Gain an understanding of global health issues in a traditional Thai community context while contributing to UN Sustainable Development Goal #3, Good Health and Well-Being. The focus of this program is preventative public health, specifically hygiene, sanitation, nutrition, and exercise education. During the internship, interns will live and work in Phang Nga province, and will have the opportunity during their free time to explore the beaches, islands, and underwater life that make this region of Thailand a popular destination for international tourists.
Learn how to conduct health checks and assessments, and deliver workshops on topics such as hygiene, nutrition and physical exercise. You might also have the opportunity to deliver demonstrations at the local kindergartens, educating young children about healthy habits. You’ll be working together with other participants to increase the health and well-being of the local communities and gain a better understanding of the health challenges faced by those in Southern Thailand. This will be done while living in one of the most beautiful regions of Thailand, Phang Nga province, with its white-sand beaches and abundant wildlife.
Gain first-hand experience working on public health community programs and develop a comprehensive understanding of complex global health issues within the local Thai context.
Be welcomed into a beautiful community, where you will learn to speak the language, cook the food, practice traditional Buddhism and develop intercultural perspectives.
Contribute to ongoing community development efforts and initiate project ideas that will make a lasting impact.
Partner with social impact projects that are owned and led by local organisations who guide initiatives according to community priorities.
Receive training, guidance and mentoring to develop professionally and grow personally. Leave with recognised qualifications and in-demand skills.
Your unique expertise, skills and interests are matched to relevant community projects that address specific challenges.
Empower ongoing local community development projects on the ground that are led by inspiring local NGOs to make a lasting, systemic change.
Don’t just travel like a tourist. Become part of the local community and culture to experience a unique way of living – authentically.
This internship is specifically useful for someone who has or is actively studying the below subject areas at school, university or college, or has an interest in these subject areas.
Some of the example typical activities you could participate in on this program.
Learn about health and wellness project procedures, setting project objectives and conducting health and wellness workshops.
Deliver healthcare workshops in local schools – and to the wider community – on healthy eating, dental and feminine hygiene, and the importance of regular health checks.
Depending on the needs of the community, additional project work might include delivering environmental educational workshops, adult education workshops and early childhood development.
Learn how to plan and set team goals, create supportive team environments and reflect on your own leadership style.
Take on additional responsibilities such as conducting community needs analysis, creating pre- and post-workshop surveys, and coordinating workshop sessions.
Work on an individual project that aligns with your personal interests or support and expand on one of GVI’s existing projects.
Meet weekly in a small group with other interns and an experienced mentor to receive project guidance and feedback on your leadership.
Some of the partners we work with on base.
|24-hour emergency desk|
|24-hour in-country support|
|Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)|
|All project equipment|
|Food (except on long-term internship placements|
|Safe and basic accommodation (usually shared)|
|Group introductory call|
|Endorsed GVI Specialisation Course|
|Endorsed Leadership Course|
|Sustainable project work|
|Data collection and research|
|Real projects with partners|
|Weekly group check ins|
|Remote Academic Internship Supervisor|
|Remote Career Internship Supervisor|
|Preferential recruitment on GVI positions|
|Job portal access|
|Endorsed Careers Course|
|Career coaching sessions|
Certificates and achievements
|PDF reference - upon request|
|Linkedin reference and skills endorsement|
|Additional drinks and gratuities|
|Extra local excursions|
|International and domestic airport taxes|
|Medical and travel insurance|
|Personal items and toiletries|
|Police or background check|
Our GVI base is located in the heart of a small fishing village named Ban Nam Khem, which is about one and half hours from Phuket airport, and about half an hour from the popular resort town of Khao Lak. Situated within the Phang Nga province, this region was the worst affected by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. It’s estimated that almost half of Ban Nam Khem’s residents lost their lives in the tsunami, and today there is a famous memorial dedicated to them. Though steeped in tragedy, the people of the village refuse to be defined by their loss. The community has rebuilt itself and grown substantially since then.
Participating in this GVI program in Phang Nga offers you the chance to slow down and experience living and working in a traditional Thai community, tucked away from the usual busy tourist hotspots. The base is a short ten-minute walk from the beach and a fifteen-minute walk from the centre of the village – where you’ll find little markets, shops and street food vendors that are open daily. When you’re out and about, you’ll often be joined by Tiger, the friendly village dog who lives across the road. He loves to tag along on adventures and visit the base. You will share a house that includes communal spaces – here you can learn and relax with our GVI staff and other participants from all around the world. On the weekends, you can explore the numerous stunning beaches, islands, caves, and national forests that the Phang Nga region is renowned for.
Our house is situated within Ban Nam Khem village. There is a lovely coffee shop on one side and a beautiful jungle on the other. You will stay in mixed-gender, dorm-style accom...
On the morning of your program start date, a transfer will be provided from Phuket Airport Place to the GVI base. A five-minute walk from the airport exit, the Phuket Airport Pl...
Wi-Fi is available at the base, but bear in mind it might not be as reliable as you might be used to back home. If you plan on working remotely while completing a program with u...
This program gives you the opportunity to experience authentic Southern Thai cuisine, while still having the chance to share some of your own favourite meals from back home. You...
Thailand has a famously tropical climate, the perfect weather in which to enjoy Thailand’s many beaches. The temperature ranges from 22°C – 34°C (72°F – 93°C) throug...
When doing project work and spending time in the local town, you will be expected to wear modest clothing, and behave in ways that are in accordance with Thai customs. Loose-fit...
Enhanced cleaning and social-distancing measures in place.
We want you to make the most of the chance to live in – and contribute towards – the most diverse and unique wildernesses and communities on earth. Introducing GVI Experiences – immersive adventure, cultural and wellness activities exclusive to GVI that have been specially designed in collaboration with our local partners to support and stimulate sustainable economic development.
Enhance your impact. Expand your adventure. Explore your world.
Joining a GVI program not only allows you to collaborate with communities or work toward preserving unique ecosystems – but it also offers plenty of opportunities to explore the surrounding area or travel further to see what other parts of the region have to offer over weekends.
Field staff are a great source of advice and have helped us put together the following information on local travel options. You can choose to travel before or after your experience with GVI (subject to immigration restrictions), solidifying the lifetime friendships you’ve established on the program. Please note that the below options are not included in the program fee, and would be up to you to arrange at your own expense.
The Similan and Surin Island groups are both protected Marine National Parks. They are home to several world-renowned diving and snorkelling spots, but can only be visited betwe...
This is a very popular tourist spot. It’s filled with seemingly endless beaches, so many dining options you will be spoilt for choice, and hundreds of spas offering massages and...
Said to be more diverse than the Amazon, this 740 square metre rainforest reserve is home to elephants, deer, monkeys, lizards, birds, and the Rafflesia, a giant flowering plant...
Phuket is a tourism hotspot – as popular for its spectacular beaches, diving, and surfing sites, as it is for its cafés, boutiques and hotels. Yo...
This province is a treasure trove for travellers. Enjoy the crystal-clear Emerald Pond, the epic 1,237-step climb to the Buddha statue, the stun...
Thailand boasts some of the top beach destinations in the world, with Railay beach being one of the most popular. A peninsula on the Andaman coas...
Explore the warm turquoise waters and limestone cliffs of Phang Nga by speedboat or sea kayak, stopping off at James Bond Island – made famous by...
This protected marine park covers a huge area, including over 50 islands. Visit the jungle island of Koh Chang, where you can snorkel or scuba-di...
Also known as “‘Turtle Island”’ this is another excellent destination for snorkelling and scuba-diving, or simply relaxing on the beach. The visi...
Explore the many natural sites of Nan, bordering Laos – like Doi Phu Kha National Park and Si Nan National Park. It is the perfect area to experi...
Explore the picturesque waterfalls of Khao Yai in central Thailand. Here you can spot unique Thai wildlife like gibbon monkeys....
Travel to the city complex ruins of Ayutthaya to learn more about Thailand’s heritage. This spectacular, but now abandoned city used to be the me...
Set in the verdant mountainsides of Northern Thailand, the golden city of Chiang Mai is a breathtaking sight to behold. Visit historic temples an...
There is a reason why the capital of Thailand is one of the most visited sites in the country. Featuring gorgeous temples, the spectacular Grand ...
Engaging intimately with a new context teaches global awareness, adaptability and critical thinking – skills highly valued in the modern marketplace. Local and cultural immersion is encouraged on all our programs around the world, and will also be one of the most enjoyable aspects of your experience. Luckily, there are many different activities that you can get involved in during your free time, or before and after your program.
On our community programs, the focus is on cultural topics, while on marine or wildlife programs the emphasis is more on the environmental element. Use your evenings and weekends to explore topics like local cuisine and religion, or how sustainable development challenges are affecting local contexts.
February: Magha Puja is an important Buddhist holiday during which people make offerings at temples around the country.
April and May: Thailand’s New Year, also known as ...
Most Thai people subscribe to Theravada Buddhism. There are many local Buddhist sites in the region of Phang Nga that you can visit to learn more about Buddhist customs. Travel ...
The fluid movements and opulent gilded costumes of Thai traditional dancing are recognisable worldwide. Learn about the six types of Thai classic...
Thai food is famous the world over and is known for its fragrant, spicy flavours. All participants receive cooking lessons from our local staff, ...
There are about 71 languages in Thailand with five main families: Austronesian, Hmong-Mien, Thai, Mon-Khmer and Sino-Tibetan. Thai is the nationa...
Known for its amazing limestone rock formations, pristine beaches, and rich culture, Phang Nga is a pocket of paradise in Southern Thailand. Its ...
If you’d like to find out what the experience of joining a GVI project is really like, simply contact us and we’ll put you in touch with one of our many Alumni.
We’ll try to match you to an Alum based on your location, nationality, age, stage of academic career, gender, and program interests. This allows you to gain insights into the experience that is most relevant to you.
Depending on your location you might be able to speak to an Alum over the phone or online, or meet up with them face-to-face at a coffee shop nearby. We also run a series of small events around the world where you can speak to GVI Alumni, Ambassadors and staff members.
Meet Adele our Community Coordinator in Phang Nga, Thailand. She is originally from the United Kingdom, but loves her life in Thailand living next to a beautiful beach, enjoying ...
Senior Program Coordinator
Meet Katie, the Senior Program Coordinator at GVI Phang Nga. She has an undergraduate degree in geography and a master’s degree in sustainability. She is in charge of runn ...
Senior Program Manager
This is Vanessa, she is originally from the UK and joined GVI back in 2017 when she was completing a teaching program in India. Since this volunteering expedition ...
Introducing Gay, who is our Community Liaison out in Phang Nga. Gay has studied business management as part of her master’s degree. She started her journey w ...
‘If only every student could do this. It changes your life in all the right ways,’ says Chris Heritage, parent of Luke Heritage, one of our teen volunteers who has participated on two GVI programs, one in Costa Rica and another in South Africa.
We are a parent-run organisation that is incredibly serious about health and safety, and increasing the impact, as well as the long-term career benefits of our programs. Our programs help young people develop the skills to select a career path that is personally fulfilling, and live a life aligned to the well-being of our planet and the global community.
GVI is a proud member of the Gap Year Association.
Ken and Linda Jeffrey, whose son Sam volunteered with GVI in Thailand, talk about how the experience affected Sam. He also went on to volunteer with GVI again in South Africa. ‘I know it sounds like a cliche but in a sense, he did go away as a boy and he came back as a young man. Both of us could recommend GVI without any hesitation to any other parent thinking about exploring an opportunity for their children to explore the world and to see different parts of it.’
Download the Parent Pack and learn more about:
Our staff: All our projects are run by staff, selected, vetted, trained, and managed by our central office.
Health and safety: Our safety practices include a child and vulnerable adult protection policy and high participant ratios.
Staying in touch: See what’s happening on base, by following a hub’s dedicated Facebook page.
Free parent consultations: We would love to talk to you about exciting opportunities available for your child.
When it comes to support, we ensure that each participant is provided with unparalleled, 360 degree support, from your initial contact with the GVI Family, all the way through your program, and even after, as you become part of the GVI Alumni Team.
As part of this promise, we will ensure, whenever possible, that one of our dedicated staff will be available to meet you at the airport. In most locations, we also set up a Whatsapp group to help with managing airport arrivals. We will arrange with you prior to your departure that, should you arrive in the agreed upon pick up window, a member of our staff will be there to welcome you, easily identifiable in a GVI t-shirt or holding a GVI sign and wearing a friendly smile. This means there will be someone there to greet you as you land, and from there you will be transported to your GVI base to start your adventure and meet the rest of your team.
Enhanced cleaning and social-distancing measures in place.
All of our programs have short-, mid- and long-term objectives that align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). This enables us to report on our collaborative impact across the world in a streamlined manner, measuring which UN SDGs we are making a substantial contribution to. Furthermore, this will help our local partners and communities measure and visualise their contribution to the UN SDGs.
Prior to your arrival on base, you will be educated about the UN SDGs. Then once you arrive on base, you’ll learn about the specific goals we have in this particular location, our various objectives, and also clarification of how your personal, shorter-term involvement contributes to these.
Our aim is to educate you on local and global issues, so that you continue to be an active global citizen after your program, helping to fulfil our mission of building a global network of people united by their passion to make a difference.
Conservation starts with education. Throughout the year, we conduct environmental awareness workshops at local schools, hotels, tour and dive operations, and elsewhere in the local community when an opportunity presents itself. We run an after-hours conservation club at our partner schools. These workshops aim to educate students on the importance of protecting the mangroves, ocean and wildlife, as well as reducing plastic use and pollution of the environment.
Ban Nam Khem, meaning “Place of Salty Water”, became the epicentre of a tin mining boom in the 1950s. At its peak, the population grew from a few families to approximately 5,000 people. When all the tin was extracted from the surrounding mines, the mining bubble burst. All that remains of the industry are lakes dotted around the village, marking where mines were dug and never filled. Today most people earn a living from fishing, but many seek alternative livelihoods in the nearby tourist hub of Khao Lak.
Thailand, like many countries in Southeast Asia, suffered greatly in the wake of the Indian Ocean tsunami on 26th December 2004. Phang Nga, the province in which Ban Nam Khem is located, was one of the most severely affected in the country. Many villagers lost their homes, relatives, and friends. Although much progress has been made, there is still a need for community redevelopment and regeneration.
The GVI Phang Nga base was established in September 2012 with the aim of supporting the continued redevelopment of Ban Nam Khem and increasing access to employment opportunities through capacity-building initiatives. A large development planned for Khao Lak will make it an even more popular tourist destination in the years to come. Three-, four- and five-star hotels are currently being developed, which will likely significantly impact the landscape of the surrounding communities in the future, including Ban Nam Khem.
The local community’s efforts to diversify employment markets remain central to its well-being. Ban Nam Khem is well positioned to take advantage of the tourism boom in this region, but the community members need a good level of conversational English to enable them access to the corresponding employment opportunities. English language skills can also assist community members in the Thai workplace and the international economy.
Ban Nam Khem boasts its own primary school with an enrollment of around 250 children, and a Community Development Centre which offers free education during the day for around 150 children who live in the village. There are also free after-school classes that are available to everyone.
English Education Program
Throughout the year we work with a variety of local schools and age groups, from kindergarten to seniors. We assist local teachers with running classes to improve conversational and written English. This might include leading English classes, training local teachers, assisting with lesson development, and providing one-on-one tutoring sessions for learners requiring additional support. We also assist with conversational and professional English lessons for adult learners from the community in order to improve employability and job prospects. We offer both beginner and advanced level classes to adults. During the school holidays, we take part in other community activities and run summer camps – which allows children to continue learning, and provides a safe place for them to go while their parents are at work.
When they require our support, we assist educational and community centers around Ban Nam Khem and further afield with infrastructure development. We conduct basic maintenance and renovation work, like painting, maintaining fences, building school gardens, making desks, and improving the overall physical learning environment.
Public Health Project
Based on their needs, we run regular health workshops at local schools and in the community. These include workshops on dental hygiene, nutrition, general well-being, women’s and men’s health, and anti-smoking campaigns. We also conduct frequent health checks within the community and educate community members on health management. We provide free basic health education around obesity, which is an increasing problem in Thailand. In schools, we focus on hygiene by promoting hand-washing routines from an early age. We also conduct bi-monthly early childhood development testing focused largely on motor and sensory skills.
GVI Phang Nga long-term objectives:
1. Provide equal, quality education to children from all backgrounds.
2. Promote good health and well-being of the local community members through education.
3. Improve the English skills of the local community, allowing them access to equal employment opportunities in the communities of Takuapa and Ban Nam Khem.
4. Increase awareness of environmental issues within the local community and facilitate change towards sustainability through education.
The best decisions in international development and conservation cannot be made without accurate and up-to-date data or informed research. Our many field teams around the world collaborate with local and international partners to analyse data and draw conclusions. In addition, many of our participants have used research they have collected on their various GVI projects to complete their Masters, Doctorate, or postdoctoral studies. We also run a fellowship program which connects postdoctoral researchers at globally-respected universities with our many sustainable development programs around the world to support their research and ensure continuous improvement of our best practices on base.
Below is a list of core ethics and best practices we believe are essential to the operation of high quality, ethical volunteer and sustainable development programs. We believe that all responsible volunteer and sustainable development operations should focus upon these principles. If you are considering volunteering, these are some of the key considerations you should question, to ensure that your time and money contributes towards positive change.
We want to constantly develop our own understanding of ethical best practice. In so doing, we aim to provide an exemplary industry standard for other education institutions, international development organisations, and social enterprises. Our Badge of Ethics stands for the drive to always do good, better. Find out more, click on the Badge below.
We aim to design all our projects in collaboration with local organizations and communities and ensure that they are locally driven.
We aim to clearly define short-, mid-, and long-term objectives with sustainable outcomes for all our projects.
We aim to track, record, and publish the impact of each of our projects.
We aim to build in-country capacity by assisting local organizations in becoming self-sustaining.
For each local organization we work with, we aim to have a plan in place for withdrawing support responsibly.
We aim to ensure that every participant is assigned a clear role and that they are fully trained and supported to carry out their work by specialized staff.
In all our actions we aim to respect the skills and efforts of all and seek to protect the rights, culture and dignity of everyone who engages with GVI.
We work to ensure that credit for the results of any project, along with any data collected, research conducted, or Intellectual Property developed, remains the property of local organizations.
We do not condone and aim to withdraw support of orphanages and residential care centers.
We will live by our Child Protection and Vulnerable Adult policies.
As an organization, GVI is committed to striving toward best practice, and to educating both our potential participants, our partners, and the world at large about them. Both the volunteering and sustainable development sectors are increasingly, and rightly, under scrutiny. Many recent local and global articles highlight poor practices and questionable ethics. GVI is widely recognized for striving to apply global best practice in the volunteering, education and sustainable development sectors throughout our operations by reputable organizations such as ChildSafe.
However, global best practice is always evolving and we dedicate both time and resources to engage with internationally respected experts and learn from the latest research to ensure our programs both fulfil their potential to create maximum positive impact, and minimise their potential to create unintentional negative impact. Along with and as part of the sustainable development and volunteering community, we are constantly learning and applying this learning to practice. We do not always get everything right, but we seek feedback from our community members, partners, participants and our staff, and react accordingly. We know are already doing a great job, and feedback we have received confirms this, but we aim to do even better and are continuously refining our operations to improve upon our already excellent reputation.
We don’t support the use of wild animals for entertainment purposes. This includes riding animals, having them perform tricks, feeding or bathing them or getting close to them to take photos
We don’t encourage, support or allow the rearing of “orphaned” wild baby animals kept at a “sanctuary”. The conservation value of these types of programs is negligent and would only ethically be used in extremely rare cases
When wild animals are restricted for conservation purposes we follow the guidelines of Fair Trade in Tourism South Africa (FTTSA), approved by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council.
We ensure that the Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare are followed. These include the freedom to express normal behaviour and freedom from distress, discomfort, hunger, thirst, fear, pain, injury or disease.