Well here I am, a little less than three weeks before I depart to teach English in Thailand, “The Land of Smiles”!
This is my first of many blogs and I am grateful for this very healthy way to address the process of exploration. I am so thrilled to spend the summer challenged and encompassed by a new culture. I am elated to teach English abroad and enhance the English skills of Thai students. I think this is going to be an unforgettable journey. A once long-awaited decision is now on the horizon. Wow, I am excited! I know I must keep an open heart, mind, body, and soul on this adventure to have the best experience possible. So, I am going to do just that!
The aspect I am most looking forward to about Thai culture is the language. I am fascinated by the beautiful written characters, sounds, and pronunciation. The vast differences from English to Thai inspire my creativity and intrigue my curiosity.
I am passionate about the challenge of speaking, listening, reading, and writing. I am practicing a little every day and slowly understanding the many details of the unique style and phraseology. The ability to have even the simplest of conversations with a Thai person in their native tongue is going to be the most illuminating and rewarding experience. I am thrilled and cannot wait to explore and show my respect to Thai culture by demonstrating appreciation for the language.
There are seven significant ways that I am preparing before my travel to Thailand.
Packing is the greatest of all the travel arts. My father taught me how to pack like a biker so everything will certainly fit! I am excited to start organizing, arranging, and see seven weeks of my life compiled into one suitcase. I am mostly taking items for my health including hygiene and medicine. I am focusing on health products because health is the most principal factor to have an excellent time abroad.
As a precaution, Thailand may not have exactly what I need or I may not be able to read product ingredients very well. I want to be at my strongest and healthiest so I can deliver excellent English lessons to my students and explore the country! Health comes first to achieve all else!
As an educator in Thailand, I hope to achieve several accomplishments:
Achieving these goals would connote great accomplishment and success as an ongoing contributor to the life-long learning field.
My family and friends are what I will miss most about “home” because my life is about the people I love. The challenges posed by leaving those close to me will be the hardest part of the journey. I am spending a lot of time with my loved ones before I leave and have set up a plan to chat with them as much as I can while I am gone.
They can follow me on Instagram and Google chat is a click away. I am also setting up international calling and mobile Wi-Fi through my phone service provider for easier communication. Since the journey is only seven weeks, I know I will be strong enough to handle the distance but, I sure will miss them!
These five aspects of the adventure before I leave help me reflect on the possibilities and realities before departure. I think looking forward to the Thai culture through language, preparing and packing wisely, working toward my educator achievements, and knowing what I will miss most places an authentic perspective of readiness for the trip. I am thrilled to teach, travel, and grow while abroad in Thailand!
Kristen Andersen, from California, is a Greenheart Travel First Time Traveler Scholarship recipient. Learn more about Greenheart Travel’s scholarship opportunities to help you travel for a change!