Volunteer in Nepal, Thailand, Vietnam and Bali
Volunteer in: Thailand - Vietnam - Nepal - Bali

American Volunteers in Asia

In terms of distance, North American volunteers at Friends for Asia travel much farther than their European and Asia Pacific counterparts. The distance to Asia from both shores of North America is more than 8,000 miles. Even so, Americans account for more than a third of the FFA volunteer base, making this the single biggest demographic at work here.


The United States and our volunteer project site countries have long history of cooperation. In the 19th century, Thailand became the first non-European country to ally with the US. At that time, King Rama IV of Thailand even sent a letter to President Buchanan offering to send an envoy or elephants to the US to aid in development.

The US may have declined the offer to raise elephants on American soil, but these animals still factor into this long-distance relationship. Volunteers from the Unites States are especially fond of the Elephant Camp Volunteer Project. We also have a lot of Americans working teaching English to novice monks in Chiang Mai, or working in our Building and Gardening Project or Care giving Project at the American-administered home for Single Mothers in Crisis.

A Strong American Volunteer Background

Volunteer and Intern in Thailand

Friend for Asia was founded by a returned Peace Corps Volunteer from the United States. His understanding of Thai people and culture are a direct result of his two-year assignment in rural Thailand followed by years of teaching in prominent Thai private schools.

American volunteers enjoy a double benefit because of this. FFA is well networked in Thailand and Asia, which means our volunteers enjoy some of the most engaging projects on offer in Asia. At the same time, Americans can take solace in the fact that FFA is incorporated in the US and operated by people that understand American sensibilities and concerns.

Volunteer and Intern in Thailand

FFA’s first volunteer was an American. Since then we’ve diversified considerably, but we still value those American roots. Even our coordinators have strong ties to the United States. Aom lived in Los Angeles and New York for several years, managing a Thai restaurant in the latter. She is an expert English speaker, and it doesn’t take long to realize that she understands Americans in a way that is only possible if you’ve spent time living and working in the US.

Nirandr, our security coordinator, also has a lot of experience working with Americans. He spent many years working for Habitat for Humanity in Thailand, which maintains strong ties to the US. Nirandr has a lifetime worth of experiences to share, and he loves chatting with volunteers in their downtime.