All posts by Rachel Diers

Buddhism shaping an entire country’s acceptance

In my first week traveling throughout Thailand I felt an overwhelming sense of acceptance woven throughout their culture.   This sense of acceptance struck me as such a beautiful thing and truly warmed my heart especially because it is something we definitely lack in America.

When we visited the Suksasongkroh Chiangmai Dao School I was  impressed that there were over nine different cultural backgrounds coming together to basically grow up together and their ability to maintain their own traditions while still accepting everyone else’s.  I also loved that when we asked about their opinion on when a classmate comes out their response was that it’s not even an issue, everyone can love who they want to love.  This was similar to when we visited Pha Nok Kok village and asked the chief what his opinion was on homosexuality in the village and he responded that it’s not an issue either because that’s how the creator made you and they will accept that

I loved when we visited the temple in Wat Suan Dok and how we were welcome to go in and look around, yet no one said we had to bow to Buddha or do anything but be respectful.  I also thought it was really inspiring that during the chat on Buddhism, monk KK didn’t try converting anyone to his way of life, he just answered questions and talked about his perspective on life due to Buddhism. I’ve never sat down with a religious/cultural leader and not had them try to preach to me about why I should follow their way of life, so I really appreciated that.

Overall, there is a sense of acceptance that I have felt throughout all of our different experiences in Thailand. The experience is so palpable that it has been beautiful and inspiring. From personal observation, it seems like it is in direct correlation to the country’s practicing of Buddhism. Buddhism is completely immersed into the Thai culture. That being said, the people here are all seemingly accepting and loving.

Blog post #1

Hey everyone!

My name is Rachel Diers and I am a graduating senior, majoring in marketing. This study abroad trip is my last requirement for my degree and to celebrate I will be staying for two weeks after our program is over in Thailand and traveling with my three older sisters and mom who will be meeting me in Thailand!

                                           These are my sisters, my mom, myself and my nephews.

I love traveling, music festivals/concerts, spending time with my family, hanging out with my amazing nephews and most anything dealing with the outdoors.

I’m very excited about a number of things we have lined up for our Thailand trip, the itinerary and course outline seem very well rounded and I really feel like we will be fully immersed into the culture.  A big goal I have for myself, which was stimulated by our second orientation as a class, is to try to fully understand the differences between my culture and Thailand’s culture with an open mind.  Acharn Cathy made a point during our orientation that really stuck with me, instead of looking at the garbage on the streets of Thailand and thinking it’s dirty and that people should be cleaner, we should try to understand why we’re responding that way. We should also try to open our minds and understand that it’s not just as simple as throwing trash in a garbage, you need the infrastructure to support the garbage system and everything that goes behind that. So overall a big goal I have for myself in this program is to try to have as open of a mind as possible and to appreciate why our cultures are different, why we handle things differently and to understand that that’s not a bad thing.

Can’t wait to experience Thailand together!