Yet again I was lucky enough to get another internship experience and this time with Save the Elephants Foundation. This is going to be another exciting challenge for me especially the fact that it’s in Thailand. This opportunity came to me in a short notice which was a bit overwhelming, but with a good summer start I am able to take it on with pleasure.
Learning from the website, the organization mainly focuses on elephant rehabilitation programs, sustainable ecotourism as well as community outreach to local people in Thailand . Founder of the organization is Sangduen Lek, who has been a passionate advocate for elephants from a very young age, was able to create a unique sustainable and safe tourist experience where elephants are away from cruelty and human rides, but instead they are able to spend a day or more providing help by doing activities such as preparing food for them, bathing and having long strolls around the park. This experience for volunteers and visitors takes place at the Elephants Nature Park. However, the sanctuary is only one of the big projects that SEF leads. Other projects include Cambodian Wildlife Sanctuary, Surin Project, Journey to Freedom, etc.
From the past interns I have learned that each individual went through a different journey and the tasks that they had to do highly varied from want the intern desired and what the supervisor wanted them to do. For example, the most recent intern for summer wanted to obtain more editing and filming skills so he spent more time with the camera crew out in different projects, whereas last year’s intern was mostly working for park facilitation. As for me, I am hoping to work more with outreach and interactions with visitors and incoming volunteers. I have realized through my internship with Oregon Sea Grant that I enjoy communicating with people and taking more creative approach to address a certain issue. I want to help with creating education materials for ongoing projects and coming up with better communication strategies. Since I will be spending quiet a lot of my time in the park I am hoping to learn more about the ecosystem, water, and invasive species in near Chiang Mai and report it by making blog posts on our website. These are some of my prior goals upon arrival, but it will probably change once I actually start working.
The fact that the internship will take place in Thailand will be another test itself and I mean it in a positive way. I think it is important to observe and compare how different countries operate their organizations and see where I can contribute myself as a source. I would like to take a challenge for myself on creating information such as handouts or educational programs that I have learned at Oregon Sea Grant and applying it to my work at Save the Elephants Foundation . The possibilities are endless at this point and my goals will probably change on the way but I looking forward to this opportunity.