It has been about 2 weeks since my Thai Studies Program has ended and I am currently at the airport waiting for my flight back to the U.S. I have a million mixed emotions about leaving Thailand. On one hand, I am happy that I’ll get to go back home to see my family. I am excited to share my experiences with friends and family. On the other, I am sad to leave a place where I have learned and grown so much. I am definitely grateful for receiving the opportunity to expand and broaden my knowledge.
Before even coming to Thailand, I had a great appreciation for the Thai language and culture. As a child, my mother would watch Thai Lakorn, also known as Thai TV dramas. I picked up a little of the language and thought I only knew a little at first. After coming and interacting first-hand with all the Thai locals, I saw that I knew more than I thought. Many people complimented on my knowledge of the language and culture. Most people were surprised that I was not a Thai local as well. After taking part of the program, I was able to connect more to Thai people. my parents, and the culture itself. I now have a better understanding of Thailand beyond all the tourist attractions and stories that are displayed on social media.
As an international travel student, my experiences in a foreign country has enlightened me in ways I would have imagined if not for the opportunities that the Fund for Education Abroad and the University of California Education Abroad Program offers. I would also like to thank the wonderful staff and professors at Thammasat University for their warm welcome and hard work in making this program possible. Overall, this has been a life-changing experience and I would not hesitate to do it all over again.