Semester Abroad: Spring 2013
Spring semester of my junior year, I studied at Mahidol University International College in Bangkok, Thailand through Manhattanville’s cooperative program. Before my travels, I had never been to Asia, and did not know what to expect. But I wanted to try and see new things and experience a culture that was far from western society. Throughout my time going to school at MUIC, I had to wear a uniform, just like all other students in the country, which consisted of a white collared shirt and a black skirt. I enjoyed the uniform, especially because figuring out what I was going to wear to school every day was never a problem. I had the opportunity to take classes with Thai students and many other people that came to study from various countries.
Every day was a new experience filled with excitement, learning, meeting new people (some who knew English and some who taught me Thai), seeing unusual things, and eating savory foods. One of my favorite things about Thailand was the food. It is safe for me to say that just about every dish was delicious. Not only do Thai people make good food, but they also are friendly and helpful, and not to sound cliché, but Thailand really is the Land of Smiles.
Just about every weekend I traveled. I went to the most northern part of the country, Chaing Mai, where I saw Thai hill tribes and climbed up 200+ stairs to a monastic temple at the top of Doi Suthep Mountain. I also traveled to the southernmost part of Thailand and enjoyed my time on many beaches, venturing 5 different islands that had beautiful turquoise colored water, monkeys, tropical fish, and entertaining nightlife. I immersed quickly into the culture, making Thai friends, eating bugs and other unusual foods, riding elephants, visiting Buddhist temples, and enjoying the city life of Bangkok as well.
Aside from traveling and enjoying the sightseeing and entertainment that Thailand had to offer, I also made sure to spend my time as a volunteer with children in a rural part of Thailand. Although not many of the young children spoke English, and I knew just a little bit of Thai, I still found ways to communicating with the kids by reading to them in English and they would read to me in Thai. I also showed them how to use my digital camera and they took lots of great pictures! Studying abroad has not only given me unique experiences of another culture and place, but I also made new lasting friends from Thailand and have an eagerness to go abroad again to an unusual place.