Before I arrived in Bangkok, I had a very clear idea of what my role here would be. I was going to be a student. I don’t mean to flaunt, but with a whole life of experience and a passion for learning, I think I’m pretty good at being a student. This confidence made me feel as though I had a leg up on the competition. It made me feel like taking the leap and spending six weeks in Thailand would be easy. I was both right and wrong.
When I decided to take a journey across the world five months ago, the first thing I was warned about was homesickness. “The first week will be the hardest,” they said. “You’ll miss every little thing about home, especially the things you wouldn’t expect.” Professors, fellow students, family and friends reiterated this more times than I can count. They made the first week sound absolutely treacherous.
In Thailand, the year is 2560. Although it technically is the same year here as anywhere else in the world, because Thais go by the Buddhist calendar, everyone refers to this year as 2560. The planners, calendars and online websites all declare boldly that it is now the year 2560. Odd? No. In every way this actually seems to make sense.
I am currently sitting in a cafe in Nimman, Chiang Mai, a place I like to think of as the SoHo of Thailand. The streets are filled with hip restaurants, massage studios and thrift stores. The cute cozy cafes offer a place for free Wifi and cups of caffeine for around 30 Baht ($0.80). Jazz music softly plays in the background as I reflect on the past month and how I got to this exact spot.
I wanted to encapsulate my experience overseas by compiling a video to share with anyone intrigued by the thought of visiting Thailand someday. Here is a glimpse of the breathtaking landscapes, jovial citizens and beautiful traditions of Chiang Rai, Thailand that I am grateful to have encountered during my Winter Break abroad. Enjoy!
I grew up as a military brat with parents in helping professions. Naturally, I have long had the desire to travel the world and contribute to assisting a community in Southeast Asia. For my time abroad, I chose to be a volunteer for International Volunteer HQ in Thailand, where I would teach English for two weeks.
We all do it. We make expectations for how we want certain things to turn out, on a small and large scale. Well, I’m no different. I had high expectations for my adventures abroad in Southeast Asia from the day I got accepted to Thammasat University. Here’s why I think it ultimately hindered my experience – and why we should all let go of expectations and appreciate the journey for everything that it is.
This past weekend I competed in the 7.5 km Singha Obstacle Run VI in Phetchaburi, Thailand. It started out as a weekend of doubts but soon turned into a weekend of fulfillment and accomplishment.
This past week was full of celebrations for the community of Thailand and myself. The Thai New Year, also known as the Songkran festival, was April 13-15. My personal celebration was my first birthday outside of the US.