Future Advice for Students
Take advantage of all the opportunities that are there, especially events that are optional and just part of the program. Just say yes. Go out with people from the group, explore, have an open mind, you’re in Thailand- do something. Apart from that, here are some other points I thought would be useful.
I packed really light, just a large backpack and this worked well. Having a secondary smaller backpack or bag was nice to carry things around, whether it was our visits or just going around the city. Pack enough to sustain a trip, but realize you will have laundry and you will be able to buy something you forgot. If I was to do it again, I would have a normal sized backpack and then a small carry on luggage, I think this will be most appropriate. Also, a traveler’s wallet for your passport, tickets, and currency was definitely nice to have. Don’t bring two (or more) things of luggage, you will be left behind.
Again pack light; you will have the opportunity to do your laundry. Having a lightweight jacket is something you will want. Materials like cotton and nylon seem to do well in the Tai heat. Bring a few nice things to wear, but this won’t be the majority of your clothing. T-shirts (or something lightweight for girls) and pants worked well (girls- light cotton dresses, or whatever you guys call them) I wouldn’t suggest too many pairs of jeans-or any. Pack fewer socks then you think you will need. Undergarments, you can decide what’s best for you, I went with ExOfficio, very easy to wash out, again you probably can decide that. I would pack a pair of sneakers, something versatile- then a pair of sandals.
I really liked the food over in Thailand. The food stands were great and you can try lots of different foods for very cheap. So take advantage of this. If you do have a sensitive stomach, stick with rice, you’ll find plenty of it I promise. The Tai’s are very accommodating; just tell them what you would like and they will try hard to make it work. The gas stations do have a fair amount of snacks, varieties of chips, and cookies but if you are looking for granolas, jerky or a protein bar, you should bring these things. And bring plenty of them; don’t be afraid to load up on them before you leave the states.
Phones & Devices
Hopefully you will be busy enough over there, where you will only use technology sparingly. But as far as computers, tablets, and phones this is what I suggest. I brought my smartphone (without service) and my tablet, and this worked great for the academics and minimal browsing. I wouldn’t be afraid of bringing your laptop over there, however. Bring a camera of some sort, lots of things, people to take picture of . As far as phones go, if you do not have an international plan, I would suggest buying a phone over there, if you do wish to keep in contact. They are around $20, and the minutes are very cheap. Last thing, load up on music, movies, anything before you leave.. it will be nice for the long flights/bus rides. But have a conversation or something first, it’ll be good for you.
The exchange will take a little time to get use to but you’ll figure it out. Bring a fair amount of cash to exchange immediately; I did $200 USD at first. They do have ATMs and currency exchanges nearly every other block. Plan on spending (at least) an additional $400-$500 for the activities, food, transportation, souvenirs. Depends on what type of spender you are. Things will be cheap, $2 for a meal. Have some fun, blow some baht on a silk robe or something.
A couple other things that were nice to have
-Tide to go, tide washing packets.
-Hand wipes/ hand sanitizer
-Bug spray, sun screen, aloe- small amounts
-Benadryl (sleeping), tums (tai food), ibuprofen. –again smalllll amounts
-emergency supply of toilet paper.
-Plug in adapter- bring a small one- smallll
Things to leave at home
-Hair dryers, curlers.
-Large scissors-ask Sheng
-Pillows, large blankets (small one wouldn’t be terrible)
Well that’s all I have. Other than that, have some fun, meet a friend, have a Tai beer or two and learn something new.