The most important thing I've learned being abroad is that there is always something to be thankful for. There were times where the place we would be staying was less than desirable, but we learned to be thankful for the little things that we were blessed with, such as hot water, a good meal, or even a helping hand from one of the locals. I know I'll take this lesson back to America with me and I'm excited to see the changes to come when I head back!
What is the most important thing you learned abroad?
What was the hardest part about going abroad?
The hardest part of going abroad for me was abandoning my normalities and routines from back home and adopting a new mindset of the new possibilities each day brought here. I had my favorite coffee shop back home, my community, restaurants, and hiking trails. Coming to Thailand, everything was so different. It was definitely a mix of culture shock and missing the structure back home.
However, after a few weeks, routines were more set into place, and I even came to love how each day was a little mix of the unknown! I never had a "boring" day, and as crazy as each day sometimes felt, I learned to just laugh and know that the next day would leave even more memories for me.
Tell us about an experience you had that you could not have had at home.
One of my favorite experiences I had that I would not have experienced back home was spending time with the wife/husband that rents out our apartment complexes. Their family was very close and loved to include my friend and I in their time spent together. We spent several dinners together trying to teach each other our native languages and sharing our cultures despite a huge language barrier. We laughed together, learned new things and tried new foods.
One afternoon the mom even took us to the Thai Special Forces Army Base where her son was stationed. Her son showed us around and we even were able to participate in one of their exercises! I truly felt like I had a family away from home!