Charlotte Harris on her Trip to Thailand:
"In the middle of last year I decided that I didn’t want to do mind numbing field work for another summer, so I signed up with ISV (International Student Volunteers) to do an overseas trip. Best decision of my life! A few years back, ISV started running a vet specific trip to Thailand to work with elephants that have been abused in the elephant tourism trade. This trip not only designed for vet students to learn about elephant veterinary medicine, but to also educate us on the downside of elephant trekking and tourism. I went over to Thailand mid January not knowing what to expect. For one I had never travelled alone, secondly I had no idea about Thai culture. That all changed very quickly. Second day in, visiting ancient temples and learning about the Buddhist religion was interesting, with so much history behind the customs. I found the people in general to be extremely kind as they were always willing to try and understand what I was saying, despite the huge language barrier. Over the four weeks that I was there, I learnt some very useful phrases like “I would like no spice”! The Elephant Nature Park where we worked rescues elephants and aids in their rehabilitation, aiming in the future to set them back into the wild. While I was there, I was lucky enough to perform many treatments on these elephants, ranging from popping abscesses to cleaning feet and giving medications. I also worked in the small animal clinic associated with the park, which was eye opening as many of the medications easily attained in countries such as New Zealand are unavailable in Thailand. Overall, my two weeks at the park were amazing and I would do it again in a heartbeat. I would recommend it to anyone wanting to get some hands on experience with both elephants, and cats and dogs, whilst being immersed in a completely different culture."
For more information on taking part in an overseas trips with International Student Volunteers visit: http://www.isvolunteers.org/ For more information about the Elephant park visit: http://www.elephantnaturepark.org/