I first heard about Loop Abroad when an ad for the “Vet Service” trip popped up on my facebook newsfeed. I immediately called my mother and said “Mom, I’m going to Thailand this summer.” While my mom and my dad were skeptical about the trip, we did proceed to set up a phone interview with Addam, one of Loop’s Founders and directors. He answered all my questions and even recommend that I talk to previous students. My parents were still skeptical, first for my safety and then for the cost. However after more phone calls and emails with Addam and Jane, Loop’s other Founder and director, my parents really felt safe letting me travel to Thailand with Loop!
I did find out about Loop Abroad in May so it left very little time for fundraising. However, with the finical aid I received and my determined fundraising skills I was able to cover the cost of the trip with no finical burden. To be honest spending some money that I had saved for years on this trip was the best decision and “purchase” that I have ever made!
A few weeks before our trip Loop sent out an email with the names of other students that would be in our group. We all immediately reached out to each other through Facebook and Email. Upon meeting at the airport we all clicked right away! One thing that I love about Loop Abroad is that we fly out of the country with one of their staff members. This really helped me and others feel safer; especially when many of us were going out of the country for the very first time.
The flights and the layover times were great bonding experiences. And we all became friends by the first layover. When we landed in Chaing Mai we were greeted at the airport by Addam, and got to take Tuk Tuks to the Spicy Thai. Spicy Thai became out home for the first week. Spicy is an amazing hostel and Aum and Noom are amazing hostess.
My group spend the first week volunteering at The ARK. There we taught by Hannah one of Loop’s Vets. She taught us so much! I got to do physical exams, give vaccines, draw blood, and assist in surgery! By the time I started my first semester in college after my trip to Thailand, I was ahead of many of my classmates. Surgery Day at ARK was by far one of my favorite days! We neutered 3 dogs! Between the 6 of us we each got to rotate through different roles in surgery! During the week we also got to know many of the dogs at the Shelter. By the end of the week we all had our favorites! My favorite by far was NaKorn who we named Winn Dixe prior to knowing his name.
Our week wasn’t just spend doing volunteer work, we also got to learn a little bit about the culture. We went to many different markets, but my favorite was the Night Bazar. You can’t really leave any Thai Market without a pair a famous pair of Thai Pants. At the end of our first week everyone had at least 2 or 3 pairs of Thai pants. Another activity that we did one night was going to a monk chat! It was so awesome! We got to help the Monks practice English while they got to teach us about their culture. We learned that our Monk was secretly loving all of T-Swifts music! His favorite song was 15!
During the weekend we spent the days traveling around Chaing Mai! We visited the Chaing Doi caves and Temples. The caves were amazing! I had never been in a cave prior and these were just gorgeous! Though we visited many temples, they were all so special and so unique.
Another one of my favorite adventures was going to the Tiger Kingdom. I got to bottle feed a tiger cub!! Who else can say that!? Who can say they have kissed a tiger before!? Well if you go to Thailand you’ll be able to too!!!! In addition to the caves and Tiger Kingdom we also visited the Orchid and Butterfly garden. I had never been to a butterfly garden before, so naturally I had never really seen so many butterflies before!
My group also went on a hike to another beautiful temple and a waterfall! Pictures don’t do justice sometimes! On Monday my group travel to Elephant Nature Park and got to work alongside vets treating elephants! ENP really isn’t JUST elephants, you can find animals of all kinds at the ENP!
At the end of the 2 weeks I wasn’t ready to travel back home! Chaing Mai is beautiful and the friendships that I made with not only my group, but also other Loop groups and Loops staff are amazing, I wasn’t ready to say “see you later.”
Traveling to Thailand with Loop Abroad was truly the best thing that I have chosen to do!! I not only had the best time of my life, but I also learned so much that has been beneficial to my education. Everyone should apply, even if it’s not on the vet trip, Loop Abroad is a life altering experience. Any High School or College student should travel with Loop!!!