It’s a strange feeling to leave something you love. To pack up your bags, load them in the trunk and hit the highway when everything in your rearview still brings a smile to your face – yet that’s exactly what I’m doing. I won’t bore you with the details of my departure, but I will say that I miss my Momma greatly and after 3 fantastic years living in Thailand, it’s simply time to move on.

Koh Samui school with our volunteer coordinator

The last year has easily been the best of my young professional career. I’ve been given the opportunity to take part in meaningful community development work, meet lots of great new people from around the world, try out new things both personally and professionally, and trusted with the responsibility to set up and manage various projects. Needless to say, I’ve had a damn good time doing so.

Volunteers working abroad in Thailand

My time working with Starfish is coming to an end, but I can’t help but get all warm and fuzzy looking back on all that’s happened in the last year. The tremendous strides our students have made not only in speaking English, but in opening up to foreign volunteers and trusting them in a way that wasn’t possible 12 months ago. The support from local community members in all our endeavors – whether it was a local farmer sharing a smile and some fruit with our volunteers, or the International School donating much needed books and supplies to our growing library. The joy on a little girl’s face as volunteers sacrificed their daily snacks so she could enjoy them instead – snickers and gummy bears are hard to come by for a Cambodian migrant worker’s daughter living in the middle of the jungle. These are among countless other memories that will always stick with me from the past year.

Volunteer building in Thailand

But what I’ll miss most about this place and this position are the amazing people I’ve gotten to work with. All of the teachers, students and local community members who have helped me from the very beginning, all of the volunteers who have each left their own unique mark on our projects, and all the guides, managers and local staff who work hard everyday to make Starfish such a fun and exciting place to work.

Volunteer with school students in Thailand

To every last one of you, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

It’s been real, folks.

Daniel, Koh Samui Volunteer Coordinator

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