All posts by Choua Lee

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)


05/20/16 – 7:45 pm (start time)

It’s already a week since I left home. I still can’t believe it’s been that long. I don’t exactly miss home, but I miss my little sister. Throughout this first week, I have reflected a lot about my time here, the environment I didn’t expect, and the crazy believing that I am officially in Thailand. For some odd reasons, my reflections always ended with me thinking about my parents and my hard work to be where I am now.

I didn’t expect Thailand to be so busy, have piles of trash, and run down buildings. My parents never warned me of this. These were the first things I noticed on my arrival and it really sadden me that this was a lifestyle; a lifestyle I had to live with for three weeks and acknowledge. For the first time, I felt privileged and it was uncomfortable.

Then I realized how humans, myself included, tend to capture beautiful things to show to others, but we rarely show them the complete picture. Am I worried about changing my Facebook friends perspective or am I scared that my parents might think I’m not enjoying myself? I am once again sadden by these little behaviors and ideas because I was, and still am, enjoying my time here, and I am starting to acknowledge that this is the way the people in Thailand live. Maybe this was how my parents felt as well. They probably never told me because my perspective of Thailand could be different, and maybe they didn’t want their views to change mine.

Regardless of my first impression, I have realized how much I prefer the country side over the cities. The Suksasongkrah Chiangdao School and Hmong Village taught me about their ways of living and inspired me to want to come back. I really enjoyed how successful they were on taking on their role as a student, acharn, head of the village, or a young adult. The taught me that no matter how distanced you are from everybody else, you can still survive with the people, regardless of their backgrounds, who choose to live similarly to you. In addition, there are pros and cons to everything and not one way is correct is what KK said. With that being said, I look forward to sharing my experience with my parents when I get back to the U.S.

Until next week,

Choua Lee

10:00pm (end)

First Meet: Wat Temple Reflection

1: It was a long ride to the Wat Temple, but Mai, Maimee, and I made it safely and was even there a bit earlier than expected.  The moment I realized that this was the Thai temple was when we went inside and there were beautiful Thai temple furniture/props set up. They were open to sharing their space with us and really made sure we felt as if we were at home.  In addition to that, I began to feel familiar with the Thai culture when Acharn Catherine started speaking Thai to the owners. I use to watch Thai Lakorns (Thai TV shows) all the time, but seeing it and hearing it live was mind blowing to me.

2:  A personal goal I have in mind is to really take in everything I am learning. I want to take advantage of this trip and do more than just focus on getting my assignments done, even though that is very important as well, but I hope to take what I learn from this trip and pass it on to the people at home and to any upcoming opportunities ahead.