Alumni Spotlight: Karly Ries

Karly Ries is 19 years old from Saskatchewan, Canada. She is studying International Studies at University or Regina. She was a vegetarian who recently turned vegan that loves helping animals and the environment as much as possible. Karly enjoys traveling, dance, and adventures.

Why did you decide to volunteer with GVN in Thailand?

Karly: I originally found out about GVN through an email I received from my sister who had previously been looking into GVN. I read many of the other volunteer projects on the site but when I looked into helping elephants in Thailand, it seemed the most exciting for me.

Describe your day to day activities as a volunteer.

Karly: You usually worked 6 days a week and have one day off that you can choose. The work day started at six-thirty in the morning and usually goes till four or five, depending when you finish your duties. The main duties were cleaning the enclosures of the elephants and feeding them three times a day with the banana trees that volunteers harvest every second day. You get three breaks in between feeding the elephants and there is usually lunch prepared by the lovely cook on site. Karly's experience volunteering was the best experience of her life.

Elephants in Thailand

What made this experience unique and special?

Karly: It was the hardest thing for me to say goodbye to them. The atmosphere at the Centre is layer back and friendly when it comes to hanging out by the cabins, but serious enough that you get the right kind of work done that is needed for the elephants. It definitely was the best decision ever.

How has this experience impacted your future?

Karly: I never wanted to leave the amazing people you meet and it was extremely sad to leave the elephants that I worked with for three weeks during the summer of 2012. The experience has opened my eyes to what I really wants to do in life, which is to be a change in either animal well being, environmental changes, or development around the world. What made this experience for me so unique was the connection that you make with the people, and especially the elephants.