Alumni Spotlight: Harriet Thurley


Harriet, is a 19 year old student who, after finishing college, wanted to go and explore what Thailand had to offer, before she goes to University in September.

Why did you choose this program?

I chose this programme because I have always wanted to explore beautiful Thailand. I was inspired to go travelling through friends and family members that had been. This programme had everything that I wanted to do in Thailand on the itinerary. I thought that this programme would should me everything that Thailand had to offer. It did not disappoint.

What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

My program provider assisted me with virtually everything I could possibly think of. The tour company I did this program with was Tru Travels. However, it was all booked for me through STA Travel. STA took care of my flights and made sure everything was booked for me via Tru Travels. Tru Travels then made sure that all of the transport was sorted and the accommodation and ensure that when we did activities, there was some sort of meal included, whether it be breakfast, lunch or dinner.

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

One piece of advice that I would give to someone going to do this programme is to ensure that you have an open mind and are prepared to give everything a go. I found that there were some physically and mentally rewarding activities on this programme. An example of this would be climbing the Erawan Waterfall. This was physically challenging but highly rewarding once we had completed it. It wasn’t definitely an experience to remember.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

An average day on this program would typically include one activity, whether it be going to an amazing temple, trekking through the jungle or climbing waterfalls. There were some occasions where we had days to relax and have free time that we could enjoy doing what we wanted. An average week on this program is packed full of fun activities and gorgeous food, with free time to do what you would like.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

My biggest fear going abroad to Thailand was my issue with self-confidence, and being quite a shy person. My program consisted of 11 travelers to begin with for the first two weeks, and this number then grew to 22 of us for the remaining two weeks of the month that I was in Thailand. Being thrown into meeting new people really helped me to come out of my shell and be who I am, without any filters. Everyone was so lovely and welcoming and really made me just want to enjoy myself and be me.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to future participants?

I think that when it comes to this program, there are a lot of tips that I have learned throughout my time in Thailand. One tip that I have is that, when it comes to street food, it is always a good idea to look for where the locals are or where the busiest stand is; this indicates that the food is going to be good.

Another tip is that toiletries are expensive out here. You can never have enough sun cream, or shampoo and conditioner.

Another tip is pack light. You can do washing pretty much anywhere. My final tip is to not be afraid to try things. Get out of your comfort zone and just go for it, as you’ll regret it if you don’t.