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Athena Study Abroad, January Term Koh Samui Island, Thailand
Athena Study Abroad participants doing the love sign Athena Study Abroad participants doing the love sign

Athena Study Abroad, January Term Koh Samui Island, Thailand

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Community

    10

Incredible!

Visiting the numerous wats (temples) in Thailand had one of the greatest impacts on me. They were absolutely breathtaking and were still in perfect condition after all of these years. My understanding of the world has completely changed. Before traveling to Thailand, I never thought I would ever travel halfway across the world. It was a long flight, but there is something about making that trip that makes you feel like you can do anything. One of the biggest impacts that Thailand had on me was the overwhelming amount of homeless people. So many people around the world need help, and after traveling, I want to do anything that I can in order to help those who are less fortunate than I am. This trip has no doubt changed my life for the better.

The representative that I spoke to throughout my application process was the main reason I pursued the Athena program. She was there for me whenever I had a question, and would answer extremely quickly. I felt that the application process was extremely personal, and it exceeded far beyond the other programs I was looking at. My subjects were engaging because we were able to fully submerse ourselves in the culture while documenting our experiences in a way that not only counted for credits, but also the opportunity to have something to take with us after the trip

The housing situation was perfect. In Bangkok, we were extremely close to Koh San Rd which is one of the main attractions there. The hotel itself was not very nice, but we only needed it to sleep in since we were out most of the day. In Koh Samui, we stayed in beautiful bungalows that were only a few feet away from the ocean.

The main excursions we went to were the wats in Bangkok and Koh Samui. These temples were absolutely incredible, and the people took great pride in keeping them up to date and as pristine as possible. We also went to an elephant/monkey should which was one of the highlights of the trip. It was a little sad seeing the elephants tied up though. During my free time, I would shop at the local markets where they had many different traditional food items as well as souvenirs. We also spent a lot of time on the beach in Koh Samui. I felt very safe at night, however I would suggest sticking to the buddy system if you want to go somewhere. One of the best cultural events I experienced was the Full Moon Party on the island right off of Koh Samui. It was an incredible party where we were able to meet people from all around the world. The foreigners were extremely kind and helpful, which I did not expect.

One main social difference was the lack of personal space in Thailand. The people there have no sense of personal space, and will stand extremely close to you without feeling awkward. There was also a lot of bowing which I was not expecting.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    8

  • Community

    10

My understanding of the world has completely changed.

My understanding of the world has completely changed. Before traveling to Thailand, I never thought I would ever travel halfway across the world. It was a long flight, but there is something about making that trip that makes you feel like you can do anything. One of the biggest impacts that Thailand had on me was the overwhelming amount of homeless people. So many people around the world need help, and after traveling, I want to do anything that I can in order to help those who are less fortunate than I am. This trip has no doubt changed my life for the better.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Community

    10

I found my passion

I've had nothing but the best experiences with Athena Study Abroad. I don't believe any other study abroad program would have made it possible for me to have studied abroad three times in my undergraduate career. Thank you.

As always, studying abroad opened up my mind to all of life's characters. I feel that my understanding of the world and other cultures has been enhanced and will continue to evolve each time I travel abroad. What made my study abroad great was both Athena's and HISA's willingness to work with me while manipulating my application and course requirements to ensure that I was able to study abroad for a third time while still maintaining my ability to graduate on-time!

My classes, while not as rigorous as certain classes at Chapman, the classes HISA provides are stimulating, engaging, and allow room for students to grow both creatively and intellectually. I love the freedom and the interactive nature of the courses.

The hotel in Bangkok was in a perfect location (Khao San Road), but it was actually a horrible place to stay. It was nearly impossible to find on our own and not at all clean (cockroaches on the floor upon arrival). On the other hand, the bungalows on Koh Samui were amazing. Great location, friendly staff, clean, and comfortable.

Fantastic group excursions! While the long days may seem daunting, the trips and activities are so very worth it.

I want to truly thank everyone at Athena Study Abroad for everything they've done for me over the past two years. Without them I would not have discovered my passion for traveling or the inspiration for my writing. I don't think I could have traveled abroad three times with any other study abroad program. Thank you for expanding my world Athena Abroad!