Same Same but Different.

06.12.16 – 7:09pm (start)

For three weeks, I was miles away from my comfort zone, naturally doing things the Thai way, struggling with my identity, and slowly appreciating every day of growth from this experience. As I post my photos on Facebook to keep my family and friends updated on my journey, they remind me of how proud they are of me and my accomplishments, but I remind them that I wouldn’t be here without their support.


It’s been a week since I’ve been home and not once have I not thought of Thailand. It’s hard to admit, but I miss Thailand so much! I miss it to the point where I have already looked up possible study abroad opportunities to go back. Although I want to explore different places, there is something unique about Thailand that makes me feel as if my time there was not enough. I don’t know how to explain it, but I just don’t feel right about leaving it and not going back to show what this experience have taught me. The more I think about it, the crazier it is to realize how much a place can have such a big impact on me.



Throughout my daily reflection of myself and my return from my first study abroad trip, the first thing that came to mind was how everything and everybody is still the same but me. I still can’t wrap my mind around it, but I know for sure that I was not the same young lady who just finished her first year of college. Then, I thought of how rushed I feel to get back into the routine I left. I told my best friend, as we try to plan a day to catch up, “On Wednesday I am meeting with our guy friends, Thursday I start work then I have a meeting afterwards, and I am busy this weekend with my family.” I went back to using my calendar to keep up with my life. How do I take my time and not fall behind? How do you live in the moment if your current actions reflect your future? How can I continue my life in Minnesota as if everything is still the same when it is not? As I ponder through these questions, I wished KK, the buddah we talked to in Thailand, was here to advice me because he always knew what to say.

While meeting up with my guy friends, they asked me to tell them the funniest thing that happened in Thailand. I thought about it and my mind went blank. I couldn’t think of any funny moments, only memorable ones. At the time, I was slightly disappointed that I couldn’t think of any funny stories to share. It made me think twice about my experience, but then I realized that I didn’t study abroad to have funny moments. I went to learn about Thailand, but I took away more than I could grapple. I discovered a bit about myself, met new friends, and had an experience like no other with the help of my acharns (professors), Thai native mentors, and peers. Although the only obvious change is my tan, I truly believe that something is different about me, but I don’t think I will ever be able to fully explain what that change is.

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Until next time,

Choua Lee

06.13.16 – 7:48pm (end)

2 thoughts on “Same Same but Different.”

  1. Thanks for sharing Choua! I believe I am also experiencing that change within myself that I cannot explain to anyone, but I know it in my heart and mind that I have a different approach to life and my upcoming experiences. You may not have noticed, but I have seen you grow and open up throughout the last 3 weeks we spent together in Thailand. I am happy to have met such a smart and independent woman as you. Until next time, keep soul searching! As I will too…

  2. Yes! I am in the same boat about not knowing what to answer when someone asks me what the “best” thing that I did was. And I always feel bad not knowing because I don’t want people to think that I didn’t have a good time, because I did. And I agree with Mena, I have also experienced a growth within you. I can say that because I’ve have regular meetings with you for a whole semester and I didn’t get to actually know you until this trip. You not only opened up to me, but to people you didn’t even know before this trip. I’m proud of you. 🙂

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