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Thailand: Buddhist Traditions & Thai Culture
The Experiment in International Living participants with a local The Experiment in International Living participants with a local

Thailand: Buddhist Traditions & Thai Culture

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Itinerary

    6

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Satisfaction

    9

Best month of my life! Filled with knowledge, great food, and many many smiles!!

My time spent in Thailand, this past summer, has truly been the best experience of my life! I never anticipated to make life long friendships and to make memories that I'll remember for a very long time. I've never traveled by myself before, so I was a little nervous to do so. But, I felt safe the entire time and this experience has grown my confidence to see more of the world. My favorite experience on this trip would have to be taking care and learning about Elephants. I've never interacted with such large mammals before, the irony of their size to their gentle nature was mesmerizing. I am so happy we did not ride elephants, I got so much out of feeding them, bathing them, and petting them.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Itinerary

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Satisfaction

    10

Best 5 Weeks of My Life (thus far)

I had never traveled abroad prior to this trip, and studying Buddhism in the lovely country of Thailand seemed to be the perfect opportunity to learn how to travel. From the homestays to the hostels there was never a dull moment and everybody treated you like family. The group leaders were amazing and gave us the perfect amount of freedom while still keeping us safe. Although there was some concern in my family due to the coup which was in progress during my time there, The Experiment stayed in touch with my parents and talked them through the situation in an effective and genuine way. While it seemed as if learning and fun abroad was their main goal, it was evident that it was founded in providing safety to the high school students. Its been months since my trip has been over, yet, we still send letters amongst each other and I think about my time in Thailand every day. I highly recommend this program to not only novices in travel but especially to anyone who would like to see life through the eyes of Southeast Asia.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Program Opportunities

    8

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Personal Development

    10

Amazing Experience

The Experiment in International Living gives high school students a unique opportunity to become immersed in another culture, while building friendships with interesting, new people and learning things that aren't typically learned in schools. I spent 5 weeks in Thailand creating memories with my group members who I still talk with everyday (5 months later). With scavenger hunts, community service projects, language classes and lots of exploring the cities, villages and breathtaking temples we were kept busy but we also had plenty of free time to bond over bowl of questions and throw ourselves spontaneous dance parties in our hostel. In addition to the incredible friends I made over the summer, I will never forget the kids I taught and played futbol and frisbee with in the villages and the generosity and welcoming, embracing hearts of my host family. Its beautiful how relationships can be built despite cultural differences and a language barrier. This truly was an amazing and unforgettable experience, and I definitely recommend this program to anyone who wants to try something new, throw themselves into a new culture, learn tidbits of a new language and religion all while having a whole lot of fun.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Program Opportunities

    8

  • Living Situation

    6

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Program Administration

    5

  • Personal Development

    10

My Thailand experience

This trip has been a mind opening, life changing experience. Not only did I meet incredible people that made the trip the best month of my life, but I also learned how to understand other cultures in a new way with more respect towards everyone.

Thailand is a very religious country so with that there are many fine lines between being a tourist and being rude. The first week we got there we learned all of the do's and don'ts of Thailand. Some of them were what I was expecting like being conservative in temples and taking your shoes off when entering but there were some rules that I took as a surprise and it took me a while to adjust like: no waving, when you see someone you put your hands in a pray sign and bow your head. We also couldn't point to anything with our feet which was surprisingly hard to adjust my manners to. These little rules didn't seem like much to me in the beginning but as the trip continued and once we began to live with the homestay families we learned that it was crucial to respect these rules. Not only was I overly aware of my actions with Thai people, i was also more aware of what I said in the group of Eil because sometimes you don't realize that something you say someone else may take offense to.

During my incredible week homestay experience I was able to share a home with a wonderful, kind, family with two twin daughters Ing and Ang. I've never had any sisters in my mile so all of the sudden I had two little sisters with never ending energy spreading their love everywhere they went. It almost felt as if I had a shadow all week which I was not used to and took a few days to adjust. Everywhere I went they were there. It was really nice to know they were always going to be there but I have never had younger siblings before so at first I felt a little weird of a connection between us. But in time this connection became so real whether we were biking around the village or playing with their english coloring books I always had fun and felt as if it was just a great learning experience for all of us.

My host mother and I had a beautiful connection because even though we couldn't verbally communicate we were able to communicate in hand gestures and the little words I had learned in Thai, but for the most part it was smiles. Honestly smiles get you everywhere in Thailand and I really think it is a universal sign of kind and happiness no matter the language you speak. Just an example of this non conversational communication was when my host mother found out I liked mangos. She observed me eating and noticed I really liked mangos, so I never went a meal without mangos after that.

Once I return to my home I am going to be more socially aware of my surroundings and just think before speaking which is a very powerful act to be able to do. Thailand has opened my perspective and has really inspired me to travel and explore the world.

There were so many great life lessons I learned throughout this month in Thailand and I hope I can't take back with me those new understandings into my daily life back home.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Program Opportunities

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Health & Safety

    5

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Personal Development

    10

Cultural immersion

I went to Thailand expecting to be happy with my summer, but came out with so much more than happiness. I experienced a new way of thinking about life, and overall a new world. This trip was definitely an eye opening experience. I learned a lot about how I deal with new situations and new environments and I think that is going to follow me around when I visit new places.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Program Opportunities

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Personal Development

    8

The Experiment - Thailand

It was really interesting to see for myself how countries have different governments from ours, and how people are affected by the customs surrounding politics and speech. Unlike in the states, in Thailand people don't have freedom of speech. In Thailand, natives and foreigners alike are not allowed to speak negatively about the crown or what he decides to implement as law. People can be incarcerated for up to 15 years for even being perceived as being disrespectful. It's essentially treason. What was especially interesting was that we visited Thailand in a period of "mourning" because their king has recently passed. His son, the king-to-be, is not as well-respected as his father was, so it was intriguing to hear in on why people are not as appreciative of him.