Discover the natural and cultural beauty of Thailand during this epic five-week experience. Provide elephant care at a sanctuary. Gain hands-on experience with education, animal welfare, marine biology and conservation. Help teach English to Buddhist monks. Journey from lush Chiang Mai to tropical Koh Tao, also known as "Turtle Island," to the bustling city of Bangkok.



  • Teach novice Buddhist monks English as a Second Language
  • Responsibly care for elephants living at a sanctuary for rescue elephants
  • Learn about cultural, social and environmental issues related to elephant tourism
  • Snorkel and kayak in crystal clear waters and get plenty of beach time — including a visit to Koh Madsum (“Pig Island”)
  • Support artificial reef creation and environmental clean-ups
  • Explore three distinct locales across the country

This program runs an extended 33 days, of which the first 10-14 days are spent at a comfortable Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ) hotel in Bangkok. ASQ is a period of mandatory quarantine residence for arriving international visitors at Government-accredited hotels. The length of the quarantine period (between 10-14 days) is pending final government policy ahead of the program start date.

The remaining portion of the program includes travel and immersion throughout various regions of Thailand.

The GLA Programs Team has worked with local partners to ensure this quarantine experience is top-notch, with impressive accommodations and a built-in program orientation period. After a negative COVID test on or around day 5, students will be free to utilize the hotel’s outdoor common areas, like its beautiful rooftop relaxation garden.

Please see the Quarantine section below for more details.



Program Overview

On this program you will travel to Thailand to find out why it’s known as “The Land of Smiles”. As you journey from Chiang Mai to Koh Tao to Bangkok, you’ll learn from experts about the importance of English education, the nuances around elephant tourism and the importance of environmental stewardship in sustaining Thailand’s natural wonders.

After a 10-14 day quarantine (Thailand has kept its COVID numbers very low by enforcing stringent travel restrictions!), you’ll get to explore the country in a way few visitors do — guided by local experts and without hordes of other tourists!



Community Service

Spend time volunteering at an elephant sanctuary, teaching English to novice Buddhist monks and supporting marine conservation efforts both in the water and on land.

The goal of the elephant 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 Buddhist monks at a temple monastery school and get to know more about Buddhism and Thai culture through your peers at a local high school. You’ll all share your cultures with one another during a cultural exchange. Finally, you’ll support marine conservation efforts on an island in the south of Thailand. Learn about, help design and create artificial reefs to provide marine life an area in which to live and thrive. Clean up local beach areas that have been inundated with plastic waste brought by tourists and learn how to better protect our environment and oceans everywhere.

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. Partnering with Big Blue Diving, you’re going to learn all about marine biology and conservation in Thailand. Hear about environmental changes that come from human activity and how you can support marine restoration efforts. And of course we can’t forget the Thai cultural learning that you’ll be immersed in — from iconic temple visits to a Thai cooking course to a Thai massage to learn its health benefits, you’ll learn every step along the way.


There’s adventure to be found everywhere in Thailand, from Bangkok and Koh Tao to Chiang Mai.

You’ll 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. On Koh Tao, it’s all about the water. You’ll snorkel, kayak and spend plenty of time on the beach (while wearing your reef-safe sunscreen, of course!) You’ll boat over to Koh Madsum (“Pig Island”), where you’ll snorkel in turquoise waters and share the beach with native pigs who swam their way there. Go on a jungle hike, where you can help clean up the local environment along the way. In Bangkok, you’ll visit world-renowned temples and have a chance to explore Thailand’s bustling capital, known for arts, culture and history.


Students travel to different Home Bases on this program.

Your lodging in Bangkok and Koh Tao will be an exclusive hotel block used only by our students and staff. Home Base in Chiang Mai will be villas used by students and staff on our program. Students will stay in gender-segregated rooms and have access to showers and western-style toilets. Three meals a day will be provided.

The first 10-14 days includes quarantine at a nice hotel and accommodations. Please see the section below for more details.


Upon your arrival in Thailand, you will be greeted and picked up by GLA staff. You will then spend 10-14 days at a comfortable Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ) hotel in Bangkok. ASQ is a period of mandatory quarantine residence for arriving international visitors at Government-accredited hotels.

The length of the quarantine period (between 10-14 days) is pending an update on Thai government policy ahead of the program start date.

You and the group will arrive to Bangkok, Thailand’s capital city, where you’ll be greeted by GLA staff before getting escorted to a resort-like Alternative State Quarantine (ASQ) hotel. ASQ is a period of mandatory quarantine residence for arriving international visitors at Government-accredited hotels.

The quarantine period will include online group learning in preparation for the rest of the program, as well as an orientation to Thai language and culture. Students will stay in their own rooms, but in the same hall as other students and GLA staff. After a negative COVID test on or around Day 5, students will be free to utilize the hotel’s outdoor common areas, like its rooftop relaxation garden.

Students will have a full amenities kit in their room, along with daily temperature and health monitoring, access to a 24-hour registered nurse at the hotel, free high-speed WiFi (enjoy it now, while you can!) and a selection of hotel-provided activities to learn something new. With everything available to you and our online group learning, we think this quarantine experience will fly by for students!

Check out the above video for a sneak peek at what your lodging and accommodations will be like during the first 10-14 days of your program while in quarantine.



Dates & Tuition

Everything you need to know before you apply.

33-Day Signature Program
Ages 14-19
2021 Dates
JUN 26 – JUL 28, 2021
Duration: 33 days
Tuition: $6,999
Student/Staff Ratio: 8 to 1
Community Service Hours: 40
Language Hours: N/A
For Ages: 14-19
Lodging: Villas and Exclusive Hotel Block

Tuition Includes All In-Country Expenses

  • Airport pick-up/drop-off
  • In-country transportation
  • Lodging
  • 3 meals per day
  • 2 internal flights within Thailand
  • Professional full-time staff and experts
  • Educational materials
  • 24/7 parent support hotline during the program
  • Secondary medical and evacuation insurance
  • Cultural activities, lectures and excursions
  • Pre-departure materials and support
  • 10-14 day quarantine stay, including lodging, meals and health checks with all amenities included

To save your spot, a $600 deposit and $95 application fee are required.

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