All posts by Halle Ann Smith

Blog #2

imageIn just the past few days, I feel as though I have gained so much life experience and so much insight into the way in which others live and perceive the world. Through the monk chat to the Hmong village, we have already observed the lives of others immensely that we can apply to the Human Ecological Model.  The Human Ecological Model consist of four lenses: the sociocultural, the family, the human built environment, and the natural built environment. The experience that I have chosen to apply to this model is the visit to the Hmong village.  In the Hmong village it was facinating to observe how the homes were built into the mountains and structured around the natural enviorment and the way in which they adapted to the nature that surrounded them. The crop designs and green house were built around stairs that were structured specifically to avoid erosion. This displays the human built environment, how the people built their lives around the nature. It was such a profound experience to observe how the village acted as a collective family with smaller units within it. The village survived and thrived based on the connections they had with one another. Every individual portrayed strong family values, they took pride in their village and the simplicity it was made up of. I felt that when they spoke about their village and then way they live it was almost as if they were privileged to have this village, to have the opportunity to live simply, without materialism, without chaos. To have this extremely rare and unique opportunity all to themselves. There was an interdependence within the family, the sociocultural, and the human built environment lenses. How they only went to the city when they didn’t have a choice, for necessities such as education and essential economic resources. Even when the young adults went off to college, they were eager to return once they were finished their four years Eager to return to the solitude, the nature, and the simplicity and peace that they found only in their village.  Continue reading Blog #2

Blog Post #1


1.) The Wat Temple in Elk river was such an amazing experience for me. It still hasn’t fully resonated with me that I’ll be studying abroad in Thailand, but the orientation made it feel so much more real. The moment that I entered the room I immediately felt the overwhelming feeling of peace and enlightenment. It was fascinating to hear about the Thai culture, the concept of mindfulness, simplicity, and everything that Buddhism entails. The meal that we were provided with was not only amazing, but the way that the hosts were so giving and encouraging us to eat more was so heartwarming.

2.) One learning goal I have for myself in regards to this Learning Abroad seminar is to attain the practice of mindfulness and immerse myself in the Thai culture. I love and deeply admire all the aspects that Buddhism embodies and would love to be able to emanate that within myself and have it contribute to my personal growth as an individual.