Staff Spotlight: Hanna Paradis

Education Coordinator - Thailand


Hanna grew up in the Pacific Northwest and graduated from Western Washington University with a degree in Human Services and International Studies. She went on to earn her TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificate in Thailand. She started her GIVE journey as a volunteer in Tanzania and has been involved with various GIVE initiatives ever since. She is now a part of the Thailand team, serving as the Education Project Coordinator for the past 3 years.

What is your favorite travel memory?

Summiting the world's tallest freestanding mountain, Mt. Kilimanjaro, is hands down the most incredible thing that I have ever done. I pushed myself to limits that I didn't even know existed. GIVE allowed me the opportunity to meet like-minded people and form bonds with them unlike any other - and then we all got to check off the biggest bucket list item any of us could think of together. Not only were my fellow volunteers/climbers a big part of my favorite memory, but also our local guides and porters that we were able to form relationships with as well during the climb. Those friendships will last with me for the rest of my life.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

My first volunteer trip in Tanzania absolutely changed everything for me. On the trip, I not only learned more about myself, but I also learned more about the world, and my place in it. I learned the importance of traveling responsibly, and how to continue spreading the roots of change back home as well. Being socially responsible and impactful is something that we can all accomplish no matter where we live. I am so honored to be a part of a company that teaches this and inspires all who take part to pursue what they are passionate about and make the most out of this life.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

The best story I've heard from one of our past volunteers is about her experience on her first GIVE trip. She came to Thailand thinking that she never wanted to work with kids in general or in her career. On our trips, we encourage our volunteers to take part in all the volunteer initiatives, regardless of what they feel going in - just in case they develop a passion about themselves that they never knew existed.

This specific volunteer took that advice and taught in the classroom with me on the very first day of volunteer work. She was so impacted by the students and so surprised at her love for teaching that she continued to teach throughout the trip and now tutors various ESL students back home and is pursuing a career in English Education! She told me she truly felt that she found her calling on her trip and feels so much more confident than ever before in both her career and life path.

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

I have always felt a connection with Latin American culture, so our Nicaragua program has been speaking to me for quite some time. From what I have heard, the vibrant community that we work with will steal your heart the moment you meet them. I love the ocean, and getting the chance to live and work so close to it and have the beach as my backyard has me sold. I also would LOVE to be able to tell people that I have sand-boarded down an active volcano!!

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

GIVE understands the power of using volunteer work as a means to accomplish sustainable development. Not only does GIVE fully understand the power, but GIVE makes sure that our methods are carried out in the most responsible and impactful way, both for our volunteers and for our communities abroad.

GIVE not only creates incredible, life changing international experiences for our volunteers, but instills a lifestyle that can be carried on once our volunteers return home where they realize their potential and their ability to make positive changes in this world.

GIVE puts the desires of our host communities first. Nothing happens without the locals' direction and involvement. We don't go in and tell these people what they need. We sit down, have a conversation, build a relationship, and ask them what their goals are for their community and how we can work together to make these goals come to life.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

I believe that a successful company needs to bring together like-minded individuals that have different skill-sets and abilities, but the same overall goals. These individuals need to be fearless, hard-working and dedicated to their mission and to doing whatever it takes to see positive results. I believe GIVE does this across the board, tenfold.