“Thailand rocks… I love it here! ♡ … I honestly feel like I have learned so much here. Not only about Thailand but also about myself… I am so lucky to have been in Chiang Mai with this HoT group… Thank you Dr. Brook for giving us this life changing opportunity. I have never been so inspired to make a positive change in myself, my lifestyle, and the world. I have never laughed so hard or felt so in awe of the people or the environment around me. HoT is something I will remember forever.” — Leslie B.
“I loved the new friends I’ve made and I loved every single thing about this trip…. I loved this trip and I would recommend it to anyone. I would go again and again if I could, but I would definitely recommend this to anyone and everyone!!” — Julie C.
“I am so thankful for the Hand On Thailand Program. This has given me the opportunity of a lifetime. I miss it, I miss it so much. … I recommend HOT to anyone that wants to travel and meet new people. Your expectations will exceed here in Chiang Mai!” — Sarah S.
“I feel that students can travel to any place in the world and it would be amazing and full of new learning experiences, but Studying Abroad in Chiang Mai, Thailand (the land of smiles) would be the most amazing program they could ever do. I don’t regret anything about this trip! … It’s crazy how no one will ever understand how amazing Thailand was to me.” — Liz FD
“Chiang Mai is filled with magic. … It’s so amazing here I feel as if all I want to do is share it. … I love it here, I love how I feel here.” — Samantha D.
“I keep on forgetting this is a school trip. It feels like I just went to Thailand with a group of friends. … One thing I am sure of is that I love it here.” — Ryan E.
“I haven’t left yet and I already want to come back!” — Alexis B.
“The peace and serenity that this place brings is unbelievable! I was told I would fall in love with Chiang Mai and I didn’t believe it, but I absolutely fell head over heels. It has forever impacted my life in such a beautiful way. We did not just learn the culture, but we lived it! The positive vibes, the beautiful scenery and temples, the cheap and delicious food, the locals, and all of Thailand will forever hold a special place in my heart. … Thank you Brook, for guiding us and allowing me to expand my heart, my mind, and my life!” — Mayra B.
“Everyday here there is always an interaction that amazes me. The people in Thailand are so caring. … Thank you Dr. Brook for taking us on this amazing trip that I will never forget.” — Olivia T.
“Farewell Thailand, I truly loved every week, day, hour, minute, and second that you have given me.” — Joey M.
“My first impression of the country was ‘whoa’. … I felt truly free … The culture is so refreshing.” — Leti M.
“In just a short time in Thailand I have seen the most beautiful and awing temples, the brightest smiles, the most detailed and intricate handmade artwork and crafts. I’ve felt the softest of silk. My clothes have been light, and expressive in color. I’ve eaten the most mouthwatering food. I’ve smelt the most interesting scents (some that I like and some that I don’t.) I’ve met intriguing people and seen sights that are unforgettable. I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, I’ve learned, I’ve taught. I’ve sung, I’ve danced. I’ve tried new things and have got out of bad habits. … I have so many good things to say about Thailand and my experience here. I truly feel lucky to be involved in this. This is a totally new experience for me and I’m glad that I was presented with the opportunity. … I cannot find the right words to express how influential this experience has been. However I am content in knowing that it has been undoubtedly powerful. It’s safe to say I am in love with Thailand.” — Kayelani H.
“Every experience is another story to tell. … My heart was filled with joy.” — Araceli G.
“I am very excited that SJSU provides this life changing experience, and I appreciate you for organizing everything to make sure the students not only explore but also earn credits while visiting one of the most amazing places in the world. … It is empowering to feel independent, and powerful to know that as women we can feel safe and comfortable in…Chiang Mai. A beautiful place that has been welcoming, friendly, and empowered to grow and teach people from all over the world what kindness and gratitude is. … So when you ask me if this trip has changed my life, I would say it has changed my mind.” — Luisa O.
“Thank you once again for this amazing and unforgettable experience. I am glad you are the adviser for this program, I wouldn’t think anyone else would have done a better job. … Not many people get to do this and plus I AM IN THAILAND! I sometimes keep forgetting that I am here and I need to remember that I am one of the luckiest people to have this opportunity.” — Paola J.
“I heard myself saw wow out loud; it wasn’t the first time I’ve said it in Chiang Mai. … Thank you so much for leading this program. You allowed for all of us to have such wonderful, truly unforgettable experiences in Chiang Mai! … I guess what I’m trying to say is that Hands on Thailand was a wonderful experience. This program has given me so many unforgettable memories and has helped enrich my outlook on life.” — Ashley O.
“Thailand, Thailand, what a beautiful magical amazing dope legit whimsical authentic pure place to be. … I left Chiang Mai with roots of myself planted there. I came back here to California wanting to be more of the person that I was there. Someone who felt free from judgment, free from restraints, and free from thoughts that haunted me. I learned to conquer myself and let my soul free, and found an inner peace that I had so badly wanted but could never obtain. … And I found 15 other beautiful souls who I loved more than I thought I would, people with amazing hearts and we shared an experience together that no one else would ever understand. That experience will keep us bonded forever no matter the distance or the years that may keep us apart.” — Tiffany M.
“I have never been treated with so much kindness in my life.” — Caitlyn S.
“Every day here is a new adventure. … I cannot write enough or find enough words to say how being in Thailand has impacted not only my time here but my life. The best advice I can give to future students is to make the commitment to come to Thailand. Don’t think, just do and I can assure you, you will not regret it. … Best experience of a lifetime.” — Abby R.
“I really enjoyed the Faculty Led Program Hands on Thailand. … Experiences like that are once in a lifetime opportunity. Everyone should do a study abroad program, specially Dr. Dan Brook’s Hands on Thailand course. Our instructor, Dr. Dan Brook, is hands down an amazing professor, person, and friend. I would change nothing about the experience I had in Thailand during the course. It truly was the best decision I’ve made in my life so far. Chiang Mai, Thailand will always have a special place in my heart where I met some new friends, spent time with elephants, taught English to monks, and had the best time of my life.” — Marco S.
“I think this experience is a great opportunity to really apply what it means to be a global citizen. … There is something poetic about getting lost, being on your own, while discovering a new place. … The people I encountered while in Chiang Mai were easily one of the best parts of the trip. Their kindness and manners are something that made a big impact on me.” — Gisela P.
“I just can not get over how beautiful Thailand is!” — Serena
“HoT was everything I could have asked for and more. This trip has taught me so much, including a lot about myself … I don’t think I can really explain to someone else my time here because they just wouldn’t understand unless they were here. … I am grateful I got this chance to come here and experience everything I have because it has been the most rewarding three weeks of my life.” — Jasenya B.
“It felt like a movie.” — Zully H.
“Thank you for such a great experience. … Everyday has been its own adventure. … I loved this experience. I learned so much about myself and how I want to live life and I’m excited to bring that back with me. … Maybe it’s the infectious smiles, the great food, or the amazing sights, or a mix of them all, but I’m in love! I feel like I was able to feel a different kind of happiness here. … These past 3 weeks have been transformative, and I’ll always be grateful for it.” — Andrea C.
“It exceeded my expectations by a long shot. … This has been such an incredible experience. … I LOVE YOU CHIANG MAI ♡” — Lindsay W.
“Chiang Mai is a true gem … Here it’s the Department of Smiles! … Thank you very much for exposing us to the delights of Chiang Mai. :)” — Lilian F.
“This amazing trip and how calm it was and pure happiness. … My mouth hurts from smiling so much!” — Myriam G-O
“I had an amazing time, ate great food, saw great animals, everything was simply amazing. … Thank you Dr. Brook for everything.” — Ashley G.
“Everyday in Chiang Mai is a new adventure – from meeting new people, trying new foods, and exploring new places. … I felt so happy, like I was “high” or something. It was a very interesting feeling that I’m having trouble putting into words. I was zoning out trying to take it all in, but at the same time trying to be aware and in the moment. I don’t think I’ve ever been that happy. … Chiang Mai truly is a
magical place and I’m so lucky to have called it home for three weeks.” — Marisol S.
“Thailand was an amazing, beautiful, liberating, exciting experience that I will forever be grateful for.” — Lagi T.
“This trip took my breath away. … I cannot help but reminisce all the great memories I made during my short time there. Chiang Mai gave me new friends, taught me how privileged I am and gave me a new sense of self. My eyes opened in all aspects… I knew Chiang Mai would make a positive impact but I could never imagine that this trip would change me for the better. Thank you, Chiang Mai!” — Mariela G.
“This is the life!” — Annie W.
“I had an amazing time — whether that’s through my volunteer experiences or through group activities. I enjoyed interacting with the extremely kind Thai people, making new friends, eating great food, and just immersing myself in the Thai culture. It was definitely a one in a lifetime event. … HoT has taugh me so much. … The program has allowed me to grow as a person and a global citizen. I’ve learned so many things during my stay at this beautiful, diverse, and exciting city of Chiang Mai. … I had the time of my life here, and I hope others can do so too. … this program has been absolutely wonderful, exciting, and adventurous.” — Tracy N.
“This was an amazing experience that I will not forget. … I was in awe. … Love you Thailand ♡” — Romana P.
“Thai-high, instantly felt higher spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and with these combined – higher as a human being. … My cheeks hurt from the constant laughs, my heart throbbed with the blood pumping with true love. … My emotions have been as new to me as all the experiences, dreams do come true and I want that for everyone in our world. … My life is forever changed for the better by coming to Thailand and helping with my own two hands and one mind.” — Cassidy P.
“I love Chiang Mai. … I feel that each day is a new adventure, a new story. … I came here partly to find myself; I am leaving with best friends. … This experience is one that touched my soul and made me grow. … Chiang Mai truly is a magical place.” — Kalli
“Something that seemed so simple was actually shocking to me upon adventuring to Chiang Mai, Thailand. People here are actually sincerely kind and generous. Every opportunity to exchange a smile is given and returned. … Not to mention, this place is just darn gorgeous. … experiences like this are jewels that we must cherish. … Absolutely amazing. The people here were so welcoming and warm. I couldn’t have chosen a better place to travel to.” — Paige C.
“This program has been one of the best experiences of my life. … I came into this process being complete strangers with everyone. I was worried that I wouldn’t make friends, but I left this program with hopefully lifelong friendships. This trip also gave me the opportunity to get to know myself more as a person. … The people of Thailand made me believe in love and kindness once again. … Hands on Thailand was an experience that I will always cherish and never forget. … it was the time of my life.” — Corinna R.
“I am having a blast in Thailand. My mind is in peace, I get to be with some pretty incredible people, I get to eat amazing food, and last but not least I get to live. How lucky am I? … There are so many things I am enjoying here. … Thailand has really made a part of myself awaken. … I am so fortunate to have this experience. It has molded me into who I am and who I am becoming. … The whole trip was a wonderful learning process.” — Camille C.
“I can’t stop telling my parents and my friends about the hospitality of Thai people and how nice they were.” — Alison H.
“I would without a doubt recommend someone to join this program with you again. I had an amazing time and would do it all over again. Being that it was my first time venturing out of the country this program was the perfect combination of free time and structure. … I fell in love with Thailand and want to take other people so that they understand what I am talking about as far as how nice the people are, how mouth watering the food is, how sweet the mango is, and how humid the air is. Without experiencing it no one can ever relate. I got the chance to dive into the Thai culture and experience it for myself.” — Mariah C.
“This place is changing me in a good way. My perspective on life is changing, feeling more centered and free.” — Jerry W.
“Something about Thailand brings out the positiveness in myself and the people around me. … I learned so much about myself through this trip that I couldn’t have gotten any other way. Thank you for the amazing experience.” — Ashley L.
“Thailand has given me a small taste of what can be seen outside of my comfort zone, and I find myself wanting to expand my worldview even more. The three short weeks I spent in Chiang Mai not only made me become a better person, but also allowed me to make numerous genuine human connections. This trip gave me the confidence to be able to travel alone, it allowed me to connect with myself emotionally deeper than I ever have before, and gave me new friendships with people I would not have met otherwise. … I will forever be grateful for the people I met through this program, they made those three weeks filled with more happiness than I could ask for, and gave me countless cherished memories that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.” — Amanda M.
“International travel is extremely important. As a student of anthropology I have learned the importance of culture and how having an understanding of culture grants you infinite possibilities. … A beautiful spirit radiates eons of energy further than all the material possessions in the world can take you. And for that, I thank the beautiful people of Thailand and wish only the most energy to return to them as they exude it in all directions.” — Andrew S.
“I just want to say thank you to you as a teacher for taking time and effort out of your life to bring this opportunity to us. I would’ve never gone to Thailand on my own and had the same experience if it wasn’t for this class. I would recommend this to anyone, anyone that wants a change in their life, anyone that wants to find themselves in a way that they haven’t before, or anyone that just wants to explore and see something new. This trip helped me realize so much … I don’t even know how to put into words what this trip has helped me feel and help me realize. … This was honestly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity … I’m just absolutely amazed by the culture and the people and the beautiful country. I’m so grateful for this amazing journey and I know this is only the start of discovering who I really am and what I want to be. Thank you for the opportunity.” — Liese O.
“Never will I forget this trip, which made me forget about the fear I have of life’s challenges. I mean it when I say that this trip was life changing. I am going back home a brand new lady, I am happier, I am more grateful… I used to be afraid of challenges and change, now I crave these things. Thank you, Dan, for allowing us to come alongside you to experience and see this country that is so near and dear to your heart. And thank you, Thailand, for challenging me in intellectual, emotional and physical ways. I will never forget this. :)” — Hayley S.
“The people I met, the bonds I made, the things I saw and learned have all shaped a new view on my life that I needed. … I am grateful for everything and everyone I have encountered. … Thank you for leading the program and introducing us to that amazing country!” — Abiola A.
“I find it valuable to experience different cultures. Travelling internationally will change your life in so many ways that nothing else can. You will come back a changed person because it will allow you to not only see the world how you have always known it, but through different eyes on a much larger spectrum. … I will never forget what I promised myself when I was there. I don’t ever want to forget how this experience made me feel. Thank you for taking us on this amazing journey.” — Lina M.
“I will never forget my fellow HoTties and the memories we made here. I will also never forget the genuine kind-hearted Thai people I had the pleasure of talking to, interacting with, and teaching. This trip was a once in a lifetime experience and I am so happy that I pushed myself to be here :)” — Tessa K.
“My time here is so short, but the impact has been real. … I am grateful to be chosen for this trip, meeting amazing people, learning Thai culture and food, and just being present. … My time here has come to an end, but I will never forget this incredible experience.” — Jasmine R.
“The generosity and love from other human beings here is insane! I love Thailand and all who inhabit it.” — Rachel B.
“Everything about this trip has been great. The food was delicious. The sights were amazing. The weather was nice. The group of people I got to share the experience with was my favorite aspect of the trip… From the temples, to the ladyboy show, to aggressive tuk tuk drivers, to ridiculously spicy curries, this trip has been the adventure of a lifetime and I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to be able to spend part of my summer in this beautiful city with amazing people.” — Ben W.
“Everyday has been a new adventure. Waterfalls, temples, baht, fresh fruit, smiles, super green trees, head bows. I love the friendliness I have been experiencing out here. I vow to take it with me wherever I go. … I can’t help but appreciate all the bonds I have made with the Americans from the HoT program, the travelers from around the world I got to speak briefly with & most of all the Thai who have expanded my compassionate capacity, filled me up with so much love & appreciation & have made a lasting imprint on my soul. Yes it’s that deep. I’m leaving a place that has literally changed my life.” — Imose
“I’ll miss the people I’ve met on this trip—especially the group of friends I’ve grown to know—as well as the opportunity to explore a new culture and area with a greater sense of self-empowerment. I’ve felt more confident here than I’ve ever been in my life not only due to the sense of security due to the lack of violent crime but also due to the self-awareness I’ve come to acquire about my body.” —Aeon N.
“Chiang Mai has made an imprint on my heart. … Chiang Mai was a truly magical place and I couldn’t be happier that I went with you all.” — Leah H.
“Do it. It’s an amazing experience and you won’t regret doing it. … I love Chiang Mai. … Thank you so much for the opportunity to do this program. I really had an amazing time and learned so much! … I really feel like I have grown as a person. I am also extremely happy because I am walking away from this program with a new family. … I am so thankful for this trip. I am thankful for my experiences, the people I met, and the increased self-awareness I now have. I can’t wait to go back to Chiang Mai someday and I hope to continue to spread the positive energy that Chiang Mai has left me with.” — Cristina M.
“I was a bit scared to go on this Faculty-Led Program since I wasn’t sure what I’d be getting myself into, but I absolutely loved it.” — Vanessa U.
“I lied in a hammock for a few hours and thought about how beautiful my whole experience in Thailand has been. I’m so thankful for these new friendships and this life. … I can’t even put into words the feelings and emotions of the pure happiness that has been cast upon me. I feel blessed to have experienced this beautiful country with the best group of humans.” — Alix M.
“To say the very least, this trip to Thailand was one of the best experiences and decisions of my life. … I had such a great experience and I am thankful for not only that, but the work put in by Dan as well. :)” — Jenni P.
“Everything is beautiful… My experiences were amazing… I love you Thailand and I will never forget the influence you have had on me… I’m going back home with a new admiration for my life.” — Chelsea B.
“There’s a vibe here that’s so rare in the US that makes you have a completely different perspective on life. I’m for sure coming home a different person. It’s a vibe you can’t explain, you can only experience. … Never in my life would I have imagined myself across the globe making a difference in these people’s lives, when they don’t even know they’re changing mine for the better.” — Ashley C.
“As I was sitting there talking to the monks in Thailand I realized how beautiful the world is and how blessed I was to be there.” — Bianca G.
“I have so much to learn from these kind people. … I am so grateful with my trip to Chiang Mai. The city was beautiful and I am grateful for being surrounded by positive kind people throughout the trip. I am thankful for the wisdom and the simplicity of living in the moment. I am thankful for having the opportunity to speak with a monk and teaching English to low income students. I am thankful with the monk for sharing his wisdom and ideas of mindfulness. I am thankful for being welcomed by the people and for their willingness to teach me about their culture. No one can ever take this experience away from me.” — Laura V.
“Thank you for a great course … I learned so much, HoT truly changed my life for the better.” — Courtney B.
“I’ve always wanted to visit Thailand. I’ve always thought of it as a magical place. … It still is. … I felt like a different person in Thailand, and I have never felt like that anywhere else I have traveled to. I love how I felt there… There was this energy that I got from being in Thailand, and it made me feel like another person. I felt energized. It’s sappy but I feel like Thailand was good for my soul.” — Lourdes V.
“My time here was great. I already miss Chiang Mai and I haven’t even left yet.” — Kelly B.
“This was not the last time I was going to be in Chiang Mai.” — Alton L.
“[There] couldn’t have been a better professor to lead the Thailand trip. He knows and loves the land and shares his love and knowledge with the students.” — anonymous
“The cohort and professor made the experience unforgettable” — anonymous
“This trip hass changed my life and the ways that I look at it. … The HoT program was awesome. … This was an experience that I will cherish forever.” — Abby N.
“I wanted to thank you for a wonderful time and experience in Thailand. For encouraging me to make Thailand my Thailand and forming my own experience. … Although my journey in Thailand is literally coming to an end, I think my own journey is barely beginning.” — Yadi M.
“I am so proud to be able to call myself an alumni of this program.” — Samantha D.
“Is this what it feels like to be immortal?” — Camille C.
Check out student videos and blogs, as well as my photos and articles, on the HoT Media page.
For general travel inspiration and wisdom, please peruse my free ebook
GO!: Travel Quotes to Send You Off.