During my semester with Go ED Mekong, I have been challenged to confront tough issues and really reconsider my worldview. Living in a completely new culture is sometimes a challenge, but this program uses those times to stimulate intellectual and spiritual growth, something I have greatly appreciated. It has also been incredibly fun, with trips ranging from hikes and a beach trip to an elephant trek and access to downtown Chiang Mai.
My fellow students and I have gotten to know the day-to-days of living in Thailand. After a month or so of living here, we knew how to get around town and barter at local markets, how to spot a good restaurant, and which street foods shouldn't be passed up. We ate the best tropical fruits almost every day, and indulged in things like mango with sticky rice, and rotee, whenever we were in town. As the semester progressed, I have come to feel less like a tourist and more like I live here- though I couldn't call myself a local, I'm still a Westerner. But this makes no matter, we have felt welcomed by Thais and Hill Tribe groups alike, and have been blessed by everything they've taught us, and the relationships we've formed.
This also goes for our classes and professors. Since the number of students per semester is small, we have the opportunity to bond with each other and get to know our professors. They are experts in their respective fields, and challenge us to not just learn, but internalize and process- and do something with those experiences. In addition, Go ED's unique Practicum experience lets students engage hands-on with local organizations in areas related to their majors. We had daily interaction with the staff of these organizations and often the people they help. No matter where we were, each person had a really good experience.
I could not imagine choosing any other program besides Go ED, and I would recommend it to anyone wanting to experience another culture and be challenged on multiple levels (you do, trust me). The atmosphere is open, inviting, stimulating and fun. As I write this, I have 3 weeks left, and will be very sad to leave. If you're looking to study abroad, please consider Go ED. You'll be glad you did.