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Thailand Conservation Course

Contribute to vital conservation efforts while learning about Thailand's unique ecosystem

Jump into terrestrial conservation efforts in Phang Nga province, Thailand. Learn about the biodiversity of the surrounding environment, contribute towards essential biodiversity studies, and help at a local turtle rehabilitation center.

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Course Overview

This inter-disciplinary course, accredited by universities and colleges around the world, introduces students to international service-learning and sustainable development, both in content and practice, in Phang Nga, Thailand.

Through lectures, discussion, research, service, and reflection (beginning two weeks prior to their departure and continuing two weeks after their return home), students in this course engage in meaningful, context-driven service-learning at home and abroad. Emphasis will be placed on relating long-term project goals with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and engaging in daily reflection surrounding the experience, which will be lead by qualified group facilitators who are trained to enhance individual student development. The course curriculum will be tailored to your students’ academic needs as well as any faculty requirements.

A GVI service-learning course provides students with access to skill development and practical experience while engaging with a rigorous curriculum. By participating in this course, students will be prepared and encouraged to discuss and contribute to solutions for critical global issues related to sustainable development, within a local community and alongside an international team. By providing students the opportunity to live and work within the “classroom” of their chosen field of study, they will develop professional capacities associated with intercultural competency, global citizenship, teamwork, problem-solving, and leadership.

For full details of the curriculum, you can download our Service Learning Curriculum PDF here.

Learning Objectives

Participants in this course will:

  • Experience global learning contexts associated with international service-learning
  • Learn about the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and how they are implemented both domestically and abroad;
  • Explore their role as a development actor through in-country service-learning and reflection;
  • Develop greater intercultural competency, global awareness, and a sense of global citizenship; and
  • Build personal and professional capacities of writing, reflection, communication, flexibility, adaptability, teamwork, leadership, and problem-solving.


The Project

The objectives for each GVI project are based on specific United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. In Phang Nga, students will largely contribute to pre-established environmental monitoring and research initiatives by collecting and reporting critical data. Emphasis will also be placed on increasing awareness surrounding pertinent conservation issues and knowledge of the local environment. These initiatives collectively incorporate the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals listed below:

  • SDG no.6: Ensure access to water and sanitation for all
  • SDG no.7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all
  • SDG no.12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
  • SDG no.13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impact
  • SDG no.15: Sustainable manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, halt biodiversity loss.

The program will focus on gaining a better understanding of the local ecosystem in Phang Nga and preserving it’s biodiversity. Other elements that may be examined are water security, climate energy, and access to clean energy. Students will critically examine their individual and collective impact by asking pertinent questions in order to evaluate their successes and challenges. They will receive continuous support from qualified staff members, who will help relate and connect the students involvement with the community development projects and the SDG’s.

Please note that courses can tailored to a group’s in-class curriculum; however, specific work will always be dependent on the needs of the community and our local partners at the time.


GVI’s Thailand project is located in Phang Nga Province, two hours North of Phuket, with the Andaman Sea to the West and Phang Nga Bay to the south. The province is blessed with an abundance of natural resources, numerous national parks, and beautiful scenery. The area is known for its white sandy beaches, tropical islands, majestic limestone rock formations, and of course, the warm hospitality of Thai locals.

Example Itinerary:

This course varies in duration, depending on project requirements as well as cultural expeditions or activities. The below outlines a one week course; however, your in-country service can run for as many weeks as set by your academic curriculum, objectives, and requirements.


Two weeks prior to departure, students will be assigned readings and assignments. These assignments make sure they have a basic cultural understanding of Cape Town and it’s local conservation-based issues; a foundational understanding of international service learning and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals; and begin a dialogue surrounding global engagement. Materials will be chosen based on collaboration with the group’s educational leader to ensure the work fits within the group’s in-class curriculum.


Day 1- Arrival at Phuket Airport, Transfer and Orientation

You will be met at Phuket airport by a GVI staff member or appointed representative. The group will travel immediately to the project location In Phang Nga province. Students will be accommodated in dorm-style rooms or homestays and will have a chance in the afternoon to relax and settle into their rooms and new surroundings.

In the afternoon there will be an initial welcome presentation and introduction to the GVI staff, history and background of the projects, as well as a health and safety breakdown. The group will then head out for an orientation tour to learn a bit more about the local area and language. In the evening, a reflection period will take place in which participants debrief and review their initial reactions and observations on the experience and location.

Day 2-5- Daily Structure: Service, Education, and Reflection

The exact project will be based on the requirements of our local partners at the time. The group can expect to be involved in a variety of environmental awareness activities, discussions and lectures. This may include sea turtle nesting research and conservation, biodiversity surveying in nearby National Parks, involvement at the local turtle rehabilitation center where you get the exciting chance to clean small turtles with toothbrushes, beach cleans, and environmental discussions with local community and school groups.

All service elements will be connected to a greater understanding of the cultural context in which the students are working. Assignments, in the form of lectures, readings, written response papers, journal entries, group presentations, and miscellaneous creative projects will be conducted daily to enhance student learning from their service involvement. Daily reflection sessions will act as the bridge that connects and helps to synthesize the many aspects of the experience.

Particular emphasis will be placed on the ways in which participants are working towards achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Students will critically examine their part in this process, by analyzing their contributions, challenges, and observations.

Day 6- Cultural Day 

Understanding the complexity of the local culture is a key component of a service-learning trip, and will be emphasized with a Thai cultural day. Activities will be dependent on the educational needs of the group. Options include mangrove forest planting, a visit to a rubber plantation plot (which is a large part of local economy in Southern Thailand), a local handicraft-making session, a Thai cooking class, a visit to Khao Sok National Park, or the stunning Cheow Larn Lake.

Day 7- A Fond Farewell

GVI field staff transfer the team back to the airport and bid them a fond farewell! GVI will endeavour to keep the group informed of any updates there might be in the field and with particular reference to the projects participants contributed to during their time in Thailand.


Students will continue to engage with active reflection and educational expansion two weeks after leaving Cape Town, with emphasis placed on incorporating the international experience, and insights gained which are then applied to the students’ home context. Assignments will involve generating ideas to continue global engagement, connecting the experience to personal and career goals, and reflecting on the insights gained while in the field.

What’s Included

  • A dedicated trip co-ordinator
  • Pre-departure information
  • Flight bookings service on request
  • Accommodation
  • In-country support
  • Group leader
  • Insurance on request
  • 24/7 back up and support
  • Food and drinking water
  • First aid equipment
  • Comprehensive health and safety procedures (Emergency Action Plans and Risk Assessments)
  • In-country transport costs
  • Access to local medical facilities
  • Up-to-date safety and country information
  • Highly experienced and well qualified GVI field staff

What’s Not Included

  • Visas
  • Vaccinations
  • Personal kit
  • Additional spending money
  • Flights

Please note prices are subject to seasonal fluctuation and will vary depending upon the needs of the group. **Optional extras include travel insurance and flight services

Course Details


Asia – Thailand – Phang Nga


3 months

Course Focus

Marine Conservation

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7 Day PDF


14 Day PDF


Personally, I would like to say even words cannot describe how incredIble this unique experience has been for me.  The project that GVI gave me has surprisingly changed my perspective of the whole globe in a positive way.

Sarika Pabari

Thailand Conservation 2014, UK

“My time in Thailand was an amazing, magical and humbling experience. Working here taught me a lot about Thai community. It really broadened my cultural perspective and global understanding through exploring Ban Nam Khem and the rest of Thailand, but also exploring myself.”

Austin Liang, Sunnyvale USA

Duke University, Thailand 2016

I still feel like the culmination of everything I’ve experienced has definitely taught me valuable lessons. I got valuable fieldwork experience for conservation work, but I also got so much more than that. I have learned about Thai culture and its major contrasts with American culture, and I definitely will go home with the goal of living a more friendly, thankful and slower paced, more appreciative life. The past 8 weeks have flown by, and I’m extremely sad to be leaving. I really hope to come back to Thailand someday, if only to remind myself of what I experienced the first time.

Eva May, Atlanta USA

Duke University, Thailand 2016

Interested in this exciting opportunity?

Get in touch, and secure your future by learning the right way.

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