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Cultural Cultivation through Service

It was another successful season for the study and service groups this year. The general focus was to learn about Thai culture and also to help fulfill direct needs within the Andaman Discoveries community and partner networks. The group participants showed a willingness to be adaptable, respectful and energetic when working with the locals, allowing them to immerse in the culture and have a meaningful experience. It is always a special experience to have like-minded people come together for a sustainable cause. A special thanks to everybody who was involved in the programs and we hope to see you again next year!

Let’s take a look at the journeys the groups went on. You can see the variety of programs that Andaman Discoveries can customize for learning, service, cultural or personal objectives. If you are interested in these customized study and service trips.

Linfield College- Returned for a study trip to learn about the Thai medical system, comparing the public and private sectors.  They also had a homestay experience in the village of Ban Tale Nok where

Homestay visit

Homestay visit

they tried their hand at making Batik, Thai Snacks and even fishing on the beach with the locals.

“I had a great experience here! I learned so much and I really appreciate the work of the guides and host families. Ii was exciting to be immersed in a new culture. I loved the activities and food. Thank you Andaman Discoveries.”

“The villagers were all so friendly and interested in helping our group understand their way of life. It has been a great cultural experience for our students.”

 

Phuket International Academy- Returne

Art work

Art work

d for the second year to complete a trip to learn about river systems, directly relating to the local communities. This entailed travelling to the beautiful Cheow Lan Lake in Khao Sok National Park and interviewing the dam officials and also community members. By creating an outdoor and real experience the students were able to see the connections between the natural world and local communities.

“Thank you so much to the Andaman Discoveries team. You were awesome, helpful and calm.”

 

 KIS International School from Bangkok- Returned for the fourth year.  They focused on service

Outdoor activities

Outdoor activities

activities with the local Burmese Community organized by the Foundation for Education and Development based out of Khao Lak and also outdoor exploration at the beautiful Khao Sok National Park.  They enjoyed cave exploration, kayaking and swimming. The local guide was able to point out wildlife and also give a history of the Lake so the students had a better understanding of its originals and impact.

“Thank you very much for the valuable experience”

 

Integral Travel- Returned to participate in a cultural program with a focus on massage and yoga. This group really gives back when they come and share their skills with the locals. When they were in Ban Tale Nok homestay, they gave traditional massages to the local people and also taught yoga to the students! They also travelled to Koh Surin and enjoyed free time to relax and practice independent yoga and massage. One day they headed out for a one day Koh Surin Moken Experience for snorkeling and cultural immersion that entailed learning how to row the traditional Moken rowboat and also how to spear fish.

“Amazing hospitality, friendly, kind, compassionate people. Beautiful places and people”

“The food was so amazing and our host family kind and gracious”

“It was a great experience, and Experience that would not have been possible without Andaman Discoveries”

Hilversum School from the Netherlands- Returned for the fourth year to focus on their CAS (community and service work) project. For three days they immersed in a homestay in the Village of Ban Tale Nok. They ate delicious traditional Southern Thai food, took a trip to the unoccupied Gam islands and also learned how to weave roof panels from the Nippa Palm leaf. They aided the Burmese Learning Center in building a secondary step to the school and also Home and Life orphanage spackling walls and doing riverbed reconstruction.

Homestay Family

Homestay Family

“I loved that we were so involved in the culture and had the opportunity to interact with the local people. I liked that the work we did was something that the local people actually wanted and needed. I really loved and enjoyed it a lot”

“I had an absolutely amazing time! I loved all the opportunities to experience the Thai culture in different ways. I got to see how kindhearted all the people are and how they opened their homes to us and shared everything.”

 

Service Project and Outdoor Exploration Group- They began with a homestay program in Ban Tale Nok Village where they began to learn about the importance of the Mangrove ecosystems from this community that was so drastically affected by the Tsunami.  Then they participated in a jungle hike to a waterfall at Ton Kloy village. They were led by local guides who pointed out plants, elephant dung and the sleeping area of wild elephants. At the end of the hike, the group enjoyed a picnic lunch and swimming gin the refreshing waters of waterfall.  On the way to the hotel, they stopped at the Natural hot springs in Ranong to sooth tired muscled from the hike.

The service project had an environmental conservation focus specifically relating to mangrove reforestation in Kapoe, Ranong. The school group filled a direct need that a conservation community group had.  Each year, the mangrove forests produces seedlings around the month of March, allowing for extensive reforestation and conservation work to take place, which can be taxing for a small conservation group to tackle alone. The school group helped in every step of the conservation process from filling planter bags with dirt to gathering seedlings in knee deep mangrove mud to replanting the seedlings. It was also the first year that Andaman Discoveries has sent a group for this type of conservation project and we are happy to have made a strong connection with yet another amazing community group!

“This was an awesome experience for my students, colleague and I. I would highly recommend Andaman Discoveries for school groups who are looking for a non-commercial experience.”

“The activities organized were very meaningful and in line with the needs of the group. It was a wonderful experience working with the Andaman Discoveries Staff organizing the various activities and they were very supportive”

“Getting to know the culture better was amazing and spending time with my homestay family was life changing. The many activities that we did in and out of the village were so fun! I love knowing that I helped the environment by participating in the service project as well”

“This was definitely the best traveling experience I have ever had. I immersed myself into a completely new culture from what I’m used to thanks to Andaman Discoveries.”

“The village was amazing, the generosity of the people and willingness to help and provide for us was truly touching. I’ve never experienced anything like this before and it has changed my life in the most positive way possible.”

Berkeley International School from Bangkok- This school integrated a service project with outdoor exploration. Two days were spent at the Burmese Learning Center in Kuraburi leveling off the playground for a safer environment. They finished their journey at Khao Sok National Park and Lake

building a step

building a step

where they enjoyed learning about the local ecosystems and also participated in wildlife safaris.

“The trip was amazing. The people were great and the overall experience was perfect. We got to experience the local community and enjoyed it.”

“Overall it was an amazing experience, very authentic and varied in its activities. Thank you so much Andaman Discoveries.”

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