Why did you decide to volunteer with ISV in Thailand?
Ana: I have always been very involved in community service so I attended an information session on my campus (Boston University) and learned about ISV's programs. Once I heard about the amazing opportunities all over the world, I was hooked. I had always dreamt of seeing elephants and going to Thailand. With Thailand as one of their most popular programs, I knew ISV was for me. From that moment at the information session, I was dead set on going on the program.
Describe your day to day activities as a volunteer.
Ana: I volunteered at the Mae Kok Foundation in Chiang Rai, Thailand. As a volunteer, I would wake up every morning at around 5:00 a.m. to help the children make breakfast and finish some chores before going to school. Once we would send them off, the rest of the volunteers and I would get to work. We hand-mixed twenty bags of cement a day to build a garage for their brand new school bus. It was really hard work but was so rewarding because I knew we were doing a good thing. We would take a lunch break at around noon and play with the dogs around the property. These breaks were also our bonding time. We got extremely close as a volunteer team. Once the kids got home from school (SO excited to see us!) we would help the older girls cook dinner. After dinner, we taught English lessons and played games until their bed time. Every day was an adventure and every day I realized more and more why I had chosen to participate in the program.
How has this experience impacted your future?
Ana: This experience changed me forever. It created a passion within me to help others and it has allowed me the opportunity to be a campus representative for ISV, promoting the programs around Boston college campuses. It caused me to take a non-profit Public Relations class, and now I dream of working for a non-profit organization, like ISV, dedicated to helping others around the world. Personally, the experience opened my eyes. it allowed me to see the pain around the world and how good we have it here in the states. However sad it was to see the poverty in Thailand, I was able to see that we can make a difference and sending volunteers overseas can have such an incredible impact on even just one person.