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Fifteen Weeks in Thailand | An Internship Like No Other

March 4, 2020

The Green Lion

By Chloé Ghijselings, Belgium.

Hi everyone! My name is Chloé Ghijselings and I am 20. Currently I am an interior design student. In order to graduate we are requested to follow an internship with an interior designer or an architect. The thing is, I wasn’t feeling ready to just do my internship behind a desk for three months. I wanted to learn more about the building site. Because I wanted a more practice oriented internship, I decided to look for volunteering. I’ve always been passionate about other communities and learning about them. After looking for sometime, I finally found The Green Lion. They had different building projects in Thailand, South Africa, Philippines and Ecuador (- in the time space where I needed to do my internship). After discussion and consideration, I decided to do my internship in Thailand. Before booking everything, I first had to have the agreement of my school. When I got the green light, I booked everything and counted down ‘till my departure day. I remember being really nervous the day of my departure because I was all alone. But after calming down, I convinced myself that it was good for me to go on this solo adventure. It would help me with my shyness and shape the person I want to become.

I remember arriving in Bangkok, it was so hot! I was wondering if I could get used to this heat and I actually I did, after a month I think. The climate in Belgium is so different that my body needed time to adapt. I was also really nervous because I was tired, I didn’t sleep so well on my flights. After meeting the first volunteers who arrived the same day as me, I felt more comfortable. I was so glad when we finally got in Singburi. It was still hot, but at least I had a bed to lay in now. I tried to rest, but with the heat, it was kinda difficult.

September 9, 2019. My first Monday of my four month experience. We visited Singburi and I got to know the other volunteers. Tuesday was my first day at the temple school program. I was really excited to see what we would do. In my first few weeks of temple school, we mostly mixed cement, laid cement and build walls. I felt satisfied after mixing for the first time cement – by hand (with tools of course). We also painted a lot – and for someone who thinks that they can’t draw, I really surprised myself. The memorable thing about the school were these kids. They were so grateful that we helped the school. They always wanted to play with us and give us hugs. These kids were absolutely adorable. I did temple school for about 13 weeks. I felt satisfied with the knowledge I had gained from building walls, mixing cement, even tiling a surface! I gained more confidence in my own skills.

In my second week I went to the Ahka Tribe. I thought it would be interesting for my internship to see how the difference of living is between the north of Thailand and Singburi. I went there with two other volunteers and I had an amazing week. Even though I had a cold during that week, I still had so much fun. Our coordinator was so funny and really taught us a lot about the Ahka tribe and their culture. I really enjoyed the trekking in the jungle. I pushed my personal boundaries and I was very proud of myself. Something I also really enjoyed was the day we spent at a locals house. It was really instructive and really nice to be around them for a whole day. Sometime I still miss from there, are the incredible views. I could never get bored by the beautiful views – and it was even better and sundown.

In my eight week, I participated in the recycle week. I was interested by the plastic problems, not only in Thailand. Plastic and design are at the moment a really hot topic. The coordinators needed help to finish their workshop for the visit of a jury. They were selected to win an award – they created a small device to sort each plastic kind. The intention of developing this devices was to encourage people to recycle – RIGHT – on a household level. I thought it was a really good idea and was really excited to help them out. We were three volunteers and got the workshop finished for the visit of the jury. It was a really exciting day and I am really glad I had the chance to participate in this beautiful project. It was a kind of project that really woke me up from a reality I thought was alright and true. I learned so much about recycling plastics, the kinds that exists, but also about how Europe treat their own trash. It motivated me to take back everything I learned with me and tell others about this.

It has been a beautiful 15 weeks of internship, not only because of this amazing work I could do for others, but also because of all these friends I made from around the world. They made my experience ten times better because without them, I wouldn’t have the crazy stories to tell about. Thank you my friends, for partying together every two weeks in Bangkok. For the many nights we laughed so hard I could barely breath. For celebrating my birthday with me in Thailand – a birthday I will never forget.

Thank you the Green Lion Thailand staff for everything you did for every volunteer. You guys do a great work and you are also an important part that makes this adventure so beautiful and awesome. I miss you guys,

Much love,

Chloé.

The Green Lion

We hope you enjoy reading about the experiences of other travelers. If you are travelling with us right now and have a great story to share, please reach out to us :)

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