Thailand: Elephant & Education Initiative™


Split your time between working with gentle Asian elephants and teaching English to children.
  • Responsibly care for elephants living at a sanctuary for rescue elephants
  • Learn about cultural, social and environmental issues related to elephant tourism
  • Meet enthusiastic Thai youth and make a difference in their lives
  • Teach English in a primary school classroom
  • Visit colorful night bazaars filled with local cuisine and handicrafts

On This Program you will...

Journey to enchanting Chiang Mai in northern Thailand, where you’ll have a chance to engage with Thai youth, as well as Asian elephants. Make unforgettable connections with Thai students through community service at a rural primary school, and take part in a cultural exchange at a local high school. Then, live alongside elephants at a sanctuary, while you learn about how to care for these animals that are an integral part of Thai culture, conservation and tourism. Cook your own fabulous cuisine, shop at bustling markets and explore the rich history and culture of Thai temples.

Your Adventure is Just Around the Corner!

Community Service

Spend one week volunteering at an elephant sanctuary, and another teaching English to local children in schools. The goal of the sanctuary is to teach these rescued animals to lead their lives as naturally as possible. Work with experts, harvest organic elephant food, feed the elephants, and help with daily tasks of the sanctuary. Then, teach English to primary school students with limited exposure to foreigners. Get to know Thai culture through your peers at a local high school. You’ll all share your cultures with one another during a cultural exchange.

Immersive Learning

After decades of exploitation, there is much work to be done to restore natural behaviors to Asian elephants. It depends on the awareness of travelers like you. Discuss complex issues regarding captive elephant welfare, tourism and conservation, and listen to experts speak on these topics. Then, reflect on the similarities and differences in education systems and culture between East and West. Learn how speaking with a native English speaker can help young learners with language skills and confidence.


There’s adventure to be found everywhere in Chiang Mai. You’ll zipline through the leafy treetops in the hillsides outside the city, learn the art of Muay Thai boxing and visit a local hill tribe, where with a little luck you may have a chance to shoot a traditional bow and arrow. At night, visit the famed Chiang Mai night bazaar, shopping for handicrafts and sampling Thai cuisine.


Students travel to two different Home Bases on this program. At the elephant sanctuary, the group stays on premises. Wake up to elephants meandering feet from your window! During the rest of the program, students stay at a boutique resort in Chiang Mai. In both Home Bases, students live with roommates and have access to shared bathrooms.

Program Type

Are you passionate about making a difference in the lives of animals?
  • Collaborate with experts on issues surrounding animal & wildlife conservation
  • Spend time up-close and personal with elephants
  • Work side-by-side with your teen animal volunteer team as you make an impact
  • Contribute to sustainable habitat projects that will help these animals to flourish

Dates & Tuition


Elephant & Education Initiative™

14-Day Program
2021 Dates
 June 17 – June 30, 2021
 July 3 – July 16, 2021
 July 19 – August 1, 2021
 August 4 – August 17, 2021
Duration: 14 days
Tuition: $3,799
Student/Staff Ratio: 6 to 1
Community Service Hours: 30
Language Hours: N/A
More Information


Tips to raise funds for your trip

Tuition Includes All In-Country Expenses Including:

  • All educational materials
  • Lodging
  • 3 meals per day
  • All in-country transportation
  • Airport pick-up/drop-off
  • Professional full-time staff and experts from the USA/Europe
  • 24/7 Parent Support Hotline during the program
  • Secondary medical and travel insurance
  • All cultural activities, lectures and weekend excursions
  • Pre-departure materials and support

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Custom Group Travel Option

Global Leadership Adventures offers open enrollment on this program to any high school student who wishes to join any of the summer session dates listed above. Students will meet other teens from around the country and the world who sign up for the same program dates and destination.

Alternatively, this program is also available as an option for custom group travel any time of the year for those looking to put together their own group trip.

GLA Custom Group Travel works with educators, group leaders, or self-led students to create a tailored experience for their specific group of 12 or more students. Select a pre-designed itinerary or select your own countries, themes, and learning objectives. GLA’s service-learning methodology is the vehicle through which students learn, grow and challenge themselves and their fellow travelers; our host communities welcome students’ energy and helping hands.

Leadership and personal growth are the core components of all of our programs, regardless of duration, destination or theme type and can be woven throughout every aspect of the experience through our intentional design as desired by the group leader. Our programs aim to ignite participants to become inspired to be the change.

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Free Program Catalog

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