I discovered AEI a couple years ago while doing research in preparation for my year abroad. I am a massive animal lover, and am extremely passionate about ecotourism, therefor when I came across this incredible organization it almost felt too good to be true. After speaking with Heather, I decided on 3 months in Australia working with sea turtles and 3 months in Thailand working with the Elephants and Wildlife. AEI was INCREDIBLY helpful in all aspects of planning. I had never traveled abroad alone before so I was quite nervous to be planning this massive trip. This 6 month adventure turned in to me spending 2 years abroad, and visiting more than 18 countries! I had no idea that this trip would change my life in the way it did.
This rescue center is truly one of a kind. The treatment of the animals, the diversity of the species, the hands on work with the elephants, and the incredible friends you make is an experience like none other. I was lucky enough that as a long term volunteer I was able to attend an elephant rescue, and witness with my own eyes taking her out of her life of torture and settling into her new free home. It was without a doubt the most breathtaking experience I have ever witnessed. I was lucky enough to be asked to return as a Tour and Educational guide where I lived there for another year, watching many amazing animals be rescued and I was able to education people on the horrors these animals face on a daily basis.
None of this would have been possible without the immense support of Heather and Nora, and I can not thank them enough for the life changing opportunities they have provided me with!!