I spent 4 weeks taking part in the Conservation project in Thailand with Projects Abroad. From the moment I arrived, I found a staff member waiting in the airport. On our way back to the volunteer complex, she explained many sights that we passed, and gave me clear expectations for what would happen when I arrived - we will go over some paperwork, I'll take you to your room, here is your PADI instruction booklet to learn by this day, etc.

I felt comfortable from the moment I arrived. The complex housed approximately 15 other volunteers who welcomed me and invited me on a hiking excursion the next day. We all ate dinner together that night, where I had my first encounter with the delicious food we had regularly. While I did not have any food concerns, a few other volunteers were vegan and vegetarian, and the staff worked to ensure they had meals that would not disrupt their lifestyles.

The work we did each week felt meaningful, though I wish I could have stayed longer than 4 weeks. Our weekly tasks always involved dives and data collection, but alternated between beach clean-ups, tree planting, school visits, animal excursions, and so on. Overall, I had an amazing time and was so sad to leave the friends I had made there.