I love teaching, but I also love to travel. In 2009, I took a year off to travel around the world. And the thought that kept returning was, “What would have been different in my life if I’d done this ten years ago?” So Loop Abroad was born.
Loop is a high school travel program that brings students to Southeast Asia. Amidst traveling and volunteering, we connect students to with NGOs and other inspirational leaders who are passionate about what they do.
Two organizations we love are the Elephant Nature Foundation (ENF) and the Save Children in Asia Foundation (SCAO). The ENF is working to rescue and rehabilitate Asian elephants who have been abused in the logging and trekking industries. The Elephant Nature Park in Thailand is now home to almost 40 of these gentle giants. This year, the ENF has been granted a portion of a record-breaking one-million-acre wildlife preserve in Cambodia upon which elephants will be able to interact as if in the wild. This is a huge and exciting step toward replenishing the Asian elephant population. And because elephants require so much continuous land to thrive, replenishing their habitat means saving the habitats of thousands of other species and, in the process, preserving an entire ecosystem.
SCAO began as a small orphanage on the outskirts of Phnom Pehn, Cambodia’s capital city. Once founder Sath Samith saw the huge demand for schooling among students in the surrounding villages, he began inviting tourists and travelers to come teach English in an outdoor classroom at the school. The students loved learning English from native speakers and having a school they could attend for free, close to home. In the last two years, the SCAO has been able to build a school where they offer multiple daily classes to hundreds of students, taught entirely by volunteers.
You can support either of these organizations directly through their websites.
I’m really excited to announce our brand new Teacher Retreat, a 2-week summer trip for teachers. This August, we’ll be going to the Elephant Nature Park for a full week to volunteer with elephants, and then spending a week exploring the culture and environments of Thailand. And while we have one-hour workshops for teachers every day, you don’t have to be a teacher to join us!