Amber is currently a senior business administration major studying abroad at Thammasat University located in Bangkok, Thailand through ISEP.
“Thailand is extremely different from the United States which is why I chose it. I was nervous about going to a country where I didn’t know the language at all, but through this experience I have learned the necessary phrases for survival and have found ways to work around the language barrier. I signed a lease and got a phone plan with people who spoke very little English which makes me feel like I can do anything now. Classes involve a lot of group projects and most of my classes have around 50 students. I have a professor who after the second class said, “Okay I have set up some guest speakers for this class. I will see you all May 16th” as if it were a normal thing and we haven’t seen him since. The food is great and cheap, but also surprising. I ordered a waffle and it came with pieces of corn in it. My favorite street vendor is currently Crepe Lady who makes crepes for 20 baht (64 cents) and is a little too close to my apartment for this to be good for me. I’ve made friends with another street vendor near my apartment, and he waves to me each day as I go to school and wishes me good luck. My bargaining skills have greatly improved as it is common to bargain for taxi rides, clothing, and even tours. A group of friends and I bargained with a man and got a $46 discount on a waterfall tour, but we are pretty sure he was doing it under the table as he made us pay cash and would not let us pay in the office. It was worth it though. Overall, everything has been crazy, and I find myself thinking, “this would never happen in the US” especially when I see a mother driving a motorbike with her infant seated in front of her with a baby stroller balanced across the handlebars or when I see children playing in a construction zone. It’s been seven weeks which means I’m about one third of the way done and I cannot believe how fast it is going.” -Amber Smith
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