I can’t believe that I am beginning another blog, and with that, another adventure abroad. My name is Samantha and I have been back at home in Concord, Massachusetts, for about two weeks since returning from a semester abroad in Kenya. I am a junior international business major, and could not help but take full advantage of the opportunity to go abroad, by choosing to go abroad for two semesters in two different locations. My semester in Kenya actually had nothing to do with my business major; rather it was an SIT (School of International Training) program focused on community health and development, which are both passions of mine. It was an incredible four months, involving living in two different homestays, experiencing life with no running water and no electricity, navigating daily life in a dangerous city, and learning an incredible amount by living as much a typical Kenyan life as possible. I have a feeling Bangkok won’t be quite the same experience….
In Bangkok I will be studying at Thammasat University, through the university’s international business exchange program. As part of the exchange program I will be there with students from all around the world, which I am incredibly excited about. I will also be there with one of my best friends from Richmond, Addie. We are planning to live in an apartment together, and from what I have heard these apartments are are a far cry from the village living I experienced in Kenya: most that I have come across resemble apartments in the US, fully equipped with a gym and a pool. In addition to school, I am planning to do an internship with the non-profit organization called Step Ahead, which is a fantastic NGO that was founded by two Richmond alumni. To be honest I don’t know exactly why I chose Thailand; I went back and forth for months about whether to study abroad for two semesters or not, and then it just all fell in to place. I have always heard so many incredible things about Thailand, and hoped to one day travel there. When an internship in Bangkok as well as the opportunity to study business fell into my lap, I couldn’t say no, especially because I know that this is truly the opportunity of a lifetime.
I don’t think it has quite hit me that I am leaving to live on the other side of the world for the next five months. But then again it didn’t really sink in that I had been in Kenya until a few days after I got back to the US. I am incredibly excited though– I can’t wait to live a completely different lifestyle than I did in Kenya. I am so excited to meet a dynamic group of people, to explore a completely new culture, and to see a new part of the world. I am also intrigued to be involved in the development world in Bangkok through my internship; it will be fascinating to not only compare the different issues that exist in Bangkok versus Nairobi, but also to get a feel of how those issues are addressed differently in each city. I am eager to start my life in Bangkok, but I also have a lot to do in the week that I have left at home. As I learned from my trip to Kenya, it is best not to worry, not to consume myself with “what-ifs” and to just go with it. That is the best and only way to travel!