Student travels to Asia to take care of elephants

Grieshaber poses with an elephant and a local

Wildcat Photo

Grieshaber poses with an elephant and a local

Erin Pickert, Staff Reporter

Many students volunteer their time over summer break, but very few travel the world in hopes of making a difference.

Junior Aspen Grieshaber travelled to Thailand, in southeast Asia, where she spent most of July working with elephants.

“I’ve always wanted to travel, and southeast Asia was really appealing to me because of their culture and what they could offer,” Grieshaber said.

Grieshaber was given the rare opportunity to work up close with the elephants and their caretakers.

“My first week was my time with the elephants, so I did training for how to take care of them, and I worked with the mahouts who dedicate their lives to helping elephants.”

Grieshaber spent her days caring for the elephants by waking, feeding and bathing them.

Grieshaber spent two weeks exploring southeast Asia and learning more about the elephants there.

“My first week, obviously the best part, was the elephants and learning so much,” Grieshaber said.  

Yet, Grieshaber’s trip took her to more places than just the elephant conservation site.

“My second week, I was doing adventure things. My favorite part was finding this waterfall that we could swim in, and it was really pretty,” Grieshaber said.

Grieshaber took her trip through the the organization, Rustic Pathways, a youth tour operator.

“The trips are for anyone,” Grieshaber said, “There are service trips where you can get 40 hours of community service or conservation trips, and they’re a little pricey, but if you work for one it’s definitely worth it.”

Grieshaber plans to study veterinary science in the future.

“My plans didn’t really change,” Grieshaber said.“It [the trip] just opened my eyes and made me realize that I really want to do that.”