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Challenges Abroad Alumni and now a successful Virtual Intern

By Elaina


Hiya, my name is Elaina and I am a student at the University of Western Sydney! I have been lucky enough to travel to Thailand previously with Challenges Abroad, you know back in the days when we could travel freely!! While this crazy virus called COVID-19 has made travel an impossible thing, the amazing Challenges Abroad and the FutureSense Foundation teams have overcome this barrier and provided us with a once in a lifetime experience of a Virtual Internship! This Virtual Internship makes possible the continuation of helping others globally. All from the comfort of your own home!! (Could it get any better?!!)  



Environmental sustainability is a major issue within Thailand and therefore it was my honour to be able to research and report on some of the factors that Thai communities face. This included waste management, air and water pollution, agricultural practices, burning of waste and land, natural disasters as well as the effects of Climate change. Through my research, I was able to create a curriculum outline to help the FutureSense Foundation to identify key areas on which they can base their educational programs on. This is to maximise their teaching success within the several Thai communities they engage with and be able to deliver lessons in a fun and interactive way!   

Throughout this internship, I was supported from start to finish. The in-country team, consisting of James and Morky, gave me amazing guidance and feedback and provided me with an area of no judgement, filled with kindness and joy so that I was able to learn all about environmental sustainability in Thailand. The in-country team set up meetings with local community members which allowed me to gain primary data for this internship whilst learning from the locals that are having to face these issues head-on. The community member meetings provided a once in a lifetime opportunity that allowed me to succeed in the internship and grow and develop as a person.   



On top of the in-country team, I was given even more support in the form of my amazing Mentor, Sarah. Sarah was AMAZING! She boosted my confidence and allowed me to thrive in this internship, providing me with non-judgemental, educated, valuable feedback and advice which allowed me to get the most out of this program. I concluded this program with pride and confidence in knowing I had an amazing team behind me that wished nothing but the best and for me to succeed.   

We all strived for the same goal of creating something amazing and useful, which made this internship a smooth and fun process. A process that provided me with amazing skills that will stay with me for all of my future endeavours. It is one program that I will never forget.   

While 2020 was a crazy year, filled with so much fear and uncertainty for many, completing this internship, from home, in some ways grounded me. It allowed me to take a step back and put my efforts and energy into creating something that will benefit others, not just this year but many years to come. The internship allowed me to grow as a person and I gained many skills that will aid me in my future career. I know if given the opportunity, I would 100% undertake the internship again knowing that it provides an amazing opportunity to help others and for me to develop personally, it also allows you to create amazing friends with like-minded people. This internship was a process that I will cherish and look back on for my whole life, with no regrets!   

I recommend this internship to anyone who wants to grow, develop, educate, help and just have fun. It is an opportunity that will kick start an amazing future.


If you’re passionate about making a difference in this world, don’t let this pandemic stop you! We don’t want anyone missing out on an international experience, so we’ve brought it to you. Check out our virtual internship program on our website for more information