I’m walking onto the UTS campus for the start of a new spring semester still riding my holiday high. One look at the UTS library and my dream finally comes to an ends. Thailand was a good dream, not the kind where it’s all fluffy clouds and candy flowers, but more like a fast paced dream with late night racing and strange noises. A kind of dream with aged women in pointed striped hats selling riddles in the shape of bracelets. Skinny men that speak in pops to lure you towards plush red drapes hiding a magical act. Somber people selling tarantulas and scorpions on a stick, do you dare to eat? I’m saying yes you should.
Studying in Thailand was such a great experience for me. The start of the trip was the only hard part. It was stressful having to worry about studying for my final exams and scrambling to get things in order to fly overseas.
Once we landed in the thick humidity of Bangkok I forgot all of my worries. It was mesmerizing at every turn, starting with the taxis, they have no rules on the road and it seems like everyone has somewhere to be and NOW. I traveled from Sydney with a group and no one I was with had ever been to Thailand or spoke the language so we bumbled our way through the city, but thankfully ended up on the doorstep of a nice hotel.
The next day we made way to the Heliconia House on KMUTT campus. It was way better than the dorm rooms I was expecting. We had everything we needed like linens and toiletries at our disposal, and a nice view of the city.
The actual class experience was ok, much better than sitting in a lecture here. Physics and Nanotechnology are not my thing, but who cares I’m in Thailand. The lecturers that instructed us during our study were all so nice and the kind of people who are enthralled with what they teach and their projects. It wasn’t just us studying either, we had many Thai students in our group who helped us figure things out. I loved meeting the Thai students, they were genuinely nice people and I’m pretty sure they got a kick out of us saying Thai phrases totally wrong. I felt that because we had local people to help guide us around and tell us about thing to do we really got to experience Bangkok. I felt like a local by the end of the trip and was proud of my new KMUTT student ID.
My favorite part was the field trips we took to the All Green Learning Centre and the Elephant Conservation Centre. I was able to learn about green architecture and how some people are really fighting the fight for nature to be revered like it should be. Seeing the elephants up close and personal was something I will cherish forever. If you’ve never seen an elephant up close, let me tell you, they are much bigger than you think. Their main focus was the corn we were feeding them, but they happily had us pet their noses and sit on their backs to pose for pictures.
The best thing about this trip is the food and the friends you make. I ate like a king while in Bangkok, having a main meal and an entrée, all for the cost of 4$ Australian. If you get a chance dine on the wacky delicacies too. The peppered crickets are pretty good if you can get past them staring at you, and scorpion claws taste like BBQ potato chips. The people on this trip were fantastic. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to experience Thailand with.
My advice for you is to extend your plane ticket and stay to do some more traveling after the studying period. At this point you honestly feel like you have a good grasp of Thai culture and it is really amazing to get outside of the big city of Bangkok to see rural life.