I’ve been meaning to talk about the US Ambassador’s visit for a couple of weeks now, so I apologize on being so late!
My International Relations class was given the chance to attend a faculty-wide seminar about the US Election, where Ambassador Kristie Kenney would be speaking. I was excited at having this amazing opportunity, but I had no idea it would be as neat of an experience as it was!
As I walked up to the Political Science building, I saw the security guards and the students lining the halls, waving both Thai and American flags. I felt like I belonged. Here, in this important moment for Thai students, was also an important moment for a student like myself, studying International Relations and aspiring to have a career similar to her own. It was inspiring, and I was excited!
As Kristie Kenney appeared, walking through the lines of students, returning their wais with a genuinely happy smile, I felt overwhelmed. I felt like a twelve year old girl seeing Justin Beiber up close. As she approached our side of the line, we waied to her and she giggled, returning the wai. She then took her time to shake each of our hands, asking our names and where we were from. I couldn’t believe that she took her time to do that – it was really special. We were then rushed around the corner to take a photo with her. As a hundred cameras flashed, she joked with us about which camera to look at and whether we had ever had that many photos taken of us. Following her quick photo session with other students and professors, we were lead into the conference room where Kenney would open the discussion.
As American students, we were given a lot of unexpected attention. We were directed to sit in the front row, and had many cameras pointed at us throughout the speeches. I kind of felt strange about this aspect. It’s hard to explain why. I think from a personal view, I didn’t understand why we should be the representatives of American politics in a foreign country. At least for me, I am still a student; even I don’t understand American politics one hundred percent. I would rather be represented as a student of Chiang Mai University. However, it was definitely neat to be featured as a student diplomat in Thailand, because I am very proud of my decision and hard work to be studying here.
Beginning with a short monologue in Thai, Kenney warmed up her audience with a definite show of respect and love for Thai people and Thai culture. I really appreciated the fact that even though Kenney cannot speak Thai, she still put out the effort to speak in their native language. Kenney spoke a lot about basic relations between the US and Thailand, stating that we will continue to be friends no matter who wins the 2012 election. She declared her admiration of the Thai students’ interest in the US Election and commended them on setting up such an event. It was a heartwarming speech that I was very lucky to be in the audience for.
This single event has pushed my ambition into overdrive. I have set new goals for myself and have a clearer view of my future. I am putting myself first and am going to work harder than I ever have to achieve this. I am so thankful to have this opportunity to study abroad which has taught me so much about myself!