How it works! Volunteering Thailand

Posted on August 26, 2014Posted by Steve Williams

Volunteering In Thailand

“So, how’s that work then?”

That’s a question we’re asked frequently by people we meet all the time here in Thailand. So I’m guessing that it’s probably something people want to know. It’s a genuine question, especially for somebody who’s looking to do this for the first time and realises it’s a bit of a minefield; where do you start looking, how do you know what’s right for you, what’s involved etc. Here’s a brief breakdown of what you do, what we do, how it’s done and how you can make the most of it.

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Firstly you want to consider the type of project that’s right for you. If you’re not a ‘kiddie’ person then perhaps you should stay away from teaching or any child development type projects. If you’re not an outdoor, hands dirty type then any development type work may not be for you. Take a while to seriously consider these options as ultimately choosing the wrong project may result in you not having the best possible time, not giving 100% to the work and seeing it as a waste of time. If you have no preferences either way, why not ask if you can volunteer on a combination of projects and give your support to more and more people, communities, animals etc.

Once you’ve decided the type of volunteering in Thailand that you want to undertake, consider how long you think you can dedicate to the project. Do you only have a couple of weeks available? Is this something you will do as a part of an extended trip? Do you want to give 100% of your ‘holiday’ time to volunteering? Don’t feel guilty about only giving a short time, or 50% of your trip to this. At Bamboo we’re happy to have volunteers join us for any length of time as the work you do will impact the people we support for a very long time.

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Much of the time you can spend at a project will depend on your budget. To help with this look in to what’s included in the placement fee. Arguably the biggest single daily cost a volunteer has is food. Does your project include any meals? Are you expected to feed yourself 100% of the time? What about any additional activities? Are your daily transfers included and what about accommodation? Take a while to consider your daily budget and don’t cut corners. If you’re secretly a chocoholic, how much will you spend daily on this? Are there any local tours you specifically want to do? Add all of this in to your budget and that will help you to formulate a daily spend limit.

So you’ve chosen your project type, you know how long you want to volunteer for and you have a good idea of your daily budget. The next point to consider is where do you be located? For example, with Bamboo you can be a volunteer teacher in a very rural location, a mountainous village setting or on an island. Which location appeals the most to you? Also consider your free time activities. If you want to spend your weekends lying on a beach, you’re not going to want to be located in the mountains! Remember, you’re going to be there for a number of weeks so you want your surroundings to be comfortable. If you really can’t decide between the mountains and the beach, can you do both projects and get the best of both worlds?

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Finally, look at the support you receive from the organization you are planning to volunteer with. At Bamboo, 76% of our volunteers are single, independent travellers who want as much support as they can get. We offer an unrivaled support network from the moment a volunteer steps off the plane. From the very top, our team is highly experienced, English speaking and genuinely lovely people. We are with our volunteers each and every day to ensure that they understand everything that’s happening and why. We are mother, father, sister, brother, best friend, counsellor, travel buddy and more to everybody regardless of who they are, chosen project, age, background etc. If we get annoying, tell us to back off. We wont’ be offended, we just want you to feel a part of the Bamboo family!

So these are the five main points to consider when looking at volunteering. Remember, you’re doing this to help others but also for yourself. We want you to get as much from your placement as your placement gets from you. We can advise you on what we feel will be the perfect match and give you more detailed information on the projects, the locations, free time activities, support, travel and so on. Just ask and we’ll be happy to advise.

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