Thailand was my first trip abroad. The first week of travelling was incredible and I was amazed to get such a diverse experience of the culture and the country. Having a tour guide was great because she really helped us understand the culture and what it was like to be Thai.
Meeting the elephants was by far my favourite day! It was such an honour to meet these creatures up close and to share in their fun. Seeing them cared for so beautifully was great and we got to see them in their natural habitat which was wonderful.
It was really great to have that first week to understand Thailand a bit more, because Koh Tao is a very different place. Not that it isn’t fab, but its very tourism focused and therefore obtains very little of genuine Thai culture. If I had just been to Koh Tao I don’t think I would be able to say that I visited Thailand.
The New Heaven Reef Conservation Programme is fantastic! All the staff have an incredible amount of knowledge and seem to know everything about anything that lives under the waves. But just like all the students there, they are constantly learning and studying the ecosystems which is very exciting. I went there to collect research for my university dissertation. The staff were very supportive and got very involved which was so kind. They have millions of projects on the go and new ideas, and they gave me loads of options based on their expertise and the time that I was there.
I studied my biology project when we went to appropriate sites for two days a week and was involved in other conservation works as well for the other days. I learnt so much about the life in the reefs of Koh Tao and I was excited to be a part of making a difference. Every day was different and the lectures were easy to understand, even if one knew nothing about the ocean or biology. I studied Marine Biology and there are plenty of new things to learn.
For anyone interested in going on this trip I would recommend staying for as long as you can! I initially planned to stay for three weeks and I am so glad I decided to go for 8 weeks instead. Staying for an extended period meant that you can be involved in all the activities and learn more skills. Everyone I met never wanted to leave and everyone returns because it is such a beautiful habitat and the programme is incredible.
Going with Flooglebinder (www.flooglebinder.co.uk) made life easy and they supported me throughout my journey. Preparing for the trip was less stressful and there was always someone to ask for advice before and during the trip.
They answered every pathetic question and query I had, rang me multiple times and even met my Dad! I’m so pleased that I went and that I had their support. https://flooglebinder.co.uk