Hello everybody! My name is Lindsay and I am a junior at the University of Richmond majoring in Leadership Studies and minoring in Education and Society. I am from a small town outside of Cleveland, Ohio and growing up, I pretty much knew just that. My family did countless road trips (even one all the way to California) that got me pretty used to long hours of travel, but I had never been on a plane until after stepping foot onto Richmond’s campus.
I have to say that the Bonner Scholars Program originally infected me with the travel bug. On accepted students day, I spoke with a then-BSP senior and now the coordinator, Blake Stack, about the amazing volunteer opportunities within Richmond and abroad. It was then that the world started to open before me. Fellow Bonners introduced me to the multi-faith discussion group and I was fortunate enough to participate in the Pilgrimage: Poland program that studies Polish and Jewish history both on campus and throughout Poland. After that exposure to a tight-knit familial atmosphere on a college campus, where it was encouraged to question yourself and the world around you, I applied to the Living-Learning Community ‘Stories of Work, Life, and Fulfillment.’ As cheesy as it is, this course was such a blessing as it helped me learn a great deal about myself and what I want (and love) to do with my time. It also took me across the pond to London to in January to meet UR alumni which was absolutely incredible.
So, I guess I really haven’t answered what drew me to consider spending a semester in Thailand! Well, ya see, I was originally drawn to that more familiar, European culture where I would have a shared experience. However, after many, many hours of thinking and long debates with my roommates (and myself), I decided I wanted to be forced out of my comfort zone and dropped into a completely new culture.
It is not simply the pad Thai noodles and Thai pants that drew me to Thailand, but the possibility of building greater relationships with communities in need and learning about what it takes to lead social change. My program in Khon Kaen, Development and Globalization, will work directly with community organizers, NGOs, and villagers to examine social justice and developmental issues on a grassroots level. Although I myself am not totally certain of what to expect from this semester, you can anticipate some community-stay reflections, Thai roommate adventures, and hopefully some hiking and biking adventures along the way! Also, I apologize for all the foodie pictures in advance!