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Programs : Brochure

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  • Locations: Chiang Mai, Thailand
  • Program Terms: Academic Year, Fall, Maymester, Spring, Summer
  • Homepage: Click to visit
  • Program Sponsor: GVI 
Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Spring 2025 10/15/2024 ** Rolling Admission TBA TBA
Maymester 2025 01/01/2025 02/15/2025 TBA TBA
Fall 2025 03/15/2025 ** Rolling Admission TBA TBA

** Indicates rolling admission application process. Applicants will be immediately notified of acceptance into this program and be able to complete post-decision materials prior to the term's application deadline.
Program Description:

Thailand Elephants Internship - Long Term

Kick start your career on this internship in Thailand's mountainous Chiang Mai region, where you will gain invaluable skills and experience to broaden your future career options. Teach English to community members, assist with biodiversity studies of the area including bird and reptile surveys, and contribute to monitoring the reintegration of elephants into the forest, which have been relieved from the tourism industry. Experience first hand the elephant's in their natural forest habitat and observe their eating choices and interactions. Discover the unique Thai culture and lush mountains in this Northern region of Thailand.
This program is split into two parts:
First 12 weeks
You will work alongside other volunteers and learn about the day to day running of the project. In the morning you will hike into the Chiang Mai forest with the elephants and their mahouts. Although you will be able to enjoy hiking with the elephants five days of the week, the rotation of the internship programs means your responsibilities will shift during the course of your stay. In the afternoons you will return to base where there will be presentations on a variety of topics such as the history of elephants in the village, how to collect data, and the Karen culture. During this first 12 weeks you will also go through leadership training sessions with staff and participate in discussions and lectures surrounding conservation. Our elephant conservation internship will allow you to work closely with our elephant herd, their mahouts and the local community in an effort to promote sustainable eco-tourism.

Final 12 weeks
You will either be on an internal work placement in the village, where you will assist the staff in leading project activities as well as introducing your own development project, or you may have the opportunity to go on an external placement with another similar project in Thailand.  While each program has many established aspects, interns are encouraged to develop their own ideas and introduce new aspects to these programs.

All internships are geared at building your leadership skills, allowing you to develop a variety of key soft and hard skills that will put you a step ahead the rest of the pack. These skills are vital in expanding your career opportunities, giving you an advantage. 
GVI Chiang Mai is based in Huay Pakoot is a small Karen hill tribe village situated in a remote mountainous area, approximately five hours from Chiang Mai city center. The village offers a unique experience to volunteers, from getting to know the locals to spending hours in the forest, which is right on its doorstep. Currently there are about 400,000 Karen people living in Thailand, with roughly 400 living in Huay Pakoot. This close-knit farming community has been located in the same area for over 300 years.

  • Learn about elephant history, behaviour, training, biology, social interactions and more.
  • Have the incredible opportunity to observe elephants in their natural habitat.
  • Learn about elephants from the local Karen community, who have worked alongside elephants for centuries.
  • Take part in biodiversity programs and night time wildlife survey
  • If staying 8 weeks or longer you will complete your Biological Survey Techniques training and qualification
  • See the elephants in a more natural setting, interacting with the forest, the mahouts and each other as a semi wild herd.
  • Earn your GVI ILM Leadership Development certificate, a qualification recognised by the Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM).
If applying for this program to obtain credit from an institution, GVI can supply learning outcomes and support in the application.
For more information, check out our video //