Meet Debbie M. Vasquez, Volunteer in Thailand

Why did you decide to do the Thailand Summer Program with Volunteering Solutions? 

As an educator I have my summer’s off and for the past 3-4 summers I spent most of it volunteering as a kayak guide and youth instructor for a non-profit which provided outdoor adventures for person’s with disabilities and youth who are at-risk.

However, this past summer I wanted to make time for myself and travel abroad because starting in fall, I will be returning to graduate school to complete my degree.  I have always wanted to volunteer abroad so I started doing research on organizations that provided these opportunities.  I had chosen Volunteering Solutions because not only were they the cheapest of programs out there, they responded to my inquiries efficiently, and I really enjoyed reading the testimonials of previous volunteers and how their experiences impacted their lives.

I had chosen the Thailand Summer Program because I have been interested in learning more about Buddhism and have always dreamt of visiting Buddhist Temples in Thailand.  Volunteering Solutions’ program provided the opportunity to volunteer and travel, which was perfect for what I was looking for.
 

Describe your day to day activities.

While volunteering at the children’s home our responsibilities included helping the children with their English homework, helping staff prepare for dinner, but most of the time we just spent time playing various activities with the children (soccer, badminton, tag, arts and crafts, balloon activities, etc..) spending some time with the children.  When I was not at the children’s home I and/or a small group of us planned various outings together such as going to an elephant camp, visiting temples, visiting markets, etc… 
 

What made this experience unique and special?

Everything about this trip was special.  I made connections with fellow volunteers who I can now call my friends, gained new learning about a country and culture that I have always wanted learn more about, and it provided opportunities for reflection on my current outlook on life and how this experience has impacted the choices I will be making for my future.  One very special highlight of this experience is meeting the wonderful staff and children at the children’s center.  They brought me a lot of joy and I am truly grateful.
 

How has this experience impacted your future?

This experience provided an opportunity for me to reflect on my current outlook on life.  The knowledge that I gained and the experience of the Thai culture really made me think about how one chooses to live their life.  During my time in Thailand the people that I had interactions with (i.e. vendors, restaurant owners, etc…) were very friendly, nice, and humble, from what I observed the people’s work ethics were thought highly, people really utilized their resources, living life with simplicity, and many more important aspects of life.  This trip was definitely a life-transforming journey and I hope to take me with the lessons learned and utilize it in the decisions I make on a daily life personally, professionally, academically, holistically.
 

Any advice for the volunteers looking to come to Thailand

I can give you advice on planning and preparation such as pack light, bring light clothing, drink lots of water, bring a light rain coat, etc..  The best advice I can give you is to be open to the experience and enjoy every moment of it because it will be a life-transforming journey and it goes quickly.  Enjoy!!
 

Are you looking to volunteer abroad in the near future in any other country.

Most definitely.   I will be in graduate school for a year and a half and to celebrate that life goal I plan to volunteer abroad.  I look forward to it!!
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