Before Bangkok

สวัสดี (Hello!)

My name is Kathryn Hyams. I am a graduate student and will be pursuing a Master of Elementary Education program this fall. I graduated with my B.A. in both English and Studies in Cinema and Media Culture (SCMC) in December 2014. I have a passion for working with children and I am excited to learn about the differences between the Thai and American educational systems and see them firsthand during this experience.

Before any big, international trip I am always faced with a similar range of emotions: curiosity, excitement, packing-anxiety, and eagerness. I can’t wait to be sitting at the departure gate for Boston, my first stop on the long journey to Bangkok, Thailand. Airports always fill me with a sense of independence and adventure. It is invigorating to be in a space where everyone is constantly moving, coming, and going. I love to be in the midst of the hustle and bustle.

I have never been to Asia, let alone Thailand, so I cannot wait for this experience to begin. This will be the seventh country I have visited. I have been to the United States, Canada, England, France, Australia, Togo, and now, Thailand. I feel it is important to acknowledge the incredible privileges I have had to visit and travel to all of these wonderful places. These experiences have helped me grow as not only a student or professional but as a human being. I would not exchange those experiences for anything.

Being immersed in a culture that is not one’s own is equal parts liberating and humbling. You will be judged and assessed from your outward appearance and country of origin, so it is imperative that you reflect inward on your past history and present reasons for being in this new space. No matter how many times I travel, I always depart for home with a renewed sense of self and place in the world.

One life lesson I have learned through travel is to have little expectations going into the trip. Of course, I expect the food to be delicious in Thailand, but I have not allowed myself to envision daily life in Thailand or romanticize my future interactions once there. While finals week certainly acts as a distraction from dreaming of my future visit, for me this is an important exercise in patience and living in the moment. Some of my favorite memories and experiences while traveling emerged from spontaneous or seemingly everyday tasks. Taking time to pause and savor the moment is the reason I am drawn to travel!

I look forward to embarking on this next excursion and sharing my observations along the way with all of you.

ขอขอบคุณ (Thank you!)


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