yai National Park, to the laid back lifestyle of the islands, Thailand truly has something to offer everyone.