Chiang Mai Calling (Part Two – The Tips)

Andy Barrow Tips - Chiang Mai

My last post was all about my final preparation for our “working holiday” to Thailand. More specifically, I focused on the contacts that I made in Chiang Mai ahead of our arrival.

If you’re considering (or already planning) a similar trip away to work or volunteer and want to know how to make connections abroad, here are my top tips…

1/ Do Your Research

People are out there waiting to help you! Any city, big or small will have local charities and Expats associations. For example, Rotary International has a vast membership with around 35,000 clubs worldwide.

Organisations like these do some amazing work in their local communities and are always keen to hear about new initiatives that they may be able to support.

Just a few clicks online will get you to contact forms or email addresses. If you don’t hear back first time – persevere! Remember, the majority of people in these organisations are volunteers. It may take a couple of tries, but you’ll get to the right people eventually.

2/ Rock Your Story

Rock Your Story - Chiang Mai Calling

Making our stories rock! (More about him soon)

Tell people what you’re aiming to do during your time away and why. Why do you feel strongly about this particular project? Did a certain event inspire you to take action? If (when) things go well, what will the outcome be?

Stories bring ideas to life! Once you go from being just “admin”, to a real person (with a great story), who wants to help, people become far more receptive.

Finally, What you’re planning to do is COOL – so be proud of it! (If you don’t believe in what you’re doing, nobody else will.)

3/ Ask For Introductions

You know those people waiting to help you? Guess what – they know LOADS of other people just like them that they’ll be happy to introduce you to… If you ask! (It’s always worth asking the question because you just never know.)

Take the time to make as many email contacts as possible, but be sure to follow this up with something concrete. Schedule a phone or Skype call to strengthen that initial connection and arrange to meet up for coffee or lunch once your reach your destination. Once you start to build those initial relationships, you’ll be surprised by the opportunities that present themselves!


…That’s all for now, but don’t forget to check back soon for my next post when I begin meeting the people behind those virtual contacts that I’ve generated!



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