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The Westcoast Connection Blog

Life Changing Experiences

From Smiles to Trunks in Chiang Rai – Thailand Community Service

Hello from Chiang Rai!
After our time in Bangkok, we flew up to Chiang Rai, which is in the northern region of Thailand. Upon arrival, we went and rode elephants through the countryside- and everyone was AMAZED! It was such a fun experience. Eric’s elephant was the hungriest of the bunch and tried to eat off of every tree we passed- he defiantly had the most scenic views! Meryl may become a professional elephant rider in the future, as she was the first to take the reins- with help from the guide of course!
The next day, we started our community service at the Chaing Rai Special School. We had an incredibly warm welcome from the school. The principal gave us an introduction to the programs the school offers, and we were provided homemade snacks and drinks that the students made in their vocational training. From there, we started painting murals on the dormitories that the principal had sketched out for us. This project was a perfect match for our resident artist Haley B! Abby and Lauren F. were so determined to make sure the murals came out perfectly- and they did! (You can see these pictures in our most recent photo upload.)
We came back the day after to complete the service project. Rachel put the finishing touches on the large mural we finished the day before, while Perri and Andy worked hard on the last dormitory. We finished our time at this school running an activity fair for the students. When you looked around, you could see Sammi and Georgia dancing with the students- they even taught them the Westcoast Connection / 360 Student Travel “move.” Jordan was teaching the students the alphabet in English, while Ali was blowing up balloons and entertaining the students surrounding her. Hayley H. was coloring with a small group, and Jeremy made a new friend who loved to play counting games with him. It was a real special experience. We found ways to communicate via our similarities, music, and smiles.
While it is true that we have been working hard, we have also been having a ton of fun! Carly, and Lauren K. loved the Thai massages… and everyone gets a kick out of Becca’s impressions and Haiku’s!
We will be heading to smaller villages tomorrow… this will be the start of our most authentic Thai experiences- no 3G or wifi! We will be sure to send an update as soon as we are able to.
The Westcoast Blogger

Do you want to be part of this community service program? Check out our Thailand trips for students and get ready for the experience of a lifetime with Westcoast Connection.