Slugs of the World showcases UCSC students who left Santa Cruz and experienced the world! This time on Slugs of the World we’re talking to Elyse who studied abroad at Thammasat University in Thailand in Fall 2014.
Q: How did the culture in Thailand effect you?
A: The culture in Thailand is very rich compared to anything I’ve ever experienced. As a country who has never been colonized, Thai ideals and values permeate through every aspect of daily life from building restrictions to conversation topics. While it was very different, it was really amazing to exist in such a culture heavy place.
Q: Can you share one of your favorite memories from your time in Thailand?
A: My absolute favorite memory from Thailand was from the day I spent at Erawan National Park in Kanchanaburi. We walked through seven waterfalls and at the end climbed to the top of one and found this little cove of crystal blue water overlooking the entire park. There were butterflies everywhere and it was the purest feeling of bliss I’ve ever felt.
Q: What was the hardest or most different part of living in Asia?
A: The hardest part of being in Asia was sticking out like a sore thumb because I am white. People will give you odd looks, raise their prices, and literally fight with people around you to get your business. No matter the language I spoke or clothing I wore, everyone knew I wasn’t Thai and that left me vulnerable to tourist schemes and varying interactions with others. That being said, it wasn’t a dehabilitating issue. I was aware of it and made pretty easy judgement calls about things. People there are generally very nice, but its important to be aware of your place in their society and to respect their beliefs and values.
Q: How did the academics abroad compare to here at UCSC?
A: Academics abroad were quite different. It definitely depends on what program you’re in but as a Thai Studies student I found it very simple to do well in class. It really depends on your classes but in general, many students found it easier than school here.
Q: What would you say to anyone thinking of studying abroad in Thailand?
A: I would say that you need to go. Thailand is an absolutely amazing country that’s rich in nature, culture, religion, politics, and great food. While you’re there definitely take advantage of cheap prices and its close proximity to many other amazing countries such as Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Malaysia. Go everywhere you can in Thailand because it really has everything.
Thanks to Elyse for sharing her experience! If you’ve studied abroad we want to hear from you. Send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us where you studied!