Blog post Sara - An exchange to Thailand
Have you ever wished you could spend some months away from the winter cold, tight deadlines and school stress? Have you ever wished you could travel through beautiful landscapes, witness true wildlife, live in a dynamic city and emerge into a totally different culture - all for unbelievably cheap prices, while still remaining on track with your degree? Then, how about an exchange to Thailand? I came back from an amazing and inspiring exchange to Thailand just one month ago. While I cannot summarize all of my experiences in this short blog, I will tell you the highlights and explain why going on exchange to Thailand is a great choice for your personal development.
Thailand has a lot to offer
Obviously, Thailand is famous for its nature. Most Thai islands make great weekend escapes - and trust me, Thai universities will give you all the freedom you need to travel around. This means that if you pick the right courses, your weekend could start on Wednesday and end on Sunday. You could go diving or snorkeling on the islands, or just ride a scooter and enjoy the great views. If you are a nature lover, Thailand offers several national parks with amazing waterfalls and wildlife. You could take a cooking class and master (some) of the delicious Thai dishes. Let’s not forget all the festivals, out of which I would like to mention Loi Krathong - a festival happening on a full moon evening where people float decorated baskets into the river.
For nightlife freaks, just go to Bangkok or Pattaya (or the islands during the Full Moon party). These places take partying to another level. For the tech, big data and cryptocurrencies lovers, some of the biggest conferences on these topics took place in Bangkok during 2017. Personally, I loved the Bangkok presentation of Alexander Nix (the guy who is said to have helped Trump win the elections). It might not sound great for most of you, but his presentation on big data was very insightful. Finally, Thai people are some of the most friendly and helpful people on Earth (yes, it is true, it’s not just a stereotype).
Why does all this matter to you? First, it’s a big step outside your comfort zone. Being out there in a place completely different from the Netherlands, you will often feel uncomfortable and uneasy. It is exactly these feelings that will make you grow and realize more about your personality. Living in a country with high cultural values, such as Thailand, you will feel the need to adapt and go ‘local’. To me, no amount of cross-cultural workshops will ever shape your cultural intelligence like this experience. Finally, being in the middle of all that nature and authenticity (if you avoid highly touristic areas), you will learn how to look for the essence of everything and understand what truly matters to you and what doesn’t.
So, if you’re about to apply for an exchange sooner or later, you might give Thailand a thought!
Stay tuned for more traveling tips!
Have a great week,