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Scholar Highlights Week Ending August 3, 2018

August 7, 2018

Tiana Richards

When I think back on this 2-month adventure in Khon Kaen, Thailand nostalgia starts to overwhelm me. I think of the market where I bought my pad Thai, fruits, lotus desserts and mango smoothies; where I laughed with the locals and practiced my minimal Thai language skills. I got to know the area and soon felt like a local. The nine other students and staff became my family, and Khon Kaen eventually started to feel like my home away from home. Thailand taught me to be more open-minded. I learned to relax more. I’m pretty type A — go, go, go. I learned to relax, enjoy, and absorb what’s going on around me. This study abroad trip in Thailand has been one filled with insight, exploration, and humbling experiences. As this trip comes to an end I have realized that this experience has had more of a profound impact on me than I was initially inclined to believe it would. I’ve changed because Thailand taught me to start questioning my beliefs. Here I was on my own. I no longer could rely on my parents’ beliefs, but to only use my own critical thinking skills to form my own opinions. I’ve gained a greater appreciation and respect for differences and others opinions. I have learned to think about issues with an impartial view. I am more aware of the importance of being/displaying cultural competence. This experience has forced me to realize that in order for me to grow as a student and become a more globally conscious citizen, I must choose to understand the world from a global perspective and not from a privileged standpoint. In order to truly immerse one’s self into a different culture, he/she must make the conscious decision to be culturally competent prior to travel.

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