By: Caitlin Lemmon
As I boarded the plane back to US tears streamed down my eyes. Everyone says May term Thailand is life changing and I could sit here and write the same thing but until you go there is really no way to describe what we all mean by “life changing,” but here are 10 reasons the trip brought so much more into my life than I ever imagined.
- Cuddling on the airplane will create friendships you never thought could happen so quickly, and yes I mean laying on top of each other, feet in each others face cuddling. Down right uncomfortable and hilarious all in a 18 hour trip.
- Don’t go horizontal! If you want to create the best start to your trip I urge you…no beg you do not nap! Not only will you miss out on sight seeing, you will never and I repeat NEVER be on a normal sleeping schedule if you do.
- Take in as much as you can. Even when you are tired push on, there are a few days where you have options to go back to the hotel and relax, but you are in Thailand for 1 month, thats all you get so don’t waste it laying in your bed.
- Learn phrases before you go. One of my biggest regrets on this trip was not being able to talk to my host family except for in weird dance moves (pretty humorous though for those of you that have to try this). Communication is key on this trip, now I don’t mean you have to know Thai fluently, but tell people they food is amazing, that you enjoy their company, and most of all thank you. These people really deserve a thank you.
- When Han and Peter are giving you advice, listen. They will become more than a professor on this trip and I highly suggest you learn to love every minute of it. They will be your dad, be your teacher and be your best friend all at once. I can not even begin to tell you how lucky I feel to have been around them for so long. I learned more about myself in one conversation than I have in 19 years!
- Branch out! Ride in a different van everyday, sit with new people at dinner, take a different partner out with you to walk through the city. Get out of your comfort zone, you are only with 20 people and if you do it right those 20 people will be in your life forever.
- When Han offers Karaoke, go! Yes it is embarrassing to listen to your voice through a blaring microphone in front of 20 people you don’t really know but do it anyway! By the time you guys are finished all of you will be singing together, and I promise you right now no one cares how bad or good your voice is, this isn’t american idol no need to make it a competition.
- Welcome the kids the second you arrive at your school stay. They are shy and they are not used to white people crowding them, yes we are scary. No we are not all powerful so accept that now. Play with them even when its frustrating, giggle with them even if you don’t know what they are saying, and hug them so they know you really care.
- If you go snorkeling on the beach, do not stay out the night before. I am not going to go into details on this one, but if you want to have a good day I highly encourage you do not do anything too crazy before you endure that boat ride!
- Don’t waste your time complaining. There are so many moments where you will be out of your comfort zone on this trip, you are dirty, your back hurts from sleeping on the floor, bugs are on you, and it is hot. Guess what? You telling everyone this everyday will do nothing for you except make people more upset. Bask in the simplicity of life there. It is truly a beautiful thing. Embrace being dirty, realize that working all day for 8 hours and then getting to sit around together is a tremendous feeling, a feeling you won’t get doing anything else.
Like I said this trip is life changing, and I can’t tell you why but I can tell you Thailand made me come home with a new look on myself and life, and it is something I will cherish forever.