By Jackson Bernard – 1 week volunteer
I’m an 18 year old from Canada who graduated from high school in 2018 and decided to travel for a year. Over the holidays I decided to travel to Southeast Asia for my first solo trip. When I first arrived in Thailand, I felt like I made the biggest mistake of my life. I was a super panicked and afraid and was in an extreme culture shock being somewhere I had never been before. I did not know the culture or language and for the first time in my life I felt alone. After some crying and some convincing I decided to still go to KSES for a week because I had already booked it in advance. As soon as I arrived I was welcomed by the awesome staff who introduced me to the family I was going to be living with for the next week. Everyone was super nice and I finally started to feel good about my trip. Within a few hours I felt 110% better about being in this new culture and was ready to start to embrace this experience.
The last two days have been incredible. On a normal day we start by hiking up in the morning to go see these 5 beautiful elephants where we observe and learn from them and all of their wisdom. After gathering some info on the elephants all of us eat lunch together in a circle, sharing all the food our home stays cooked from the morning. When lunch is finished we hike back down to the village where we can go teach English to the local children. When school is over we head back down to the village where we get some time to relax before eating dinner. We all eat dinner together in one of the homestays where we all share our meals again. We have a bit of downtime to all hangout and chat before heading to bed to start all over again.
This experience at KSES so far has been remarkable and I have loved every second of it. I arrived at KSES at one of lowest point of my life. Through welcoming me and getting to learn the local culture and language all while getting to see these magnificent elephants everyday. Everyone at KSES has made this one of the best week of my life and I’m am so thankful for it.