I studied abroad in Hong Kong the spring of my junior year at Presbyterian College and got to travel to Thailand during the week before finals. I had always dreamt of being able to get close enough to an elephant to pet it, but this day surpassed my dreams completely! I was introduced to three generations of elephants at the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Guests of the sanctuary feed the elephants and then the entire group heads down to the river.
Elephants like to keep a protective coat of mud on their skin at all times and it’s healthier to have a fresh coat every day. This meant that I had to take a stiff-bristle brush and scrub all the mud off their backs like my life depended on it. We then herded the elephants to a mud pit and proceed to cover up all the freshly cleaned skin (I now know how Mom feels when I wear dirty shoes on her freshly mopped floor). The mud pit was shallow and didn’t quite reach my waist which, as I am only five feet tall, isn’t very high so there was still a lot of elephant skin in the open air left to cover. To reach the elephants’ backs we had to sling mud as high as we could and the baby elephant, of course, slung mud right back at us with his trunk! By the end of the day, my arms felt like they could fall off, I was covered from head to toe in mud and I was the happiest I had ever been.
Every single year, PC sends students abroad all around the world to so they can go to the places of their dreams. I wouldn’t have been able to visit Thailand on my own if it weren’t for PC and I owe one of the best experiences of my life to that wonderful small college in Clinton, South Carolina.
Rachel Rice ’17