International Student Exchange Program (ISEP)

Meet the Students – Christopher L.

Christopher L. is a creative writing major who decided to spend his junior/senior year in Thailand.


Bangkok, Thailand, Thammasat University:

 

     

 

Christopher attended the Thammasat University in Bangkok, Thailand in Fall 2012 and Spring 2013.

What was your major?
Christopher: Creative Writing/Thai Studies

Why did you decide to study abroad?
Christopher: I always wanted to spend time abroad and Thailand was always a personal interest of mine so it worked perfectly.

Did your time abroad meet your expectations?
Christopher: Yes, I thoroughly enjoyed my time abroad.

What were your favorite and least favorite foods?
Christopher: My favorite foods included any soup or noodle dish, khao moo dang, tom yum, and my least favorite food was all of the hard boiled eggs they served with meals.

Did you travel a lot?
Christopher: Yes.  All around Thailand (islands, cities, national parks, etc.), Burma, Cambodia twice, and Laos.

      

What did you do during your free time?
Christopher: Traveling and occasionally teaching English to native Thai students.

What were your favorite and least favorite things to do while abroad?
Christopher: I loved traveling and interacting with the local people. Trying new foods and driving motorbikes, going to beaches year round. Occasionally the language barrier would get frustrating.

Was communicating easy?
Christopher: Both yes and no.  If you were not in the tourist locations many locals could not speak any English.

Did you learn a new language, and how fluent would you consider yourself?
Christopher: I learned a little, enough to give directions and handle money, as well as hold light conversation. I would say I was not fluent at all.

What difference did you find with regards to academics?
Christopher: I found their academics pretty similar. Though they did a lot of group work, which I did not enjoy too much. But it is a laid back environment with teachers coming in as they please and same with students.

What advice would you give to other students traveling abroad?
Christopher: Try to learn as much of the language as possible before leaving for your country. Even if you just get numbers it will be a big help.

                                                             

Think back to when you first arrived in your host country.  What was something that surprised you and/or something that was totally different from what you are used to in the U.S.?
Christopher: There were motorbikes everywhere, horrendous traffic jams, people yelling and selling food everywhere. I also am not from a city so going to one of the biggest and busiest cities in the world was a big change from home.

How would you summarize your overall experience?
Christopher: The best decision I ever made.

Do you have any suggestions for improving the program?  Anything you wish you had done better to help you during this process?
Christopher: I wish I had known about all of the classes offered at my host university. I did not find out about their full course catalog until the second semester of my year abroad.