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_KH_0016If you have ever found yourself researching TESOL companies, you know that there are numerous ones to choose from all over the world. How can you possibly make a decision? What makes XploreAsia stand out?

Here at XploreAsia, we do many things that set us apart, but our community outreach is what we really pride ourselves in. We love Southeast Asia; it’s full of beautiful landscapes, delicious food, and the friendliest people on the planet. After all it’s given us; we’re doing as much as we can to begin repaying our debt to this amazing place.

At the beginning of every TESOL course, our participants spend a week learning about Thai culture, Thai politics, and several other immersion activities. A few of these activities include touring a pineapple plantation, feeding rescued elephants, participating in a trash pick-up at a local temple, and volunteering with rescued street dogs.

Thailand is home to the sweetest pineapples on the planet. Naturally they hold themselves to extremely high standards to keep producing such great fruit, so many “perfectly good” pineapples don’t make the cut if they’re deemed unfit for human consumption. Normally these pineapples go to waste, and the farmers lose out on the money from them. In order to help the farmers and to reduce waste, XploreAsia steps in and buys many of these pineapples from the local plantation…now if only we knew someone who loved to eat pineapples…that’s where the rescued elephants come in!

Hutsadin Elephant Foundation is a non-profit elephant rescue center, based in Hua Hin, that has spent the last few years rescuing elephants with abusive pasts. They are working hard every day to give these elephants a comfortable remainder of their life, and to date they are now 80% ride-free!

The pineapples are loaded up and driven over to the Hutsadin Foundation. The participants then partake in the rewarding experience of feeding these majestic creatures, and let me tell you, it’s an experience you won’t soon forget!

No Thai cultural immersion week would be complete without a visit to a Buddhist temple! Through learning about Buddhism, meditation, and talking with the Monks, our participants receive a one-of-a-kind cultural temple experience. The participants also spend time picking up trash to pay respect to the Monks, Buddhism, and the temple grounds themselves.

Speaking of picking up trash, XploreAsia now volunteers with Trash Hero. Trash Hero’s mission is to create sustainable, community-based projects that remove existing waste, and reduce future waste by inspiring long-term behavior change. One way they do this is through weekly beach cleanups. Anyone can be a hero with Trash Hero, all it takes is some ambition and spending a few hours each week cleaning up our beaches. We live in paradise, and we want to keep it that way.

If you’ve ever been to Thailand you know that the street dog problem has gotten way out of hand. Luckily Hua Hin is home to Rescue Paws, a non-profit organization aiming to first stabilize and then reduce the stray animal population in Thailand over time through vaccinations, sterilization, adoptions, and education to get it to a manageable level. At Rescue Paws the participants volunteer by washing the dogs, taking them on walks on the beach, and giving them lots of love and affection. Many of our participants go on to volunteer multiple times at Rescue Paws, sometimes months and years after their initial TESOL course. Through hard work and many of volunteer hours, Rescue Paws has improved the lives of thousands of dogs all across Thailand.

As the world becomes more and more interconnected, the need to know English grows as well. At XploreAsia, not only do our participants go on to teach English across the country, but they also give back by conducting English camps in both Chiang Mai and Hua Hin. Our participants spend two days providing several hundred Thai students with fun and engaging English lessons. It is a great opportunity for the Thai students to learn English, but also for these future teachers to get a chance to teach in the country they will be living in.

Here at XploreAsia, we have been given so much by Southeast Asia. She has welcomed us in with open arms, cheered us up when we were sad, smiled with us when we were happy, and best of all, given us a chance to help change the world one student at a time. This is why we do everything we can to give back to this wonderful place, and we’d love for you to come join us!

Written By: Andrew Lyon

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